Monday, March 21, 2016

Answering a Question...



I'm striving to get away from arguing with people who do not understand my points so my point here is not to argue. I'm just answering a question because it's a reasonable question with a reasonable answer. Stan at the blog, Winging It, recently asked a question about those who'd say that conservative types sometimes appear to be speaking for God, presuming that their opinions are one in the same as God's Word.

He says he doesn't understand those who object to this. Here is my answer to his question. First, a bit of context. Stan wrote...

Oddly enough, it appears that those who are complaining that a straightforward reading of Scripture -- reading it like it is written and taking it as it appears to mean -- is not a reasonable means of knowing what God thinks are pretty sure that they know what He thinks ... at least enough to know you're wrong.

I'm trying to figure out what's being said here. When they complain that we read and feed back what the Bible says as true and call it "speaking for God", what are they saying?

What we are saying is clear and I call as my first and only witness, Stan Smith:

We are saying that YOU, STAN SMITH, DO NOT THINK THAT WE CAN KNOW WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS.

This is a simple, demonstrable fact. When I or folk like me read the Bible, strive to take it seriously, seeking to follow God and conclude that...

Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;
That the Bible does not "define" marriage anywhere;
That the Bible clearly does not teach sola scriptura, that this is a human theory contrary to biblical teaching (or at least beyond biblical teaching);
That clearly Jesus teaches us that Christians killing people in wartime is contrary to his teachings;
That clearly we are to live simple lives;
That clearly Jesus would support gay folk loving and marrying;

etc... that when we conclude these as overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings, YOU DO NOT THINK we are reading the Bible correctly. We are telling you what we think the Bible "obviously" or "clearly" is teaching and you disagree with our hunches. So, the obvious fact of the matter then is that you, Stan Smith (and people like you) do not believe that all those who read the Bible understand it correctly.

The obvious follow up question then is, "Well, Stan, if you do not think we all read the Bible correctly, on what reasonable and consistent basis do you conclude that you and those who agree with you are the ones that are correct?"

The answer to THIS necessary question is that you have nothing. You have nothing other than your opinion. The one and only answer you have is, "Well, because I think it is clear that they are mistaken..." Which is to say, you have your opinion.

As a point of fact, your opinion is not provable (if you could prove it, you would do so. You can't.) It IS your opinion. And there's nothing wrong with that, so long as you don't conflate your hunches and opinions with God's Word or fact.

As a further reasonable conclusion then, we can safely determine that you (nor I) have a definitive way of knowing that your opinion is the correct one.

What are we left with then?

That Stan Smith definitively does not rationally believe that we can "know" what the Bible is teaching and say with authority that he (or we) have the authoritative answer.

The defense rests. Thank you Stan for your testimony. (And if I have misstated something or made a mistake about your opinion, by all means, correct me. I don't believe I have.)

221 comments:

1 – 200 of 221   Newer›   Newest»
Marshall Art said...

Seems quite clear to me that you're looking to argue. It is clear because this:

"Well, because I think it is clear that they are mistaken..."

...does not reflect in any way what people like Stan, myself as so many others who defend the clear revelation of Scripture. That is to say, our positions are far more fleshed out than this, far more compelling in the defense of our arguments and positions, and nothing of yours can be found in Scripture in any way. It's not merely that you're mistaken. It's that you have no Biblical basis whatsoever for most, if not all of your positions and beliefs. For example:

"That clearly Jesus would support gay folk loving and marrying"

How can you possibly support this? You haven't thus far. That is, not with anything Biblical. Not without pretending there is anything in Scripture that suggests marriage was ever understood to be more than a one man/one woman proposition. You don't believe your position. You wish it was true. You assert it without basis or Biblical evidence of any kind.

"That clearly Jesus teaches us that Christians killing people in wartime is contrary to his teachings"

Where? Where is Scripture does Jesus say anything remotely like this? I can't recall that He ever mentions war at all.

"Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style"

How so? By your own logic, Scripture must say this about itself in order to make the assertion. You have nothing from Scripture to back this up, and in all the time since you've first made this assertion, you've cited a total number of 1 dude who apparently has more authority to speak on the works of God and the history of His people than the authors of the stories you find anathema to your sociopolitical needs.

In the meantime, we have specific verses a passages to which we can refer (and have referred) to back up our beliefs that there is a definition of "marriage" in Scripture, that sola scriptura is taught in Scripture, that the only acceptable sexual behavior is that which takes place between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and a host of other positions and beliefs we hold. We have thousands of years of tradition and theological scholarship. We have clear understanding of words and their definitions. All of this and more supports our positions and understandings of what Scripture says, and thus what God has revealed to us. It isn't mysterious. It isn't ambiguous despite your desperate need that it be so.

Does it mean there's a glossary with definitions in the back of each book of the Bible to explain to those like yourself to your satisfaction? No. Adults don't need such things. People looking for license to do or enable that which is not true demand those in order to be corrected. Boo hoo.

You make this whiny argument that is the topic of your post many times. Each time you do nothing to prove us wrong, to suggest we are wrong or to give any hint that we might ever be on any subject on which we've debated over the years. You use this in place of an argument, because you have none.

Anonymous said...

...does not reflect in any way what people like Stan, myself as so many others who defend the clear revelation of Scripture.

One chance, Marshall: If it's not your opinion, what is it? One or two paragraphs, please, that should suffice.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

To be clear about what I am asking you... What I said:

"Well, because I think it is clear that they are mistaken..." Which is to say, you have your opinion.

The reality:

Stan et al think we are mistaken because they hold different opinions about how to interpret words in the Bible. Which is to say that they have their opinion. Where am I mistaken? What do you have other than opinion?

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Where? Where is Scripture does Jesus say anything remotely like this? I can't recall that He ever mentions war at all.

That is the point, isn't it, Marshall? Jesus teaches "love your enemies, turn the other cheek, overcome evil with good," etc, etc, etc and we (who think this way) form the opinion that clearly Jesus would not support warring Christians.

Jesus says something about men and women and marriage and you (who think this way) form the opinion that clearly Jesus would be opposed to gay folk marrying.

The point being is that it's our opinions, not "God's Word." Not a fact.

But this gets back to you appearing to be unable to distinguish between opinion and fact. Here's an idea: Ask Craig (if you trust him) if it's an opinion or a "known fact, provable to all" that your interpretations about these things are facts or opinions. I think he is able to distinguish, maybe he can help you if you are not able to see the difference.

Marshall Art said...

"That is the point, isn't it, Marshall? Jesus teaches "love your enemies, turn the other cheek, overcome evil with good," etc, etc, etc and we (who think this way) form the opinion that clearly Jesus would not support warring Christians."

No. That's not the point. Your example is clearly extrapolation. You're taking those verses (snippets of verses, really) and forcing onto them a teaching about war. We aren't doing these things. We're making clear connections where no verse is as specific as you demand it must be to do so. Christ's reference to why God made us male and female, all Biblical references to marriage, family and human sexuality, as well as Christ's teachings regarding obeying God's law, etc. (as well as all references to homosexual behavior being of the negative variety), affirm and support our position that there is no possible way to suggest Christ would support "gay" marriage. There's no guess work involved. No wondering that, like yours, is really a desire to make the verses and passages say what we need it to say, as we have no such need in the first place.

YOU, conversely, suggest Christ teaches against Christians going to war using verses that most scholars and theologians have never used to make that inference. You pretend there's no difference between going to war to defend a nation versus going to war to oppress and destroy for the sake of profit and conquest. It's incredibly idiotic.

I'll be back to elaborate further and provide more clarity.

Dan Trabue said...

No clarification needed Marshall. What is needed is something that demonstrates your opinion is somehow a fact. If you can't do that - and you can't - please have the decency to admit it. Thank you.

Craig said...


"...that when we conclude these as overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings,..."

Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;
That the Bible does not "define" marriage anywhere;
That the Bible clearly does not teach sola scriptura, that this is a human theory contrary to biblical teaching (or at least beyond biblical teaching);
That clearly Jesus teaches us that Christians killing people in wartime is contrary to his teachings;
That clearly we are to live simple lives;
That clearly Jesus would support gay folk loving and marrying;

In the interest of clarity, are you saying that the 6 statements above are "overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings"?



Anonymous said...

Yes, that is what I am saying. It is the opinion of many, myself included, that these are overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings.

Many others would not find that to be true, in their opinion. That is, they would hold different opinions about the matter.

This is just a matter of fact, can you agree?

Anonymous said...

That was from me, Dan.

Craig said...

So, in the interest of clarity, are you saying that those six items are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings." or that you hold the opinion that they are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings."?

Do you understand the distinction?

Do you understand how saying; " that when we conclude these as overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings,", might not fully convey that you are expressing an opinion?

Craig said...

I apologize, and hope that you will indulge me a bit. I want to be able to gain a clear and unambiguous understanding of the actual position you are asserting here and would appreciate some additional clarifications.

When you say that the above items are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings.", are you making any assertions or suggestions that people should treat those teachings in a certain way? (ie should they be followed)

Are you asserting that those " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings." are True?

When you assert' "Many others would not find that to be true, in their opinion. That is, they would hold different opinions about the matter.".

Are you suggesting that your opinions are more likely to be True, than "others"?

Are you suggesting that both opinions are equally True? (or correct, or likely)

Again, I hope you respect my desire to understand with as much clarity as possible, specifically what you are saying as well as specifically what you are not saying.





Craig said...

"This is just a matter of fact, can you agree?"

Agree with what? If all you are asserting is that multiple people can hold different opinions, then sure.

Dan Trabue said...

I am stating, Craig, that it is overtly clear to me what those passages mean. However, it is my opinion and my interpretation, it is not provable.

In the same way, those who hold other opinions think that I am clearly mistaken and they are clearly right. That is their opinion, not a fact. their opinion is similarly not provable.

Do I think both opinions are correct? That God both approves and disapproves of position x? No.

It is my unprovable opinion that those people are mistaken.

However, no matter how clear I think the teachings are, or how clearly I think I am understanding God, just as those who disagree with me hold only their opinion. Not God's word. Not fact.

Agreed?

Craig said...

"Agree?"

With what, your response has me even more confused than I was before. Perhaps if you could address the specific questions asked, instead of general statements it would help with my confusion.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm sorry you didn't understand. One more time then, point by point.

are you saying that those six items are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings." or that you hold the opinion that they are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings."?

I am saying that, as a point of fact, those teachings are overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings TO ME and those who agree with me. I mean exactly what that sentence says. Do you understand the sentence?

Do you understand the distinction?

There is no distinction. When I state that I hold an opinion (as a point of fact) that, to me, these are clear teachings, then I am stating that I hold that opinion.

Perhaps the difference is you come from a place/crowd who, when they reach a conclusion about the meaning of a text/teaching found in the Bible or elsewhere and they state that opinion, that to them, there is no alternative possibility? Whereas I recognize that when I reach a conclusion, it is MY opinion and, of course, there are possible other interpretations? (That is a question, not a claim... I'm asking if maybe that is why you see a distinction?)

Do you understand how saying; " that when we conclude these as overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings,", might not fully convey that you are expressing an opinion?

No, I do not see that. In MY circles, when someone expresses an OPINION about an unprovable position/interpretation, it is of course obvious that it is an opinion, not a fact claim.

I understand that some people assume that when THEY say, "It is abundantly clear..." about a Bible teaching, they do not think that there are any other possible ways of understanding the point. I disagree to that approach to unprovable opinions/interpretations. When we are speaking about a source for which we can not obtain definitive authoritative clarification on what the author meant, then what we have by necessity is opinion.

As I have stated in the past, that is not to say that all opinions are equally sound or reasonable. The person who, for instance, reads the Bible and reaches the conclusion that God is okay with slavery or with deliberately targeting children for killing have, I think, reached a very irrational and ill-supported conclusion. Still, when I cite an opinion (even if I don't call it an opinion) about an unprovable interpretation, it is always an opinion until such time as I can provide data to make it a fact claim.

Is that clearer?

Dan Trabue said...

When you say that the above items are " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings.", are you making any assertions or suggestions that people should treat those teachings in a certain way? (ie should they be followed)

I think people should follow God/what is right the very best that they understand. When I say, "I think Jesus clearly taught pacifism for his followers" I do NOT expect people to follow my opinion, I would expect them to strive to seek the Good/Right/Godly way the best they can, as I strive to do.

Is that clearer?

Are you asserting that those " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings." are True?

I am saying that I BELIEVE these teachings to be true and valid, IN MY OPINION. CLEARLY, to me, the early stories in Genesis read in a mythic fashion. They come from a time where there are zero known "histories" told in a modern, factual manner, but there are "histories" told in a mythic fashion. No doubt, you would agree with me on this if I point to every other Babylonian, Egyptian or other ancient "histories," from that time period. They read like how myths read, contain mythic elements. Thus, given that, I hold the opinion that it is true that they are told in a mythic manner. Can I prove it? No, I don't guess so, other than it appearing quite obvious to I suspect all people without a prior prejudice to take it as literal history, but I am not stating it is a fact. I'm stating that it appears obviously and overtly clear.

Do you agree that every other ancient creation histories from this time period appear to be mythic in nature?

When you assert' "Many others would not find that to be true, in their opinion. That is, they would hold different opinions about the matter.".

Are you suggesting that your opinions are more likely to be True, than "others"?


I'm stating that I find my conclusions to be more reasonable, more rationally and biblically consistent than theirs, at least to me (and the many who agree with me) while recognizing that it is not more reasonable to them (and those who agree with them.)

Are you suggesting that both opinions are equally True? (or correct, or likely)

No, I'm not.

Is that clearer?

Craig said...

"I mean exactly what that sentence says. Do you understand the sentence?"

No, the way you have chosen to word the sentence leaves a sense of confusion in that you appear to be saying that they are "overtly clear and obvious", yet then limiting that clarity and obviousness to you and those who agree with you. So, just because I want o be clear. You are NOT claiming that these things are literally "overtly clear and obvious", just that they seem to be "overtly clear and obvious" to some small number of people. Is that an accurate understanding of your position.

"There is no distinction."

Thank you, this is why you answering and clarifying is so helpful. There is a distinction. The distinction is between something that IS "overtly clear and obvious" and something that seems to be "overtly clear and obvious". So I am trying to get a handle on which one you are talking about. Based on your response, I think you are suggesting that these things appear to you to be "overtly clear and obvious" but that you are not claiming that they are actually "overtly clear and obvious". Am I correctly understanding your position?

"Perhaps the difference is you come from a place/crowd who, when they reach a conclusion about the meaning of a text/teaching found in the Bible or elsewhere and they state that opinion, that to them, there is no alternative possibility? Whereas I recognize that when I reach a conclusion, it is MY opinion and, of course, there are possible other interpretations?"

No, the distinction I pointed out is the one I addressed above. You expression of my position is not accurate and I'm not sure how that helps. I find your reduction of all Biblical interpretation to "opinion" and your seeming willingness to accept that multiple potentially contradictory opinions are something that you simply accept.

"No, I do not see that. In MY circles, when someone expresses an OPINION about an unprovable position/interpretation, it is of course obvious that it is an opinion, not a fact claim."

Thank you for making my point. As long as you make presumptions based on your small and insular circles then you run the risk of others not in those circles not sharing your presumptions. This is manifested in the repeated instances where you express your opinion as a statement of fact, and others find this confusing. Perhaps people would be better able to understand you if you wrote for an audience broader than your "circle" and wrote without presuming that everyone shares your presumptions. My question was more, "Do you see how people who are not in your "circle" and who do not share your presumptions might possibly be confused by the way you choose to express your opinions without qualifying them as opinions?".

"Is that clearer?"

A little.

Craig said...

"Is that clearer?"

Somewhat. You appear to be suggesting that these things that yo find clear are more like suggestions and that one can choose to follow them or not. This seems strange and incoherent.

"Can I prove it? No, I don't guess so, other than it appearing quite obvious to I suspect all people without a prior prejudice to take it as literal history, but I am not stating it is a fact. I'm stating that it appears obviously and overtly clear."

I find it interesting that you summarily dismiss the validity of anyone who holds a different opinion than you (an opinion that you admittedly cannot prove) as being based on a "prior prejudice" rather than acknowledging the possibility that someone could have investigated the evidence and arrived at a different conclusion than yourself. I find this particularly relevant to this particular point given the fact that I cannot recall that you have ever provided any actual evidence or scholarly research that supports your opinion on this matter. Do, you understand how your suggestion that you have approached the evidence, examined all of it, and come to a (in your mind the only) reasonable conclusion, while anyone who disagrees with you does so only because of "prior prejudice" sounds self serving and full of hubris?


"Do you agree that every other ancient creation histories from this time period appear to be mythic in nature?"

1. No, at one point I provided you with evidence to the contrary.
2. No, I am perfectly able to differentiate between something that "appear"s to be and something that is. The leap from appears to be and is unfortunately is one you haven't been able to support.

"Is that clearer?"

The fact that you believe certain things is slightly clearer. The support for your beliefs however, is less so. I understand that you hold certain beliefs and opinions based on how things "seem" or how things "appear", and I understand that for you (and your circle) that simply basing things on appearance is enough. Especially if one lives (as you seem to) in a circle where everyone agrees on everything. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we need more than seems or appearance to evaluate things.

I'm sorry that your answers are less than satisfying. I sincerely believe that you hold the opinions you claim and that you really do not see the problems others have with them. I'm sorry that I just can't let go of my desire for something more tangible than "seem" or "appear".

I do find some comfort in the fact that I fall well within the mainstream of historic Orthodox Christian thought and scholarship and while at the same time being willing to listen to and investigate actual evidence that might suggest that I should reevaluate my positions.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, do you understand that quite literally every time someone is offering an opinion about an unprovable question where they do not have any Authority to answer the question with complete confidence that they alone are right... that every time that happens it is by definition a subjective, unprovable opinion. Not a fact. Not God's word. Do you understand that?

Dan Trabue said...

As to your concern about my statement that we all judge things in the Bible based upon how they appear to us, to our best understanding of the text/belief, that this is true for all this? Are you suggesting that you have something beyond just your best understanding of the matter? Some definitive, authoritative proof that you and you alone are correct in your opinion?

This is, of course, not the case.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear:

I understand that you hold certain beliefs and opinions based on how things "seem" or how things "appear", and I understand that for you (and your circle) that simply basing things on appearance is enough. Especially if one lives (as you seem to) in a circle where everyone agrees on everything. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we need more than seems or appearance to evaluate things.


When I say "how things appear," I mean that, given due diligence, striving to understand reality as it is known, the Bible in its text, context, what it does and doesn't say about itself and about reality, what we know about the authors and the language, etc, etc, given ALL of that data, I hold my opinions based on my understanding of all this. This is HOW IT APPEARS to me, given all of that.

The exact same is true for you and yours. Given what research you've done, what evidence you've weighed about reality, the text, the context, etc, your conclusion is how it appears to you, given all that.

As a point of fact in the real world, you all do not have data that you consider that we have not considered. We have considered your evidence (some of us even used to believe your evidence) and found it wanting. For one thing, you all start with too many presumptions that you can not prove (sola scriptura, for instance) and that do not hold up to reason.

Regardless, the point remains, we ALL look at the evidence and reach our conclusions based on how it seems to us, to our best understanding of the evidence.

Do you have something available to you that we do not have that can change my opinion? Or am I just stating the facts of the matter, as I believe to be demonstrable?

~Dan

Anonymous said...

It's rather off topic, but some more information on Genesis as myth...

"The majority report among mainline biblical scholars is that the ancient texts which Genesis 1-3 resembles most are ancient Near Eastern creation myths, an observation which suggests that that is probably the best way to read Genesis, as well. In fact, most mainstream biblical scholarship today would understand Genesis to be an Israelite revision or version of prior mythical creation stories...

[CS Lewis] begins by dispelling the mis-perception that he believes “that every sentence of the Old Testament has historical scientific truth.” On the contrary, says Lewis, “[This] I do not hold, any more than St. Jerome did when he said that Moses described Creation ‘after the manner of a popular poet’ (as we should say, mythically) or than Calvin did when he doubted whether the story of Job were history or fiction.” Lewis is doing two things here: First, he is staking out his own position as a critically informed interpreter of Scripture, and, second, pointing out precedents for his approach in the grand Christian tradition, namely Saint Jerome and John Calvin. Lewis is too well read to fall into the all too common misconception that all Christians were wholesale biblical literalists before the dawn of the Modern era. Figurative readings of Genesis are not always modern Christian capitulations to Darwin but are, in fact, well represented among the best of the Church’s historic interpretive traditions...

...For Lewis, “myth” is not a bad word. It does not necessarily carry connotations of falsehood or contrivance or deception or muddleheadedness. For Lewis myth is a highly imaginative way of speaking about the world that can speak truth at least as well as history or science can (and, indeed, can speak truths about which history and science must remain silent). For Lewis, “myth” does not automatically mean false."

https://resurrectingraleigh.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/c-s-lewis-on-the-bible-genesis-and-myth/

~Dan

Craig said...

"Do you understand that?"

Yes, my problem is that by arbitrarily deciding that every interpretation of scripture is by default opinion, and by not differentiating between where different opinions fall on a continuum of reasonableness, you simply do away with any meaningful discussion of how to interpret scripture. You also, then (intentionally or not) eliminate the very real possibility that the clear, plain meaning of the text is actually the correct one. I understand (I believe) why you take this position, but that doesn't mean it makes sense.

"Are you suggesting that you have something beyond just your best understanding of the matter? Some definitive, authoritative proof that you and you alone are correct in your opinion?"

Nope, I'm suggesting that appearance and reality are sometimes two entirely different things and that to base judgements on appearance or how something seems is not necessarily the best option.

"Do you have something available to you that we do not have that can change my opinion? Or am I just stating the facts of the matter, as I believe to be demonstrable?"

As I am well aware, I doubt that there is anything anyone could offer that would change your opinion, and given your track record of actually reading and interacting with my attempts to do so, I doubt you would given anything I would provide an unbiased reading anyway. So, the answer is that there is plenty of scholarship out there and available to you, do I think any or all of it would change your mind, no.

Again, what you "believe to be demonstrable" and what is "demonstrable" are two entirely different things. If you can demonstrate the facts, by all means do so, but your"belief" is not even close to enough to get me to invest any time.

Finally, one source that seems to support your position. If I have a chance I'll take a look.

Craig said...

I'm just guessing that some random blog may not be the most scholarly resource, but if I have time I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

my problem is that by arbitrarily deciding that every interpretation of scripture is by default opinion, and by not differentiating between where different opinions fall on a continuum of reasonableness, you simply do away with any meaningful discussion of how to interpret scripture. You also, then (intentionally or not) eliminate the very real possibility that the clear, plain meaning of the text is actually the correct one.

1. I have repeatedly made it clear that just because there are multiple opinions on various texts and beliefs, that not all opinions are equally valid or should be considered all true.

Have you missed that I have made this repeatedly clear? In this very post, I clarified for you that No, I do not think that both (opposite) interpretations are "true..." I clearly think that my positions are more rational and reasonable and biblical than those I disagree with. It's the reason I hold those opinions.

Do you understand that I DO and have recognized that our opinions fall on a continuum?

2. That I admit the reality that neither "side" can prove that our opinion is the most reasonable, most likely does not mean that I think they are equally valid, do you understand that? Clearly, if I didn't think that, on the continuum of opinions that the creation stories are/are not clearly more mythic in nature, that the evidence falls on the side of Myth, I wouldn't believe it. Right?

3. I do not eliminate the "clear, plain meaning of the text." As a point of fact. I am saying that, given all the data we have, Genesis appears clearly to be mythic in nature, given a clear, plain reading of the text. Perhaps you are confusing "clear, plain reading" with "a woodenly literal reading" of the text? Is that what you intend to say?

When I read "The Cat in the Hat," a clear, plain reading of the text tells me that this is written in a children's fantasy/poetic sense. A woodenly literal reading of the text, on the other hand, would say that sometimes cats talk to children and literally encourage them towards mischief, that they can drive vehicles and have access to twin monsters.

Do you see the difference?

~Dan

Craig said...

1. I realize what you have said, the problem is that when the only alternative you have for Biblical interpretation is that it is all opinion, then you open the door that moves away from any sort of objective reality and toward "It's my opinion and that's all I care about.". My problem isn't that you personally will pass judgement on others opinion, it's that as long as you exclude any possibility of Biblical interpretation moving beyond mere opinion, the result is that every one is just left with their personal opinion and we lose the sense of unity and community that the Church was built on.

2. Now your just repeating your self. Of course, you (for whatever reason or bias) cling to your "Genesis is myth" formulation. So what. As long as it's just some fringe theory you cooked up with little on no scholarship to support it, why should anyone even consider it. Unless of course they share your bias or worldview, in which case they aren't approaching the evidence rationally anyway. The problem you have is that your opinion has no validity outside of your insular small "circle".

3. Yet, in your very response you do exactly what you claim you do not do. Look, you still haven't bridged the gap between "seems to be" and "is". Until you do that, you're stuck with an unsupported hunch based on how things "seem" to you. Obviously, there is a 2000 plus year history of people who read the OT histories and conclude that they do represent an accurate representation of actual events. You are, of course, free to summarily dismiss centuries of historic Christian Orthodox scholarship in favor of your pet hunch, just don't expect people to take you seriously in the absence of evidence.

Of course I see the difference. The problem is that it is completely reasonable and rational to read Genesis and reach a conclusion different from the conclusion you have reached.

One final hurdle you have. When you claimed that "Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;" is an " overtly clear and obvious biblical teachings.", you obviously forgot that it's hard to sustain the actual claim you made (or opinion you expressed) without actually citing the "overtly clear" Biblical teachings on the subject. Feel free to quote random blogs that you think back you up, but you are left with the fact that you can't demonstrate what you claim is demonstrable.

Unless you are going to try to say that you didn't actually mean "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings", when you not only said those very words, but repeated and affirmed them multiple times.

Craig said...

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."

Let's look at one example. We'll use something from the New Testament so as to avoid the charge (at least according to you're standards) of myth. We'll use a quote from Jesus to eliminate any problems caused by your subordination of the other NT authors to Jesus. We'll use a simple, straightforward declaratory statement to minimize the number of alternative interpretations. For the sake of the example, we will assume that the translators have correctly translated Jesus recorded words into English.

Now, I look at this and am comfortable asserting that there are a number of things we can consider facts based on this quote. (Facts being defined as the criminal courtroom standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt". If that's good enough for Greenleaf it's good enough for me).

So, what can we take from this.

1. Jesus existed.
2. Jesus spoke.
3. Jesus was involved in relationships (Rabbi/student, friends, Creator/created).
4. Jesus gave commands.
5. Jesus expected that His commands would be obeyed by those who love Him.
6. Jesus expected obedience because He knew that it was possible to understand and know what they were.
7. The basis for obedience was love.
8. By looking at the context of the book of John, it is clear that the writer intended that the book would pass beyond the immediate circle of those who heard Jesus make the statement.

So, those are just a few things that I have no problem asserting as being more than opinion. This is based on a reasonable interpretation of the plain meaning of the English language being used.

Is it possible to come up with alternative or supplemental meanings, sure. But if one sticks to what is "overtly clear and obvious", then the alternatives diminish considerably. For example, one could not reasonably conclude (based on this quote)that Jesus did not give commandments which He expected would be obeyed (Obviously that indicates that they could/would be known because the unknown/unknowable can't be obeyed).

I'm not making any special claims of special inside knowledge or claiming to speak for anyone. I am saying that a reasonable, rational, reading of the plain ("overtly clear') meaning of the text supports the conclusion that God wants us to obey Jesus commandments.

So, feel free to dismiss this however you choose, the problem here is with your "hermenutic" not with mine.

Anonymous said...

Craig...

I realize what you have said, the problem is that when the only alternative you have for Biblical interpretation is that it is all opinion, then you open the door that moves away from any sort of objective reality and toward "It's my opinion and that's all I care about.".

But it IS all opinion, Craig. Do you have some data that supports a literal Genesis as fact? No, you don't. You have alternative opinions.

If it's not an opinion, what is it? A fact claim? Support it.

Is or is it not the case that the claim, "Genesis represents a literal telling of history, with it telling the literally factual story of how a literal Adam was created and a literal Eve taken from his literal rib" IS, itself, an opinion, not a fact?

As to your repeated suggestions that the notion of Genesis as myth is something I have made up or is not a mainstream opinion ("fringe theory"), do some reading...

"While Catholic scholarship has moved beyond literalism in its interpretation of the Bible, many of the faithful have not..."

http://americamagazine.org/issue/786/article/fundamental-challenge

"In the Genesis creation accounts, these clues are especially clear when God is described in anthropomorphic terms. Another clear indicator is the walking, talking snake that shares the Garden with the first human couple. Our experience tells us that God does not walk around among us in a physical form and that snakes are incapable of human speech. These facts should point out the mythical nature of the story."

http://www.brycerich.net/seminary-papers/ot/creationism-evolution.html

"...now some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: "That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all..."

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/09/138957812/evangelicals-question-the-existence-of-adam-and-eve

Abraham as myth...

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/07/the-abraham-myth

What scholars tell us about the OT...

https://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/bible-2/what-the-scholars-tell-us-about-the-old-testament/

Should we take the stories in Genesis literally?

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/creation-stories-in-genesis/

~Dan

Anonymous said...

those are just a few things that I have no problem asserting as being more than opinion. This is based on a reasonable interpretation of the plain meaning of the English language being used.

If it is "more than opinion," what is it? A fact? By what criteria?

That is, does the presence of a character in an ancient text indicated "proof" that this character was a literal factual person and all stories told about him were literally factual? Is this true for all ancient texts, or just the Bible? Is it necessarily true/factual for every character in the Bible? We have words from Lazarus who went to heaven and the rich man who went to torment, are those words indicating that these were literal people and the story represents literal history, just as recorded?

We have words from Gilgamesh, is that proof positive that he existed as a point of fact?

Do you see the problem you're going to run into? I doubt that you would hold that criteria (a character is mentioned and spoken of in an ancient text) as "proof" of an established fact, right?

~Dan

Marshall Art said...

Here's the problem: Dan, and others who do not wish to take OT stories literally, must first dismiss the supernatural, when that belies their alleged belief in a Being who is, by "nature", supernatural. Dan, and others put far more faith in the abilities of man than in God, preferring to believe that the discoveries of men of science is sufficient to dispel the validity of what appears to them to be myth or "mythic style".

Here's a good example: Earlier, there was reference to the Genesis stories resembling other ancient creation stories. Gee, that settles it. It must be myth as well. Yet, how is it they came to suspect Genesis is doing the resembling, so to speak? I would suggest that all the others might possibly, if not actually, resemble Genesis, in both style and whatever detail seems similar. As I do not hold that there is any possibility that the religious traditions of other ancient cultures are based on actual deities not God, I have no reason to put any stock in notions that suggest their stories came before those of the ancient Hebrews or Moses or whomever.

There are two issues at work here. Among the truly faithful, such as the "some conservative scholars" types, is a fear of sounding to unsophisticated to those they might wish to attract to Christ. "We can't go around talking about talking snakes and hope to win hearts for Christ!"

The second issue would be that there are those who wish to appear truly faithful, but cannot bring themselves to accept certain realities regarding exactly what to believe. Dan is of this group who is too willing to use these allegedly scholarly alternatives to tradition as license to dismiss the clear teachings of Scripture, particularly in the realm of sexuality, as well as other areas. He adds the bit about "opinion" in order to increase the liberty he takes to dismiss those clear teachings. The more ambiguity, the better.

Getting back to "science" versus the supernatural, I have to wonder how anyone who has ever paid attention would feel Biblical matters are settled simply because the latest scientific discoveries do not mesh with OT stories. Are we done investigating? Have we not found that what we thought we knew has been altered more than once, sometimes bouncing back and forth (healthy for us/not healthy for us---Pluto is a planet/is not a planet, etc.)?

Marshall Art said...


And while we know that snakes are incapable of speech, do we know the true extent of Satan's power? We claim a belief that God's power is unimaginable, yet Dan and others refuse to accept that what we think we know still falls short of reality where God and His power is concerned.

Dan needs myth. His ideology depends upon as much ambiguity as possible so he can maintain the illusion of Christianity.

Finally, for now, there's this:

"No clarification needed Marshall. What is needed is something that demonstrates your opinion is somehow a fact. If you can't do that - and you can't - please have the decency to admit it."

I've provided it where needed so many times. You've never addressed what I've provided, but instead ignore and dismiss. The real difference between us with regards to this issue is that unlike me, you project onto Scripture that which Scripture doesn't in any way suggest. For example, we've given reasons why the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is reasonable based on verses taken, in context, from Scripture itself. You've ignored and dismissed such verses without a valid alternative understanding. That is, your typical "nyuh uh" response. In the meantime, you have the audacity to suggest that God's prohibition against a given behavior is somehow not all encompassing of any context in which that behavior might take place, and suggest that which Scripture never so much as hints to rationalize your position. So there is little reason for me to admit anything, when you haven't taken the time to give me reason to do so. I ONLY state fact and do not suggest as fact that which I cannot, or haven't, demonstrate is fact. That you refuse to accept fact is your own problem, and a symptom of your corruption.

Craig said...

"Do you have some data that supports a literal Genesis as fact?"

There is plenty of data out there that supports the historic Christian Orthodox position. The fact is that you have already dismissed it as being inadequate based on something you read 30 years ago. Further, your knee jerk "bias" dismissal suggests that you would dismiss anything offered without actually reading it anyway. So, yes there is data, yes you can look it up for yourself if you have any interest.

"If it's not an opinion, what is it?"

And we see why this whole "opinion" thing is so important to you. As long as you can credibly deny making fact claims, you don't have to support them.

Again, if one contrasts the whole of Christian thought and scholarship it is quite appropriate to suggest that your pet theory is in fact a minority fringe position. Be careful, you're getting awfully close to making a fact claim. Of course you also ignore the very standard of evidence you proposed when you suggested that it is "overtly clear Biblical teaching.". So, where in the Bible does one find an "overtly clear" teaching that Genesis is myth?

"If it is "more than opinion," what is it? A fact? By what criteria?"

Already anticipated and answered that one. Too bad you missed it.

"That is, does the presence of a character in an ancient text indicated "proof" that this character was a literal factual person and all stories told about him were literally factual?"

Since you've just lumped the NT in with numerous other writings of antiquity of various genres and provenances the question as asked is obviously pointless. Yet, in the midst of an ridiculous question you stumbled upon a nugget of something worthwhile.

Historians cannot meet the standard of proof you demand for (as an example) the existence and acts of Julius Caesar. Yet, I think most would agree that his existence and acts (at least some of them) are factual. As long as you have this arbitrary un meetable standard for what you will accept as fact (leaving aside the arbitrary application of said standard), then you will always be able to relegate anything you want into the realm of "opinion" thereby allowing you to denigrate or dismiss things at will because of how things seem to you.

Craig said...

I realize that you are so caught up in this construct that you have that allows you to assert that it's all opinion, but everyone who disagrees with me is wrong, and escape supporting your opinions beyond simply asserting their existence. This is all well and good until you come into contact with others who do not share your presuppositions and worldview, or who expect that even your opinion would have some sort of factual support. The problem with this "It's all opinion, but I know yours is wrong." approach is that it reeks of subjectivity and inconsistency.

"Is this true for all ancient texts, or just the Bible?"

Again, as long as you attempt to lump various books of various genres and provenances into one sweeping broad "category" your question makes no sense. Again, i specifically chose the text I did as an example because it avoids so many of your stock objections and relies on a person and writings that you profess to find historical and credible. So, by all means avoid the meat of my point and focus on this stupidity.

"Is it necessarily true/factual for every character in the Bible?"

Again, as long as you insist on mixing genres the question makes no sense.

"We have words from Lazarus who went to heaven and the rich man who went to torment, are those words indicating that these were literal people and the story represents literal history, just as recorded?"

There are two credible options for that story.

1. It is a parable, in which case one wouldn't expect historical accuracy because it is fiction.
2. It is not a parable, in which case one could draw the conclusion that it accurately represents what happened.

I've seen a pretty compelling argument made both ways and I don't think the context demands that it be taken either way exclusively. But, once more, the mixed genres red herring.

"We have words from Gilgamesh, is that proof positive that he existed as a point of fact?"

You're just going to keep ignoring what I wrote and continue to focus on the mixing of genres straw man. Your unwillingness to engage on the merits is interesting.

"Do you see the problem you're going to run into?"

Except I avoid that problem by not taking the position you are suggesting that I take. I was not speaking in generalities, but specifically. I was not comparing across genres, time frames, and provenances, and I was specifically using a text, person, and source that you have previously said was not myth. So, no problem for me at all. You, on the other hand...

"I doubt that you would hold that criteria (a character is mentioned and spoken of in an ancient text) as "proof" of an established fact, right?"

You are right to doubt that I hold that position. Primarily because you invented the position out of thin air and ascribed it to me with absolutely no suggestion on my part that I held the position. It's always good to doubt that I hold a position that you invented, it's a good rule of thumb to assume that if I didn't articulate a position and you made up the position you suggest I have.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't see your answer to the question:

"If it's not an opinion, what is it?"

Fact? Opinion? Something else?

~Dan

Craig said...

"Sorry, I didn't see your answer to the question:"

I dealt with the issue preemptively in the comment.

"Now, I look at this and am comfortable asserting that there are a number of things we can consider facts based on this quote. (Facts being defined as the criminal courtroom standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt". If that's good enough for Greenleaf it's good enough for me)."

Craig said...

Look Dan,

I appreciate your attempts to explain your position. I believe that I have a reasonably good understanding of your position as your perceive it, I also believe that I have a reasonably good understanding of some of the flaws in your position that your commitment leads you to minimize or ignore. I believe that while you may not want to admit it, if you take your position to it's logical conclusion the result is a diminution of the community/unity which characterizes the early Church.

In closing, the fact that although you claim that your 6 points are "overtly clear Biblical teaching", all of the support you have chosen to provide is from sources other than the Bible. The fact that you make this claim of "overtly clear Biblical teaching", yet cannot provide one Biblical example to support your claim raises significant questions. These questions are bolstered by your attempt to divert attention from one specific example by attempting to conflate genres, provenance, and time frames away from the specific to the general.

At this point, I fail to see what more insight can be gained without asking you for a level of detail and specificity which you have so far been loath to provide.

While I welcome any help you might provide into your opinions and the worldview and presuppositions that form them, I feel that more specificity and openness is not on your agenda.

If you have specific questions or wish to provide more specifics, I welcome either, but I see no benefit in continuing further away from specifics and into generalities.

Thank you for your help.

Anonymous said...

Okay, for the sake of argument, let me concede that one could guess that these are "facts," (I don't really think you've made the case, because you presume your first claim "Jesus lived" based on the text and that is a leap you have not defended/supported), but let's assume that you did...

Let's guess that some claims in the Bible are so obvious and defensible that they could be called facts. Then let's return to my specific points, beginning with...

Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;
That the Bible does not "define" marriage anywhere;
That the Bible clearly does not teach sola scriptura, that this is a human theory contrary to biblical teaching (or at least beyond biblical teaching);


etc.

On what basis would you suggest any one of THESE SPECIFIC points is demonstrably not factual and that, indeed, the other side of the coin IS factual? Or would you make that claim?

~Dan

Anonymous said...

although you claim that your 6 points are "overtly clear Biblical teaching", all of the support you have chosen to provide is from sources other than the Bible. The fact that you make this claim of "overtly clear Biblical teaching", yet cannot provide one Biblical example to support your claim raises significant questions.

I was not trying to defend the points here, today. I have done so in the past many times and that was not the point here. Here are the facts of the matter and nothing you have offered has changed that:

I think that Genesis is abundantly clearly - given textual clues, given the time it was written, given scholarly research over years, etc, etc - is written in a mythic style. It is as obvious from the text and other available information as Cat in Hat is obvious as to its style.

Can I prove that this was the author's intent, no matter how overtly obvious it is? No, I can not. It remains my opinion. It is a well-reasoned, well-supported, opinion. In fact, one could ALMOST call it a fact, it is so obvious, but I'm not willing to speak authoritatively for an author who is not here to speak for themselves.

Those who disagree with me also think it is obvious from the text (AND from the presumptions that they hold - and that is what separates my side from your side, I don't rely upon unsupported presumptions for my position, which is why my conclusion is so much more reasonable and why I had to abandon my former position) that Genesis is written as if the stories were literally factual history, just as written. In the same vein, THEY 100% CAN NOT defend this as a fact claim, it is ONLY THEIR OPINION, as a matter of fact.

If anyone has a claim to something close to fact on this particular point, it would be my side, but I, for one, am not willing to go that far. I will embrace humility and grace and say that they are BOTH opinions.

Now, just as your side does not find my side compelling, at all, I don't find your side compelling at all. They are unprovable opinions (although, again, if anyone could begin to make a provable case, I'd say it is my side - read all those links I gave you and tell me I'm - they are - mistaken!). We can not speak as to the author's intent. YOU can not state authoritatively that you know the author's intent.

Anyone who would do so would simply be factually mistaken and a bit on the presumptuous side.

It is not an established fact at all, not in the slightest, no way, no how, that someone could claim that the author intended this as literal history.

I would think you are rational enough to agree to this, Craig, but you tell me. It sounds a bit like you want to claim as "fact" what is clearly opinion. Please tell me I'm misunderstanding you.

~Dan

Dan Trabue said...

I believe that while you may not want to admit it, if you take your position to it's logical conclusion the result is a diminution of the community/unity which characterizes the early Church.

And from my point of view - and seriously, no disrespect intended - this is the problem of conservative Christianity (it was my problem when I was a conservative Christian)... the fear that if we admit the reality that our opinions are our opinions - not stated facts, not known facts, not demonstrable facts... - that God's church will somehow suffer. From my point of view - again, speaking as much about me as a conservative back in the day as anything - it causes a blind spot. "We MUST be able to know some of these things as 'facts,' so we can't admit that they are not facts or we'll appear weak, foolish, impotent..." I had to let that fear go, in my journey. I am glad to admit the foolishness that is my own opinion, even when I think it is extremely rational and extremely biblical.

The reality is, however, that no one can prove the author's intent in Genesis and an extremely rational and biblical case can be made that it is not intended to be taken as literal history... but you all do NOT know "as a fact" the author's intent. It has nothing to do with "courtroom level facts" or what have you. It's just an established, observable reality that our interpretations of Genesis are OUR opinions, not a fact, not God's Word. If anyone could establish as a point of fact that they are speaking for God or for Moses or the Author, they would. They don't precisely because they can't.

That's just the reality of it all. There is no shame in admitting to reality, or to admitting to the reality that we are imperfect and flawed humans. In fact, it's quite biblical to admit it and, I'd argue, good for the soul.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

others who do not wish to take OT stories literally, must first dismiss the supernatural, when that belies their alleged belief in a Being who is, by "nature", supernatural. Dan, and others put far more faith in the abilities of man than in God, preferring to believe that the discoveries of men of science is sufficient to dispel the validity of what appears to them to be myth or "mythic style".

1. I do not "wish" to take the OT non-literally, as a point of fact. Keep in mind, I was a literalist and an inerrantist. It was PRECISELY because I was striving to take the Bible literally and seriously that I had to abandon the notion as not being a biblical or rational position to hold. It has nothing to do with my wishes and everything to do with my understanding of the text. I went where the text led me.

2. Neither do I deny or dismiss the "supernatural." Instead, I believe that our God given reasoning lets us look and observe the world and can clearly see that, at least as a rule, God does not go around doing magic/miracles. We've never seen the sun go backwards, never seen someone grow back a missing arm, never seen a miracle in the magic sense of the word. Given that reality, do we have any compelling reason to think that the Bible is insisting stories of magic/miracles/"supernatural" were/are intended to be taken as literal historic facts, or is it more likely, GIVEN WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS and what we can see and observe, that these are figurative tales, at least often times?

I believe in a God that we can not see and a Son that rises from the dead, that is "supernatural" and I don't dismiss out of hand supernatural acts. I have plenty of room in my head for mystery. But neither do I have any reason to insist upon it when there are other explanations that are rational.

But the point remains, Marshall, you have ONE task: To demonstrate that, for instance, you "know as a fact and can prove it" that your opinions on Genesis are facts, not opinions. Seeing as how you are not doing this, I have no option but to realize that, given the evidence, we none of us have a good reason to believe that your opinions are facts, somehow. Please don't bother posting again without admitting as much or providing data (not citing a verse and saying, "I think that means X, therefore, I'm right!" - hard data) to support a claim that your opinions are factual, not opinions.

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

1. Once again I must point out the folly of stating that you once were a literalist and an inerrantist, because it is plain to me that you have no idea of what it means to take Scripture literally. But rather than explain that to you yet again, I will simply say that you were a fool then in a way that is different than the fool you are now. That is to say, that your understanding has always been that of a fool...it's just a different foolishness now than it was then.

2. That God doesn't perform for you doesn't mean that He didn't perform all of the miracles attributed to Him in Scripture, be it God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Ghost through His various apostles and disciples. Instead, you call the various Biblical authors liars for speaking untruthfully about God in relating His miraculous deeds, and thus there is nothing in Scripture that can be trusted, including the notion that God even exists. You simply can't have it both ways.

And as you look around and observe the world, you do so through human eyes lacking the ability to see the past except through the written record, and thus you put your faith in men rather than the God you claim to worship and revere on your terms. The truth is that you subjectively choose which supernatural events to believe, just as you subjectively choose which OT stories you will believe, and all for reasons that have more to do with your favored ideology than with any so-called "reason", as reason doesn't mesh very well with your point of view.

And yet again, I also reiterate that I don't have a position on the validity of Genesis other than to say that I have no reason to dismiss it as you do. I am fully content with the belief that God is powerful enough to have created the entire universe in just the manner Genesis describes and within the same time frame. Why shouldn't I? Because "science" has "proven" it didn't happen that way? It hasn't. So with regards to Genesis and the creation stories, I've never offered anything more solid than opinion, so you can stop trying to get me to prove what I've never claimed about it.

MY only stated position is that YOUR position is crap and self-serving rather than a reflection of a true desire to know God. You cite one dude and pretend that's enough to write off Genesis as myth. You cite other ancient peoples and pretend that Genesis must be as mythical as those. That's nothing more than bullshit. It isn't faith, it isn't reason. It's finding loopholes.

You're an arrogant asshole for demanding that I admit what pleases you, as if I must take your position on what constitutes opinion versus fact. You haven't even addressed what I refer to as fact, as you continue to refer to Genesis after I've repeatedly stated I hold no hard and fast position (given that there is no way to confirm either the Biblical account or the "scientific" alternative explanation.) Said another way, I don't cite a verse and say "I 'think' it means X and therefore I'm right". I give distinct and detailed reasons why I'm right and you simply default to your petulant crap about opinions versus fact rather than finding a pair and proving I'm wrong. I'm well aware that you don't agree with me. I'm even more aware that you lack the courage to defend your alternative. That's understandable considering that you can't.

It's high time you defend YOUR positions. Don't give us the "opinion" crap. We know all about your "opinions". What we are still waiting for is the reason you hold those opinions. Opinions require support just as facts do. If you have no way to support your "opinions", they don't really rise to the level of opinions. They're just whimsical fantasies that you prefer over the clearly revealed Word of God.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, YOU came to this blog disagreeing with what I said. My first question to you was to clarify this. I asked...

Stan et al think we are mistaken because they hold different opinions about how to interpret words in the Bible. Which is to say that they have their opinion. Where am I mistaken? What do you have other than opinion?

THAT is what I'm waiting to have you answer, because that is the heart of our disagreement. You all appear to be saying you have facts where we have only stupid opinions. I'm stating you only have opinions, not known, demonstrable facts. I chose the first item on my list as an example. On it, I hear you saying that you do NOT have facts, only opinions. That is, on the question of "Is Genesis written in a mythic style?" do you have an opinion about it or do you know the answer as a point of fact?

I think I'm hearing you say that you and I both only have opinions on it. If so, fair enough and you are correct.

But you are the one complaining so I repeat my question to you:

Stan et al think we are mistaken because they hold different opinions about how to interpret words in the Bible. Which is to say that they have their opinion. Where am I mistaken? What do you have other than opinion?

And, just to be specific, I've given some examples. On THOSE topics, what do you have other than opinion?

This is the question you all are dancing around.

Craig said...

"On what basis would you suggest any one of THESE SPECIFIC points is demonstrably not factual and that, indeed, the other side of the coin IS factual? Or would you make that claim?

The problem you have is not that you claimed those were factual, but you claimed that they were "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings", given that you haven't actually supported your original claim, and have now put forth a different claim, it seems as though you have a problem to deal with.

"I would think you are rational enough to agree to this, Craig, but you tell me. It sounds a bit like you want to claim as "fact" what is clearly opinion. Please tell me I'm misunderstanding you."

It's not a matter of "want to" it's a matter of looking at the credibility of the source and of applying a reasonable criteria in making determinations.

I can't help but notice three things.
1. You have not backed up your "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" claim by actually providing any "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" to back up your claim. You now claim that you are not going to do so.
2. You have not actually demonstrated that any of what I have said is wrong. You haven't even addressed it, beyond casual dismissal.
3. Your abandonment of your initial ("overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching) claim/standard for a new, different and subjective claim/standard.

If you can't be bothered to do even those two things, then I see no benefit to continuing.

I understand that you believe the things you say ant that you are extremely committed to those beliefs, I understand that those beliefs make sense to you. That's all well and good, as long as the bar is set so low. The problem you have is that you are attempting to extrapolate your personal and subjective "hermenutic" out beyond your self and starting from a presumption that your personal, subjective beliefs are more reasonable that any other possibilities. As long as you start from such a presupposition, any real conversation becomes irrational.

I find you characterization (and the fact that you presume to ascribe motives and fears to me based on nothing factual), both factually wrong and ridiculous.

The logical conclusion of your personal, subjective "hermenutic" is an increase in disunity and a fracturing of community which are hallmarks of the early Church. You've already illustrated this point when you made it clear that you are perfectly content to live in your "circle" of people who your perceive are in agreement with you on theological matters. The converse, that you are so unconcerned and dismissive of those who disagree with you (It's just their opinion.) also indicates support for my conclusion.

So, once again. I'll answer specific questions and deal with specific responses to my specific comments of specific points (Ones that I actually made, not ones that you ascribe to me). But as long as you are unwilling to get more specific and invest the effort into the areas where I would still like some clarification, I just don't see the point.

Again, thanks for your affort.

Dan Trabue said...

I'll try this from my phone...

Regarding your "1.you have not provided overtly clear biblical support" idea... of course I have. I am saying if you read the first couple of chapters of Genesis and if you are familiar with Mythic writing styles and you are familiar with the history of History telling and you are familiar with the literary criticism comma then it is overtly clear with the early passages of Genesis are written in a message.. As a point of fact, it is clear to many that this is the case. I am citing the passages in question comma I am citing why it is overtly clear. That is support.

Are you suggesting that I need to provide a Biblical passage to provide support for the notion that this text reads like myth? If so, why?

Marshall Art said...

Dan,

You continue to ask of me what I have not spent any time arguing. I have explained once again my position on Genesis. The style in which it was written had nothing to do with whether or not what was written is an accurate report of factual events. Thus, my position about YOUR position is that you continue to make a big deal of the style in which it was written to provide for you an excuse to reject the report as fantasy and metaphor, when, by your own standards, the Book of Genesis does not speak of itself in this way.

You continue to suggest (if not insist) that because Genesis seems to you to be written in the same style as the creation stories of other ancient peoples, that the Genesis story is therefore no more likely to be true and accurate than are those. There is no clear and definitive explanation for why anyone should agree with this notion. It is something you simply find convenient for the purpose of rejecting that which you find inconvenient.

But you insist that I have a problem distinguishing between fact and opinion. Not so in the least. I know it is a fact that Jesus would NOT support "gay folk" loving and marrying unless by that you mean He'd support them loving an marrying someone of the opposite sex, which aligns with God's plan for his creation. I know this is a fact because of all that Scripture has to say about love, marriage and human sexuality, what is pleasing to God and what is not.

On the other hand, YOU support your opinion that Christ would support SSM by citing other opinions of yours. You have no facts, no evidence, no nothing that lends credence of validity to your opinions, but again, as I just said, you have only more opinion.

All this is true for everything else I know to be a fact regarding the teachings of the Bible...that is, of those things over which we've debated so often. My evidence is within Scripture primarily, whereas you have no Scriptural basis for much of any of your positions that doesn't require you to rely on other opinions of yours.

For example, I believe it is crystal clear that Scripture does indeed define "marriage" by all that is written that in any way references the institution, or references family or references God's relationship to His chosen people, Christ's relationship to His church, etc. YOU demand a Merriam-Webster style defining, as in, "I, the Lord your God, hereby define marriage thusly...". Childishness, but not a legitimate argument for claiming Scripture doesn't define marriage.

You're playing semantic games, equivocating and engaging in all the all too common and familiar tactics you've employed since we've first locked horns. But none of it rebuts my statements regarding what are facts, nor supports in any way your position on the facts I defend OR the opinions to which you irrationally cling.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, I have repeatedly and politely requested that if you are going to cite something as a fact that you provide hard data for it. You have done so again -leaving claims of fact without the hard data.

Because at least some of your claims are harmful, from here on out, any claims of fact without data to support it will be deleted. I hope you will understand.

Craig said...

"...of course I have."

No you haven't.

"Are you suggesting that I need to provide a Biblical passage to provide support for the notion that this text reads like myth? If so, why?"

Yes. Because you made the claim that it did. I assume that you would be able to support your claim.

Craig said...

"overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings"

I'm wondering where one would find "overtly clear biblical teachings" if not in the Bible.

Marshall Art said...

But you reject supporting data as well. The truth is not in you. The desire to know truth is not in you. All you care about is your leftist agenda. Delete away, liar.

Dan Trabue said...

"Are you suggesting that I need to provide a Biblical passage to provide support for the notion that this text reads like myth? If so, why?"

Yes. Because you made the claim that it did. I assume that you would be able to support your claim.


My claim (the first one):

Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style;

My "biblical evidence" (reminding you that "biblical" means "of, relating to or contained in the Bible") is that the literal text of Genesis 1, etc. That IS "biblical." My biblical evidence, as I've said, is that when you read Genesis 1 (and other passages) it literally reads like other myths and comes from a time of myth-telling and before modern history telling.

That is literally biblical data (data relating to the Bible) to support my claim, and beyond that, I'm speaking of the likely genre. For the record, I am not saying that the Bible says somewhere "Genesis is written in a mythic style," but that was not the claim I've made.

So, now that I've clarified that, do you agree that it is a legitimate opinion that "Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style" - that people of good faith can reasonably get there (indeed, it's the most obvious place to land, I'd suggest)?

The other side says, "Genesis is clearly written in a literal history style," and they have their reasons for holding that OPINION. But it is an opinion, not a fact.

Are you understanding what I am saying now?

Marshall Art said...

One can say anything and pretend it is true if they simply employ the "opinion" gambit. Progressive Christians are devil worshipers. I don't have to prove it or provide supporting evidence because it is just my opinion. But they clearly are.

Dan Trabue said...

There is no gambit, Marshall. You hold opinions about the points I posited in my post. Not facts. It's just rational to admit the reality as a starting point. If one can't admit that one's opinions are opinions, that person is not in a position to hold a rational adult conversation.

And seriously, at least try to converse within the realm of reality. "Devil worshipers." You're really embarrassing yourself.

As always, the data does not support your claims.

Marshall Art said...

Your position requires all others to abide YOUR notion of what constitutes either opinion or fact. That is, what facts you find inconvenient you regard as opinion. Very self-serving, but not something honest people are wont to do.

But we can see this penchant of yours by reviewing your list:

1. "Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style."

While it may be "clear" to you, the real issue here is, "so what?" If it was all written in first person style, or some rhyming poetry, what does the style mean to the accuracy of what is reported? That is the real issue and the reason behind your concern over style. What is truly "clear" is that you need Genesis to be mythical rather than factual. By asserting myth, you are free to reject that which is mythical in order to deny the implications of the story, should those implications be inconvenient to you.

2. "That the Bible does not "define" marriage anywhere;"

This is only true in the sense that Scripture never says anything such as: "The definition of 'marriage' is..." Only those that need the word to mean what they need it to mean would use this very lame standard to deny "marriage" isn't clearly defined in Scripture. All references to marriage and family, as well as to sexual behavior, clearly imply the definition you find inconvenient. It allows you to abide your heresies regarding homosexual behavior. A false doctrine if ever there was one.

3. "That the Bible clearly does not teach sola scriptura, that this is a human theory contrary to biblical teaching (or at least beyond biblical teaching);"

Similar in childishness to point 2, this also suggests that if Scripture does not mention a term, then no one can say with certainty that what the term represents is true. Scriptural support for this concept, that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice, is plentiful enough and has been provided for you over and over in previous discussions. The real question is what problem do false christians like yourself have relying on Scripture as that supreme authority? Do you have some direct pipeline to God that has revealed to you some truths not already found in Scripture? No. You don't. But you do have a marked dislike for a variety of Biblical teachings, as you find them inconvenient and unpalatable to your unchristian tastes.

4. "That clearly Jesus teaches us that Christians killing people in wartime is contrary to his teachings;"

This is an opinion that has no actual support given that, by your own standards, there is no specific teachings from Jesus regarding war. This nonsensical position leaves the innocent to suffer and die in order for people like you to maintain a false, but self-satisfying posture of holiness. But if no greater love is had by man but that he lay down his life for another, it would seem that those who go to war to fight aggression and despotism would be doing just that...putting their lives on the line for others, and thus demonstrating great love for their fellow man. There is simply no teaching that contradicts this, and certainly none that is "clear". Thus, this "opinion" of yours is merely another case of you inventing your own God, your own Jesus, in order to placate your leftist leanings.

Marshall Art said...


5. "That clearly we are to live simple lives;"

Certainly no more than an opinion of yours, it doesn't necessarily have much in the way of Scriptural support, either. At least none that can't be countered by other parts of Scripture. Only a simpleton could believe that living in such a manner has any benefit to one's fellow man, as ambition and industry results in so much that benefits so many. I've just begun a book by Wayne Grudem (biblical scholar) and Barry Asmus (economist) called "The Poverty of Nations", and already, with less than 70 pages read, it is easy to see how detrimental this concept of yours is, and thus unlikely to be any real "clear" teaching of Scripture. The only "opinion" that is really a reflection of Christ's attitude toward wealth and wealth creation is that we put God first in all we do. For that there is absolutely clear and unambiguous teaching. For "simple living"...not so much. If any.

6. "That clearly Jesus would support gay folk loving and marrying;"

More so than any of the previous five points, this doesn't even rise to the level of an actual opinion. While an opinion is not something necessarily based on fact or knowledge, this opinion of yours is CLEARLY based on nothing more than your own personal preferences. Spare me the drivel regarding what you once thought and believed, you have no Scriptural support for this based upon any serious study of Scripture. But set aside all of that. Set aside the fact that no mention of homosexual behavior regards it positively. Set aside the fact that no mention of marriage and/or family does not, at least imply, a one man/one woman proposition. Set aside all of that and no honest person who claims devotion to Christ can dare suggest that Jesus would support such a thing.

The truth, and absolutely so, is that it is YOU who is profoundly deficient in distinguishing between fact and opinion. The only other alternative is that you are deficient in honesty (which seems far more "clear" than anything you put forth as such) with regards Scriptural teaching.

It isn't Stan, or Craig or myself that is lacking in the area of fact versus opinion. It is you who is lacking in a true love and devotion of Christ and Scriptural teaching.

Dan Trabue said...

While it may be "clear" to you, the real issue here is, "so what?" If it was all written in first person style, or some rhyming poetry, what does the style mean to the accuracy of what is reported?

Determining a genre of a text is a first step to understanding it correctly. Right?

The genre matters. My opinion (and the opinion of many rational, moral, Christian people and scholars) is that it is clearly a mythic style.

The opinion of traditionalists is that the genre is literal history (or something close to it). That is their opinion. It is not a fact, it is an opinion.

That is the point of this post, Marshall. Do you understand that?

Do you agree, then, that the traditionalist opinion of the genre IS an opinion, not a fact, not "God's Word..."?

What is truly "clear" is that you need Genesis to be mythical rather than factual. By asserting myth, you are free to reject that which is mythical in order to deny the implications of the story, should those implications be inconvenient to you.

Again, you forget the facts. I believed in a literal Genesis. I had no "need" for Genesis to be mythical. I just eventually came to believe that neither the Bible nor reason supported an insistence on a literal history genre.

Data matters, Marshall. You've misunderstood the known data.

Dan Trabue said...

is that it is YOU who is profoundly deficient in distinguishing between fact and opinion. The only other alternative is that you are deficient in honesty (which seems far more "clear" than anything you put forth as such) with regards Scriptural teaching.

Marshall, you can provide no data to support either of these claims. What "fact" have I confused with an opinion? What opinion have I confused for a fact? You have zero data.

Craig said...

Oh, I'm sorry. I thought when you said you had "overt and clear Biblical support", you meant that you had Biblical support that was "overt and clear", my mistake.

I guess the fact that it's so overt and clear explains why 2000 years of Christian scholars and theologians have missed the "overt and clear Biblical support" that you've managed to dredge up.

Craig said...

Given you little snarky "reminder" about what Biblical means, do I need to give you a remedial lesson about what "overt and clear" means?

Craig said...

Sorry, your original standard was "overtly clear and obvious".

It seems strange that what you find "overtly clear and obvious" has managed to elude thousands of Christian scholars and theologians for more than 2000 years. I guess they just aren't quite smart enough to see what's "overtly clear and obvious" written right there in the Bible.

"5. "That clearly we are to live simple lives;"

This one mystifies me. Dan claims that this is a "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching", yet there are plenty of examples of God giving people great wealth and power, as well as a noticeable lack of instances of Jesus or His disciples actually suggesting divestiture of all wealth. There are also ample examples of people of financial means providing financial support to the early Church.

But, even if we were to grant the point, the problems Dan has with his position are...

1. Dan cannot define "simple".
2. Is "simple" defined in terms of the 1st century Church? The Amish? What is the context that defines 'simple"?
3. Dan is clearly not adhering to this "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching. (Or at least could be living more simply than he is)
a. Dan clearly has access to both a computer and internet (which implies electricity)
b. Dan clearly has access to a phone that allows him to access the internet.
c. I'm reasonably sure that Dan accesses many facets of our modern society but cannot prove exactly what.

I've spent a lot of time around people who really live this "simple" lifestyle Dan touts I fail to see why God would be "overtly clear and obvious" about dictating peoples standard or living.

Dan Trabue said...

"5. "That clearly we are to live simple lives;"

This one mystifies me.


1. Jesus is our Lord, we are to walk in Jesus' steps. Very biblical teaching, obvious biblical teaching, correct?

2. Jesus lived a simple life, with no place to lay his head, living in a communal relationship with his followers.

3. If that is the model of our Lord and the One in whose steps we are to follow, then how is it not obvious?

4. Additionally, our Lord and Role Model told us to consider the lilies of the fields, that we should model our lives after the flowers and the birds, whose needs are met by God.

5. Additionally, Jesus taught us not to store up treasures here on earth. Period.

6. Additionally, Jesus taught his followers to sell their possessions, give the money to the poor and to follow him.

7. Additionally, Jesus taught us that the poor are blessed. Period. That it is difficult for the wealthy to enter God's realm. Period.

8. Additionally, Jesus' followers lived communally, sharing "all things in common." Period.

I could go on, but you get the gist. What exactly is mystifying to you about all this? Are you suggesting that you do not see this as overtly obvious, or at least that is how it is for some of us?

As to my reminder about the definition of "biblical," there was nothing snarky in it. You did not appear to understand how citing a passage and its clear intention (or how it seems to some, anyway) is "biblical,"so it seemed a reasonable step to point out the full definition.

As to your question about "overt" and "clear," yes, I do know their meaning.

Overt: done or shown openly; plainly or readily apparent, not secret or hidden.

The texts about simple living are there openly in the Bible, the warnings about wealth are there openly, plainly in the Bible (repeated, over and over, throughout the whole of the Bible's books). The comparisons to how Genesis is written and how it sounds mythical (ie, how it reads like other myths and how it comes from a time period of myth-telling, not history-telling) are there, plainly and in the open. I've cited the passages and other myths to show how obvious the comparison is.

What are you failing to understand?

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall, you cited a "fact" that was an opinion and did so without offering any hard data, but only your word and your opinion that the "fact" was a fact. I've explained that what you need to offer is data to support your claims. I don't want to hear any more empty claims of facts without support.

The comment was deleted.

Provide data or surrender to the fact that you are offering only opinions, not facts.

I hope you'll understand, but if not, suffice to say that it should be clear to most other rational people why I'm not allowing you to post false, offensive attacks or false claims of "facts," when clearly you are offering only subjective, unprovable opinions.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

your original standard was "overtly clear and obvious".

Indeed. It IS overtly (plain, not secret or hidden) clear that Jesus taught and demonstrated a simple life. It IS overtly clear biblical (related to the Bible) reality that Genesis is written in a mythic style, just like it is overtly clear Seussian reality that "Cat in the Hat" is NOT a history book, but a poetic fantasy.

Regardless of whether you agree with these conclusions, surely you can see how it is clear to many people, can't you?

And that's the point of the post. I KNOW that to many, it seems "overtly clear and biblical" that Genesis is written as if it were a history book, and that it is similarly clear that it is not mythic... TO THEM, in THEIR understanding. I disagree with such a silly conclusion, but I see that it seems that way TO THEM. I'm not denying that it seems that way TO THEM, clearly it does.

My point is that you and Stan and other fundamentalist types do NOT think that we can "know" what the Bible says, because YOU DO NOT THINK that people like me are knowing what the Bible says. You think what is clear and obvious to us is NOT a right understanding. In your opinion.

The obvious question then is: On what basis is Stan (or you or the fundamentalists/conservatives/whoever) are the Ones who are rightly understanding? On what authoritative source do you call for support that you are the Right Ones?

The ONLY answer that you have is that you have nothing more than your opinion (that is, the opinion of those who see it the way you do, including the many in the past who have shared your opinions). And that's fine. But the point is, it's your opinion, not a fact. By your own testimony, this is rationally clear.

1. You do not think that everyone can read the Bible correctly. Indeed, you probably think that most people interpret it wrongly.

2. You have no authoritative source to call upon to suggest that your side is the One True Correct side. All you have is opinion, just as all we have is opinion.

What is not clear in that, or can we agree?

Craig said...

1. Yet you are selective about how carefully your follow Jesus.
2. Yes he did. Yet there is no indication that that particular practice is normative for all believers at all times. The early Church certainly didn't follow this slavishly. Of course, if we grant the point, then you are not following the example of Jesus.
3. If it is the model (no home, no place to lay His head), why are you not following it? Why did the early Church not follow it? Where is there any "overtly clear" mandate that all believers for all time should wander homeless through Israel?
4. Granted, but that doesn't speak to living a "simple" life.
5. Which also doesn't mandate a "simple" life. (which strangely you haven't defined)
6. Again, you are making an assumption that this means sell all of your belongings and that this is normative for all believers in all times. Of course, by bringing this up you just highlight your failure to live up to what you consider a "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching". Which was (of course) my point.
7. This is your biased opinion of one verse in one passage. This must be balanced against the parallel passage and against the fact that there are instances of believers being both blessed and not poor.
8. Some of Jesus followers did this for a limited period. Once again, you haven't made the case that any of these practices are normative for all people in all times.

Three things about your list.

1. It points out even more so how poorly you live up to what you claim is so important.
2. It points out how much of your "hermenutic" is driven by bias and assumption.
3. It points out once again, how unwilling you are to address the specific examples brought up by others.

"What exactly is mystifying to you about all this?"

It's mystifying that you don't live up to what you claim is a "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching". Yet expect others to take you seriously on this issue. It's mystifying how you take single verses out of context, apply them in a woodenly literal way, and assume that your woodenly literal interpretation is normative for all times and places.

"Are you suggesting that you do not see this as overtly obvious, or at least that is how it is for some of us?"

I am suggesting that it is not obvious in the least that these selectively chosen and woodenly literally interpreted proof texts constitute an mandate for all people in all places at all times. I'm also suggesting that if it's so obvious and important, that you should live up to your own standard.

"What are you failing to understand?"

Why you haven't actually cited any "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" that are actually from the Bible to support your contentions.

Craig said...

"Regardless of whether you agree with these conclusions, surely you can see how it is clear to many people, can't you?"

I can see how some minority of Christians have come to conclude as you have. The problem is that the presence of a conclusion does not validate your contention. I can also see that you are engaging in exactly the kind of logical fallacy (arguing from numbers) fallacy that you decry in others. Of course, even if one grants your point, it still doesn't meet your "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching" standard you claim. Truth is not and never has been determined by the number of people who believe it.

"...silly conclusion,..."

Now we see. While you give lip service to this it's all just different opinions shtick, while demeaning any conclusion other than yours as "silly". On behalf of the thousands of Christian theologians and scholars over the past 2000 years of Christian thought, I say thank you for cavalierly dismissing all of the conclusions reached after copious amounts of study and prayer as "silly". You claim you aren't expert enough to comment of Muslim theology, but you are expert enough to dismiss untold amounts of Christian scholarship as "silly".

"My point is that you and Stan and other fundamentalist types do NOT think that we can "know" what the Bible says, because YOU DO NOT THINK that people like me are knowing what the Bible says. You think what is clear and obvious to us is NOT a right understanding."

1. This is exactly 100% the opposite of the position I have taken. I have argued that it is possible to know what the Bible says.
2. Disagreeing with your unsupported opinion on certain Biblical interpretations, doesn't mean that it's impossible to know something.
3. Your entire theology hinges on reducing scriptural interpretation to opinion and asserting that we can't know anything for certain.

Craig said...

"On what basis is Stan (or you or the fundamentalists/conservatives/whoever) are the Ones who are rightly understanding?"

1. I think that most of us would shy away from categorically stating "right" understanding, in favor or something like "most likely"
2. Personally, I'm just going by the standard Orthodox hermenutical principles.
3. While not "proof", one cannot simply dismiss the vast history of Christian theology and scholarship as having reached "silly" conclusions just because they don't agree with you.
4. Occam's razor. Usually, the simplest most plain answer is the best.

"On what authoritative source do you call for support that you are the Right Ones?"

I've never claimed the "Right Ones". For you to suggests that I have shows a disregard for the Truth that undermines your credibility.

"The ONLY answer that you have is that you have nothing more than your opinion..."

That is, once again, not a Truthful characterization. It is a reflection of your bias and preconceptions about what people who disagree with you believe worded is a way as to demean any study and research by relegating it to mere "opinion".

1. I think that it is possible to clearly and accurately understand what the Bible says. I do think that many people (from all theological positions)can and do read the Bible incorrectly. I certainly have never suggested that I am immune from this.

2. Since I have never actually said the "my side" is the "One True Correct" side, I have no reason to address your "silly" conclusion.

"What is not clear in that, or can we agree?"

You have been as clear as you can be in expressing your opinions as well as your contempt for those who have the temerity to reach different conclusions. What you have not done is to provide "overtly clear and obvious Biblical support" for your opinions.

So, we can agree that you have opinions and that you have expressed them without providing "overtly clear and obvious Biblical support" for them.

Anonymous said...

Craig...

1. I think that most of us would shy away from categorically stating "right" understanding, in favor or something like "most likely"

Okay, so this, I would suggest, is getting to the very heart of some of our disagreements, let's think this through just a minute and maybe reach some common ground! Yeah!

First of all, I'm not sure that "most" of you shy away from stating you have the "right" understanding. Clearly, at least some are willing to say on at least some points that they have the one true position and can not be wrong. But let's set them aside as confused or simply mistaken. They don't "know" that they are right and they CAN be mistaken. Fair enough.

So, let's deal with you (however many you are) who think your position is most likely.

This, you may or may not realize, is exactly my position.

Given all the data we have, given what the Bible says, what we can glean from background, culture, text and context and the world around us, I think my positions on the topics I've pointed out (for instance and for a starting point) are the most likely reasonable conclusions to reach. They are most likely right. It is STILL MY OPINION, but I think it is a very reasonable opinion to hold.

Similarly, YOU think your conclusions are most likely right, most reasonable to reach. It is STILL YOUR OPINION, but you think it is a reasonable position to reach.

Is that a fair assessment? That we both hold what we think is the most reasonable position to hold on these topics?

Assuming we agree on that much (and please be clear, because you seem to waver back and forth between saying "it's most likely" and "we CAN KNOW the right position," so it seems a bit hard - for me, poor man that I am - to understand your exact position), then on what basis should we conclude that Side A or Side B actually does have the most reasonable conclusion? Do we have some objective, consistent manner of knowing who holds the most likely correct conclusion? OR does it remain an unproveable opinion?

This is where I'm not clear on where your position. Please clarify.

Thanks.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Craig...

You have been as clear as you can be in expressing your opinions as well as your contempt for those who have the temerity to reach different conclusions.

What is contemptuous about saying that "they have reached their conclusions and I think they are mistaken... I think my conclusions are the most reasonable, biblical (clearly biblical and reasonable) conclusions to reach. NONETHELESS, I recognize that those on the other 'side' also think their position is the most reasonable and biblical... in their opinion... and that's fine. If they think that's the most reasonable conclusion, they should stick with it... But I disagree and will stick with what I think is most reasonable. We just disagree and neither of us can prove we are correct to the other..." What is contemptuous about that? I am not rejecting them as Christians, I am not suggesting they need to change their conclusions if they want to remain in Christian fellowship, indeed, I'm not even suggesting they should change their opinions... I'm encouraging them to hold to what they think is right... BUT that they should extend that grace in the other direction, too.

That seems gracious and reasonable to me. What is contemptuous? Me saying that I think they are clearly mistaken? But you/they are doing the same thing towards "us," so surely that isn't it. What is contemptuous?

What you have not done is to provide "overtly clear and obvious Biblical support" for your opinions.

But I have. That you do not agree with the data I've provided or my conclusions is not evidence that I have not done so. Indeed, I just provided you a list of biblical passages as to why I think living simply is part of Jesus' teachings. They were reasonable verses that a reasonable person can see how someone might take it that way. That you ultimately don't take it that way is not evidence that I have not provided support. It's just evidence that what I think of as clear and obvious, you don't and vice versa.

For instance, I've read repeatedly and been entrenched with the notion of sola scriptura, I know what "clear and obvious biblical support" fundamentalists offer for that theory, but I just don't see it (not any more) as either clear or obvious. Or biblical. I get that you all do (indeed, I used to) and even can understand how one can reach that opinion, I just find it a very complex and twisted and ultimately, irrational and unbiblical conclusion. I now think it is clear and obviously NOT a biblical or rational conclusion.

Perhaps the difficulty is in the notion of "clear and obvious." Clear and obvious are ultimately appeals to human observation and opinion and human observation/opinion are not infallible. We are not speaking of an objective "clear and obvious" oftentimes, but instead, what is clear and obvious... TO ME... to YOU. What is clear to one person is not to another. It is a matter of opinion and interpretation.

So, no matter how many times I point out the reasons (biblical, rational and otherwise) why sola scriptura is a clearly and obviously self-defeating and irrational and unbiblical argument, the other side will reach an opposite conclusion, because of what is clear and obvious to THEM.

Clear and obvious are, for better or worse, subjective criteria. For your side and mine. Which is why I am glad to acknowledge and give grace that "they" are reaching conclusions that are clear and obvious to THEM, but not to everyone else. I'm just expecting the same reasonable grace to be extended to our side what I extend to your side.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

4. Occam's razor. Usually, the simplest most plain answer is the best.

Indeed, I agree with the Razor, but disagree with your application of it.

With Genesis/myth, the simplest answer is that, given that the rest of ancient stories telling a "history" of that time are more mythic in nature, so too, is it most likely that this is what's happening in Genesis. Or given Jesus' repeated calls for peaceable living, for simple living - and given his repeated warnings against wealth and violence - it is most likely that this IS what he taught. It's what it appears on the face of it.

Which gets us back to "Simplest, most plain..." to whom? Plain and obvious are subjective terms, unfortunately. Just because something is plainly biblical and reasonable to me does not make it so to you and vice versa.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

"The ONLY answer that you have is that you have nothing more than your opinion..."

That is, once again, not a Truthful characterization. It is a reflection of your bias and preconceptions about what people who disagree with you believe worded is a way as to demean any study and research by relegating it to mere "opinion".


I have my opinion/conclusion based upon my study and research.

You have your opinion/conclusion based upon your study and research.

What do you have that makes your opinion more reliable or authoritative than mine? Anything?

I'm open to a reasonable answer, but not just a claim. Fair enough?

Craig...

3. If it is the model (no home, no place to lay His head), why are you not following it? Why did the early Church not follow it? Where is there any "overtly clear" mandate that all believers for all time should wander homeless through Israel?

Because I do not take the Bible to be a rule book. I don't think Jesus was saying, "Here is exactly how I'm living, I want you to live exactly with these rules in your lives." Rather, generally speaking, he advocates a wariness towards wealth, an inclination towards simple living and sharing, not hoarding/saving and generally speaking, he advocates peacefulness, not war; forgiveness, not retribution.

So, for those who approach the Bible as I and my tribe do, we see a general urgency or push towards simplicity and peacefulness, but the recognition that circumstances and people are different, and that we work out what that looks like in our communities and families the best we can, not relying on death-dealing Rules, but life-giving Grace in finding those answers.

All of which, again, is overtly clearly taught in the Bible. Clear to me and others who are like-minded.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Craig...

"My point is that you and Stan and other fundamentalist types do NOT think that we can "know" what the Bible says, because YOU DO NOT THINK that people like me are knowing what the Bible says. You think what is clear and obvious to us is NOT a right understanding."

1. This is exactly 100% the opposite of the position I have taken. I have argued that it is possible to know what the Bible says.


I don't think it is. But clarify for me: You DO think that I, Dan Trabue, have understood correctly what the Bible says? That is, because it is possible, then I, Dan Trabue, HAVE understood and DO KNOW what the Bible says?

I think your answer to that is, "NO, you do not understand correctly." Tell me if I'm mistaken.

But if I'm correct, then I am right, you and Stan do NOT think that all people who read the Bible "know" correctly what it is saying.

This was my point. You do not think that everyone understands the Bible correctly.

That being the case, the questions are begged:

Who DOES understand correctly what the Bible says?

On what rational and consistent bases can we say that Group X is understanding the Bible correctly?

Again, once we get to these questions (which your position - that we do NOT all understand the Bible correctly - demands to be asked), the only answer you have is, "In my opinion, these are the most reasonable conclusions to reach..." which is an appeal NOT to fact, but to your opinion. Other people have similarly done the research and similarly reached conclusions and their opinions differ from yours. To what consistent, rational authority do you appeal to say that you have the correct answer?

3. Your entire theology hinges on reducing scriptural interpretation to opinion and asserting that we can't know anything for certain.

My theology depends on understanding the world as correctly as I can and acknowledging my own human limitations, as well as your human limitations. But what is wrong with this? This is simple rational humility, not presuming too much or insisting that I have some super level of understanding that others do not.

1. I am not saying we can't know anything for certain.

2. I am acknowledging the reality that I am not able to speak for God with 100% precision or authority, nor can you.

3. I think it is clear that Jesus taught a sort of pacifism/peacemaking approach to problem-solving, but I am not claiming that my interpretation is not infallible. YOUR side thinks it clear that God is okay with Christians killing enemies in wartime and, should you embrace humility and reject arrogance, you should acknowledge that your human interpretation is not infallible.

What is wrong with acknowledging reality?

~Dan

Craig said...

"Okay, so this, I would suggest, is getting to the very heart of some of our disagreements, let's think this through just a minute and maybe reach some common ground! Yeah!"

I find this fascinating. You consistently and repeatedly misrepresent the position of those who disagree with you, then when you are corrected you put on this happy dance thing as if it was someone else who was mistaken. Had you chosen to represent accurately what others believe, how much grief would have been avoided?

"So, let's deal with you (however many you are) who think your position is most likely."

How about you stop this liberal knee jerk reaction to deal with people as part of a group rather than as individuals? How about you stop trying to broad brush and overgeneralize about people and their beliefs based on what someone else has said?

"This, you may or may not realize, is exactly my position."

OK, so where is the "overtly clear and obvious Biblical support" for your position?

The problem I have is that you say this is your position, then categorize as "silly" any conclusion that differs from yours. You also offer this position with no support beyond "I believe this, because it seems right to me.".

Again, with no "overtly clear and obvious Biblical support", and minimal scholarly support you really have nothing substantive to offer.

"Is that a fair assessment? That we both hold what we think is the most reasonable position to hold on these topics?"

As long as you continue to insist that your minority position with a lack of clear scriptural support is the equal of thousands of years of Orthodox scholarship and theology, then I guess. But that's like saying that some guy's bass boat and the QEII are equal because they both have pointy ends and float.

"Assuming we agree on that much (and please be clear, because you seem to waver back and forth between saying "it's most likely" and "we CAN KNOW the right position," so it seems a bit hard - for me, poor man that I am - to understand your exact position), then on what basis should we conclude that Side A or Side B actually does have the most reasonable conclusion?"

The problem is that you have created an exclusion between the two that does not exist. I believe that it is possible to know some things with a high enough degree of certainty to use the term "know" or to call them facts. That possibility doesn't exclude the possibility that we could be totally or partially mistaken or wrong on any individual thing. Again, if you were to dial back this habit of misstating others positions it might make things easier for you.

Craig said...

"What is contemptuous about saying that "they have reached their conclusions and I think they are mistaken..."

Had you actually said that, and proceeded to provide well reasoned and Biblically supported reasons why you reached that conclusion, then nothing. The problem is that instead of taking that reasonable approach, you chose to dismiss everyone in the 2000 year history of Christianity who disagrees with you as having reached a "silly conclusion". I'd suggest that labeling people's conclusions "silly" without even addressing the specifics is quite properly contemptuous. I know it's hard for you to deal with what you actually said, rather than the later edited version, but copy/paste is a bitch.

Craig said...

"What is contemptuous? Me saying that I think they are clearly mistaken? But you/they are doing the same thing towards "us," so surely that isn't it. What is contemptuous?"

Is it really necessary to ask the same question 4 times in the space of two paragraphs? Do you think it helps the conversation in any way?

"But I have."

Unless you are using "overtly clear and obvious" in some nonstandard way, no you haven't. You have not provide one "overtly clear" specific "Biblical teaching' to support any of your hunches. FYI simply repeating "Genesis sounds like myth to me." is not "overt", "clear". or "Biblical teaching".

"I just provided you a list of biblical passages as to why I think living simply is part of Jesus' teachings."

OK you provided proof texts, but nothing that indicates that there is any expectation that those apply to all people at all times as a normative condition.

"Perhaps the difficulty is in the notion of "clear and obvious.""

To be accurate you claimed "overtly clear and obvious". and of course that's the problem. You can't provide anything that meets this standard.

Craig said...

"Clear and obvious are ultimately appeals to human observation and opinion and human observation/opinion are not infallible."

No. "overtly clear and obvious" has a knowable English meaning, and part of that meaning does not include subjective interpretation.

Craig said...

For example.

"Thou shalt not kill." is an "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching".
"If you love me you will keep my commandments." is an "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching".

"Genesis sounds like myth to me." is not.

Stringing together a bunch of proof texts that do not contain any form of the word "simple" or the word "live", are not.

It's interesting that I specifically addressed the problems with your list of proof texts and you blithely act is if they stand unassailable.

"Clear and obvious are, for better or worse, subjective criteria."

Except they aren't.

"Which gets us back to "Simplest, most plain..." to whom?"

In this case, what is the simplest and most plain reading of the clear text.

"Plain and obvious are subjective terms, unfortunately. Just because something is plainly biblical and reasonable to me does not make it so to you and vice versa."

I love how you move the goal posts from "Overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching" to "plain and obvious". It's a great tactic, but it just doesn't help you.

I guess you thin that repetition equals proof or something.

"What do you have that makes your opinion more reliable or authoritative than mine?"

Nothing, this whole opinion thing is you imposing your terminology on the conversation.

"Anything?"

Why should I go through this again? You've ignored it before, you'll most likely do so again. If you are really interested, there is 2000 plus years of Jewish and Christian scholarship for you to peruse. Except, you've already dismissed any conclusion but yours "silly". Maybe it's your bias showing.

"I'm open to a reasonable answer, but not just a claim. Fair enough?"

Sure. See above.

Craig said...

"...but not just a claim. Fair enough?"

OK, where is the "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching that:

1. Defines and sets the standard for what constitutes "simple living".
2. Mandates that all believers in all times and all places are bound to this concept of "simple living".

"Because I do not take the Bible to be a rule book. I don't think Jesus was saying, "Here is exactly how I'm living, I want you to live exactly with these rules in your lives." Rather, generally speaking, he advocates a wariness towards wealth, an inclination towards simple living and sharing, not hoarding/saving and generally speaking, he advocates peacefulness, not war; forgiveness, not retribution."

So, there is none. I didn't think so. Since when are "overtly clear and obvious" and "generally speaking" synonyms?

"...not relying on death-dealing Rules..."

Rules deal death, really? Someone should tell Jesus that.

"I don't think it is."

If your presumption in trying to assert that you (not I) are the better judge of what my position is, and your hubris in telling me that I'm wrong about my own position wasn't so stupid and laughable, I might have taken offense.

"You DO think that I, Dan Trabue, have understood correctly what the Bible says?"

No, I think that you (and everyone) have the ability to correctly understand the Bible. Or another way, I think that the Bible is written and given to us with the intent and expectation of the author that we can understand it. Of course when you overgeneralize you make it hard to take you seriously.


"That is, because it is possible, then I, Dan Trabue, HAVE understood and DO KNOW what the Bible says?"

No, just because something is possible does not mean that it is always the case. Again, since you have chose to use the ridiculous over generalization, it's kind of pointless to go further.


"I think your answer to that is, "NO, you do not understand correctly." Tell me if I'm mistaken."

No, my answer is what I just wrote. Why do you think that it is helpful to answer questions for me?

"You do not think that everyone understands the Bible correctly."

It's a given that no one understands the entirety of the Bible 100% correctly. To be clear, while I believe that everyone has the ability (and that the Bible is intended to be understood and that the writers had a specific meaning to what they wrote), I believe that nobody understands 100% of the Bible 100% correctly. But, please continue to tell me what I do (and do not) think.

Craig said...

'Who DOES understand correctly what the Bible says?'

Since I've never claimed that any particular group or individual understands the Bible 100% correctly, I'll pass.

"On what rational and consistent bases can we say that Group X is understanding the Bible correctly?"

Again, I've never made any claims about any particular group and their understanding of the Bible. I find it incredibly un worthwhile and pointless to try to generalize and pigeonhole groups into some construct based on my own preconceptions. This is why when I talk about instances where I find peoples interpretations problematic, I deal in specifics. I specifically quote the interpretation I disagree with and I provide specific reasons why I disagree. To simply lump people in groups and dismiss them because they're in "group x" serves no purpose beyond providing a mechanism to demean and deal in generalities rather than specifics. I realize it's easier to broad brush and (over) generalize than it is to deal in specifics, but it's also a waste of time.

For example. I have, on occasion, addressed various issues I have with Progressive Christians. Yet, when I have done so it is with a specific response to s specific claim/teaching/or distinctive that is part of the official "statement of faith" of the Progressive Christians. I do admit that I occasionally will engage in a bit of "hyperbolic" over generalization but it's usually more in jest or to make a specific point.

"In my opinion, these are the most reasonable conclusions to reach..."

If you are going to attribute this quote to me then source it. I do not believe that I have ever given such a simplistic worthless answer. Once again, I appreciate you telling me what my positions and statements are, but how about I get to speak for myself without any help from you?

"To what consistent, rational authority do you appeal to say that you have the correct answer?"

Once again, I've never said that I have the "correct" answer. Certainly not in an overly generalized sense, and certainly not in any sort of sense of claiming infallibility.

Oh, but I'd love to hear your answer to your question.

"But what is wrong with this?"

If you say so, then nothing.

"1. I am not saying we can't know anything for certain."

Not in so many words. But as long as everything is opinion then the practical result of your theology is just that.

"2. I am acknowledging the reality that I am not able to speak for God with 100% precision or authority, nor can you."

Neither am I despite your made up and repeated insistence otherwise.

"3. I think it is clear that Jesus taught a sort of pacifism/peacemaking approach to problem-solving, but I am not claiming that my interpretation is not infallible. YOUR side thinks it clear that God is okay with Christians killing enemies in wartime and, should you embrace humility and reject arrogance, you should acknowledge that your human interpretation is not infallible."

Your problem is that you are assuming that these two positions are not reconcilable. In fact they are not mutually exclusive. You also have a problem making the leap from a "sort of pacifism/peacemaking approach" to any sort of suggestion that strict pacifism is required or even normative for all believers at all times under all circumstances.

"...you should acknowledge that your human interpretation is not infallible."

1. Why should I acknowledge something that I've never claimed?
2. Why shouldn't you acknowledge that you shouldn't make stuff up about other people?

"What is wrong with acknowledging reality?"

I've never denied reality.

Dan Trabue said...

Stringing together a bunch of proof texts that do not contain any form of the word "simple" or the word "live", are not.

So, for you, all the data that I present is "proof texting" and "not overtly clear biblical teachings." To me, it is in context and overtly clear biblical teachings.

To you (presumably... I'm still trying to figure out), your reasoning in favor of your positions are overtly clear biblical teachings. To me, it's not.

What I don't think you're getting is that, just because TO YOU, it is not overtly clear biblical teaching does not make it so, nor does it mean that it isn't overtly clear to me. Are you suggesting that you are the one who gets to decide what is and isn't overtly clear? If not you, then who? On what basis do you get to tell me what is and isn't overtly clear and biblical?

In this case, what is the simplest and most plain reading of the clear text.

And who gets to decide that?

This question (and your inability to answer it) is the heart of your problem and the gaping hole in your arguments.

Craig said...

"So, for you, all the data that I present is "proof texting" and "not overtly clear biblical teachings." To me, it is in context and overtly clear biblical teachings."

No, it's data (in the form of proof texts), it just doesn't support your position that "living simply" is mandatory/normative for all believers in all places and all times.

"Are you suggesting that you are the one who gets to decide what is and isn't overtly clear?"

No

"If not you, then who?"

I'd do like scholars and start with the plain meaning of the clear text, then go from there.

"On what basis do you get to tell me what is and isn't overtly clear and biblical?"

Well, I guess that depends of how you define "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching". For me, if you throw out a bunch of random texts which don't use the terms "simple" or "living" (or any forms thereof) to reach a conclusion that those passages establish "simple living" as normative, then I'd suggest that "overtly clear and obvious" doesn't describe your texts. Maybe had you read and dealt with the examples I gave a while back you might have a better idea.

"And who gets to decide that?"

Ultimately the Church as a whole. At least in a temporal sense. (By Church I am referring to the general assembly of all believers, not any specific ecclesiastical organization).

So, who gets to decide that in your construct?

"This question (and your inability to answer it) is the heart of your problem and the gaping hole in your arguments."

The litany of questions you haven't answered and the fact that you've ignored the gaping holes in your own argument, (not to mention your hypocrisy in choosing not to live a simple life modeled after "Jesus is our Lord" for are we not "to walk in Jesus' steps."? Is that not a "Very biblical teaching, obvious biblical teaching,..."? Is it not true that "Jesus lived a simple life, with no place to lay his head, living in a communal relationship with his followers."? Is it not true that this "is the model of our Lord and the One in whose steps we are to follow"?), is long and growing longer. I think that this is probably a card best not played here?

Given your very own words why do you not follow the "obvious" literal model of Jesus?

Craig said...

One question (multi part).

Will you; clearly, without qualification, and without ambiguity articulate one Biblical doctrine (or teaching or theology) that you can unhesitatingly and unequivocally assert as True? If you will, then will you please provide the "overtly clear and obvious Biblical" text to support your answer?

Dan Trabue said...

I'd do like scholars and start with the plain meaning of the clear text, then go from there.

So, many scholars would agree that Genesis is clearly mythical. I just cited a bunch. Therefore, THEY get to decide?

So, who gets to decide that in your construct?

We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out.

What other option is there?

...the fact that you've ignored the gaping holes in your own argument, (not to mention your hypocrisy in choosing not to live a simple life modeled after "Jesus is our Lord" for are we not "to walk in Jesus' steps."?

I see no holes in my argument. Sorry. You've offered nothing that I see as a hole.

Is that not a "Very biblical teaching, obvious biblical teaching,..."? Is it not true that "Jesus lived a simple life, with no place to lay his head, living in a communal relationship with his followers."? Is it not true that this "is the model of our Lord and the One in whose steps we are to follow"?), is long and growing longer. I think that this is probably a card best not played here?

I am living a simple life, following the teaching of Jesus as best as I understand it. Are you suggesting I'm not? On what basis? Are you getting to decide what is and isn't simple for everyone else?

Again, we all are responsible for striving to follow God the best we can and we all ought to give one another the grace to figure that out for themselves. Now, at the same time, this is why it's important to be part of a local faith community (in my opinion) to help hold ourselves accountable, but that's a balance that, I think, we need to find for ourselves.

What other option is there?

Given your very own words why do you not follow the "obvious" literal model of Jesus?

I do. As best I can and to the best of my understanding. Are you suggesting I'm not? If so, on what basis?

For me, if you throw out a bunch of random texts which don't use the terms "simple" or "living" (or any forms thereof) to reach a conclusion that those passages establish "simple living" as normative, then I'd suggest that "overtly clear and obvious" doesn't describe your texts.

I understand that's your opinion. You're welcome to it. Just like those who think the Bible teaches "sola scriptura" (even though it's literally not there in the Bible, nor does the Bible insist upon it, nor does Jesus insist upon it) are welcome to their opinion.

I have no problem with people holding different opinions than I hold. Do you?

I don't think those who disagree with me on these points are not Christians for their disagreeing with me. Do you also extend that same grace?

Do you think that somehow those who hold to "sola scriptura" are objectively "right" and their position is "so obvious" as to be factual?

Which leads to this...
"I believe that it is possible to know some things with a high enough degree of certainty to use the term "know" or to call them facts."

Which ones are "possible to know" with such confidence that you can call them "facts..."? And if others disagree with your "facts," and are likewise confident enough in their views to call the opposite view a "fact," who is right and on what basis?

Do you see it's still an appeal to your opinion?

Dan Trabue said...

Will you; clearly, without qualification, and without ambiguity articulate one Biblical doctrine (or teaching or theology) that you can unhesitatingly and unequivocally assert as True? If you will, then will you please provide the "overtly clear and obvious Biblical" text to support your answer?

I've done this here on this thread. But with the caveat that I'm clearly expressing MY OPINION, not that I'm stating a fact. Just as those who disagree with me are stating THEIR opinion, not a fact.

So, before I repeat that answer and expound on it to make it clear, can you agree that these ideas we have about doctrines/ideas such as (and for now, limited to) the ones I've mentioned (Genesis' genre/literality, whether or not sola scriptura is biblical, Jesus teaching simple living ideals, etc...) that the opinions we hold on at least these specific opinions/interpretations ARE opinions, not facts?

Dan Trabue said...

Will you; clearly, without qualification, and without ambiguity articulate one Biblical doctrine (or teaching or theology) that you can unhesitatingly and unequivocally assert as True? If you will, then will you please provide the "overtly clear and obvious Biblical" text to support your answer?

While I'm waiting, I'll go ahead and answer, but a couple of caveats...

I. First of all, we can easily agree that the text says what it says. There is no need to question "Fact or Opinion?" on points such as: Does the Bible record Jesus as saying "Blessed are you who are poor..." and "woe to you who are rich?" The text is there and it's not in debate what Jesus said, at least according to the biblical record.

This is obvious, but just to make it clear.

II. From there, we can move to questions such as "Did Jesus MEAN only 'blessed are the poor in spirit,' NOT literally 'blessed are you who are poor...' meaning literally poor?" and our answers to these questions have moved from fact ("Luke 6 literally says...") to opinion ("He meant LITERALLY poor" or "He did NOT mean LITERALLY poor...")... the latter are perforce our opinions. We do not get to state authoritatively what Jesus' intention was. Doing so is presumptuous and we can not defend the idea that "Jesus intended X" as a fact. It may be abundantly clear or overt TO US, but it is an opinion, not a defensible, provable fact as it is defined by MW.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fact

Dan Trabue said...

So, given those caveats, it is my opinion that it is True that the Bible absolutely and clearly does not teach sola scriptura and I state this without any ambiguity.

The definition of SS, from the CRI people...

"By sola Scriptura Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)."

It is certainly a literal fact that the term and the specific definition of it is not in the Bible anywhere. Period.

This is a fact and true and I assume we can agree on it, as it's just a demonstrable fact.

From there, the question arises, "While the Bible does not contain the term sola scriptura or anything like the definition, but there are passages that suggest SS... and not only suggest it, but INSIST upon it. You can't read the Bible honestly seeking God's will and conclude that SS is not biblical."

However, it is a fact and true that THIS claim is not accurate. Of course, there are many people who seriously read the Bible seeking God's Way and just do not find SS to be insisted upon in the Bible or by reason. Indeed, as a point of fact, there are people who started out holding to the traditional view of SS and, even from that starting point, had to abandon SS because they did not find the Bible insists upon SS at all.

For those of us who don't believe that SS is insisted upon in the Bible, or that it's even suggested, what WE believe is a biblical and a reasonable alternative to SS to believe that God reveals God's Self in many ways. God reveals God's self in Creation, through God's Spirit, through our God-given reasoning, through God's Word written upon our hearts. I can provide scripture for all these ideas, but I suspect that we don't disagree with my list. Ask for verses if you want.

I/we believe that the Bible never in any place says or suggests or insists "that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)." We believe this because it simply is not there.

This point is actually easy because, well, SS simply isn't insisted upon in the Bible, just as a point of fact.

Now, certainly many humans have theorized that, given Jesus' citing OT and "God's Word" etc, that one can infer that, therefore, Scripture must be the primary source (never mind the leap) and I can see how some humans could form that theory as a theory ("Well, we need SOMETHING that we can rely upon for an authority, otherwise, how would we know?? So, it must be 'the Bible,' because of these verses..."), but it is an extrapolation, not a biblical teaching and certainly not a teaching of Jesus.

Obviously, I don't need to cite verses saying "sola scriptura is incorrect," because the onus is on them to make the case that it's insisted upon or the only possible option, but they have not and can not do so. It's just an extrapolated human opinion. And people are welcome to it if they want to hold it, but it's just not insisted upon biblically.

And done.

Craig said...

"So, many scholars would agree that Genesis is clearly mythical. I just cited a bunch. Therefore, THEY get to decide?"

You cited 4-5, I hardly think that's a bunch compared to the preponderance of scholars on the other side. You do realize that you are arguing in one thread that we should ignore the minority in favor of the majority, while simultaneously arguing that in this case we should embrace the minority as opposed to the majority. How about you pick one side and stick with it.


"We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out."

Thank you so much for finally coming out and admitting this. You just made my point. Thank you.

"What other option is there?"

Oh, gee, I don't have any ideas.

"I do. As best I can and to the best of my understanding. Are you suggesting I'm not? If so, on what basis?"

I'm suggesting that anyone who lives a lifestyle with computers and smart phones and a single family house (or single unit of a multi family) is not following the example you just said Jesus is setting.

"I see no holes in my argument. Sorry. You've offered nothing that I see as a hole."

Of course you don't. But you bias prevents you from looking objectively.

"I have no problem with people holding different opinions than I hold. Do you?"

No, but I don't dismiss the conclusions of everyone who disagrees with me a "silly" either. It's interestingly that you argue passionately that Sola Scriptura is completely absent from the Bible while arguing that your "simple living" construct (as well as your gay marriage construct) are "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" despite those not being specifically mentioned in scripture either. I admire your flexibility in seriously using both sides of an argument when you find it helpful.

"Do you think that somehow those who hold to "sola scriptura" are objectively "right" and their position is "so obvious" as to be factual?"

I think that given the textural support offered for this position contrasted with the lack of textural support offered for any alternative position that the Sola Scriptura has the highest probability of being the most correct position.

"I don't think those who disagree with me on these points are not Christians for their disagreeing with me. Do you also extend that same grace?"

Once again, two of your favorite ploys. 1) make some sort of ridiculously general statement which is so broad as to be irrelevant. 2) Suggest that I have done something that I have not done.

My position on others salvation is that I have no way to know. However, when someone denies (for example) the very existence of Jesus, I feel pretty same in concluding that they are most likely not christian in any meaningful sense of the term.

"Which ones are "possible to know" with such confidence that you can call them "facts..."?"

I'll take the obvious one that is agreed to by virtually every scholar in existence. The crucifixion of Christ and the empty tomb.

"And if others disagree with your "facts," and are likewise confident enough in their views to call the opposite view a "fact," who is right and on what basis?"

The one who's "fact" most closely aligns with reality."

"Do you see it's still an appeal to your opinion?"

I see that for your personal "It's all up to us individually" construct why it's necessary for you to come to that conclusion. For me, I think that the Biblical example of living in community based in unity around certain core theological concepts is more logical, more Biblical, and more attractive than you every man for himself.



Craig said...

"I've done this here on this thread. But with the caveat that I'm clearly expressing MY OPINION, not that I'm stating a fact. Just as those who disagree with me are stating THEIR opinion, not a fact."

So I guess the answer is no you won't.

"So, before I repeat that answer and expound on it to make it clear, can you agree that these ideas we have about doctrines/ideas such as (and for now, limited to) the ones I've mentioned (Genesis' genre/literality, whether or not sola scriptura is biblical, Jesus teaching simple living ideals, etc...) that the opinions we hold on at least these specific opinions/interpretations ARE opinions, not facts?"

Again, I guess the answer is no you won't even attempt to answer the question as asked.

Craig said...

"While I'm waiting, I'll go ahead and answer, but a couple of caveats..."

can you imagine how much time we both would have saved had you just answered no?

OK thanks for your time. That last little bit was amusing and fascinating.

"This point is actually easy because, well, SS simply isn't insisted upon in the Bible, just as a point of fact."

Neither is;

Genesis is myth.
All believers in all places and times should live a (undefined) simple life.
Gay marriage (or even a positive or neutral treatment of homosexual sex)
Strict pacifism

That tells me all I need to know. Your own argument undercuts any possibilities that your list is anything but a group of neutral options to be chosen or not based on personal preference and individual choice.

Thanks.



Craig said...

"We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out."

Just pulled out my seminary hermenutics text and so far haven't seen any evidence that the textbook authors (who probably know a tiny bit about Biblical interpretation) have absolutely nothing to say that would indicate that your above is the sort of thing that is common.

Dan Trabue said...

Your own argument undercuts any possibilities that your list is anything but a group of neutral options to be chosen or not based on personal preference and individual choice.

You understand and misstate my argument.

have absolutely nothing to say that would indicate that your above is the sort of thing that is common.

An appeal to numbers is no more convincing that an appeal to tradition, when it comes to opinion claims. But what is it that you think they would object to? That we all need to figure it out the best we can for ourselves? What else is there? Let someone tell you what to think? No thanks.

In a couple of places, you have made arguments along these lines...

Historians cannot meet the standard of proof you demand for (as an example) the existence and acts of Julius Caesar.

Allow me to clarify the difference: There are data claims in the Bible about events, people and places, for instance. We can possibly demonstrate that, for instance, when the bible's author's speak about Jesus or quote him, we can possibly demonstrate that there was an historic Jesus to the level of fact. We can demonstrate that there was an ancient Hebrew people, that there were places like Sodom, Nineveh, etc, that were actual places. These fact claims are potentially provable (in fact, we can either prove 1. That it/they/he actually existed or, 2. There is insufficient data to support as fact that he/they/it actually existed) Demonstrating events, etc talked about in the Bible are potentially provable.

However, in my instances, I'm speaking generally to author's intent and reality. Did the authors of Genesis intend for its early chapters to be taken as a modern history, with facts actual people or did they intend it to be more mythic? And regardless of intent, is there any data to support that taking it literally is reasonable? DID any biblical authors intend to pass on a Sola Scriptura theory? Did Jesus intend to teach peacefulness and simple living?

These claims that I am speaking of are all matters of opinion and not provable. Someone may think that "Genesis is written in a mythic style" is not reasonable or that "The Bible's authors intended to hint at a sola scriptura tenet to be part of their religions beliefs and OUR religious beliefs..." IS reasonable and, in fact, insisted upon in the Bible, but that remains unprovable opinion with those who hold the opposite view also holding an unprovable opinion.

That you may or may not hold to a view that some of these ideas are not quite facts, but they are almost facts and we can, therefore, "know" them as facts does not make it so. In the real world, the answers to these are opinion, not facts. Certainly not demonstrable, known facts.

With those clarifications, now do you see the point?

Dan Trabue said...

You MISunderstand and misstate my argument, I mean.

Craig said...

"You understand and misstate my argument."

No I don't, as long as the quote below is your argument.


"We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out."

"An appeal to numbers is no more convincing that an appeal to tradition, when it comes to opinion claims."

Yet you continue to make exactly that claim.


"But what is it that you think they would object to?

Who are you talking about?

"That we all need to figure it out the best we can for ourselves? What else is there? Let someone tell you what to think?"

Of course you want to leave it up to each individual to figure out, that's what the problem is with your position. How about the Church. Why listen to anyone else when you can cling to your own opinions all alone.

"Did the authors of Genesis intend for its early chapters to be taken as a modern history, with facts actual people or did they intend it to be more mythic?"

Given the preponderance of Christian and Jewish scholars who argue in support of history rather than myth, I know where I'm more comfortable. Again, the problem you keep ignoring is that as long as you consider each option as a reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from the text that's fine. Your problem is that you categorize any conclusion that disagrees with your (admitted) opinion as "silly". As long as you continue to insist that any conclusion that differs from yours is "silly", then you undercut your entire position.

"And regardless of intent, is there any data to support that taking it literally is reasonable?"

Again, the vast majority of Jewish and Christian scholarship over the past millennia would suggest that it is. But' those conclusions are just "silly".

"DID any biblical authors intend to pass on a Sola Scriptura theory?"

Until you demonstrate that the scripture references that support Sola Scriptura are definitively wrong, then it's reasonable to conclude that they did.


"Did Jesus intend to teach peacefulness and simple living?"

That's the question you need to answer. Did Jesus intend that all believers in all places at all times live as 1st century itinerant rabbi's and their followers?

Maybe sometime you'll demonstrate that.

"With those clarifications, now do you see the point?"

I've always understood your point regarding opinion being all we have.

Anonymous said...

"You understand and misstate my argument."

No I don't, as long as the quote below is your argument.


"We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out."


That IS my argument, and it's rational and supportable. Again, what other option is there? To claim that you "know" something as a "fact" that is not a demonstrable fact? How is that rational or supportable?

What you've interpreted from my position, on the other hand...

Your own argument undercuts any possibilities that your list is anything but a group of neutral options to be chosen or not based on personal preference and individual choice.

THAT is not my argument. I do not argue that my list is a group of "neutral options." As you have repeatedly noted, indeed, I DO find some of the other side's conclusions "silly." Irrational, not supportable using either the Bible or basic reasoning. Certainly not factual or even "factual..." (which I guess in your head is sort of a quasi-factual state of being?)

Nor do I suggest - EVER - that it should be chosen based on "personal preference," but upon what you believe is most rational. There is a difference. For instance, my personal preference might be to punch in the nose some of the folks who disparage gay folk getting married, but I do not believe that to be the most rational or moral option.

So, no, as a point of fact, you do not understand my position and you do misstate it.

See the mistake now?

"An appeal to numbers is no more convincing that an appeal to tradition, when it comes to opinion claims."

Yet you continue to make exactly that claim.


In fact, I do not.

On the other hand, while you continue to complain as if I were doing so, as if that were wrong, you do that when it comes to your appeals to tradition and numbers (the "numbers" in your case being the limited number of people from your particular faith tradition who agree with you, not all scholars). If it's wrong for me (even though I'm not doing it), on what basis do you think it is reasonable for you to cite either tradition or numbers?

As to tradition, traditionally for a huge number of years, medical expertise might advise "bleeding" someone to let out the "bad spirits..." Do you think an appeal to that tradition by a "medical expert" today would be advisable?

Just because a belief has traditionally been held does not make it reasonable. I'm sure you can agree to this bit of wisdom.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

"But what is it that you think they would object to?

Who are you talking about?

"That we all need to figure it out the best we can for ourselves? What else is there? Let someone tell you what to think?"

Of course you want to leave it up to each individual to figure out, that's what the problem is with your position. How about the Church. Why listen to anyone else when you can cling to your own opinions all alone.


1. I have been quite clear that one should be working it out for themselves the best they can in the context of a faith community, so I'm not advocating a strict "go it alone" policy. BUT

2. WHOSE church? You cite "The Church" and indeed, I work things out in the context of my church now, as I have in the past. But my church now has different opinions and ideas vs my church at the age of 20. WHOSE Church should we have helping us?

3. Beyond that, what are you suggesting? That if you think CLEARLY the biblical and reasonable conclusion is A and your church advocates, "Not A, but Z1," that you should abadon what you think is reasonable and blindly go along with Z1?

Surely not.

But if you do, I would disagree with that blind allegiance to other human authority approach, and do so in the context of my larger faith tradition - the Baptist, anabaptist and others who believe in the notion of the Priesthood of the believer. In at least those circles, the scholars tend to agree that yes, we DO need to figure it out the best we can for ourselves because, what else is there? An appeal to some subset of the church? Which subset? Why? On whose authority?

The holes in that approach make it a self self-defeating, non-starting idea.

"Did the authors of Genesis intend for its early chapters to be taken as a modern history, with facts actual people or did they intend it to be more mythic?"

Given the preponderance of Christian and Jewish scholars who argue in support of history rather than myth, I know where I'm more comfortable.


And if it's where you're "most comfortable," by all means, stay there. But the medical experts today who are "most comfortable" with the idea of bleeding because "tradition," are not in a rational place, so I repeat that I do not find your appeal to tradition compelling in the least.

Anonymous said...

Again, the problem you keep ignoring is that as long as you consider each option as a reasonable conclusion that could be drawn from the text that's fine. Your problem is that you categorize any conclusion that disagrees with your (admitted) opinion as "silly". As long as you continue to insist that any conclusion that differs from yours is "silly", then you undercut your entire position.

Well, if the doctor is advocating "bleeding" because "tradition," I would gladly say that I find that silly and, indeed, dangerous. Those who say "Genesis = history" because of "tradition," ALSO, I find to be silly. It is a silly, less than rational place to land, I'd suggest, in my opinion. I do not think that all opinions are equally valid, as I have been clear.

What's wrong with that?

"DID any biblical authors intend to pass on a Sola Scriptura theory?"

Until you demonstrate that the scripture references that support Sola Scriptura are definitively wrong, then it's reasonable to conclude that they did.


Wha-what?? There is an extrabiblical opinion that many have held and, even though the Bible clearly never directly teaches it, it's on others to disprove it instead of SS theorists proving it? Not how arguments work.

Now as I've said, if some hold to the human theory that they extrapolated out of some cherry picked Bible verses and they want to say, "This is a human theory that makes some sense to us..." that's one thing. By all means, hold to that theory.

BUT, if they want to arrogantly say, "You have to agree with us if you want to be a "real" Christian. It is not up for debate, the Bible in fact, insists upon it..." Well, they presume too much authority. They/you don't get to say what everyone else must believe in order to be a Christian or a Bible-believer.

"With those clarifications, now do you see the point?"

I've always understood your point regarding opinion being all we have.


Clearly not, or I wouldn't have to keep clarifying where you've misunderstood/misstated my positions.

~Dan

Craig said...

"That IS my argument, and it's rational and supportable. Again, what other option is there? To claim that you "know" something as a "fact" that is not a demonstrable fact? How is that rational or supportable?"

Yes it is your argument, in fact that's exactly what I said your argument was. As to your questions, I'm getting tired of answering the same questions over and over with no response or engagement, so I really see no point in answering these again.

"THAT is not my argument."

It's the logical conclusion of the worldview your argument represents. If all you can conceive of is a binary choice between 100% provable to your satisfaction fact and "opinion", then any assessment of any opinions validity is just as subjective as the opinion itself. Until, you move away from this arbitrary binary choice, then you can have one or the other.

"See the mistake now?"

Gee, could you continue this scintillating "2 way" conversation in any better fashion that to re ask the same questions over and over again. I also have to not your repeated hypocrisy as you bitch and moan about how well I understand your opinion, while at the same time insisting that you know my position better than I an can state it more accurately.

"In fact, I do not."

Really, so when you appeal to "my circle" or the "many" people who you claim agree with your "Genesis is myth" hunch you're not appealing to numbers? OK whatever you say.

"If it's wrong for me (even though I'm not doing it), on what basis do you think it is reasonable for you to cite either tradition or numbers?"

I've never said it's wrong. In fact if you actually had significant numbers of people who agreed with you it would bolster your case. What I said was, you are a hypocrite for complaining when others do something while doing the same thing when it suits you.

"As to tradition, traditionally for a huge number of years, medical expertise might advise "bleeding" someone to let out the "bad spirits..." Do you think an appeal to that tradition by a "medical expert" today would be advisable?"

1. It's interesting that there are plenty of people who eschewing some aspects of modern medicine and returning to some of the older "tradition" based remedies.
2. I've never claimed that "tradition" is authoritative, that's you putting words in my mouth.

"Just because a belief has traditionally been held does not make it reasonable. I'm sure you can agree to this bit of wisdom."

Never said it did. Although it's interesting that you laud the virtues of "peer review" when it suits you, but disdain that similar process through which The Church has dealt with doctrinal questions throughout the centuries.


Craig said...

"WHOSE church?"

There's this strange obscure piece of Biblical/theological doctrine that talks about The Church universal or as the creed puts it "the Holy catholic Church". Maybe you've never heard of it.

"WHOSE Church should we have helping us?"

Why in the name of all that is holy do you think it helps in any way to ask the exact same question multiple times in the same numbered point?

"Beyond that, what are you suggesting? That if you think CLEARLY the biblical and reasonable conclusion is A and your church advocates, "Not A, but Z1," that you should abadon what you think is reasonable and blindly go along with Z1?"

I'm at least open to the possibility that if I am all alone (or in a tiny minority) in believing A while The Church has (after thousands of years of study) reached a different conclusion, that maybe I'm the one who is wrong. Hell, if Paul tells people to test what he said against scripture, why should I trust you more than Paul? FYI that whole "abandon what you think...go blindly..." is one more example of your ascribing to me a position I do not hold. I've pointed out both your repetition of this practice as well as the hypocrisy of it multiple times.

"...we DO need to figure it out the best we can for ourselves because, what else is there?"

Apparently, nothing else. It all revolves around the individual human and their opinions.

"An appeal to some subset of the church? Which subset? Why? On whose authority?"

Again, what is the obsession with asking the same questions over and over and over and over again, before I even have the opportunity to answer them once.

"The holes in that approach make it a self self-defeating, non-starting idea."

That's quite a blanket claim of fact, got any proof?

"I repeat that I do not find your appeal to tradition compelling in the least."

Once again, do you think that if you simply repeat the lie often enough it somehow becomes the truth?



FYI, just assume that all questions are rhetorical since you're not going to answer them anyway.



Craig said...

"What's wrong with that?"

What's wrong is that no one is taking the position you claim, so it's a pointless question.

"Wha-what?? There is an extrabiblical opinion that many have held and, even though the Bible clearly never directly teaches it, it's on others to disprove it instead of SS theorists proving it?"

The number of scriptural arguments for Sola Scriptura are significant enough, broadly accepted enough, and Biblical enough, that I feel no need to rehash them here. If I thought you'd take the time, I'd give you some referrals. But, if you can't counter the Biblical support for Sola Scriptura, that's not my problem. Again, as long as you cling to this ridiculous (100% proof v. Opinion) binary choice this one sided conversation is increasingly more pointless.

Craig said...

Look Dan, I've certainly enjoyed the interrogation, and (if for no other reason than the fact that I said I'd answer your questions), I guess I'll probably keep answering until you get bored. But seriously, if this is your idea of a rational adult 2 way conversation, then it certainly explains quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, Craig, it's simply not there. SS is not in the Bible. Literally.

If someone were to concoct a theory that, at the end of the Great Flood, God created one Very Special Unicorn to poop out a rainbow as a guarantee that there'd be no more global floods and, since that time, there have been no global floods, that this is proof, therefore, that a rainbowpoop Unicorn existed and created that rainbow (because, really, where else could a rainbow have come from??!) and then say to you, "I really have to believe it unless you can provide biblical support that it WASN'T RP Unicorn responsible for the rainbow! In fact, unless you agree that RPU is an essential part of the teachings of Jesus, you aren't really a Christian at all!" ...would you feel compelled to provide "biblical support" that demonstrates this human theory is silly? OR, would you simply say, "It's not there. The RPU is just not a biblical teaching.."?

I am saying, "It's not there." Period.

And this from someone who used to believe the theory as "an essential" until, in seeking God's Truth in the Bible, finally realized it's just not there. At all.

There is nothing for me to respond to.

Instead, I point to every verse in the Bible and say "It ain't there." Is every verse in the Bible sufficient biblical evidence?

~Dan

Craig said...

"The thing is, Craig, it's simply not there. SS is not in the Bible. Literally."

You are correct, the term Sola Scriptura is not in the Bible. That doesn't mean that the premise is wrong.

"I am saying, "It's not there." Period."

Awesome, Dan says "It's not there.", so saith the almighty Dan.

The problem, of course, is that given all the ridiculous, vile, graceless things you've also said simply asserting that you say something is neither compelling or interesting. Having a 2 way conversation would be interesting. But listening to you make pronouncements, not in the least.

"There is nothing for me to respond to."

That's quite the declaration.

"Instead, I point to every verse in the Bible and say "It ain't there." Is every verse in the Bible sufficient biblical evidence?"

Of course I point to every verse in the Bible and look for "gay marriage" and find "It ain't there".

I point to every verse in the Bible and look for "Genesis is a myth.", "It ain't there.".

I point to every verse in the Bible and look for "All believers in all times, all places and all circumstances should live a simple life", "It ain't there.".

I point to every verse in the Bible and look for any sort of all encompassing strict pacifism, "It ain't there.".

You mistake that you can't find things or you reject them out of hand for not being there. Where your entire construct fails most horribly is that you are essentially offering a choice between the conclusions drawn by people of immense intellect and spiritual gravitas(who's conclusions you've blanket dismissed as "silly"), and your own personal opinions. Most rational people, given that choice would have absolutely no trouble identifying which has more weight.

You know, If you could just stick to spewing your opinions and not denigrating or dismissing those who reach different conclusions things might not be that big of a deal. But once you start claiming that your conclusions are reasonable while everyone elses are "silly" you put yourself in a situation where you claim "opinion", but act as if your opinions are facts (or at least not "silly" like everyone else.

Maybe a little more grace and a little less condescension would help. Of course a 2 way conversation would help as well.

But, your blog, your rules.

Dan Trabue said...

The problem, of course, is that given all the ridiculous, vile, graceless things you've also said simply asserting that you say something is neither compelling or interesting. Having a 2 way conversation would be interesting. But listening to you make pronouncements, not in the least.

What conversation is there to have? It's not in there. I can't cite passages that say "it isn't in there" when it isn't in there. I can cite ALL the passages and say, it isn't in there. As a point of fact.

As to marriage equity, Genesis=Myth, etc, I'm not the one equating my opinions with facts. I'm clearly saying, "I think marriage is an obvious good and loving and helpful thing, as such, I'm confident that it is reasonable to think that the God of love who wants us to promote healthy, helpful lives would support it.

Do you see the difference? I'm not saying that "the Bible says gay marriage is good, that Genesis is myth, therefore, it is a fact that this is the case!" I'm stating here are reasonable positions to take, given reason and what the Bible does say. And I am clear that my opinions are my opinions, not "God's Word," not fact, not "if you disagree with my opinion, you are not a real Christian..."

Are you prepared to admit that your opinions on these topics are your opinions and not facts or quasi-facts? If so, then we're on the same page. If not, then you have the onus of demonstrating your facts are actual facts and you can't complain when people find unsupported claims of "facts" or "essentials" to be silly and unsupported.

Do you see how that is only reasonable?

Dan Trabue said...

You are correct, the term Sola Scriptura is not in the Bible. That doesn't mean that the premise is wrong.

The term is not in there. The concept is not in there. Not directly. What IS in there are some verses that people extrapolate out to theorize a SS premise. And I'm fine with anyone who wants to hold this as a theory. But own up to it AS a theory. Not a Christian essential. Not biblical. Not a fact.

See the difference? Reasonable, yes?


You mistake that you can't find things or you reject them out of hand for not being there. Where your entire construct fails most horribly is that you are essentially offering a choice between the conclusions drawn by people of immense intellect and spiritual gravitas(who's conclusions you've blanket dismissed as "silly"), and your own personal opinions.

I'm not dismissing the theory out of hand because it's not there. I'm stating the fact that it's not there. I dismiss it as a theory because I do not find it compelling at all and, in fact, I find it to be self-defeating for reasons I've pointed out. It's irrational, in my opinion. Don't agree? Okay, that's fine with me. I'm telling you my opinion and I'm not alone in this. There are many scholars who'd agree with me, for what it's worth. People of immense intellect and spiritual gravitas. So, it's not as if it's all of Christianity's scholars vs me. It's Christians, some of whom agree with my conclusion and some of whom disagree. What of it?

Surely you're not trying to suggest that all of Christian scholars agree with and insist on this theory? Because that's just not a fact.

For me, ultimately I don't agree or disagree with scholars because "scholars" or because "tradition." I disagree with SS because it's not biblical and it's certainly not insisted upon and, to me, it is clearly self-defeating. Those who try to elevate it to an essential teaching of Jesus do so by stuffing words in Jesus' mouth that he never said. I think that's irrational and unbiblical.

Craig said...

"What conversation is there to have?"

I guess you could answer questions and/or respond to the answers I've given you and the points I've raised. But thanks for acknowledging your lack of interest in a two way conversation.

"Are you prepared to admit that your opinions on these topics are your opinions and not facts or quasi-facts?"

I've never suggested otherwise.

"Do you see how that is only reasonable?"

What. Simply agreeing with you?

"See the difference? Reasonable, yes?"

Yes, I agree that the term is there, while even a cursory examination of what is offered in support of SS would suggest that at a minimum it is a reasonable conclusion to reach given the text. Is your derision and dismissal of anything that disagrees with you as "silly" is not reasonable. Nor is it reasonable for you to simply make assertions without support.

"What of it?"

There wouldn't be anything if not for your dismissal of all conclusions other than yours as "silly".

I have to note that you do find a number of things to be "overtly clear and obviously Biblical teachings", which have much less Biblical support.


Dan Trabue said...

At this point Craig, I am not clear where we are disagreeing. It appears we agreed that...

1. theories about ideas such as the ones that I have listed our opinions, not facts. Am I right, do we agree?

2. That not all opinions or theories are equally valid. correct?

3. That those on your side think that my theories, such as a mythic Genesis or simple living Etc, are ridiculous and not supported by the Bible or Reason. Am I correct?

And the same is true in reverse, I do not find y'all's theories biblical or rational. How was the one who different than the other?

One way in which it is different, is that I am not saying you are not a Christian because you disagree with me on these theories, but at least some on your side are saying that. I suppose you would agree that they are wrong to do so?

so where exactly in all of this are we disagree? What are you finding troubling that you keep debating on something that appears we agree on?

Craig said...

If you are unable or unwilling to pay enough attention to what I have already written to grab a clue about our differences I fail to see how any further response to your interrogatories will help you.

1. I agree that your list of items expresses your opinions, which you have not supported in a manner consistent with your claim of "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching".
2. Sure.
3. I think your opinions are fine in a vacuum. Yet, you continue to insist that your opinions are contrasted with all other conclusions, which you claim are "silly".

" How was the one who different than the other?"

This is an excellent question. I've addressed this fatal flaw in your argument earlier in a couple of those comments you haven't dealt with. Every single reason you give to dismiss things as "silly" applies to all of your constructs as well.

"I suppose you would agree that they are wrong to do so?"

In the absence of any specific examples, I don't see how I could comment in an informed way. Having said that, what's your problem, they just have a different opinion that you do. Which as you said is really all we have anyway.

"so where exactly in all of this are we disagree?"

If you would look at all of the previous comments and see if you just can't figure something out if you try really hard.

"What are you finding troubling that you keep debating on something that appears we agree on?"

1. I've been debating your incredibly poor understanding and misrepresentations of my positions.
2. I've been debating your claim of "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching" which you still can't demonstrate.
3. Beyond that I haven't been debating so much as just doing what I said I'd do, answering your questions.
4. I have been debating your compulsion to ask the same questions multiple times in the same comment, without even giving me the chance to answer.

I guess the good news is that you've finally convinced yourself that I agree with you on everything and you'll move on to something else.

Craig said...

One last thought, until I need to answer some more questions.

"...so where exactly in all of this are we disagree?"

My disagreement with you boils down to 3 things you have said in this thread.

1. The "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" standard.
2. The denigration of any conclusion different from yours as "silly"
3. The ""We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out.", standard.

Your problem is that while you may believe all of those, and they certainly underpin your worldview, (according to you) all they are in opinions. You know what they say about opinions.

Marshall Art said...

The medical "tradition" of "bleeding" was overturned by better scientific discovery. The Christian "tradition" of homosexuality as sinful regardless of the context or scenario in which it might take place has not been overturned by any scientific, Scriptural, archeological or interpretive discovery, but is only the personal preference of those who rely on "opinion" rather than actual Scriptural support.

And who is this "God of love who wants us to promote healthy, helpful lives"? I'm aware of a God who wants us to be holy because He is holy. THAT God would not find it healthy spiritually to engage in a sexual practice He identified as an abomination.

The problem still stands, that all this talk about fact versus opinion is a deflection from you providing anything that supports your "opinion", while you dismiss all that supports our facts. We provide, you dismiss. We request, you ignore. Facts you don't like are opinion. Opinion is a word you use to relieve yourself of the responsibility of giving a reason for your position.

And you delete that which you find most problematic and lie about why you did so.

Craig said...

"The medical "tradition" of "bleeding" was overturned by better scientific discovery."

Excellent point.

"And who is this "God of love who wants us to promote healthy, helpful lives"?"

Another excellent point.

Craig said...

"... I am not saying you are not a Christian..."

No, but you are saying that my conclusions are "silly" for no other reason that that they differ from yours.

"2. That not all opinions or theories are equally valid. correct?"

It's interesting that you make this claim, while minimizing or denying the presence of any sort of objective standard by which to make judgements about said opinions.

Dan Trabue said...

No, but you are saying that my conclusions are "silly" for no other reason that that they differ from yours.

Silly, irrational, not convincing. How is that different than what you think of my conclusions? Do you think my conclusions are strong, reasonable and more likely than yours to be right? Presumably not. Presumably, you don't think my conclusions are reasonable. I don't see what your problem is on this point.

It's interesting that you make this claim, while minimizing or denying the presence of any sort of objective standard by which to make judgements about said opinions.

As a point of fact, we do not have an objective, authoritative answer to tell us what these author meant, at least on these points, by and large. (I would issue a caveat that, at least on some points - like the conclusion that clearly, Genesis' stories are more mythic/figurative in nature and not likely historic, we DO have objective data that says, No, a global flood didn't literally happen the way it is described, there is no data to support that claim. Thus, we can reasonably assume that at least that story was not told in a literal historic manner). Do you disagree?

It sounds like you're striving to hold on to a "Yes, we DO objectively know which interpretation is right because we DO have an authoritative answer, OUR INTERPRETATION of the Bible..." but if that is the case, you're undone because you have nothing to support the claim that your particular hunches are authoritatively correct. So, feel free to clarify: DO you have some objective standard which declares your hunches are factual and ours are mistaken according to some objective data?

"The medical "tradition" of "bleeding" was overturned by better scientific discovery."

Excellent point.


Indeed, it is an excellent point. Today, we have better science and knowledge of, for instance, how the world operates and was created and thus, can know with a great deal of authority that the earth is not 6,000 years old and could not have been totally covered in water, according to better data. So, for what possible rational, objective data-based reason would we cling to insisting on a literal Genesis? None that I can think of.

Marshall...

The problem still stands, that all this talk about fact versus opinion is a deflection from you providing anything that supports your "opinion", while you dismiss all that supports our facts. We provide, you dismiss.

I dismiss/recognize opinion AS opinion when someone offers it and dismiss any suggestion ta

Dan Trabue said...

...that opinions are facts. This is reasonable.

Dan Trabue said...

My disagreement with you boils down to 3 things you have said in this thread.

1. The "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teachings" standard.


My views, as a point of fact in the real world, ARE overtly clear and obvious to me. For instance, CLEARLY, given what we know about science, about historic records and about the text, we have no reason to presume or insist that Genesis is written in a literally factual history style, but that it it clearly reasonable to presume it is written in a more mythic/figurative style.

It is a fact that this is clear to me and many others. You can "disagree" with it, but if you do so, you disagree with facts and that is not rational.

2. The denigration of any conclusion different from yours as "silly"

As noted, I don't find your conclusions reasonable. YOU don't find my conclusions reasonable. We disagree. What is there to disagree about the fact that we disagree?

Do you find my conclusions less than reasonable? Silly, even? Or is it just the word "silly," that you object to? If so, then substitute it for the words, "irrational and unreasonable" with my apologies.

3. The ""We ALL have to decide, ultimately for ourselves, the best we can, prayerfully and thoughtfully and reasonably. And since there is no one authority to which we may appeal, we all need to give the others the grace to figure that out.", standard.

There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY, Craig. As a point of fact. What is there to disagree with?

You appear to be disagreeing with reality. You can do so if you wish, but what does that gain you?

Dan Trabue said...

Silly: having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd and foolish.

Tis an apt word, by the way.

Craig said...

"Silly, irrational, not convincing. How is that different than what you think of my conclusions?"

Simply that "silly" and "irrational" are pejorative words. If you want to say non convincing, fine but be specific. "Silly" and "irrational", just allow you to dismiss what you want without engaging.

"Do you think my conclusions are strong, reasonable and more likely than yours to be right?"

Not all, but that doesn't mean they are "silly" and "irrational".

"Presumably, you don't think my conclusions are reasonable."

Again, reasonable carries different baggage than "silly" or "irrational". Not to mention that hubris it takes to write of every other conclusion reached throughout history (except yours) as "silly", is considerable. Once again, how about dealing with reality rather than presumption?

"As a point of fact, we do not have an objective, authoritative answer to tell us what these author meant, at least on these points, by and large. (I would issue a caveat that, at least on some points - like the conclusion that clearly, Genesis' stories are more mythic/figurative in nature and not likely historic, we DO have objective data that says, No, a global flood didn't literally happen the way it is described, there is no data to support that claim. Thus, we can reasonably assume that at least that story was not told in a literal historic manner). Do you disagree?"

I agree that your above has two potential problems.

1. It is written and structured as if you are making claim of objective fact. (When you use terms like "point of fact" you are actually claiming that something is a "fact").

or

2. It is an incredibly poorly worded statement of opinion.

So, if #1 is correct, then I await proof. If #2 is correct, I await a retraction.

"So, feel free to clarify: DO you have some objective standard which declares your hunches are factual and ours are mistaken according to some objective data?"

Once again, I have not ever and am not now making this claim, given that fact why would you demand that I support or affirm a claim I have not made?

"So, for what possible rational, objective data-based reason would we cling to insisting on a literal Genesis?"

Good question. Of course, you are left with the same problem for virtually every historical event older that 100 years or so. That really doesn't help much.

I will note that the anti-supernatural/materialist bias inherent in much of what you place so much trust in seems inconsistent with your anti bias screed from earlier.

"My views, as a point of fact in the real world, ARE overtly clear and obvious to me."

which means nothing beyond your biased subjective personal preferences. In reality, that sentence is self contradicting, given the definitions of "overt", "clear" and "obvious", not to mention "Biblical teaching".

"For instance, CLEARLY, given what we know about science, about historic records and about the text, we have no reason to presume or insist that Genesis is written in a literally factual history style, but that it it clearly reasonable to presume it is written in a more mythic/figurative style."

If you want to have that hunch, feel free. Your problem is that the "Biblical" text does not "teach" your opinion. No where in the text can you find anything that "overtly clearly and obviously" "teaches" that Genesis is myth. It's just not there. In your justification, everything you cite as a "source" is extra Biblical. Hence your problem, how does one assert "Biblical teaching" without actually providing anything from the Bible to support ones claims?




Craig said...

"You can "disagree" with it, but if you do so, you disagree with facts and that is not rational."

So, you are now saying that your opinion is "fact"? Really? Again, I have seen nothing from your (either Biblical or not) that elevates your opinion to the status of fact.

"What is there to disagree about the fact that we disagree?"

The fact that your "disagreement" needs to come on the form of denigration. You keep saying that anyone who disagrees with you is "silly" or not "rational" or not "reasonable". Do you realize how arrogant that sounds? Do you not acknowledge that people can reach "reasonable", "rational" conclusions that differ from yours? Again, I have to note the incredible hubris it takes to dismiss every other conclusion besides yours as "silly".

"Do you find my conclusions less than reasonable?"

I understand how your conclusions seem reasonable to you. I also understand that you can't use "reasonable" as bot objective and subjective at the same time.

"Silly, even?"

I see no reason to use terms that denigrate. When I have a problem with one of your conclusions, I try very hard to explain specifically what problem I have and to hope that you will provide something in return. So, I see no reason to generalize, dismiss, or denigrate.

"Or is it just the word "silly," that you object to?"

More the hubris, than the term.

"If so, then substitute it for the words, "irrational and unreasonable" with my apologies."

Because dismissing any conclusions but yours as "irrational and unreasonable" is so much more humble and grace filled.

"There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY, Craig. As a point of fact."

OK, prove that claim of fact.

"What is there to disagree with?"

Really? You've just claimed that every single person in history who doesn't agree with your (unproven) opinions has reached a conclusion that is "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable", you've claimed that your opinions are "fact" and you wonder what there is to disagree with.

"There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY..."

Impressive, you've just dethroned God.

"You appear to be disagreeing with reality. You can do so if you wish, but what does that gain you?"

You appear to have just equated your opinions with "reality", what does that gain you?



Dan Trabue said...

Craig, are you claiming you have an objective, authoritative source to "know" what you know?

Craig said...

"Craig, are you claiming you have an objective, authoritative source to "know" what you know?"

Really, two lengthy comments, multiple specific responses to all of your questions, specific questions to you, and this is all you have. Twice.

But, since I said I'd answer your questions, and since my integrity is important to me, I guess one more won't hurt.

Not exactly. I'm claiming that there are things that it is possible to know to a high degree of certainty. I'm claiming that there are things that are objectively true and objectively false. I'm claiming to lowering everything the the lowest common denominator of just saying that it's all subjective opinion demeans both God and those who follow Him.

Are you claiming you have an objective authoritative source to "know" that ""There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY..."?

Dan Trabue said...

I am saying that there is zero data to support a claim that pink unicorns exist and zero data to support a claim that an authoritative and objective interpretation of the bible exist and both are equally dubious claims.

Do you disagree?

Dan Trabue said...

If you're saying/agreeing that there is no objective and authoritative interpretation of the bible, then is that not subjective by definition? If so, how does it demean God to point that out?

As to my not addressing you comments thoroughly or quickly enough, I apologize. I'm sitting with my despairing mother in her grief and only have a little time.

Craig said...

"Do you disagree?"

Once again in the interests of doing what I said I would do, and my personal integrity.

"Do you disagree?"

I disagree that the two claims are of equal merit. Therefore I disagree with the premise.

"...zero data to support a claim that an authoritative and objective interpretation of the bible exist..."

If the above is a claim of fact, then I'm sure you will be glad to support it as you have done so ably with the earlier claim of fact you made and then supported so well. If the above is a claim of opinion, then it is once more poorly worded.

Craig said...

I have to say, this has been quite the interrogation. Thanks ever so much.

Dan Trabue said...

You appear to waver back and forth between suggesting you have objective data and not. I'm just trying to clarify. Sorry if asking a reasonable line of questions feels like an interrogation.

Dan Trabue said...

You appear to waver back and forth between suggesting you have objective data and not. I'm just trying to clarify. Sorry if asking a reasonable line of questions feels like an interrogation.

Craig said...

"If you're saying/agreeing that there is no objective and authoritative interpretation of the bible, then is that not subjective by definition?"

I'm not saying that at all.

"If so, how does it demean God to point that out?"

Your blanket statement that "There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY", clearly and specifically excludes God from any position of authority. Further, since Jesus was quite clear that we could "know The Truth", then denying the possibility of "knowing" demeans Jesus. Further, once you eliminate any objective standard (God) then you replace God with human Reason or some other substitute.

"As to my not addressing you comments thoroughly or quickly enough, I apologize. I'm sitting with my despairing mother in her grief and only have a little time."

If you are choosing to use your time to do this instead of other things, that's your choice. I am not expecting you to put responding to my comments before anything else. I am trying to be respectful and respond promptly and completely to the fact that you have made some new comments after a period of inactivity. As to your lack of addressing my comments thoroughly, that's been going on for quite some time and I really don't expect much change.

"You appear to waver back and forth between suggesting you have objective data and not."

Actually, no I really don't.

"Sorry if asking a reasonable line of questions feels like an interrogation."

Oh not at all. As I said, I will continue to answer your questions and plan to do so. What feels like an interrogation is you asking more and more questions, while not acknowledging/responding to the specifics of my answers or engaging in a meaningful two way conversation.



Craig said...

This is my last contribution to this in the near future.

"I am saying that there is zero data..."

1. You continue to use the term "data" as if it means "proof".
2. You cannot demonstrate that this claim is objectively true.
3. It's not that there is "zero data", there is plenty of data. The problem is that you have excluded virtually all of the data that could be provided as "silly" or "irrational" or "unreasonable". It's not that you've tested the data before you've excluded it. It's not that you've tested the data and debunked it or proven it wrong. It's not even that you've reviewed all of the data out there. You've simply decided that any "data" or "conclusion" that doesn't agree with you is "silly" or "irrational" or "unreasonable", as if simply repeating that mantra will make it true.

So, please continue to ask questions as you have time away from your other responsibilities. For my part, I'll continue to do as I said I would and answer them, when I have time away from my other responsibilities.

Dan Trabue said...

? There is NO DATA I know of to support a claim that there is an objective and authoritative source (that we can objectively cite) for saying whose interpretations and hunches about the Bible is correct. I'm saying there is NOTHING that I've seen, as a point of fact.

All you have to do to disprove my claim is prove ONE bit of hard, objective data that supports the notion that there is an objective and authoritative source for interpretations. If you're making the claim that there is a source (when I am telling you I know of none) then the onus is on you to provide something. Anything.

Your blanket statement that "There IS NO ONE AUTHORITY", clearly and specifically excludes God from any position of authority.

We are specifically speaking about INTERPRETATIONS of the Bible, and more specifically to the meaning of that, INTERPRETATIONS about what God wants. Yes, of course, God is an authority on knowing what God wants. I'm sorry if that was not clear to you. Surely by now you know that I think God is an authority on what God wants? But if not, now you should be able to understand that. Sorry if that was less than clear.

You say...

"If you're saying/agreeing that there is no objective and authoritative interpretation of the bible, then is that not subjective by definition?"

I'm not saying that at all.


That is, you say that you are NOT saying that there is NO objective/authoritative (O/A) interpretation of the Bible. Am I reading this correctly? That is, are you saying that you DO think there is an O/A source for an interpretation of the Bible? That's what that line sounds like. But then, you also said...

"Craig, are you claiming you have an objective, authoritative source to "know" what you know?"

...Not exactly.


Which sounds like, "NO, I am NOT claiming I have n O/A source..."

So, perhaps you can see how it is not clear what your position is. "Not exactly" usually means No. Do you mean "Yes..." you DO have an objective, authoritative source?

I know, "not exactly." But what does that mean? To that, you say...

I'm claiming that there are things that it is possible to know to a high degree of certainty.

Okay, then that is NO, you do not have an O/A source?

I'm claiming that there are things that are objectively true and objectively false.

Of course, we agree on that.

I'm claiming to lowering everything the the lowest common denominator of just saying that it's all subjective opinion demeans both God and those who follow Him.

How so? If our subjective opinions ARE our subjective opinions, what is wrong with pointing that out? Or are you suggesting your opinions are facts? And of course, I think my and your opinions ARE our opinions and I, as a follower of God, am not demeaned by that. Seems like basic Christian humility would require us to admit our subjective opinions are our subjective opinions and efforts to conflate our subjective opinions with facts would be what is demeaning and presumptuous.

Marshall Art said...

"Indeed, it is an excellent point. Today, we have better science and knowledge of, for instance, how the world operates and was created and thus, can know with a great deal of authority that the earth is not 6,000 years old and could not have been totally covered in water, according to better data. So, for what possible rational, objective data-based reason would we cling to insisting on a literal Genesis? None that I can think of."

The point I made is not refuted by your response. "Bleeding" wasn't a practice employed by a devotion to tradition. It was thought to be a medically sound procedure until better science overturned it.

But you have nothing that overturns the Genesis account at all. All you have is the opinions of scientists who are limited by their own human imperfection. There is no "proof" of the age of the earth whatsoever. What we have are competing perspectives based on available data. You favor those that oppose Biblical accounts for reasons unclear. They make sense to you? Why? Because they are not supernatural. That's pretty much it. Yet science cannot, on its best day, refute the supernatural. So if science cannot provide a way in which the entire earth could be flooded, and then have that flood recede in the manner suggested by the Noah story, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. All it means is that there is no scientific explanation for how it could have happened by natural means. Get that? "Natural" means. But the Great Flood was not a natural occurrence, nor was it depicted as such.

Neither was Creation, and if the imperfect methods of science seems to suggest a different time period for that event than the six days suggested by Genesis, that, too, does not mean we have any authoritative support to dismiss Genesis. All it means is that we have highly educated men of science who think they see something that conflicts with Genesis.

I find it incredible that someone who claims a devotion to God would question His ability on any matter, and instead put all his faith into mortal man. "Oh, the Bible is wrong because these scientists said..." With that kind of devotion, does God really need Satan worshipers? But hey, we've that corrupt and highly political peer review process, too!

Science explains the workings of the natural, not the supernatural. The natural does not prove the impossibility of the supernatural. In order to dismiss any part of Scripture, particularly the first five books, one needs to dismiss the existence of many characters of the OT, or at least their honesty or sanity or intelligence, and that of all NT characters, including Christ.

"I dismiss/recognize opinion AS opinion when someone offers it and dismiss any suggestion that opinions are facts."

This relies on your opinion regarding the status of the position of another as either opinion or fact. Until you can offer actual proofs or evidence of your own to contradict the position of an opponent, your insistence that they present only opinion is only YOUR opinion, and usually just a "nyuh uh" response to that which you find inconvenient or unacceptable to your preferred alternative. You feel safe awaiting proof you demand of your opponents, but never offer proofs of your own to suggest that what is put forth as fact is actually not. All the while, you reject anything offered to support the position you oppose, and pretend there has been no evidence given.

Dan Trabue said...

I find it incredible that someone who claims a devotion to God would question His ability on any matter, and instead put all his faith into mortal man. "Oh, the Bible is wrong because these scientists said..."

It's not that I question God. I question you, and those who would insist that God must have meant what YOU think God meant. My doubt is in you and those who agree with you, not in God. See the difference?

COULD God have magically made extra water appear from nowhere, magically made it disappear, then magically have covered up all traces of this supposed flood? Sure, God could. But why would God? Occam's Razor: The simplest, most obvious answer is that the story is not written in a literal historic manner, but in the mythic manner it appears to be written.

There is no "proof" of the age of the earth whatsoever. What we have are competing perspectives based on available data. You favor those that oppose Biblical accounts for reasons unclear. They make sense to you? Why? Because they are not supernatural.

And you oppose the scientific consensus why? Because tradition makes sense to you? Because it is supernatural? Your questions could just as easily be asked to you and you're left with tradition and because it's what you're most comfortable with, in spite of the data available and scientific consensus. Tradition is fine, but it's not infallible, why insist upon it?

Craig said...

"There is NO DATA I know of to support a claim that there is an objective and authoritative source (that we can objectively cite) for saying whose interpretations and hunches about the Bible is correct. I'm saying there is NOTHING that I've seen, as a point of fact."

1. The above is not your original claim.
2. The fact that you haven't seen data doesn't mean that there is no data.

Once more we reach the crux of the matter. In your worldview everything revolves around you. If someone doesn't agree with you they're "silly" or "irrational" or "unreasonable", if you haven't seen "data" then the "data" doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

1. I clarified to help you understand.
2. By all means, provide the data. Having said that, I am not an unintelligent man, and I am quite well-read. I suspect if there were data to support the claim, I'd be familiar with it. It sounds, on the face of it, not credible.

But by all means, provide the data.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

By way of an example, right now on today's post, Stan is saying that he can "know" some unidentified portion of the Bible and "know" what God wants for these parts, presumably as a "fact."

Stan asks and answers the question, "Is it a fact that all we have is opinion? I don't think so." (which sort of hails back to your "not quite" saying you have an objective source, but sorta you do think so? "I don't think so..." "not quite..." These terms are not the terms we associate with known, demonstrable facts.

Stan goes on to say...

you'll find a lot more is clear than you realized. It might make you more skeptical of the novel, the "latest", and especially "current scholars" who are coming up with "new and improved" understandings in direct contradiction to the entire history of Church understanding. But I think you'll find that it's clearer than you thought.

Which is all good and fine, but the Bible being "clearer than you thought" (which I agree with) is not the same as "I can know these opinions are factual as a point of fact, objectively so..."

In other words, you both appear to be wavering somewhere between absolute certainty that you can "know" these things (some of these things, a vague and unidentified list of "things") as "facts," but not quite saying that you have the authoritative list of things that are objectively factual or can be "known" as demonstrable "facts," just the vague assurance that you can "know..." ...something.

Perhaps you can see how it is a reasonable question for you all to clarify. DO you "objectively know" these things as "facts," and if so, please provide the data.

On the other hand, if people can be confused and only THINK they know these things but not actually know them (which Stan attests to be the case and I believe you would agree with), then on what rational, consistent basis do you know that your side is the side that "knows" and is not confused? If it is possible, as Stan says, to be mistaken about these things, how do you/Stan, etc, "know" that YOU are not the mistaken ones?

It's a reasonable line of question that are begged by the sort of claims that you and Stan make. Can you see at least how it's a reasonable line of questions?

~Dan

Craig said...

"That is, you say that you are NOT saying that there is NO objective/authoritative (O/A) interpretation of the Bible. Am I reading this correctly? That is, are you saying that you DO think there is an O/A source for an interpretation of the Bible?"

I have come to the conclusion that there are things in the Bible that can be accurately
known to be true.

"So, perhaps you can see how it is not clear what your position is. "Not exactly" usually means No. Do you mean "Yes..." you DO have an objective, authoritative source?"

I mean that there are things in the Bible that are objectively true and that those things can be known. Further, I agree with the historic Orthodox Christian position that the Bible is authoritative.

"I know, "not exactly." But what does that mean? To that, you say..."

It means that in your attempt to characterize my position to suit your own ends, that you did not characterize it correctly.

I'm claiming that there are things that it is possible to know to a high degree of certainty.

"Okay, then that is NO, you do not have an O/A source?"

I'm claiming what I said, no more, no less.

"How so?"

Because it places your subjective opinion over objective truth. Because it places the focus on your and your subjective opinions, rather than on God.

"If our subjective opinions ARE our subjective opinions, what is wrong with pointing that out?"

I've never suggested otherwise. It's why I am careful to be explicit when I am stating an opinion, instead of making blanket claims then having to walk them back. It's why I would never dismiss or denigrate another's opinion by blandly labeling it "silly" or "irrational" or "unreasonable". No would I conversely suggest that my opinions are not "silly" or are the only rational or reasonable conclusions that can be drawn.

"Or are you suggesting your opinions are facts?"

No, never have never will. Maybe someday you'll figure this incredibly simple truth out and stop asking this stupid question. The problem you have is that you don't want to differentiate between someone repeating a fact, and expressing and opinion.

"And of course, I think my and your opinions ARE our opinions and I, as a follower of God, am not demeaned by that. Seems like basic Christian humility would require us to admit our subjective opinions are our subjective opinions and efforts to conflate our subjective opinions with facts would be what is demeaning and presumptuous."

So, when you demean and denigrate by suggesting that opinions other than yours are "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable", your just expressing humility, right?

In keeping with maintaining my integrity, I will continue to respond to your interrogation. This is unfortunate, because there is much about your response to MA that is problematic and appears driven by bias. However, given your lack of engaging in a two way conversation (in any sense of the word beyond you asking questions and my answering them), I don't believe I can justify the time commitment to any other fruitless digressions.

By all means, continue the interrogation, but I'm not going beyond answering you.

Craig said...

MA,

Once again. excellent point on the bleeding issue. Clearly science is engaged in moving forward and using more effective methods over less effective methods. The problem is that with science things theoretically improve as forward progress is made. In history, there is a sense in which the opposite is true. The most historical clarity comes from things being recorded as close as possible to to a particular event. This is one of the reasons why the manuscript evidence for the Bible (particularly the New Testament) is so compelling.

I also note the anti-supernatural bias being displayed.

Anonymous said...

I mean that there are things in the Bible that are objectively true and that those things can be known. Further, I agree with the historic Orthodox Christian position that the Bible is authoritative.

Okay, so of my list of items/ideas, are one of those in this list of interpretations that are "objectively true" and can be "known?"

For instance, the claim that the "Bible is authoritative" (presumably you mean sola scriptura, which posits that the Bible is the SOLE or supreme authority in matters of doctrine and practice), do you think that is something you can "know" as being "objectively true" that this theory and this theory alone is what God intends for us to think about the Bible?

A further point of clarification: When you all use the word "know" and "objectively true," do you mean it in the traditional English sense? Can you "know" something as a "fact" if it can't be demonstrated?

The person who claims to "know" pink unicorns exist and that this is a "fact," but they can't really demonstrate it... do they KNOW that to be a real fact in any normal usage of those words?

Or the person who claims to "know" that Genesis was to written in a mythic style, that the authors did not intend it to be a modern factual history, do they truly "know" it as a fact, if they can't demonstrate it?

Craig said...

For instance, the claim that the "Bible is authoritative" (presumably you mean sola scriptura, which posits that the Bible is the SOLE or supreme authority in matters of doctrine and practice), do you think that is something you can "know" as being "objectively true" that this theory and this theory alone is what God intends for us to think about the Bible?

I think that you trying to add to what I have said only makes things more difficult for you. I further think that the more you operate on presumption and the less you operate on fact causes problems for you as well.

I continue to think that there are a number of things in the Bible (certainly not all) that can be known to a high level of certainty. For you to try to add any additional layers to that simply increases confusion.

"A further point of clarification: When you all use the word "know" and "objectively true," do you mean it in the traditional English sense?"

Yes

"Can you "know" something as a "fact" if it can't be demonstrated?

Interesting that you chose not to use the terminology I used. But, chose different terminology. But, yes I believe that there are things that can be known to a high degree of certainty without being able to be proven. For example. The existence of Julius Caesar.

"The person who claims to "know" pink unicorns exist and that this is a "fact," but they can't really demonstrate it... do they KNOW that to be a real fact in any normal usage of those words?"

If you have any evidence of someone actually claiming this, then I could evaluate it. Until then, you would have to prove your premise that the likelihood of "pink unicorns" existing is equal to that of the accuracy of the Bible. Until then, you are basing your derisive question on an unsupported premise.

"Or the person who claims to "know" that Genesis was to written in a mythic style, that the authors did not intend it to be a modern factual history, do they truly "know" it as a fact, if they can't demonstrate it?"

I suspect that if it could be demonstrated it would, but it hasn't. It also comes down to support for ones claims. Given the lack of compelling support for such a position I would be uncomfortable asserting it as fact (or the most "rational or "reasonable" or asserting that any competing conclusion was "silly"). I'd also have to look at the person making the claim, I'd be much less inclined to believe someone who had previously shown a willingness to make unsupported claims, and to act as if arguing from silence was convincing. having said that, if evidence was offered, I would (as someone who seeks the truth and believes that it is possible to find the truth about many matters), be highly motivated to examine the evidence with an open mind and not simply dismiss it

Anonymous said...

I continue to think that there are a number of things in the Bible (certainly not all) that can be known to a high level of certainty. For you to try to add any additional layers to that simply increases confusion.

1. I, too, think that there are a number of things in the Bible that can be known to a high level of certainty ("known" in the sense you appear to be using it).
2. I only change wording to try to clarify where we disagree.
3. So, suppose we have a fella who "knows to a high degree of certainty" that Genesis is clearly written in a mythic style and another fella who "knows to a high degree of certainty" that Genesis was clearly written in a literally factual manner.
3a. Do you think they are both correct? (Presumably, no).
3b. Do you think one is factual correct and the other is demonstrably mistaken?
3c. If so, based on what?
3d. If not, do you think they are both expressing unprovable opinions, not demonstrable facts?

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Where you say...

you would have to prove your premise that the likelihood of "pink unicorns" existing is equal to that of the accuracy of the Bible.

Just to be clear: I'm not disputing the "accuracy" of the Bible, but the genre of various texts and the accuracy or likelihood of various HUMAN interpretations of the Bible.

I do NOT think that when Genesis 1 says what it says, that it is "inaccurate," at all. I think those humans who claim that this must be taken as literal history are presuming too much and without sufficient reasonable data to make that presumption and with much data against making that presumption. But the disagreement is not with "the Bible" or its accuracy, but with human presumptions and interpretations.

See the difference?

Just to be clear. As I have oft noted: When you move away from what I've said to what you THINK I've said, you are very often mistaken.

As to where you make that claim about me ("I further think that the more you operate on presumption and the less you operate on fact causes problems for you as well...") you have moved from what I've said to what you THINK I've said. I've made no presumptions, here. I've asked questions to provide you an opportunity to clarify what it sounds like to me you're suggesting. Sort of the opposite of presumptions.

~Dan

Craig said...

1. Yet when asked, you wouldn't name any and you insist that opinion is all we have.
2. Then stop changing what I said, It's hard enough to answer everything but adding on your wording just makes it that much harder.
3. I'm not sure. Your position has been that all we have is "opinion", but now you are saying something else.
a. No.
b. I think one is more likely and in accordance with reality and the preponderance of scholarship than the other.
c. Among other things thousands of years of Christian and Jewish scholarship and study.
d. We may be. The problems you have are; 1. There actually is a correct factual answer. 2. You have preemptively dismissed every other answer but yours as "silly", "unreasonable", and "irrational" 3. Given that, you are effectively asserting that your opinion is the only one that is not silly, rational, and reasonable. So, while you say one thing, your actions say differently.

"Just to be clear: I'm not disputing the "accuracy" of the Bible, but the genre of various texts and the accuracy or likelihood of various HUMAN interpretations of the Bible."

OK, let's play semantic games instead of deal with the false equivalence. You are making the simplistic "the Bible says what is written down" argument, while dismissing that accuracy of the reporting and the existence of the underlying facts. the fact that you put "accuracy" in quotes demonstrates this. You compound this error by lowering every reading of the Bible to "opinion", which conveniently excludes the possibility that the Bible means what it says. You further obscure this by bringing up genre. Obviously, no one is suggesting that we take passages out of their genre. The question is (at least for me) is,"Did the writers accurately record the events as they happened?". Your bias is that they didn't (or at least they didn't all the time), which is compounded by the problem of actually identifying what is accurate and what is not.

You still have to prove your premise.

"See the difference?"

I see it, I just don't think it's coherent.

"I've made no presumptions, here."

Really? When you said the following were you using the term "presume" in a manner that excludes presumptions?
" (Presumably, no)."
"(presumably you mean...)"

You see, when you admit to basing things on presumption, then it is perfectly acceptable for me to point out the fact that you should not presume.

So, in much the same way as you claimed, "I am saying that there is zero data...", then changed your tune, now your are claim that you've "made no presumptions", yet your very own words demonstrate otherwise.

Craig said...

"By all means, provide the data. Having said that, I am not an unintelligent man, and I am quite well-read. I suspect if there were data to support the claim, I'd be familiar with it. It sounds, on the face of it, not credible."

Where is that humility you talk about so often. The only "hu" word that seems appropriate is hubris.

Craig said...

Sorry, one more thought.

As I said the problem isn't lack of data, the problem is that you dismiss the data that exists because 1. I'm so familiar with all of it. 2. Every other conclusion but mine is "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable".

It's not that you've examined all the data and disproven it, it's that you looked at some data 30 years ago and somehow think that allows you to dismiss it.

If you had ever, even one time, actually taken any data I provided you and spent the time to dissect it, study it, and actually construct an argument that demonstrates that the data provided is wrong, I'd consider doing so again. But at this point you aren't even pretending to answer questions or deal with the entirety of the answers I've given (certainly not proving me wrong), so why would I make the irrational decision to invest (waste) time doing so now.

Dan Trabue said...

I believe that there are things that can be known to a high degree of certainty without being able to be proven. For example. The existence of Julius Caesar.

There is hard known demonstrable data to support the notion that Julius Caesar exists.

There is not hard known demonstrable data to support the notion that God wants us to take Genesis literally or the Bible as the Sole Source for Christian faith and practice.

See the difference?

On NON-HISTORICAL questions about God's opinions about behaviors, about tenets, about HUMAN interpretations, do you think we have an objective source for an authoritative answer to these questions?

If so, please present it, or one of them. Just one.

If not, then we would appear to be in agreement.

~Dan

Craig said...

"There is hard known demonstrable data to support the notion that Julius Caesar exists."

Really, hard data that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Julius Caesar existed?

"See the difference?"

Of course there is no hard data that demands we take Genesis as myth either. There is no data that suggests that taking Genesis as accurate is "silly", or "irrational" or "unreasonable" either. Yet you keep claiming that anyone who does is "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable".

"On NON-HISTORICAL questions about God's opinions about behaviors, about tenets, about HUMAN interpretations, do you think we have an objective source for an authoritative answer to these questions?"

Yes.

"If so, please present it, or one of them. Just one."

Why, you've already dismissed anything that anyone might present as "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable". Why would you take anything seriously now when you haven't in the past.

"If not, then we would appear to be in agreement."

Of course, the mighty Dan has decreed that we are in agreement, so to disagree would be "silly", "irrational", and "unreasonable".

But feel free to continue the one way interrogation if you want.

Anonymous said...

"If so, please present it, or one of them. Just one."

Why, you've already dismissed anything that anyone might present as "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable". Why would you take anything seriously now when you haven't in the past.


To make a believable case, that's why. You can't just say, "Yes, I DO have objective source for an authoritative answer on these questions" but then say, "But I'm NOT going to present it because you might make fun of it..."

If I make a claim "I have a blue Honda Fit and I can prove it..." then if anyone is skeptical, all I have to do is present the data that supports and demonstrates I am factually correct. If someone mocks the hard data, well, then clearly they have a problem and that does not concern me as the data is what the data is.

You appear to be making something like a fact claim. Expecting you to defend it or admit that you can't is not an unreasonable expectation. Do you really fear that I will call it unreasonable? Will that hurt your feelings if I do so?

Whatever you present, it's not likely to be in the zone of a legitimate fact-supported offering, but more of a "here's what many people think" kind of "proof," which is, of course, not objective but subjective. But demonstrate that I am mistaken, please.

I honestly want to be corrected IF I am mistaken, but you can't opt out of supporting the claim and expect to have the claim treated as anything but unsupported.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

Of course there is no hard data that demands we take Genesis as myth either. There is no data that suggests that taking Genesis as accurate is "silly", or "irrational" or "unreasonable" either. Yet you keep claiming that anyone who does is "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable".

And that is my opinion, as I have made quite clear. Look, I'm saying that "Genesis is written in a mythic manner by all appearances..." and that this is my opinion, not a fact. I'm just making the counter claim that "to say that Genesis is written as literal history is a fact," is NOT a fact, but an opinion.

Can we agree on that?

Or is it the case that you want MY opinion to be considered an opinion but THE OTHER side's opinion to be considered a fact?

Anonymous said...

As to the repeated "Silly" thing, I have already apologized for using the term "silly" to characterize ideas that I do not find rationally compelling. I've quit using it.

Are you not able or willing to receive an apology and move on?

Embrace grace, brother. Let it go and move on.

~Dan

Craig said...

"As to the repeated "Silly" thing, I have already apologized for using the term "silly" to characterize ideas that I do not find rationally compelling. I've quit using it."

Actually you just substituted "irrational" and "unreasonable" for "silly", which still condescendingly suggest the inherent superiority that your opinions hold in your mind. Beyond that, it is all about making the point that you denigrate any conclusion other than your own, not based on merit, but simply on bias.

"Do you really fear that I will call it unreasonable?"

Not at all, because you already have. I've made various cases to you before, and you've yet to do more than dismiss them. Why should I bother this time?

"Will that hurt your feelings if I do so?"

It doesn't hurt my feelings at all that you've dismissed every other conclusion as "silly", "irrational" or "unreasonable" without providing any substance to your bland dismissal. It does not hurt my feelings at all when you dismiss or ignore the data that people provide you. It does make me wonder why you think anyone would waste time making a case to someone who has already dismissed every other conclusion a priori.

"Whatever you present, it's not likely to be in the zone of a legitimate fact-supported offering,..."

1. Thank you for making my point.
2. If you operated in the realm of fact and not presumption more often things might go better for you.
3. You do realize that you haven't done what you demand that I do in support of your position.

"But demonstrate that I am mistaken, please." "I honestly want to be corrected IF I am mistaken,..."

If the above are true, then you wouldn't have dismissed any other possible alternative as "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable" and made prejudgements based on your biases.

"but you can't opt out of supporting the claim and expect to have the claim treated as anything but unsupported."

Yet you ignore it when I've given support elsewhere, you've dismissed anything I might say before I say it, and you've opted out of supporting your own claims. Why should I care?

"Can we agree on that?"

We can agree that you have said that.

"Or is it the case that you want MY opinion to be considered an opinion but THE OTHER side's opinion to be considered a fact?"

Yet you consider your opinion to be "rational" and "reasonable" while considering others conclusions to be "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable" all while not being able to actually demonstrate that to be fact.

Anonymous said...

you consider your opinion to be "rational" and "reasonable" while considering others conclusions to be "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable" all while not being able to actually demonstrate that to be fact.

Yes, I consider my opinion to be rational. It is rational in that it is "based on or in accordance with reason or logic."

That is, I reason that

1. Genesis is written at a time when historians agree is before a time when literally factual history was passed on and in a time when historians agree (and fundamentalist Christians agree with all other instances of writing) that Creation stories were told in a mythic manner; and
2. The text uses some of the tropes of mythic writing... it reads like other myths; and
3. There is no data that supports a literal reading of the text, that the earth was created in six days about 6,000 years ago, or that there was a great flood that covered all the ground on earth, for instance;

and thus, in accordance to reason and the data, I reason that these early texts are likely written in a mythic manner.

Now, you may disagree with my reasoning, but it is not the case that I have not based my conclusion in accordance with reason or logic.

Now, when others say, IN SPITE of the facts offered (it comes from a pre-modern history time period, that it reads like myth and that a literal factual reading does not align with known scientific data about the age of the earth or basic physics) that Genesis not only seems to them to read like literal history, but that it MUST be taken as literal history, I reason that their conclusion is irrational.

Again, you may disagree with my conclusion and reasoning, but you can't say I didn't use reason to reach my conclusion.

Further, I am being abundantly clear that my opinions are opinions and I'm not insisting on them being taken as facts. I'm not saying that my conclusion is a known fact, only a reasonable conclusion and have given my reasons to demonstrate it. The onus, then, is not on me to prove that my opinions are known facts, since I'm not making that claim.

However, for those who would insist that their opinions are facts and demonstrable, and NOT mere opinions, then the onus is on them to support the claim or, failing that, to be dismissed as unable to support the claim with objective data.

Where am I mistaken in any of that?

~Dan

Craig said...

"Yes, I consider my opinion to be rational."

1. Therefore you conclude that all other opinions are "irrational", without any reference to the content of support for such opinions.
2. The fact that you consider your opinion to be rational does not make it rational.

"Now, you may disagree with my reasoning, but it is not the case that I have not based my conclusion in accordance with reason or logic."

Yet you summarily dismiss all other reasoning as "irrational", "unreasonable", and "silly" without regard to the content or substance.

"Where am I mistaken in any of that?"

You seem to have an almost obsessive desire to insist that others agree with you and to have those who disagree with affirm that you are not mistaken. I find this strange and unsettling.

Craig said...

Dan,

You claim that you want data, that you are prepared to be convinced where you are mistaken, yet your actions of late make that claim seem hollow. In two recent threads you have been provided data that directly contradicts claims of fact that you have made. In one case, you have dismissed it as irrelevant. In the other, you just stopped commenting. These are not the first times you've avoided data that contradicts you, probably won't be the last. Notably, the one thing you haven't done in either case is to refute that data provided, or to provide counter data to support your claims. Given your history, I find no reason to provide data simply because you demand it. There is all sorts of data available from a simple google search, which someone as well educated and well read as you should have no problem with. If not, there are libraries and bookstores which also contain a wealth of sources for data. Given the abundance of options out there I fail to see why I should spoon feed you information (especially given your history).

By all means, keep asking questions, it makes you look humble and full of grace.

Marshall Art said...

"1. Genesis is written at a time when historians agree is before a time when literally factual history was passed on..."

To date, I can only recall one instance where Dan has cited one dude who makes this claim. So "historians" is an assumption at best.

"...and in a time when historians agree (and fundamentalist Christians agree with all other instances of writing) that Creation stories were told in a mythic manner..."

ALL historians and fundamentalist Christians, or merely "some"? And would that be "most" or merely a few? Let's see your polling data.

"2. The text uses some of the tropes of mythic writing... it reads like other myths..."

This assumes "other myths" were written first and not adapting the style of historic reportage of the OT authors. In other words, other "myths" read like the OT texts. What have you got that proves your version?

"3. There is no data that supports a literal reading of the text, that the earth was created in six days about 6,000 years ago, or that there was a great flood that covered all the ground on earth, for instance..."

What data do you have for a literal resurrection of a dead messiah upon which our entire faith is based? I believe, just as with everything in the OT, we only have witness testimony. What data can you provide for proving any supernatural event, which, due to their miraculous nature, are not likely to leave any physical evidence in the first place? By your standards, by your demands, you cannot rationally believe anything about the Christian faith or the existence of God Himself.

"Now, you may disagree with my reasoning, but it is not the case that I have not based my conclusion in accordance with reason or logic."

Your "reason" and "logic" requires that the supernatural or the miraculous cannot happen, which means God played no role in anything and cannot exist. Your own standards dictate that you can't believe in God. That is, unless of course you need to reject aspects of Scripture that are inconvenient to you. But then, you're just subjectively picking and choosing what to believe rather than truly using logic and reason.

Craig said...

"...some of the tropes..."

Just some of them.

Dan Trabue said...

By all means, keep asking questions, it makes you look humble and full of grace.

I believe in most normal circles, politely asking reasonable questions makes you look like you're interested in what the other has to say and in giving them a chance to clarify their position and defend their claims.

On the other hand, insisting that you have hard data and opting out of providing that data, when politely asked, makes it appear that you are unable to defend the claim.

Just for the record.

Dan Trabue said...

This assumes "other myths" were written first and not adapting the style of historic reportage of the OT authors. In other words, other "myths" read like the OT texts. What have you got that proves your version?

? It assumes that one can look and read many stories told from that time period and from different cultures and they all have stories that feature fantastic, not likely literal reports of events happening, explaining how things came to be. In every case except for Genesis, YOU WOULD INSIST that it is mythic storytelling. You make a special case for one text, Genesis. I don't have a "version," I'm just looking at the data and saying, "these all seem to be written in a mythic style, as conservatives would agree in all other cases with the exception of Genesis," there is no "version and has nothing to do with which stories were passed on first.

Not sure of your point.

Your "reason" and "logic" requires that the supernatural or the miraculous cannot happen, which means God played no role in anything and cannot exist. Your own standards dictate that you can't believe in God.

Again, unsure of your point. My reason does not "require" that the supernatural cannot happen. It simply notes that, as we can all see on a daily basis, we don't generally see things that can't be explained. It's not a norm.

Don't know what you're trying to get at. I don't require that supernatural can't happen. I happen to believe it can and has. But, in looking specifically at Genesis, I see no reason to assume it happened when it has more rational, simple and direct explanations. Occam's Razor and all that.

Marshall Art said...

" It assumes that one can look and read many stories told from that time period and from different cultures and they all have stories that feature fantastic, not likely literal reports of events happening, explaining how things came to be."

No. YOU'RE assuming that. More to the point, you NEED it to mean that so that you do not have to risk believing the fantastic...like Christ rising from the dead.

"In every case except for Genesis, YOU WOULD INSIST that it is mythic storytelling. You make a special case for one text, Genesis."

Silly me. I make a special case for the Word of God. What was I thinking? Of COURSE the Bible is the equivalent of every other "holy book" of every other religion of ancient times because they are all equally true. Zeus exists!!!

"I'm just looking at the data and saying, "these all seem to be written in a mythic style, as conservatives would agree in all other cases with the exception of Genesis,""

You can't speak for conservatives because you've demonstrated a complete inability to understand conservatism or conservative Christian thinking. Plus, you don't look at the data. You simply compare writing styles. Actual conservatives and conservative Christians look at that which exists to support the truth claims of any given religion and find nothing that suggests that any but the Judeo-Christian tradition could possibly be true. Do you have any data suggesting that Baal was an actual deity? I'll wait here for your non-answer.

"It simply notes that, as we can all see on a daily basis, we don't generally see things that can't be explained. It's not a norm. "

As we can all see on a daily basis, we don't generally see any reason to believe that God exists. We certainly have nothing that can explain that he does. God IS a supernatural being. By your "logic", we cannot believe He exists because by your "reasoning" there is no way to explain that He could. You have no reason to assume He exists. None whatsoever. Indeed the same "data" you think makes Genesis unlikely makes God even more unlikely. You are worse than Thomas who doubted that Christ rose. You deny Genesis because of your greater faith in imperfect mankind.

Craig said...

"I believe in most normal circles, politely asking reasonable questions makes you look like you're interested in what the other has to say and in giving them a chance to clarify their position and defend their claims."

I guess in your world it's only polite to ask questions, not answer them. So by all means you keep on asking, and I'll keep answering.

I have to note that Dan, whose position is "Opinion is all we have." for some reason feels the need to denigrate the conclusions others reach. You rarely see "Oh, I think that is a mistaken conclusion, and here is the reason why." (followed by evidence). Instead you hear, "You conclusions are "silly","irrational", and "unreasonable". One wonders why the need to be so derogatory, and dismissive. Why it is necessary to demean and denigrate. Why disagreement isn't met with humility and grace. Especially from someone who talks so much about grace, yet shows so little.

Craig said...

"It assumes..."

It assumes numerous things that are not proven.
1. It assumes that the Hebrews were exposed to and influenced by other cultures literary styles.
2. It assumes that the Hebrew culture and means of communicating history were exactly the same as all other cultures.
3. It assumes that cultures of that time period (despite evidence to the contrary) all told history in a mythic style in which accuracy of recording events was not important.
4. It assumes that literary style (myth) dictates content.

Those are all assumptions that would have to be proven for this particular hunch to be credible.

Craig said...

"My reason does not "require" that the supernatural cannot happen. It simply notes that, as we can all see on a daily basis, we don't generally see things that can't be explained. It's not a norm."

which, of course, sets Dan's "Reason" and observations of his tiny slice of the world as the standard by which everything else is extrapolated. This is a common Dan tactic. The "Well my friends..., so therefore...".

Obviously the flaws in this "Reasoning" are;
1. It is subjective and parochial.
2. It relies on bias and assumptions.
3. It places (in this case Dan&co) as the norm by which all else is to be judged.

"I happen to believe it can and has. But, in looking specifically at Genesis, I see no reason to assume it happened when it has more rational, simple and direct explanations."

In other words, it is theoretically possible for supernatural things to happen somewhere at some time, but not when Dan decides there are options that fit better with his worldview.

I just love it when Dan confirms my beliefs about him and his worldview.

Dan Trabue said...

1. It assumes that the Hebrews were exposed to and influenced by other cultures literary styles.

No. It doesn't. Creation myths, for instance, are very similar around the world, from the Americas to Africa to the Middle East. Obviously, we do NOT assume that they were all influenced by each other. Rather, historians assume that this attempt to explain beginnings is a very human trait, common to us all. And, in a pre-scientific world, what you get are creation myths when you explain how things came to be.

So, no, it does not assume that at all. See?

Dan Trabue said...

Obviously the flaws in this "Reasoning" are;
1. It is subjective and parochial.
2. It relies on bias and assumptions.
3. It places (in this case Dan&co) as the norm by which all else is to be judged.


Basing reason on that which we can see is not unique to me, you know.

And no, it relies on data and evidence. YOUR method relies on bias and assumptions. You will have to remember that I started out with the bias that these stories were literal history. Data convinced me otherwise. If one reads Genesis without the traditional bias that this MUST be history, it just simply does not read like history, an unbiased reader would assume that it is mythic/figurative in nature. How do I know this? Because if and when you and conservatives in general read similar material from some other tradition (native American, ancient Japanese, etc), you recognize right away "Oh, this is myth..." It is only the bias/prejudice to assume that Genesis is history that would compel one to insist upon it as literal history.

So, again, if you have hard data to support an insistence upon a literal history take on Genesis, by all means, provide it. In the meantime, you can't not provide data and then insist that we who are looking at the data objectively are the ones relying on bias. That dog just don't hunt.

Dan Trabue said...

In other words, it is theoretically possible for supernatural things to happen somewhere at some time, but not when Dan decides there are options that fit better with his worldview.

Again, remember, my worldview was one prejudiced towards taking these stories literally. You are factually mistaken, Craig. STARTING from the worldview of a "literal Bible," I went where the data led me, contrary to my worldview.

No, I go where the data leads when I find options that are more in fitting with the data, EVEN WHEN it goes against my worldview. From a simply factual history of how things happened for me.

Do you understand the error you've made?

I still allow for mystery, for things that may happen beyond my understanding. I think there is plenty of data to believe in a risen Jesus, for instance. I believe in a God that I can't see, for instance.

What I don't do is start with the presumption, "This story MUST be told in a literal historic manner," and then move on from there (although, I did at one point... and even then, I was led away from it because of my understanding of the Bible and reality). Instead, I seek God in the most reasonable manner I can, recognizing my imperfect understanding.

Would you suggest that we seek God in a biased and unreasonable manner? Relying only upon tradition and what many other people have said as the "authority..."?

Hopefully not.

Dan Trabue said...

I have to note that Dan, whose position is "Opinion is all we have." for some reason feels the need to denigrate the conclusions others reach.

My position is, ON UNPROVABLE MATTERS, opinion is all we have.

Do you disagree? If so, what else do we have on unprovable matters?

Do you disagree with the question of "Should Genesis be taken (or, Does God want us to take Genesis...) as literally factual history or is it more likely mythic in nature?" that the answer is provable?

If so, all you have to do is prove it.

If not, then you are left agreeing with me that the answer to that question must be opinion. Where am I mistaken?

If you are wanting to object, "But not all opinions are equally reasonable..." I would agree. I do not, for instance, think that those who insist upon (and that's key, that they insist upon it as if it were a fact) a literally factual historic Genesis is equally reasonable to the mythic explanation. If that is all you're pointing out, we agree. But then, we disagree as to which explanation is more reasonable and which is less, and there, too, we have subjective opinion.

Where am I mistaken?

"You conclusions are "silly","irrational", and "unreasonable". One wonders why the need to be so derogatory, and dismissive.

As a point of fact, in the real world, my opinion is that those who insist upon a literal Genesis are being less than reasonable. How would you like me to express that? Is being honest ("I find that to be an unreasonable position to take...") wrong somehow? Is that rude?

Is it somehow rude to say "I find that an unreasonable conclusion..." on the one hand, but "If you don't agree with my opinion on this matter, you are not a good Christian... or maybe not a Christian at all... somehow not rude?

Marshall Art said...

"No, I go where the data leads when I find options that are more in fitting with the data..."

You keep saying things like this. But it is self-contradictory. If you believe there is data to support a belief in a risen Christ, then it must lead you to believe more of what you have rejected about the OT, since Christ and His life on earth has a direct connection of the all the OT claims happened since the time of Genesis. In short, it's a case of YOU doing the cherry-picking to relieve yourself of the obligation to accept that which you find inconvenient or personal repellent.

And again, you believe in God based one what data exactly? And how can you resolve the existence of God versus your belief that He didn't or couldn't create all things in 6 days only 6000 or so years ago? Partly, you base this on the imperfect abilities of imperfect mankind who come to conclusions mankind has absolutely no ability to prove. Thus, you have more faith in the ability of mankind than you do in the ability of a Supreme Being for Whom you have no data to support your belief. Talk about holes or flaws in logic!!

Dan Trabue said...

If you believe there is data to support a belief in a risen Christ, then it must lead you to believe more of what you have rejected about the OT, since Christ and His life on earth has a direct connection of the all the OT claims happened since the time of Genesis.

Why? Says who? What data/information "must lead" me to believe what does not appear to be reasonable or biblical to me?

What "direct connection" does Jesus have to Adam/Eve, Noah and Moses that demands their stories must be literally factual?

You have nothing but a claim, Marshall.

you believe in God based one what data exactly?

Many things, but for starters, the notion that nothing can from nothing (reasonably and scientifically speaking). Something has to come from Something. I believe the best, reasonable answer is that all of everything did not come from nothing, but from a Creator God.

Reasonable? Seems so to me.

And how can you resolve the existence of God versus your belief that He didn't or couldn't create all things in 6 days only 6000 or so years ago?

I don't believe God "couldn't" create all things in six days, 6,000 years ago. I believe that he didn't because why would God create things and then give them the false appearance of being billions of years old and create physics problems that can't be solved based on a six day, 6,000 year old earth. Given that, what is the most reasonable/simplest response? That these stories are not intended to be taken as a literal history, but are written more in the style of the day, more of a mythic explanation.

But with a much older creation, we are still left with the scientific/rational problem... But where did everything come from? Nothing?? That's not rationally or scientifically possible. Thus, God.

I resolve it like that. Reasonable, yes?

Partly, you base this on the imperfect abilities of imperfect mankind who come to conclusions mankind has absolutely no ability to prove. Thus, you have more faith in the ability of mankind than you do in the ability of a Supreme Being for Whom you have no data to support your belief. Talk about holes or flaws in logic!!

No, if I had faith in conclusions of mankind, I'd blindly accept the traditions of my youth. I just don't think the data supports that conclusion any more and I don't think it is reasonable to insist that the Bible insists upon it, when clearly, factually, it doesn't.

Marshall Art said...

"What "direct connection" does Jesus have to Adam/Eve, Noah and Moses that demands their stories must be literally factual?"

So much for that serious and prayerful study, eh Dan? Paul speaks directly to this very question. Do some real study.

"I believe that he didn't because why would God create things and then give them the false appearance of being billions of years old and create physics problems that can't be solved based on a six day, 6,000 year old earth."

You seem to believe He did that with intent, whereas I assume imperfect man has not been able to resolve what appears to him to be a creation older than it might be. In short, that ain't on God...that's on you and your science gods. Shorter still, just because science thinks creation is older than what the Bible suggests doesn't mean science is right and the Bible is wrong. As to the physics problem, such exists for every miracle and supernatural event, such as the something from nothing that you believe proves the existence of God.

"I resolve it like that. Reasonable, yes?"

In your cherry-picked way, perhaps. But not with your entire philosophy. You use the argument atheists criticize..."God did it"...when it suits you, but then dismiss God's ability when dealing with Genesis. The point is that neither is scientifically rational, be it God's existence, or the Biblical version of the creation event. You accept one scientifically irrational possibility, but absolutely reject any suggestion of the other.

Craig said...

"So, no, it does not assume that at all. See?"

As long as your evidence that the Hebrew creation account is a myth, is that some other creation accounts are myths then sure it does. Or I guess it could be argued that it assumes that all early cultures reacted the same way.

"Basing reason on that which we can see is not unique to me, you know."

No, but limiting what you base your "Reason" on the your personal experience and the experience of your small circle of friends is unique to you. Extrapolating your persona' experience or that of your small group of friends out to encompass large swaths of various groups is unique to you. That still doesn't eliminate the subjective nature of your "Reason".

" YOUR method relies on bias and assumptions."

As long as you assert this, then it must be true. Despite your lack of evidence.

"You will have to remember that I started out with the bias that these stories were literal history. Data convinced me otherwise."

I guess if you consider "Genesis reads like myth to me (Dan)" as data than sure. Personally I'd prefer something a little more substantial and less subjective.

"How do I know this?"

1. Are you now asserting that you "know" Genesis is myth?
2. Have you changed your position again?
3. Is it possible to "know" anything?

"Because if and when you and conservatives in general read similar material from some other tradition (native American, ancient Japanese, etc), you recognize right away "Oh, this is myth..." It is only the bias/prejudice to assume that Genesis is history that would compel one to insist upon it as literal history."

Wow, you really must think that you can make these sweeping generalized assumptions with no proof and that just makes them true.

"So, again, if you have hard data to support an insistence upon a literal history take on Genesis, by all means, provide it."

1. Why would I provide more data to someone who has a history of ignoring any data that doesn't fit his preconceptions?
2. Why would I provide more data to someone who has already dismissed any data I would provide as "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable"?
3. My position is that I agree with the majority view of historic Orthodox Christian theology and scholarship. I'm not the one making a case for a new, unique, subjective, and contrary position.
4. You presume that since your position is the "rational", reasonable" and not "silly" position you have no need to provide evidence for your position. Why are you exempt from providing evidence for your position.

Craig said...

"Do you understand the error you've made?"

I see no error. You've made it quite clear that while you believe in the theoretical possibility of supernatural activity, that you are going to decide whether of not the supernatural activities described in the OT are real or myth based on your subjective evaluation of whether or not you think they make sense to you.

"Would you suggest that we seek God in a biased and unreasonable manner? Relying only upon tradition and what many other people have said as the "authority..."?"

These are incredibly stupid and condescending questions. But, in the interest of maintaining integrity and of using the example of my actions to point out the differences in how we respond to questions, I will answer them.

No I would not, nor have I ever suggested anything similar to your gross mis characterization.

"Do you disagree? If so, what else do we have on unprovable matters?"

I'm not the one who keeps insisting that opinion is all we have. But, ultimately the problem with your question is your presumption that you can accurately identify what matters are objectively unprovable. Given the lack of specificity as to which matters you are referring to, as well as your unreasonable standard of proof, I don't know what to say.

"Do you disagree with the question of "Should Genesis be taken (or, Does God want us to take Genesis...) as literally factual history or is it more likely mythic in nature?" that the answer is provable?"

I think that there is ample proof available to back up the historic Orthodox Christian teaching that Genesis records literal events in an accurate manner. If you don't want to peruse it or wish to discount it as "silly", "irrational" or "unreasonable" without examining it then the problem is with you for your bias, not with the lack of evidence.

"If not, then you are left agreeing with me that the answer to that question must be opinion. Where am I mistaken?"

Where you are mistaken is when you presume that your dismissal of thousands of years of Jewish and Christian scholarship and study as "silly", "irrational", and "unreasonable" simply because it disagrees with you does not mean that there is no evidence, it means that you have chosen to dismiss it. Do you not see the difference?

"As a point of fact, in the real world, my opinion is that those who insist upon a literal Genesis are being less than reasonable. How would you like me to express that?"

In a way that is not presumptions, arrogant, and dismissive. In a way that doesn't indicate that you feel qualified to pass judgment on thousands of years of study and scholarship by experts in the field. In a way that doesn't demean and dismiss vast quantities of evidence based on your own subjective personal mystery criteria.

"Is being honest ("I find that to be an unreasonable position to take...") wrong somehow? Is that rude?"

It's dismissive, demeaning and lacking in humility and grace.

"Is it somehow rude to say "I find that an unreasonable conclusion..." on the one hand, but "If you don't agree with my opinion on this matter, you are not a good Christian... or maybe not a Christian at all... somehow not rude?"

I've never said that you are not a Christian. So why ask me?

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, almost everything that you wrote about what my position is is simply mistaken. And I simply do not have the time to correct every single mistake in your assumptions and presumptions and claims.

From the first paragraph you wrote where you seem to disagree with what historians reason, then seem to come around to agreeing... I'm not sure what you're saying there. And your second paragraph your perceptions about my presumptions are just mistaken.

I just do not have time.

Craig said...

That's surprising that someone who is so callous about misrepresenting the views of others is so concerned when he suspects others do the same. I'm not surprised to see you disengage with this excuse, it's becoming common. It's obviously much easier to blame others without actually providing specifics, while avoiding and dodging multiple questions you've been asked, rather than to deal in specific problems.

I can only hope that this means I am done with the one sided answering of questions you've asked.

While I understand that time commitment required to continuously answer all of your questions, yet in the interests of my personal integrity I have committed to take whatever time is necessary to answer all of the questions you have asked. I also understand your unwillingness to invest the time necessary to engage in a two way back and forth conversation where each side both asks and answers questions. I also understand the difficulty you might be having in providing evidence to support your claims and how it must seem easier to disengage rather than to do so. I can certainly see how it is easier to dismiss data contrary to ones preconceptions than it is to provide data to support ones hunches.

Once again, I will repeat. You do what you think you have to do in order to maintain your self respect. I stand ready to continue to answer your questions to whatever extent is necessary, while giving you the time and grace to respond or not, to answer or not, on whatever time frame suits your schedule.

In short, I understand and am not surprised by your response.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, it's not an "excuse." It's just the reality of the situation. When you answer with dozens of paragraphs and there are errors in each paragraph - sometimes multiple ones - and those comments themselves were in response to previous errors you made! - the how can we ever catch up to a place of reasonable conversation? I do not have unlimited time.

I suspect that if we were ever together in person, it would become easier and more do-able. But as it is now, almost literally ever paragraph above in your previous two comments has an error or errors and I just can't wade through them all. I hope you can see my position and that it is only reasonable. If not, c'est la vie.

Just to point out the first two paragraphs and the errors...

Paragraph 1. As long as your evidence that the Hebrew creation account is a myth, is that some other creation accounts are myths then sure it does. Or I guess it could be argued that it assumes that all early cultures reacted the same way.

So, here, you begin by repeating an error that I had just clarified, then you ended with... "or maybe it could be argued..." which I what I had just said. Yes, it can and IS argued and thus, your original premise was mistaken. But there's no admission of the mistake or apparent acknowledgment that you understand where you erred... unless that final "I guess it could be argued..." is your way of admitting the mistake, but even that's not clear.

Paragraph 2. limiting what you base your "Reason" on the your personal experience and the experience of your small circle of friends is unique to you. Extrapolating your persona' experience or that of your small group of friends out to encompass large swaths of various groups is unique to you.

Clearly, I do NOT base my reason only on my personal experience. Rather, I quite literally am limiting my reason to the facts I know. WHAT ELSE could I - or anyone - base their reason on? That which they do not know? This line of reasoning makes no sense.

Clearly, I was a biblical literalist in the sense that fundamentalists mean it. I believed in a literal Genesis. BUT, I did not limit my base of reasoning ONLY to fellow fundamentalists/conservatives, but looked at all the data and the more I did that, the less reasonable a literal Genesis became. But it wasn't because I was limiting to only what I knew and those around me agreed with, but on all the data I had access to.

Clearly then, your claim that I am limiting my reasoning to only my personal experience is a false claim, not ever anything that I said or suggested or that anyone should extrapolate from my words.

That's two paragraphs that had fundamentally false/bad understandings of my actual points, diametrically opposed to reality. I can't go on doing this comment after comment, correcting each and every mistake you are making when you are making so many.

Do you see now the error or confusion in these first two paragraphs?

If so, MAYBE there'd be just cause for me to attempt to deal with the others, but if not... if they only generate more false conclusions on your part... where would it end?

Craig said...

Paragraph 1. What you call an "error" is simply pointing out the flaw on your presumption. Your problem is that you assume a position (that the Hebrew creation stories are myth, because other creation stories are myth) without adequate justification for your assumption, then you assert that anything disagreeing with your presumption is an "error" while never having proven your beginning premise. My statement could be in error if, and only if< you original presumption is demonstrated to be correct. Since you haven't proven your premise, then anything arising from that premise is suspect. If you were as concerned with providing proof for your premise as you are with dismissing other data, you might be more successful.

Paragraph 2. If one actually reads your words, the it is clear that you base your "Reason" on personal experience. The only justification you have offered is the "Genesis sounds like myth to you.", as long as all you have is how it sounds to you, then what else is that except personal perception?

"Rather, I quite literally am limiting my reason to the facts I know. WHAT ELSE could I - or anyone - base their reason on?"

And thank you for making my point. You are limiting yourself to the "facts" with "you know", with no reference to any other possible conclusions out there. Not because you have carefully evaluated those conclusions and researched them, but because you dismiss them as "silly", "irrational" and "unreasonable".

"That which they do not know?"

If you don't know what contrary evidence exists and dismiss any possible contrary conclusion as "silly", "irrational", and "unreasonable", then how can you make such claims about the "facts you know", while simply dismissing all other conclusions.

"Clearly then, your claim that I am limiting my reasoning to only my personal experience is a false claim, not ever anything that I said or suggested or that anyone should extrapolate from my words."

I just look at the words you use and apply the common English definitions and rules of grammar and syntax to them and conclude the you mean what you say. Maybe the problem is poor word choice on your part.

"Do you see now the error or confusion in these first two paragraphs?"

Nope, as I've explained.

"... where would it end?"

I'm not sure, but I'll bet it ends with you misrepresenting my positions, asking the same questions over and over again in the same comment, finding reasons to abandon the conversation while leaving much unaddressed and many questions unanswered.

I'm pretty sure it will not end with my refusal to answer your questions.

Craig said...

It also might end with you not allowing any more comments on this thread also.

Dan Trabue said...

After about 3 weeks, blogger is set to stop posting comments (requiring that I approve them at that point). This is so I don't get spam without noticing it on old posts and thus, necessary. A side effect is it is giving me a chance to see if someone is posting anything new and worthwhile to the conversation. For those just repeating what they've already said or otherwise not contributing positive comments, I do not feel compelled to post it.

If, after three weeks, you want to post something new on an old post, all you have to do is post a reasonable comment and I will publish it, as I nearly always do.

Beyond that, you continue to just miss the actual point I'm making and I can't spend the rest of my life continuing to try to help you understand.

If outsiders reading the blog (and I have friends and others who read and don't comment) tell me that they're not understanding my point, then I would feel compelled to keep trying to explain. But when it seems limited to a few conservative commenters who, for whatever reason, do not appear to be able to understand, I can only repeat clarifications for so long.

So, you are always welcome to comment and I almost always let those posts stand, but I may well get to where I give up on trying to communicate to you.

If you'd like to go back to my last clarification and see if you can understand it and let me know when that happens, I'll be glad to continue with others. But if you can't understand (and quite literally, no, you don't, not based on what you've repeated back about what you're understanding) this one point after repeated clarifications, I just don't know what else to do.

Craig said...

The only commitment I've made is to continue to answer all the questions you asked. I've done this because my integrity is valuable to me and it has the side benefit of demonstrating the stark difference between how the two of us respond to questions as well as how we respond when things get difficult.

So, you do what ever you want in order to preserve your perception of yourself. Assign responsibility in whatever way you choose in order to help yourself feel as good as possible about your self. It makes little difference to me and only serves as an additional illustration of your consistency.

I simply wanted to make it clear that I stand ready to continue to answer your questions and engage to whatever level you wish to.

Dan Trabue said...

Fine, answer these questions about your claim:

I mean that there are things in the Bible that are objectively true and that those things can be known.

Do you think that it is objectively true and that you can "know" that Genesis should be taken as literally factual history?

Do you think that it is objectively true and that you can "know" that God wants us to believe the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice?

If so, please provide data that definitively proves your belief. On either case.

Craig said...

"Do you think that it is objectively true and that you can "know" that Genesis should be taken as literally factual history?"

I agree with the conclusions drawn by scholars and theologians for the last several thousand years that Genesis can be taken as an accurate representation of actual events that actually happened.

"Do you think that it is objectively true and that you can "know" that God wants us to believe the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice?"

I agree with the conclusions drawn by scholars and theologians for the last several thousand years that the Orthodox Christian view of the authority of God as expressed through His word contained in scripture is sufficient.

"If so, please provide data that definitively proves your belief. On either case."

Given your a priori dismissal of any data that I could provide as well as your refusal to search the data that is freely available to you as well as you oft stated biases and preconceptions, as well as your denigration of any conclusion except your own as "silly", "irrational", or "unreasonable", I see no value in investing my time in such a fruitless enterprise as trying to meet your unreasonable subjective standard of proof.

So, once again, your questions are answered, mine are not and you've demonstrated your lack of grace. Well done.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, you quite literally did not answer any of the questions I asked. If I had asked you "do you agree with Scholars who think that we can know XY and z?" then you would have answered that question. However, that is not the question I asked.

Would you like to try again?

Craig said...

No, I quite literally did answer the questions. I may not have answered them in the way you would have preferred, but I did answer them. I chose to answer them is specific language so as to avoid your attempt to bet the answer that you wanted as opposed to the answer that accurately expressed my position. I apologize if my desire to accurately communicate my position is problematic for you. The problem I have is that I find it pointless and ridiculous to separate the conclusions I have drawn from the centuries of scholarship that have already been engaged in. I stand as part of the historic mainstream of Orthodox Christian thought and scholarship, and see no point in reinventing the wheel.

In much the same way that you suggest that data that you are not familiar with either doesn't exist or is not data, your insistence that answers that aren't what you want are not actually answers. The reality is that I have answered, and there is data with which you are unaware or unwilling to acknowledge. In either case, the problem is yours, not mine.

The problem you continue to have with my position is that your summary dismissal of centuries of scholarship and study as "silly", "irrational", and "unreasonable" cannot be objectively proven correct, which causes you to demand something which you cannot provide for your own position.

I'm truly sorry that you content yourself with mere opinion and draw satisfaction from your human Reason.

I just don't see how it moves anything forward to accede to your unsupported presumptions and summary dismissal of any data contrary to your opinion.

Unfortunately, your recent behavior regarding data unfavorable to your preconception just reinforces my conclusion that offering you additional data is simply an exercise in futility.

But, by all means, continue to ask questions. Seeing the contrast is always interesting.

Dan Trabue said...

Look, like this:

Q: Dan, do you think your car is a dark blue Honda?

Dan: Yes, I know it is, objectively so.

Q: Prove it.

Dan: Here is a photo of the car, taken with no alterations to it. Here is the sales receipt that lists the car as a Blue Honda. Here is the car itself, and you can see yourself that it is, indeed, dark blue and has all the markings of a Honda. If you take the VIN off the car and check gov't records, you will be able to verify that it is, indeed, a dark blue Honda.

Q: Pffft! That's just silly! VIN?! As if we could trust that? And looking at it? That's not any kind of hard proof!

Dan: Yes, yes it is. It's hard, verifiable, objective data. Ask any reasonable person (and not only a few who have an agenda against blue Hondas, but any rational person without an agenda) and you will get the same, objective answer.

Like that.

Now, if you provide a transcript from God and notarized by a reliable authority that, indeed, your hunch IS correct and or God appears with you to tell me that Yes, God DOES want us to take Genesis literally and to affirm Sola Scriptura, then it does not matter if I laugh at it or not, it's hard objective data. Period.

Hard, objective data stands up to scrutiny and even mocking. Those who mock objective data are the ones who make fools of themselves.

Provide hard, objective data and even if I mock it (and I won't), then I'd only be making a fool of myself.

Or quit saying that you're answering all the questions asked of you.

Now, I'm not asking if you think Sola Scriptura is "sufficient" or if many scholars that already agree with your particular traditions think that it is "reliable." I'm asking you to support or clarify some specifics about what you claimed: That many theories about the Bible does or does not say are objectively right and we can "know" they are right...

I'm asking can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history?

Can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to affirm Sola Scriptura?

Can you answer those questions? And if you say yes, please provide the proof so I, too, can "know" "objectively" what you may be claiming to "know."

Or perhaps we've just gotten too caught up in the heat of the moment and clearly, no, you do not think that we can objectively know God's opinions about those topics and you're glad to take a breath, step back and clarify, "No, we can't know objectively God's opinion on those topics..."

Craig said...

"Like that."

thank you for once again demonstrating my point. You demand that questions be answered in the particular way that you prefer them to be and deny that any other possibility constitutes an answer. If the entire world revolved around your and your desires this might be a reasonable standard to hold, but alas it does not. The further problem with your example, is that if I was to take your lead my response would essentially be that I consider your conclusions to be "silly", "irrational", and "unreasonable" simply because they do not agree with my conclusions.

You fail to realize that my reluctance to get into providing "proof" or "data" is not because there is nothing to provide, it is because you have already dismissed it, and eliminated it from consideration. Why would I engage in anything with someone who has already dismissed any possible evidence that is contrary to his opinions and who has shown a pattern of ignoring evidence that contradicts his positions?

"Or quit saying that you're answering all the questions asked of you."

I could, but that would be a false statement. It would also minimize the difference between the number of questions I have answered from you as compared to the number you have answered.

"I'm asking can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history?"

Yes, I (and the vast majority of Christian scholars and theologians) believe this to be the case.

"Can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to affirm Sola Scriptura?"

I have never made the claim that I can objectively know what God wants. I would make the claim that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a Biblical doctrine and that it is the doctrine that most closely describes the Biblical position. I've never suggested this doctrine is mandatory for salvation because I don't know. I'm sure this answer will annoy you, but that can't be helped. When you ask questions that presume that I am advocating a position that I am not advocating, I would be foolish to simply go along with your false premise.

"Can you answer those questions?"

"And if you say yes, please provide the proof so I, too, can "know" "objectively" what you may be claiming to "know.""

I have given you multiple answers explaining why your dismissal of any possible evidence I would provide would make trying to comply with your statement an incredibly foolish waste of time on my part. So while my personal sense of integrity demands that I continue to answer your questions (as I have been), that does not extent into a lengthy off topic discussion of "proof" that you have already established that you have already dismissed. There is ample opportunity for you to do this research on your own without demanding that I spoon feed you proof, that you will dismiss. Had you not shown this tendency to dismiss and ignore data that doesn't support your preconceptions, I might be interested. But, unfortunately, your recent behavior demonstrates otherwise.

"Or perhaps we've just gotten too caught up in the heat of the moment..."

Just one more example of you making presumptions and assumptions rather than dealing with reality.


Craig said...

Part of the problem that vexes you so, is your unwillingness to acknowledge that my unwillingness to engage in a fruitless activity indicates my inability to do so. This is, as I have explained earlier, a false premise.

An additional part of the problem that vexes you so, is your unwillingness to admit that your own attitude and behavior have repercussions in terms of how others choose to deal with you.

Dan Trabue said...

Part of the problem that vexes you so, is your unwillingness to acknowledge that my unwillingness to engage in a fruitless activity indicates my inability to do so. This is, as I have explained earlier, a false premise.

As always, false premise on your part. I am not vexed by your unwillingness to answer a reasonable question (in spite of assurances that you'll answer all questions) nor do I think it indicates you are unable to do so. I think you are unable to do so because, IF the ability to do so were out there, SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF history would have offered definitive proof to demonstrate once and for all the answers to these sorts of questions. That NO ONE ever has done so, THAT is why I think are unable to answer the questions. I just don't think you have some special wealth of arcane knowledge never before revealed to humanity.

Understand?

Dan Trabue said...

Re: "As Always..." I should have said, "as is so often the case..."

Dan Trabue said...

You demand that questions be answered in the particular way that you prefer them to be and deny that any other possibility constitutes an answer.

Not at all, you misunderstand/misrepresent reality again.

If someone makes a claim and I ask for clarification by asking a specific question then I only expect that they will either answer the specific question OR admit that they can't answer that question and explain why. I don't expect that they would answer another question and insist that they answered the first question, which they didn't.

This is how conversations work, man.

"Can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to affirm Sola Scriptura?"

I have never made the claim that I can objectively know what God wants.


Which is why I asked. I did not say that you said this. Instead, you offered the theory that we can "objectively" "know" some things in the Bible and you did so on a post where I had offered five specific instances in dealing with these false claims to "know" "objectively" unprovable ideas. And so, it was reasonable to ask, "So, are you saying that you can "know" about God's opinion about SS?"

Fair enough?

I would make the claim that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a Biblical doctrine and that it is the doctrine that most closely describes the Biblical position.

But just to be clear: It most closely describes the Biblical position in your subjective opinion, correct?

Dan Trabue said...

"I'm asking can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history?"

Yes, I (and the vast majority of Christian scholars and theologians) believe this to be the case.


1. That is an appeal to numbers (a logical fallacy)

2. That is an unsupported claim. I rather doubt that you can support it. I do not know that this is true and rather doubt it. But, if you can provide support for THIS claim, please do so.

3. If it is demonstrably and objectively true, the case could be made and seen by ALL observers, not just a portion who want to believe it.

4. If you want to appeal to numbers, I'd say the vast majority of scholars (not just conservative/traditional Christian scholars - and thus, "vaster" than your appeal to numbers) do not believe that Genesis could possibly be literal history.

that does not extent into a lengthy off topic discussion of "proof" that you have already established that you have already dismissed.

I'm not sure what you're saying here, but if you're just pointing out the reality that I am familiar with many/most of the arguments made by conservatives/fundamentalists about Sola Scriptura or a literal Genesis and find those unsupported claims to be not compelling, well, it is true. I find the claims I've heard and read to be not compelling. IF it were an objective fact, however, it could be demonstrated and I WOULD have to agree, because, well, objective facts are objective facts.

You can not present objective facts that demonstrate that God wants us to take Genesis literally or that God wants us to affirm SS. You just can't because, as I said, no one ever has in all of history and I just doubt that you're going to do so now because of some new evidence. BUT, I can always be convinced by demonstrable facts and I do not dismiss demonstrable facts (because, facts) ever.

So, present facts or admit reality.

Craig said...

"I think you are unable to do so because, IF the ability to do so were out there, SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE IN ALL OF history would have offered definitive proof to demonstrate once and for all the answers to these sorts of questions. That NO ONE ever has done so, THAT is why I think are unable to answer the questions. I just don't think you have some special wealth of arcane knowledge never before revealed to humanity."

Impressive, you are once again claiming that you are able to make definitive statements about what NO ONE IN THE ENTIRE COURSE OF HISTORY has done. But, no hubris here, right?

"Understand?"

That you are making claims you can't back up, yes I do. That you are suggesting that your experience defines all of human history, yes.

"Re: "As Always..." I should have said, "as is so often the case...""

As is so often the case, you have once again misspoken. At least this time you corrected yourself.

"If someone makes a claim and I ask for clarification by asking a specific question then I only expect that they will either answer the specific question OR admit that they can't answer that question and explain why. I don't expect that they would answer another question and insist that they answered the first question, which they didn't."

Yet, i have answered the specific questions. Of course I gave you my answer, not the one you wanted.

"This is how conversations work, man."

Really, conversation works by ignoring questions, and dismissing things that don't conform to your preconceptions?

"Fair enough?"

You asked, I answered. I asked, you didn't.

"But just to be clear: It most closely describes the Biblical position in your subjective opinion, correct?"

No, if one literally looks at the claims made in the Bible as well as the specifics of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, there is ample evidence to conclude that the sola scriptura construct most closely expresses what the Biblical authors communicated.

Craig said...

1. No it's not an appeal to numbers, it's a statement of fact. How is an appeal to numbers a "logical fallacy" when others do it, but not when you do it?
2. Really, you are unaware of the fact that the historic view of genesis has been the predominant view throughout Church history? Perhaps when you support your claims, I might be motivated to demonstrate the obvious.
3. If you really want to go down this road, that's fine. The problem is you just completely undermined your whole entire "Overtly clear and obvious Biblical (at least to Dan) teachings" argument. Which has been my point ever since you made that ridiculous claim.
4. OK, so you are now going to do two things you complain that I will not do. a) appeal to numbers b) not provide proof of your claim. But it's a "logical fallacy" when I do it, par for the course when you do it.

Craig said...

http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/pre-modern-readings-of-genesis-1-part-1

One brief overview of how Genesis was viewed throughout Church history.

I note that it focuses on 4 statements as being the key to Genesis.

First, the world is created. In other words, the world is not eternal; it has a beginning and an end.
Second, God created the world.
Third, God created the world from nothing. This is the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo.
Fourth, the Creator is also Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I would suggest that if one cannot accept those four statements as expressing the Truth about the creation story, then any further speculation is pointless.

If one posits a God who could have created in the manner described in Genesis, but did not do so, then one simply places their own view of what makes the most sense over all others and attempts to limit the power of God.

In the absence of "overtly clear and obvious Biblical teaching" demanding that Genesis by taken as myth (which clearly does not exist), then to dismiss out of hand the possibility simply based on human feelings makes no sense. Saying, "God could have, but didn't." is simply the creation attempting to limit the creator.

In closing. From here on out I will gladly, in the interest of integrity, answer specific direct questions in the shortest most specific and direct manner I can.

But, given your clear and unambiguous dismissal of even the possible existence of any evidence that argues against your presumption, let alone your recent behavior of ignoring or changing the subject when data shows your opinions to be less than correct. I see no value on doing research that you are more than capable of doing yourself. This coupled with your unwillingness to consider the part played by your attitudes in my reluctance to engage in a process that you have predetermined to be pointless, should be explanation enough for my actions. If you wish to ignore my clearly stated and supported reasons for this and continue to ascribe other motives for my actions, I cannot stop you. I can suggest that to repeatedly engage in putting forth falsehood is not an indication of grace.

Anonymous said...

First, the world is created. In other words, the world is not eternal; it has a beginning and an end.
Second, God created the world.
Third, God created the world from nothing. This is the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo.
Fourth, the Creator is also Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I would suggest that if one cannot accept those four statements as expressing the Truth about the creation story, then any further speculation is pointless.


1. Having read through your link, I do not think that it is definitely saying what you think it is saying. They keep emphasizing how ancient folk took the text literally and figuratively.

To assume that there is only one singular correct meaning of Scripture is in essence to “box God in” or offend the absolute sovereignty of God—namely, limiting what God may teach or say through God’s own very Word. Hence, from very early on in the Church’s history, the church held that Scripture has literal and spiritual meanings. The late-2nd / early 3rd-century church father Origen, for one, was a keen proponent of the spiritual reading of Scripture. He maintained that Genesis 1 has both a literal meaning and a spiritual or allegorical meaning.

For instance. I'm not certain that the author of the article or the handful of ancients she speaks of insist upon the point in question,
"I'm asking can we objectively KNOW that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history?"

Yes, I (and the vast majority of Christian scholars and theologians) believe this to be the case.


This article does not make the case that "the vast majority of Christian scholars" believe that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history. So, I repeat again, I don't believe that this is likely true and I don't believe you can validate your presumption.

To quote again your source, "To assume that there is only one singular correct meaning of Scripture is in essence to “box God in” or offend the absolute sovereignty of God—namely, limiting what God may teach or say through God’s own very Word."

2. While I personally may hold the opinion that those four points are true, there is no scientific consensus that supports the claim that this is a objective fact (measurable, provable, demonstrable).

A. Science and the data would certainly agree that the earth or the universe is not eternal, it is finite. No problem there. That is demonstrable.

B. But the world is "created..." by "God..."? I just don't know that the data supports that as a fact. I certainly agree with the rational notion that nothing can come from nothing, and I can reason that, therefore, there was a Creator, I don't know that this is demonstrable via science. Certainly it is not casually accepted perforce in the scientific community.

C. Certainly, there is no hard data to support a claim that a supposed Creator must be Triune in nature. That is a human theory and opinion, not a demonstrable fact.

~Dan

Anonymous said...

But really, given your words, none of this matters. I just am really doubting your ability to distinguish between subjective opinion and demonstrable fact. When I asked you to clarify about your opinion

"But just to be clear: It most closely describes the Biblical position in your subjective opinion, correct?"

You said...

No, if one literally looks at the claims made in the Bible as well as the specifics of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, there is ample evidence to conclude that the sola scriptura construct most closely expresses what the Biblical authors communicated.

That is, I asked you directly to clarify that your stated opinion IS a matter of your subjective opinion, not a demonstrable fact. You responded, clearly, "NO."

Craig, if you are unable to distinguish between fact and opinion, IF you conflate your hunches and personal subjective opinion to be the demanded upon Word of God with no room for disagreement on your opinion's "fact" status, you are just confused. Seriously.

So, by all means, clarify and let me know that you didn't mean to conflate your personal subjective opinion with God's Word or Fact. But if you do, well, I think we're done here.

That conservative/fundamentalist types so often seem to have a problem with this is concerning.

I'll cite some recent research that may help...

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/6892:the-republican-brain-why-even-educated-conservatives-deny-science--and-reality

"I can still remember when I first realized how na├»ve I was in thinking—hoping—that laying out the “facts” would suffice to change politicized minds, and especially Republican ones. It was a typically wonkish, liberal revelation: One based on statistics and data. Only this time, the data were showing, rather awkwardly, that people ignore data and evidence—and often, knowledge and education only make the problem worse..."

While this particular article is speaking primarily about global climate change, it touches on the research that shows that conservative types are able to reject demonstrable data in favor of human opinion and appear to not understand the difference between the two.

If you are unable to distinguish between your opinion in the question above and fact, perhaps you would benefit from some research on this phenomena.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I will point out your words...

I would suggest that if one cannot accept those four statements as expressing the Truth about the creation story, then any further speculation is pointless.


...which seem to support this. You appear to be saying that unless someone agrees with your religiously-held presumptions and personal biases, that further speculation is pointless. As if discussion outside of your personal circle of people who agree with you is not going to lead to truth or facts.

This gets back to the idea of peer reviewed scrutiny and objectivity. A fact is a fact that is demonstrable to all, regardless of personal biases and religious preferences. If you are able to cite a long list of "scholars" BUT with the caveat that they are only scholars from your particular belief system, that is not peer-review, that is an echo chamber.

Craig said...

"You appear to be saying that unless someone agrees with your religiously-held presumptions and personal biases, that further speculation is pointless"

Sorry, probably poorly worded on my part. I'm approaching this from the standpoint of having some sort of common starting point. I'm suggesting that if those 4 points cannot be agreed on, then the issue of the accuracy of Genesis becomes a moot point. I'm not saying that failure to agree on those points eliminates discussion, (as opposed to your dismissal of any position at odds with yours), but that requires a different discussion. In other words, if someone denies the existence of God, then the starting point is not with the accuracy of Genesis, it is with the existence of God. I apologize for not being as clear as I should have been.

"This gets back to the idea of peer reviewed scrutiny and objectivity."

Oh, you mean the conversation you abandoned as the data suggesting that your blind faith in "peer review" was perhaps misplaced? The discussion where you couldn't even be bothered to disagree with the data provided, let alone provide anything that refutes the data? You mean the conversation to which I have been referring for multiple comments as part of the reason why I choose not to provide you more data to ignore? That conversation?

"A fact is a fact that is demonstrable to all, regardless of personal biases and religious preferences."

Given the existence of people who deny that the Holocaust took place, this statement is simply rdidculous o it's face.

"If you are able to cite a long list of "scholars" BUT with the caveat that they are only scholars from your particular belief system, that is not peer-review, that is an echo chamber."

Since I have not been making the argument that requires only scholars from my belief system, this is not a concern.

You seem to have a difficult time understanding what I have been saying, and given the fact that you continuously ignore my actual words in favor of your own made up theories, I despair of you ever coming to grips with the reality of the situation.

Again, I apologize for my poorly worded comment earlier and hope that you can find the Grace to accept my apology and explanation

.

Craig said...

1. Then you misunderstand my point. I am not, nor have I ever suggested that there are both accurate representations of history as well as more figurative and spiritual passages as well. The article does support my contention that the early Church did take Genesis to be an accurate representation of events.

"This article does not make the case that "the vast majority of Christian scholars" believe that God wants us to take Genesis as literal history..."

Nor did I, I only meant to show you that this view of Genesis has a historical basis in the earliest of Church history. It was also intended to demonstrate that there is data available to you that you don't need me to spoon feed you.

2. Be that as it may, you cannot offer the level of proof you demand. As I said in my explanation. Disagreement on those 4 statements doesn't preclude conversation, it necessitates a different conversation.

A. The demonstrate it.
B. Again, that is a different conversation.
C. Once again, a different conversation.

But by all means feel free to deny Trinitarian Theism of you like.

"That is, I asked you directly to clarify that your stated opinion IS a matter of your subjective opinion, not a demonstrable fact. You responded, clearly, "NO.""

Of course I responded "no", because I was responding to you misstating of my position. If your question is based on your imaginary version of my position, then reason dictates that I correct your false premise before doing anything else.

"While this particular article is speaking primarily about global climate change, it touches on the research that shows that conservative types are able to reject demonstrable data in favor of human opinion and appear to not understand the difference between the two."

1. You mean like you have rejected demonstrable data on a number of subjects, most recently the sanctity of "peer review"?
2. Or are you talking about the data (I'd say proven fact) that much of the climate change crisis is built on ignoring contrary data?
3. Or are you talking about how urban African American voters continually elect and re elect the same people who the protest as being in control of a corrupt, unjust, and racist system?

Do you really think that one article from a organization which titles one of it's menus "Progressive Picks", which cites one study from 2008 represents a real serious treatment of this alleged phenomenon?

It's more like one more instance of your intellectually lazy need to broad brush those with whom you disagree and to attempt to paint everyone as simply a part of a group who's conclusions you can dismiss as "silly", "irrational" or "unreasonable", as opposed to dealing with people as individuals.


Craig said...

"I'll cite some recent research that may help..."

Does "recent" really mean more than 8 years old in your world?

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

Oh, and the article you cite isn't actually from "truth-out" it's actually from another site which (among other things is soliciting campaign donations for Bernie), so perhaps it's not quite as unbiased as you assumed. I'm sure you have verified the "peer review' processes and confirmed them as completely bias free.

It's interesting that one would even suspect that brain function that is only limited to "Republicans", especially given that "Republicanism" is not some immutable trait hard wired into certain humans. Quite frankly the whole thing sounds less like science and more like prejudice.


I'm going to try this one more time.

Given your dismissal of any possible data that I might provide as well as your penchant for ignoring data I have provided, as well as my multiple jobs and an impending move starting to take up more of my time. I will continue to respond to direct questions asked in this thread (maintaining my integrity), but will significantly limit or end anything that does not involve answering questions.

You may feel free to ascribe whatever motives to this action that you wish (I must note that they will probably be completely unrelated to my specific and repeatedly expressed reasons), from here on out I will cease to correct your imaginary rationales. You may also consider your self free to make whatever assumptions you wish (again whether they agree with expressed reality or not), and again I will not bother to correct you. It should go without saying that this does not mean I agree with the fanciful imaginary motives you ascribe to me, it just means that I realize that you don't plan to let a little thing like the truth get in the way of your imagination.

Dan Trabue said...

A point of clarification: there have been multiple studies done into what makes conservatives different than progressives (not strictly Republicans, that was their shorthand at that particular site). Conservatives have tended, research suggests, to operate from a place of fear and when it comes down to facts or fear, they'll go with what comforts them over the facts of the situation.

From Psychology Today...

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201104/conservatives-big-fear-brain-study-finds

From Brain Decoder...

https://braindecoder.com/post/politics-neuroscience-1282982492

From a site called ProCon, they cite 16 different studies...

http://2012election.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004818

So, it's more than one study from 2008 and it's not specific to Republicans. Just by way of clarification. I assumed you might be familiar with the research and I apologize for making that assumption.

So, with that said, until such time as you can admit or recognize the difference between your opinion and facts or God's Word, I'm done on this post.

Craig said...

"So, with that said, until such time as you can admit or recognize the difference between your opinion and facts or God's Word, I'm done on this post."

Since I've never made any claims along the lines of the above, I guess you bailing based on your made up version of what your preconceptions dictate that you believe my position should be, is as good of an excuse as any.

Too bad, you ignored so many questions I asked.

Dan Trabue said...

To remind you, when I asked you to clarify about your opinion...

"But just to be clear: It most closely describes the Biblical position in your subjective opinion, correct?"

You said...

No, if one literally looks at the claims made in the Bible as well as the specifics of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, there is ample evidence to conclude that the sola scriptura construct most closely expresses what the Biblical authors communicated.

That is, I asked you directly to clarify that your stated opinion IS a matter of your subjective opinion, not a demonstrable fact. You responded, clearly, "NO."

It is CRAIG's OPINION that TO HIM, CRAIG, the explanation on this topic that makes most sense TO CRAIG, HIMSELF (and those who agree with CRAIG) is Sola Scriptura. It is a personal human opinion, not a fact, certainly not a demonstrable fact.

When you can recognize that, then you will have learned to distinguish between fact and opinion (at least on that topic) and had the humility and courage and grace to admit this mistake. Until such time, you're not being rational (because people who can't separate opinion from fact are, in fact, irrational, at least on those points).

Good luck.

Craig said...


"You responded, clearly, "NO."

What do they call this, lying by omission?

1. I demonstrably did not say "NO." I said "No, if one literally looks at the claims..."
2. You have made this false claim at least three times in the last several comments, despite my correcting your mistake.
3. The fact that you continue to repeat this falsehood despite repeated corrections leaves me two potions to consider.
a) You are too stupid, intransigent, or arrogant to acknowledge your repeated falsehood.
b) You are intentionally distorting reality in order to press what you feel is some sort of rhetorical advantage you have achieved.

In either case I must conclude that when you claimed you know how "conversation works", that you meant the repeating of falsehoods and ignoring of anything you find it convenient to ignore.

So, in order to either refresh your memory or correct your falsehood, I'll repeat this.

"Of course I responded "no", because I was responding to you misstating of my position. If your question is based on your imaginary version of my position, then reason dictates that I correct your false premise before doing anything else."

It's interesting. I clearly state that I will continue, out of a desire to maintain my integrity, to continue to answer whatever questions your still have. You lack of reciprocation not withstanding. Yet, for some reason, you feel it necessary to simply repeat the same lie over and over again in some sort of bizarre attempt to prolong this or to gain some sort of twisted satisfaction from being able to lie unchallenged.

So, I guess all I can say is if you feel the need to repeat the lie again, i can't stop you. I can only trust that anyone reading this will take the time to look at what I actually said and how it bears so little resemblance to your false characterizations.

Grace, indeed. I don't think you'd recognize grace if it bit you on the ass.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, it is always possible that I have misunderstood you. I beg your patience. Help me to understand.

The question, again:

What you said most closely describes the Biblical position in your subjective opinion, correct?

Are you saying that your answer to THIS question is YES, it IS my opinion? It IS subjective? What I think most closely describes the Biblical position in MY opinion? Is that what you're saying?

There are no lies, here. Only me asking you a question and trying to understand your answer. I hope you can see I'm only trying to get it right.

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