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ref

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About ref

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  1. ref added a post in a topic Usernames!   

    I just typed in 'ref' once.

    I honestly have no idea why.
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  2. ref added a post in a topic Religious belief   


    No, but we can pin down whether or not it is correct to describe something as religious, or not.

    For instance, secularism can be described as religious, because following the ordinary rules of our language, with ordinary definitions of words we can make a sentence that makes sense.



    I dont think so.



    I think it could be described as a religious belief, and as a statement about other religious beliefs.
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  3. ref added a post in a topic On Conversion, the Sudden, Unelicited New Seeing of the Worl   

    Disquieter. You probably know I'd appreciate that anyway, but I really think thats just about the most articulate way one can view religious faith and conversion without having been converted (in what a Christian would consider a genuine sense) or considering themselves currently converted.

    As a Christian, I can still so easily relate to that. Despite "believing in Christianity" (possibly the worst descriptive phrase of what I believe, but anyway) and believing in the great doctrines of Christianity, the involvement in an actual Holy Spirit in the conversion process etc, there needn't be any dichotomy between your description and genuine spiritual involvement.

    Its just a quality post, inspired by genuine thought. Thanks.
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  4. ref added a post in a topic Languages Spoken by TGL Members   

    Glaswegian isnt an option?
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  5. ref added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   


    No, I fear God.
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  6. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   


    The reason I put them there was because I didn't know. Well, thats interesting, certainly. I was under the impression that the notion of worship (in its loosest sense) was what divided hunter-gatherers from modern humans. In pre-worship humans cave-painting and the like showed the notion of creativity and rationality now that I think about it etc but that divides those humans from current humans is the propensity to worship. Pre 30, 000 odd years ago there doesn't seem to have been things like alters. I've read evidence that would suggest earlier than that, but its not very convincing (though there may be more I haven't read).

    Perhaps the idea of worship is an arbitrary distinction on my part - but there does seem to be something linking artefacts of worship with civilisation, and perhaps this is the idea of the guided evolution that lead to spiritual beings (obviously, from a Christian perspective).




    Yeah, thats a good point.
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  7. ref added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Hey - I'm Barry. Disquieter invited me but don't hold it against him - he's a very clever and nice guy.

    I'll be your resident fatalistic theophobe who may, ever so occasionally, say something worth listening to. Well, definitely the first bit - dont hold your breath for the second bit.
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  8. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   


    As I noted above, perhaps moral behaviour is the wrong distinction. While you are obviously correct that the transition from hunter-gatherer to civilisation may not be a genetic thing, involving the movement of one species to another, there is a significant difference between hunter-gatherer "humans" and the rational beings we find about 10k years ago.




    All that proves is that evolution is not moving towards an ideal of fitness, just onwards (or, from a Christian perspective, towards what-God-wants).



    That sounds very good. But I don't think Adam and Eve's pre-explusion life could be considered, even metaphorically, hunter-gatherer as they were given dominion over animals before expulsion. Its certainly interesting though.
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  9. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   

    Firstly, thanks for that. Much appreciated.

    Humanish people have been around for thousands of years - like 40k-odd years, as far as I know. What appears to differentiate us from hunter-gatherers is mastery of environment and organised worship.

    I think Dawkins said 10,000 years in a mid-1090s letter to Prince Charles. At that point we made the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture. Hence what differentiates us from early man is farming methods, ability to use tools. In a word, civilisation.

    I wonder (perhaps you could say) how intrinsically linked worship is with civilisation, in terms of time scale. I think civilisation is certainly consistent with the God-breathed side of things, but if civilisation existed before worship, then that would certainly pose some problems for my current, tenious, position.

    This I associate (symbolically/metaphorically/literally/all of the above) with God's breathing of spirit into man and decreeing his dominion over plants and animals.

    I'm not sure you've done enough to support that belief. Why should it be God, rather than, say, natural selection or adaptation?

    I'm certainly not trying to support it empirically. I also needn't see natural selection and adaptation as naturalistic (see Plantinga's evolutionary argument).

    I'm commited to Christianity (insomuch as I'm convinced of my relationship with God through Christ). This also involves historical claims (ie: the resurrection of Christ) for which there will never be convincing, well, so convincing it would convince someone who already held the other position, enough evidence to make anyone change their minds.

    This belief is pre-theoretical and properly basic, so I must acknowledge that when I consider things like evolution, my motivation for doing so is that I believe that God's creation testifies to His glory. While things like evolution should not be a cause of concern to Christians, I also must acknowledge that I also seek to reconcile whatever knowledge that I gain with the biblical account.

    Long story short, my motivation is internal consistency - with my experience, and with the external world. Convincing others is distinctly secondary since beliefs concerning God are strictly pre-theoretical. So I wouldn't begin to hope that my beliefs would convince someone that God directed natural selection (despite Plantinga's effort), or that God was an alternative to natural selection.

    This could be described as evolutionary descent - the shift from hunter-gatherer to moral being.

    But is it morality that differentiates us? There is evidence of morality inherent in other animals, including primates. Of course, you may find flaws with the studies that uncovered such evidence, but then you may find flaws with human moral theories.

    Try doing a google on animal morality...

    Perhaps not morality, though I will google on it. Perhaps morality wasn't the best choice. Depending on how intrinsically linked civilisation and worship are - I think the notion is probably best described as this, because it would incorporate both dominion (rather than co-existence) and spirituality.

    But this wasn't the Fall. The Fall is a spiritual rebellion of moral beings from God. Now, I'm not quite sure how this happened. Take, for a moment, a literal garden, and a literal Adam and Eve.

    OK, but could it be that the Fall (and I speak metaphorically here) was a reflection of the development of man into a rational agent, able to distinguish between good and evil and thus recognise that the world is generally bad?

    This would, of course, have problems with the notion that creation was basically good, which is fairly central. Although, coming to think of it, this makes sense in some respects that I hadnt considered before that could involve some shifts in thinking. I'll think more about this.

    Whats wrong with the idea that from the hunter-gatherers, God pulled in two of them and breathed spirit into them - Their descendents (after the Fall) were preferred in evolutionary terms because they could better adapt to their surroundings than your hunter gatherer types?

    I wonder if this is begging the question by presupposing God to support the notion of God? Consider how plausible your views would be to a non-Christian, especially an evolutionary atheist.

    As outlined above, question begging isn't a particular concern of mine on the issue of God. I take a Dooyeweerdian position on religious commitment and the nature of presuppositions and, as such, am offering this explanation not as an objective hypothesis of how things came to be (though it may very well be) but a religious one - specifically, a Christian one.

    Certainly, if it contradicts known facts or facts that become known, then it must be rejected or altered insomuch as it deals with the facts. But thats fine, since I'm only ever primarilly concerned with the theological message of Genesis. Whatever position I ultimately decide on is mine alone - certainly not one I'd advocate for Christian.

    Its simply a result of my motivation in satisfying my own intellectual need to reconcile How Things Are with God-belief. If no reconciliation is found, then I will ultimately rest with my properly basic God-belief and be content to suffer cognitive dissonance on the subject as a matter of faith.

    I'm not entirely sure what consequence that has on the integrity of my consideration of the subject, though I am quite sure that if there is no satisfying solution I will simply admit that there is none, and that the evidence, as it stands, disagrees completely with Genesis, yet I still believe. Its the Kierkgaard temporary suspension of the ethical in favour of ultimate duty.

    Rant over. Thanks again.
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  10. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   

    OK, before I respond to any of your posts, I'm going to outline what I believe is a somewhat defensible position. Any critique would be warmly welcomed.

    Humanish people have been around for thousands of years - like 40k-odd years, as far as I know. What appears to differentiate us from hunter-gatherers is mastery of environment and organised worship. This I associate (symbolically/metaphorically/literally/all of the above) with God's breathing of spirit into man and decreeing his dominion over plants and animals.

    This could be described as evolutionary descent - the shift from hunter-gatherer to moral being.

    But this wasn't the Fall. The Fall is a spiritual rebellion of moral beings from God. Now, I'm not quite sure how this happened. Take, for a moment, a literal garden, and a literal Adam and Eve.

    Whats wrong with the idea that from the hunter-gatherers, God pulled in two of them and breathed spirit into them - Their descendents (after the Fall) were preferred in evolutionary terms because they could better adapt to their surroundings than your hunter gatherer types?

    I'm sure there are problems - but any outline as to what they are would be helpful.

    Thanks.
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  11. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   

    I'm going to think it over before responding. Cheers.
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  12. ref added a post in a topic Living in England   


    Yeah - we've had them since 1410 man, third oldest in the English speaking world.



    False dichotomy. Its good enough for the prince of our blessed union. Though I'm not sure thats an endorsement.


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  13. ref added a post in a topic Natural Disasters   


    Great stuff - though I admit to not being able to read the main bit at times for wanting to read the dialogue at the end.



    Right. I think the idea isnt that the problem need be recast, just that it need be said more precisely. For instance, if you were to say:

    "People reject God's authority" as a more precise way of saying what you meant by "evil exists" then the problem that it represents for God's existence isn't quite as forceful.

    For example, rewriting the line in the formulation as follows:

    "People reject God's authority and God exists, then either God doesn't have the power to eliminate those who reject his authority, or doesn't know people reject His authority, or doesn't have the desire to eliminate those who reject His authority."

    Comparing this with a biblical view of God, we see a God who has the power to eliminate those who reject his authority (kill people), does know people reject his authority (somewhere in Romans) and by decree ordered anyone who rejects him to die (desiring an elimination of those who reject his authority).

    But thats not exactly what the Problem of Evil had in mind with its criticism.



    Sure, but that isnt what evil is, from a Christian perspective.



    I think asking why God allows bad stuff to happen is different than philosophically questioning God's existence on the basis of "bad" things. The former requires a theological response to an expressivist question - its a question the demands an explanation from a Christian perspective.

    The latter is a discussion of "fact". The latter wants the questioned to respond to the philosophical contention that God doesn't exist on the basis of a set of premises and a conclusion. For this discussion to take place the terms must be clearly defined. If you are asking me, "How can your God exist having considered argument X?" then you are asking me to talk in Christianeze - because the answer can only be from a Christian perspective for a Christian. If we dont share the definitions of 'evil' and 'God' and 'morally perfect' etc, then we are talking past each other.

    And I think this is what generally happens with the problem of evil, which is why I think its an issue of definitions and grammar.

    Cheers.

    P.S I'd be happy to discuss the realism/nominalism issue in a seperate thread.
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  14. ref added a post in a topic Christianity and Evolution   

    Will look forward to it.

    Cheers.
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