Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

posted at 10:35 pm on April 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” or of the ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, “Discobolus.” Those who viewed “The Thinker” were prompted to think more analytically and expressed less belief in God — they scored an average of 41.42 on a 100-point scale, compared with an average of 61.55 for the group that viewed the discus thrower, according to the study.

Two additional experiments used word games rather than images. In one case, participants were asked to arrange a series of words into a sentence. Some were given neutral words and others were presented with trigger words such as “think,” “reason” and “analyze” to prime them to think more analytically. And indeed, those who got the “thinking” words expressed less religiosity on a 10-to-70 scale: They ranked themselves at 34.39, on average, while those in the control group averaged 40.16.

In the final experiment, students in the control group read text in a clear, legible font, while those in the other group were forced to squint at a font that was hard to read, a chore that has been shown to trigger analytic thinking. Sure enough, those who read the less legible font rated their belief in supernatural agents at 10.40 on a 3-to-21 scale, compared with 12.16 for those who read the clear font.

Lots of news stories about this on the wires today, as you might expect, but I think people are overinterpreting the results. As I understand it, the researchers aren’t claiming that analytic thinking will turn you atheist or that nonbelievers are sharper critical thinkers than the faithful. They’re claiming that intuition is a component of religious belief and that intuition tends to dim when the mind is preoccupied with reasoning, which means religious belief dims with it. Note: Dims, but not disappears. Per the study, you’re talking about small, if statistically significant, differences in belief between the test subjects and the control group. Says one psychologist of the results:

“In some ways this confirms what many people, both religious and nonreligious, have said about religious belief for a long time, that it’s more of a feeling than a thought,” says Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. But he predicts the findings won’t change anyone’s mind about whether God exists or whether religious belief is rational. “If you think that reasoning analytically is the way to go about understanding the world accurately, you might see this as evidence that being religious doesn’t make much sense,” he says. “If you’re a religious person, I think you take this evidence as showing that God has given you a system for belief that just reveals itself to you as common sense.”

Yeah, I’m not sure why these results are controversial; they can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, religious friends tell me that their faith isn’t merely something they’ve reasoned through but something they “feel” or “experience.” For God to enter your heart, you must be “open” to him. In other words, faith isn’t strictly analytic; there’s more to it, or so I’m told. It may be that, as your mind adjusts to perform analytic tasks by applying certain known criteria, its capacity to analyze something that doesn’t operate according to known criteria momentarily decreases. You become less “open” to supernatural possibilities. If that’s true, then it’s not that “intuitive” understandings are necessarily false (although maybe they are), it’s that it’s hard for the brain to switch quickly from one paradigm to the other. Or maybe there’s another explanation? I’m all for the “atheists are inherently awesome” theory, if anyone wants to offer it!


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please tell me where god is, what it looks like, and what its powers are. cjw79 on April 28, 2012 at 10:47 AM

He is ubiquitous, invisible spirit, and omnipotent.

Next question.

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Therefore;

6. Something must exist.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Huh? You don’t know anything about what you don’t believe in?
whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Feel free to chime in on that question too.
cjw79 on April 28, 2012 at 10:57 AM

You’re trying to avoid the question. You are against something, but you have no idea what it is you’re against? Not being snarky, just that it makes no logical sense to base one’s position on anything on complete ignorance of what s/he is against.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

7. Being is that which must exist.

Don’t get ahead of me here. I have not said anything about this “being which must exist.” So far existence, being, is the only attribut that I claim for this “something that must exist.”

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

As for “A” being a tautology, I suppose it is a tautology that at least one of either A.

No it is a tautology in and of itself. It just says the people who disagree with the proofs do so because they disagree with the proofs.

tommyboy on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

You are against something, but you have no idea what it is you’re against? Not being snarky, just that it makes no logical sense to base one’s position on anything on complete ignorance of what s/he is against.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Sounds like blind faith to me.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM

5. Nothing cannot exist.
This is where many balk.

Correct. Absolute nothing would violate the first three laws of logic.

tommyboy on April 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM

8. Time must have a beginning. Infinite regress is absurd.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Therefore;

9. Time is an effect which requires a causer which caused it to come into existence.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM

10. Matter is a cause which requires a causer to come into existence.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM

You are against something, but you have no idea what it is you’re against? Not being snarky, just that it makes no logical sense to base one’s position on anything on complete ignorance of what s/he is against.
whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Sounds like blind faith to me.
davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:02 AM

It’s the logical absurdity that puzzles me. It’s like saying “I don’t believe in supply side economics! Ummm…so, what is “supply side economics” anyway?”.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Correction:

10. matter is an effect which requires a causer to come into existence.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

Especially since the time could be used for discussing something relevant.

cicerone on April 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM

3. Sensory perception is reliable.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Ego and Intellect.

You are standing close to a painting so close your nose touches the surface. What can you see? Do you see the entire painting in it’s totality? How does your intellect process what it sees? The small section of the painting you are viewing is the only “physical reality” the brain can process. The Intellect decides it’s all that exist in physical reality, because it’s all that can be accessed with “sight”. Now if you step back, and look at the entire painting you have a different view, and the painting has to be processed again using “Sight” but it looks different, and as a whole the painting doesn’t resemble at all what the intellect decided was the “physical reality” in the first place. If the intellect is feeding the ego with processed sensory images “Sight” is the ego going to re evaluate how the intellect is processing sensory perception? Will the ego decide that the intellect is only one way to process sensory perception?

The intellect is a seductress, and a jealous mistress, she doesn’t want to share the exalted throne of “reason” with our inherited collective unconscious- intuitive understanding as Allah refers to it above.

Ego conscious, Psyche unconscious

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

11. Intellegence is an effect that rerquuires a causer to come into existence.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Correct. Absolute nothing would violate the first three laws of logic. tommyboy on April 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM

The Atheist Creed:

Everything was made by nothing. Therefore, nothing exists, and is greater than everything.

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

You are against something, but you have no idea what it is you’re against? Not being snarky, just that it makes no logical sense to base one’s position on anything on complete ignorance of what s/he is against.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Well I was responding to a different poster, who asserted that their belief in god without tangible proof was as logical as my belief in concepts such as mathematics. My question to that poster is, okay, what do you define as god? I can certainly define mathematics, but can you define god?

I know what many people mean when they say “god,” but not everyone thinks the same way. Many people, as Akzed said a few posts ago, believe that god is ubiquitous, invisible and omnipotent. Basically, the god that was described in the Bible. That that god “created” the universe. I don’t believe that. I’m not “against” it, as so many people (now including yourself) have tried to mischaracterize my position, but there is surely no evidence for anything like that.

So my question to you is, how do you perceive of god? Is god omniscient and omnipotent? Did it create the universe? Is it aware of prayer and does it respond to prayer? I’m interested in your thoughts.

cjw79 on April 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Religiosity, my new favorite word! Oh and my new favorite scientist Kent Hovind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HrWJKWCeTE&feature=related

wrath187 on April 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

While it is true that witnesses to an accident may disagrree as to the color of a vehicle involved, they all agree an accident occurred.

I said sensory perception is reliable not absolute.

Before we cross the street we look both ways, and rely on our senses to determine if the truck is or is not coming.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Also, Dr., the Bible reminds us that we see through a glass darkly.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM

5. Nothing cannot exist.
This is where many balk.

Correct. Absolute nothing would violate the first three laws of logic.

tommyboy on April 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Can something be created out of nothing? What was Earth before it was Earth?

Maybe, I am misreading you. If so, sorry…

Resist We Much on April 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Well I was responding to a different poster, who asserted that their belief in god without tangible proof was as logical as my belief in concepts such as mathematics.

I never said there was no “tangible” proof of God. (“evidence” is a more accurate term than “proof” here) I merely said reality is not defined by the empiric. There is certainly non-empirical tangible evidence. You are the one who defines the real with the empiric although there is absolutely no basis in logic or reason to do so.

tommyboy on April 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM

So my question to you is, how do you perceive of god? Is god omniscient and omnipotent? Did it create the universe? Is it aware of prayer and does it respond to prayer? I’m interested in your thoughts.
cjw79 on April 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM

My thoughts are of no importance. Although I caught that you mentioned yourself agnostic, as opposed to atheist, what matters is what perception(s) of god you reject. It looks a bit as if you’re hunting strawmen to knock down.

Besides, it would be much more logical, simpler and faster if you were to state the perception(s) of god that you reject. That way, folks who are so moved can quite specifically address them, to agree or explain why they believe your take is incorrect.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:25 AM

%^$#2** *&^$8 auto-refresh ate my comment again %$@%#!!!!!

Oh dear, I apologize for that outburst. Now where was I?

So you have refuted his ontological argument? I’d be interested in reading that.

For your convenience:

Therefore, Lord, who grant understanding to faith, grant me that, in so far as you know it beneficial, I understand that you are as we believe and you are that which we believe. Now we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can be imagined.

Then is there no such nature, since the fool has said in his heart: God is not? But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying – something than which nothing greater can be imagined – understands what he hears; and what he understands is in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it is. For it is one thing for a thing to be in the understanding and another to understand that a thing is.

For when a painter imagines beforehand what he is going to make, he has in his understanding what he has not yet made but he does not yet understand that it is. But when he has already painted it, he both has in his understanding what he has already painted and understands that it is.

Therefore even the fool is bound to agree that there is at least in the understanding something than which nothing greater can be imagined, because when he hears this he understands it, and whatever is understood is in the understanding.

And certainly that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater. Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality.

-St. Anselm, who was obviously not much into analytic thinking…

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I don’t dispute that he was a great thinker, but this is not very parsable to me. Can you give me an idea of your understanding of what it means so we don’t wind up talking around each other?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM

12. Personality is an effect that requires a causer to exist.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Heh. Here we go.

Beginning point/premise.

1. We can know stuff.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

A bit dubious, but I’ll grant it for the sake of argument, though we may have to return to this.

Continue:)

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM

%^$#2** *&^$8 auto-refresh ate my comment again %$@%#!!!!!
RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Think: “Firefox browser with Adblock Plus”.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Since matter cannot be created or destoryed (conservation of mass) and since objects must be put in motion (conservation of energy), where did all of the matter in the universe come from and how did it get put in motion? The only logical conclusion, from an analytic standpoint, is that an entity, to whom the laws of physics does not apply, created all of the matter in the universe AND put it all in motion. Now, from that point forward, you can agrue creative design vs. evolution all day long, but my question is: where did it all come from?

fastphil on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

While it is true that witnesses to an accident may disagrree as to the color of a vehicle involved, they all agree an accident occurred.

I said sensory perception is reliable not absolute.

Before we cross the street we look both ways, and rely on our senses to determine if the truck is or is not coming.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM

How do we know to look both ways?

The problem is that “intuition” which is nothing more than the mind picking up minutia information and processing it at an unconscious level is treated as if it’s “supernatural”. The atheist argument is that no proof of existence has value, if it’s not filtered through the intellect first, and meets some arbitrary intellectual standard, they have set for “proof of existence”. They like to rig the field in their own favor, but as I stated before their intellects feed their egos.

“There are none so blind as those who will not see” :)

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

12. Personality is an effect that requires a causer to exist.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Continue:)

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Refresh is my friend (But not $#@! #@$%#@$% auto refresh $#@%#$).

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM

%^$#2** *&^$8 auto-refresh ate my comment again %$@%#!!!!!
RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Think: “Firefox browser with Adblock Plus”.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Thanks. Do you know if it can be done in Chrome?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

DING DING DING! Jesus wasn’t Christian. He was an observant Jew who spoke with authority on and advocated for the entire corpus of Mosaic law without qualification or exception. His criticism of the Pharisees concerned their addition of extraneous tradition to the law and failure to live up to their own rules.

I don’t really want to chase this rabbit trail, except to say that what we understand as “Christianity” today did in fact have its roots in Pauline teachines — NOT in Jesus’.

gryphon202 on April 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM

So is Juadism a cult? Jesus was a Jew, you know. If you asked him what “Christianity” was, he’d have just looked at you funny.

gryphon202 on April 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Do you claim to be God? Jesus? A divine being? Do you claim that you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt what was/is on Jesus’ mind when people have called Him “God”? Do you know for a fact that Jesus didn’t consider Himself God? Do you know for a fact that Saul didn’t encounter Jesus on the road to Damascus? Do you know for a fact that you understand Jesus and/or God better than Paul himself did?

If you can’t honestly answer “yes” to any of those questions, I ask you, are you willing and able to explain why you feel the need to posit so many of your belief statements about God, Jesus, and Christianity as facts?

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Shortcut:

Since we have all these effects, and being that must exist, we can infer that this being that must exist of the cause for all the effects.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Think: “Firefox browser with Adblock Plus”.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

OR type it up in a blank doc, copy/paste.

Has saved me countless times in other situations. :-)

pambi on April 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” or of the ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, “Discobolus.” Those who viewed “The Thinker” were prompted to think more analytically and expressed less belief in God — they scored an average of 41.42 on a 100-point scale, compared with an average of 61.55 for the group that viewed the discus thrower, according to the study.

You have GOT to be kidding.

ddrintn on April 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Gimme a minute.

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

OR type it up in a blank doc, copy/paste.

Has saved me countless times in other situations. :-)

pambi on April 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Doing that as we speak. Thanks.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:41 AM

If we do not assume that we can know stuff, all this is useless.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 3:13 AM
REAL Jews don’t believe in jesus.
I’m, actually getting more involved with the anti-missionary group, ‘Jews for Judaism’. Some of the members are virulently anti-Christian. I don’t agree with that/them- but I’m totally on board with firmly yet politely standing about to Christians who try to convert Jews.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 28, 2012 at 4:21 AM

I think the term for that is “Pharisee”. If you ever visit Syria and find yourself riding to Damascus, be sure to buckle your seat belt lest you get a nasty bump!

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

I don’t dispute that he was a great thinker, but this is not very parsable to me. Can you give me an idea of your understanding of what it means so we don’t wind up talking around each other? RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:26 AM

I can’t really reduce it without messing it up. Here goes:

Imagine something greater than which nothing can be.

It now exists in your understanding.

Now imagine that it exists in reality.

Reality is greater than your understanding.

Therefore if that greatest thing is in your understanding, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined.

But certainly this cannot be.

There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality.

Or: Since something can exist in your mind so great it can’t be topped, but you can also imagine it being real, then it can be topped. Therefore, something greater than you can imagine can be imagined to exist.

I stand by Anselm’s version, not mine!

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Nah, this is better:

Since something can exist in your mind so great it can’t be topped, but you can also imagine it being real, then it can be topped. Therefore, something greater than you can imagine must exist.

Or something. Anselm’s language is so hard to plow through because he took such pains to be exact. You can do it! Re-read it a few times and it will sink in.

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Think: “Firefox browser with Adblock Plus”.
whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Thanks. Do you know if it can be done in Chrome?
RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM

This Chrome add-on might save you some headaches:
Lazarus: Form Recovery.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Read the thread and enjoyed your comments on the topic….thank you.

lynncgb on April 28, 2012 at 11:52 AM

One cannot Prove the existence of God, based on ‘Rules of Evidence’ that would withstand scrutiny in a courtroom. This is due to the finite thinking we are limited to as well as other factors.

However, one can argue for the acceptance of a Creator Being on other levels.

The first thing one needs to understand is that God, in the case of humanity, did not want to create a bunch of Automations who would simply worship and obey without question. Such was not beyond His ability, but it was also something that has, most likely, already been done. Man has been able to create Robots, so let’s just assume it was not on the list at the time of creation.

Enter Free Will.

Now then, if we are free to Make a choice, we have to ACTUALLY be FREE to make a choice. Absolute, undeniable, concrete PROOF that God exists will “persuade” on the wrong level. As with conversion by the sword you get a lot of participation, but very little actual willing commitment. So Proof is going to be pretty much out of the question.

However, ambiguous proof is another story. And there is a plethora of ambiguous proof that exists. Enough for us to see and process, but still enough to allow us to Freely Choose what we will believe.

And make no mistake, belief is a choice!

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist
…Keyser Söze quoting Baudelaire

Why would a loving God allow… yada yada yada

Why would a loving creator of a computer allow that computer to be turned off?

Never forget, God sees things from a different perspective than humans do. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to judge God by human standards. (A six year old may judge their parents to be Mean for not allowing them to accept that wonderful candy from that stranger in the dilapidated van, but another adult may see the situation differently.)

So why loose the devil upon the earth?

Just to make it difficult?

Or to create a Valid Choice?

Again, it’s all about choice and choosing. Which is why conservatives are more often religious and Liberals are more often not. Liberals like to limit choice in the name of providing choice. (See Obamacare for a complete illustration of a One Size Fits All approach being advertised as being given more choices.) At some point liberalism always resorts to coercion in order to gain its ends because when given an actual choice, people tend not to make the RIGHT choice. (i. e. they vote not to limit access to guns in Washington State – Initiative 676; or the outcome of Prop 8 in California; etc.)

God is the source of genuine Individual Liberty. Collectivists need not apply.

So, in the end, it is not subject to proof but choice. And it is up to you to choose while you can, because once the heart stops beating the votes are tallied.

God has one vote, the devil has one vote, and you cast the deciding ballot.

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Coup de grâce

Since this “being that must exist” has caused all these effects, this being must have these attributes.

This does not prove the existence of the God of the Bible, it just proves the existence of a being that has these attributes,

However, search all the world’s writings and you will find only one book that speaks of such a being. That is the Bible and and it describes the God of the Bible.

When Moses asked God what he should tell the children of Israel Who sent him, God said, “Tell the I AM sent you.” Jehovah, Yaweh, The Being Who Must Exist.”

The most logical, philosophical, statment ever made is in Genesis 1:1; “In the Beginning, God … .”

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Heh. Here we go.

Beginning point/premise.

1. We can know stuff.
2. “A” cannot be “A” and “not A” at the same time and in the same sense.
3. Sensory perception is reliable.

I have no real problems with this, so far – I’m worried we’re assuming too much, but I’m pretty much always worried about that, so let’s continue, and we’ll go back if there’s a problem later.

4. Every effect has a cause.

What, huh? Lost me there. How is this obvious or apparent at all? This is going to be a huge point of contention when we get to point 9 below.

5. Nothing cannot exist.
This is where many balk.
We use the term “nothing” coloquially as in, “What are you doing?” “Nothing.”

But “absolute” nothing cannot exist. I define absolute nothing as not having any attributes. Existence is an attribute.

Therefore;
6. Something must exist.

Not sure I follow the logic, but I am happy to accept 6. as a premise, both to avoid distraction, and because that’s actually something that I think almost anyone on either side of the debate would agree with.

7. Being is that which must exist.
Don’t get ahead of me here. I have not said anything about this “being which must exist.” So far existence, being, is the only attribut that I claim for this “something that must exist.”

I’m a little unclear on the meaning of this, but it’ll probably become clearer as we go on.

8. Time must have a beginning. Infinite regress is absurd.

Wait wait wait, full stop. Why is that absurd at all? The real numbers have no beginning or end. Even the integers have no beginning or end. It may or may not be the case that time has a beginning or end, but it is hardly obvious either way, and certainly not absurd to think otherwise.

9. Time is an effect which requires a causer which caused it to come into existence.

10. matter is an effect which requires a causer to come into existence.

11. Intellegence is an effect that rerquuires a causer to come into existence.
12. Personality is an effect that requires a causer to exist.

Yikes! this appears to all be based on #4, which is hardly obvious at all. Moreover, let’s suppose for the sake of argument that I accept #4. You still have no justification for #7. And #9-12 also depend on that, otherwise, even accepting number 4, you could still have an infinite chain going backwards and forwards. If you think such a thing is absurd, I direct your attention to the integers. That’s not proof that time is infinite, but it certainly ought to give you pause before assuming that it’s not.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM

So, in the end, it is not subject to proof but choice.

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM

If it is not subject to proof then I won’t believe it.

You need a deeper understanding. If a belief has no logical warrant it is not worth believing.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yikes! this appears to all be based on #4, which is hardly obvious at all. Moreover, let’s suppose for the sake of argument that I accept #4. You still have no justification for #7#8. And #9-12 also depend on that, otherwise, even accepting number 4, you could still have an infinite chain going backwards and forwards. If you think such a thing is absurd, I direct your attention to the integers. That’s not proof that time is infinite, but it certainly ought to give you pause before assuming that it’s not.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Sorry, meant to write #8. I’m a bit confused about #7 but honestly I’m much more concerned about where #4 and #8 came from.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I stand by Anselm’s version, not mine!

Akzed on April 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Fair enough. Thanks for the translation of sorts. I will try to address it, though I’m also going at it with davidk.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

This Chrome add-on might save you some headaches:
Lazarus: Form Recovery.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Thanks, I’ll try that.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM

4. Every effect has a cause

All knowledge is based on three basic presuppositions of which cause and effect is one. Without it knowlsedge of the world around us is distorted.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM

If we do not assume that we can know stuff, all this is useless.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Yeah, I agree, I was just expressing my general sense of philosophical paranoia about assuming anything other than the axioms of finite set theory. I have no actual problem with assuming we know stuff, at least for the sake of argument anyway – it is, as you said, silly and useless to do otherwise.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:07 PM

If time has no beginning, then you can’t get to right now,

Imagine a plane where you can set up dominoes. The first one is right now the next is some measure of time in the past.

Set up however many you wish, but at some point you have to knock over one to get to “right now.”

You have to have a beginning to get to right now.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM

All knowledge is based on three basic presuppositions of which cause and effect is one. Without it knowlsedge of the world around us is distorted.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Huh? Why does one have to assume that everything has a cause? Certainly, it would be rather impossible to analyze the world without the assumption that certain things cause other things to happen. But how do you get from there to “Every effect has a cause”?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

This Chrome add-on might save you some headaches:
Lazarus: Form Recovery.
whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Thanks, I’ll try that.
RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Yer welcome, I used to use the version made for Firefox before Adblock. Was helpful now & then. Before that, it was the constant copy & paste into Notepad route!

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Although MOMAAAH* may be an apt assertion, it’s limited by NAAAH*. The former speciously embraces the ASAA Theory* but the latter understands that the ASAA Theory is Secular Fundamentalism. MOMSANAT* is a better description of the views of scientists regarding theism. Rather than cluttering this post with a longer explanation, I offer the following link to my “Grand Unified Theory of Science, Politics And Religion” (GUTSPAR) at GUTSPAR.Com.
*ACRONYM TRANSLATIONS:
ASAA Theory: The “All Scientists Are Atheistic” Theory is an unscientific form of Secular Fundamentalism.
MOMAAAH: Many Or Most Atheists Are Assininely Hubristic” (the last two words of which are euphemistic).
MOMSANAT: Mant Or Most Scientists Are Not Anti-Theists (because they’re not Secular Fundamentalists).
NOAAAH: Not All Atheists Are Assininely Hubristic” (i.e., many are genuinely scientific in their thinking — i.e., they’re not Secular Fundamentalists or “anti-theists”).

Jim Wrenn on April 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM

If time has no beginning, then you can’t get to right now,

What do you mean, “get to?”.

Imagine a plane where you can set up dominoes. The first one is right now the next is some measure of time in the past.

Set up however many you wish, but at some point you have to knock over one to get to “right now.”

You have to have a beginning to get to right now.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:09 PM

This seems just like a restatement of your assumption that time has a beginning, only now it’s been fused together with your assumption that everything has a cause.

Why couldn’t it be the case, rather, that time is infinite, that event A_1 was caused by A_0, which was caused by A_{-1}, which was caused by A_{-2}… etc.

The domino analogy is great for giving an image of how things might be if everything had to start, somehow. But there’s the rub -this notion of everything needing a beginning, or a cause, or a starting point – I just don’t see where it comes from.

I believe the last people who proposed a domino theory got us embroiled in a land war in Asia. So I’m a bit wary of accepting such a theory without a bit more justification:)

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Read the thread and enjoyed your comments on the topic….thank you.

lynncgb on April 28, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Wow, this has got to be an Internet first…
Glad I could be of service!

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Simply put, the law of cause and effect states that every material effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect.

Material effects without adequate causes do not exist. Also, causes never occur after the effect. In addition, the effect never is greater than the cause. That is why scientists say that every material effect must have an adequate cause.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=879

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM

So, in the end, it is not subject to proof but choice.

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM

If it is not subject to proof then I won’t believe it.

You need a deeper understanding. If a belief has no logical warrant it is not worth believing.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 11:59 AM

And THAT is your choice.

Keep firmly in mind, there may be consequences to your wager!

For if I am wrong I shall have lived a good life and lost nothing, yet if I am right I shall have lived a good life and Gained Everything.
But if you are right you shall have lived life your way and Gained Nothing, but if you are wrong you shall have lived life your way and LOST Everything.

…Pascal’s wager paraphrased.

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Time is indeed a bug-a-boo.

I cannot see how time can infinitely regress.

Time is metaphysical but has measurement.

If it infinitely regresses, has now staring point, I cannot see how we can make it today.

At some point, we have to begin this journey we call time. If the cause infinitely regresses, the cause for today’s event/effect will never occur.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Study: Majoring in psychology causes future earnings potential to diminish

Fixed for useless majors everywhere.

MNHawk on April 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Simply put, the law of cause and effect states that every material effect must have an adequate cause that existed before the effect.

Material effects without adequate causes do not exist. Also, causes never occur after the effect. In addition, the effect never is greater than the cause. That is why scientists say that every material effect must have an adequate cause.

http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=879

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM

What law? That’s not in my copy of the constitution *ducks*.

But seriously, there is no “law of cause and effect”. I’m not sure where this article got that idea from. Like I said before, it is true that there are many situations where we can see that something causes something else. But there is no scientific law at work here – I’m not even sure how one would test such a principle anyway – it sounds pretty non-falsifiable to me, since if you can’t demonstrate what the cause of something is, you can always just say, “oh there’s a reason, we just haven’t figured it out yet.”

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I made my choice based on warranted belief not some probability wager.

I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in Jesus Christ His Son–the Son referred to by John as the Logos, the Logic.

I am not gainsaying your belief or your salvation.

But many require more than what you are offering.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I am a Christian because it makes sense. I don’t have enough faith to be an athiest…

Ace ODale on April 28, 2012 at 12:39 PM

It is most certainly not the case that there is no evidence for the existence of God. You might be correct if you say that it’s impossible to prove, in the sense that a mathematician proves a theorem. But in the sense that a detective proves a theory about a crime or a historian proves a theory about an historical character, there’s plenty of proof for the existence of God.

philwynk on April 28, 2012 at 7:12 AM

Yes, you are right.

cjw79 doesn’t accept this kind of evidence when it comes from a believer, but he uses it himself when he needs it for his own argument against God. That’s what I pointed out to him.

Gelsomina on April 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM

“oh there’s a reason, we just haven’t figured it out yet.”

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Science is motivated by “oh there’s a reason, we just haven’t figured it out yet.”

Any beginning textbook will tell you of the three basic preusppositions: the Law of Non-contradiction, the Law of Sensory Perception, and the Law of Cause and Effect.

Some use the Law of Cause and Effect to argue for determinism. But in a world populated by people with free will I think that is a non sequitur.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I got to go fold some clothes before they wrinkle.

Cause and effect, you know.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM

While this is not proof, allow me to provide some evidence;

In 1997 there was a study done on the Island Population of Japan tracing the mitochondrial DNA with which they were able to compare and contrast with DNA samples from the Jamon and Yayoi tribes who first colonized the Islands. With Centuries long stability in the Island Population they were able to establish a Mutation Rate of mitochondrial DNA.

Combining that data with a 1995 study of Y Chromosome in the Finnish population Scientists were able to determine a Common Ancestor for all humans.

These studies fixed the common ancestor for all human males at somewhere between 35,000 and 47,000 B.C. However, the common ancestor for all human females is established to be somewhere between 60,000 and 90,000 B.C.

For this reason the study was established to be Inconclusive.

As a Bible Beleiver, I see this study as Evidence of the Accuracy of the Biblical Account!

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Time is indeed a bug-a-boo.

I cannot see how time can infinitely regress.

Time is metaphysical but has measurement.

Yes, it can be measured, but what of it?

If it infinitely regresses, has now staring point, I cannot see how we can make it [to?] today.

I still don’t know what this means (I assume you meant make it to today, but that’s not my point of confusion).

Who is “we”? obviously not you and I, since we were born earlier. And what do you mean by “make it“. The wording suggests time travel. I know that that isn’t what you mean, but my point is that I don’t think “make it to today” really means anything, unless you mean as a colloguial way of saying “reason our way into understanding how we got here today”. But that presumes that we can/should be able to somehow do such kind of reasoning in the first place.

It’s one thing to assume “we can know stuff”. It’s quite a leap to assume “we can use cause and effect to deduce how we got here today”. The former is almost obvious, except if you’re in a pedantic mood (like I sometimes am). The latter is very very hard to believe based on the limitations of mankind, and indeed of logic itself.

At some point, we have to begin this journey we call time. If the cause infinitely regresses, the cause for today’s event/effect will never occur.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Again, I don’t see the justification for this statement. What if I told you

At some point, we have to begin counting. If the integers infinitely regress, then we could never reach the number 0.

How is your statement any more logical then the one I just made?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Of course, it depends on their meaning of “analytic thinking.” If they take the tack of Critical Thinking courses typically administered in college (I took one of theses little jewels myself, so I do speak from some experience), they really mean “indoctrination.” Unless this is used in a classical sense, I’d say they were full of, well, hot air.

It is also of note that typically conservative schools slaughter their liberal counterparts when it comes to debate.

Natrium on April 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM

As a Bible Beleiver, I see this study as Evidence of the Accuracy of the Biblical Account!

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Very interesting! I’m not one to take Genesis entirely literally, but that makes sense. Noah (in your theory) was the ancestral male because only he and his sons survived the flood, but Eve was the much earlier ancestral female because, presumably, Noah’s sons’ wives were not close relatives of one another. Hmm.

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Gee, that’s funny, because it was critical thinking that made me a believer in Jesus Christ.

“To believe in God is impossible not to believe in Him is absurd.” ~ Voltaire

“Either Christ is true or false. If you bet he is true, and you believe in God and submit to Him, then if he IS true, you’ve gained God, heaven, and everything else. If he is false, you’ve lost nothing, but you’ve had a good life marked by peace and the illusion that ultimately, everything makes sense. If you bet that Christ is not true, and it’s false, you’ve lost nothing. But if you bet that he is false, and he turns out to be true, you’ve lost everything and you get to spend eternity in hell.” ~ Blaise Pascal (Interpreted)

SpiderMike on April 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM

This seems just like a restatement of your assumption that time has a beginning, only now it’s been fused together with your assumption that everything has a cause.

Why couldn’t it be the case, rather, that time is infinite, that event A_1 was caused by A_0, which was caused by A_{-1}, which was caused by A_{-2}… etc.

The domino analogy is great for giving an image of how things might be if everything had to start, somehow. But there’s the rub -this notion of everything needing a beginning, or a cause, or a starting point – I just don’t see where it comes from.

I believe the last people who proposed a domino theory got us embroiled in a land war in Asia. So I’m a bit wary of accepting such a theory without a bit more justification:)

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Infinite regressions, of which ‘infinite time in reverse’ is an example, are logical fallacies, for good reason. I’ll give what hopefully will be a simple enough example to explain why this is the case.

Some people (sillily) buy into the idea that we exist in oscillating universe which had no beginning, and has no end. Why did I say “sillily”? Because…let’s say that the universe has been oscillating from time immemorial. If this is the case, the next time the universe oscillates, it will be, for arguments sake, the 15,098,984,633,l76th time it’s happened. Now, count backwards, subtracting 1 from the amount of times it’s already happened until you get to zero – there is no physical way to avoid that there must have been a first time the universe oscillated, as negative numbers can not exist as absolutes in physical reality. Therefore, it is utter nonsense to say that the universe has been infinitely oscillating

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM

On the issue of time and infinity, I’ve heard a statement that “history” (a path-dependent set of discrete events) cannot result from “infinite causes” like eternal laws of physics. I’m not sure of the logical proof for this, but it seems intuitive to me. If the universe has always existed on principles that were always the same, why are the events of today happening today and not yesterday? Path dependency means that history went one way at some point when it could have went another, i.e., it is arbitrary. There was some cause, or if the universe is infinite, there was at least some kind of “intervention” from outside. If anybody knows where this issue is explained better, I’d love a link.

joe_doufu on April 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Science is motivated by “oh there’s a reason, we just haven’t figured it out yet.”

Science is motivated by “I bet there’s a reason, let’s see if we can figure it out”. Anyone who assumes more is assuming too much.

Any beginning textbook will tell you of the three basic preusppositions: the Law of Non-contradiction, the Law of Sensory Perception, and the Law of Cause and Effect.

I would hope not. That would be very unfortunate that a beginning textbook would say something so patently false.

It has been proven that, even in a field as logical as mathematics, there are things that cannot be proven. That is, they are true, but there is literally no logically correct demonstration that they are true. This is Goedel’s incompleteness theorem. (Obviously, you can only show that such things must exist – you can’t conclude that any particular fact is true but not provable, since you would have to prove the fact along the way.)

Some use the Law of Cause and Effect to argue for determinism. But in a world populated by people with free will I think that is a non sequitur.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Well, I think the whole free will debate is even more absurd than the existence of God debate, but that’s a matter for another day.

And it looks like, yet again, I jumped into a thread complaining about theological debates, and got myself into a theological debate. I must go now – I also have things I need to do, and while time itself may or may not be infinite, the time between now and tomorrow is depressingly finite. I suppose we must continue another day.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM

What law? That’s not in my copy of the constitution *ducks*.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:34 PM

The laws in our Constitutionpresuppose the Law of Cause and Effect as do more mundane laws like speeding laws and zoning ordinances.

Certain behaviors cause certain (undesirable) effects.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Thank you.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM

The problem with Pascal’s wager, as Pascal himself acknowledged, is that there has to be a reasonable basis to believe that Christianity is true in the first place. Otherwise the bettor would be equally obliged to take the wager for any religion that has a hell and a paradise (Islam, for example, among countless other religions). The wager is a very subtle way of begging the question.

Pascal argued for the historicity of the bible, but the exact same arguments could be made for the Quran, or any other holy text. The best wager can’t be determined according to Pascal’s own reasoning. Worse still, his reasoning leads to contradictory conclusions: that we should immediately convert to every religion, many of which have mutually exclusive truth claims.

Another problem is in the phrasing that we have nothing to lose by accepting a particular religion. It should be obvious in the case of something like Scientology or Islam that there’s a lot to lose by following arbitrary and sometimes cruel religious laws. Christianity asks its adherents to make sacrifices, too, though, none of which can be justified without the expectation of eternal reward or punishment.

If God doesn’t exist (spoiler: it doesn’t), all we have is our brief time on this earth. It can be put to better uses than living in service to a lie.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Of course, it depends on their meaning of “analytic thinking.” If they take the tack of Critical Thinking courses typically administered in college (I took one of theses little jewels myself, so I do speak from some experience), they really mean “indoctrination.” Unless this is used in a classical sense, I’d say they were full of, well, hot air.

It is also of note that typically conservative schools slaughter their liberal counterparts when it comes to debate.

Natrium on April 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM

lol I gotta ask you, how does a modern Critical Thinking course differ a classical one?

I am not doubting you that what you are speaking of exists, I am just not comprehending how a course like that could be taught indoctrinationally! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Infinite regressions, of which ‘infinite time in reverse’ is an example, are logical fallacies, for good reason.

“infinite time” is not an “infinite regression fallacy. The infinite regression fallacy is a fallacy in a logical argument. A logical argument must begin with some premises.

It is most certainly not the case that simply suggesting something might not have a beginning is a logical fallacy. There are many things that do not have beginnings – the integers, for example (this includes negative numbers).

Infinite regressions are only fallacies when you have a reason to presuppose that something begins. For a logical argument or proof, we are asserting that one thing implies the other, so this already gives us a beginning. But as I pointed out with the integer example, other things need not have a beginning (though some other things do, e.g., the natural numbers)

Because…let’s say that the universe has been oscillating from time immemorial. If this is the case, the next time the universe oscillates, it will be, for arguments sake, the 15,098,984,633,l76th time it’s happened.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Absolutely not! The whole point is that (if the infinite oscillation thing is correct, which it may or may not be) the next time the universe oscillates will not be the first time, or fifth time, or 213243542354325342th time, or an particular “th” time, any more than there is a first, fifth, or 213243542354325342th integer. (here “integer” refers to positive and negative numbers)

If the integers are allowed to not have a first, fifth, or 213243542354325342th member, then why would you logically expect anything else to?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

If the integers are allowed to not have a first, fifth, or 213243542354325342th member, then why would you logically expect anything else to?
If the integers don’t need a beginning, then why does time?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

That last part came out a bit incoherent, hopefully this is better.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

OK, really have to go now, not lying this time…

except…
Cannot turn away…

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:21 PM

A cause is an action, an event that has an effect. Causes are the reasons that things happen. All events have causes. So, the cause of the broken glass was the cat knocking it over. The cause of the flat tire is a puncture in the rubber.

An effect is the change that has resulted from a cause. An effect is the result of an action upon something or someone. All effects have causes

Causality is the relationship between cause and effect. It is the principle that all things that occur have a cause. Whatever has happened was caused to happen by something else. Things cannot occur without a reason.

http://carm.org/

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If God doesn’t exist (spoiler: it doesn’t),

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Proof?

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:31 PM

My analytical nature has caused me to struggle my entire Christian life, and just when I reach a point of rejecting my faith, something so specific, so beyond coincidence, so illogical will happen that I find myself asking God to not let me go, no matter how much I may doubt. Everything I “know” pushes me away, and then, bam, something completely out of the realm of the logical happens to me and pulls me back in.

texanpride on April 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” or of the ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, “Discobolus.” Those who viewed “The Thinker” were prompted to think more analytically and expressed less belief in God — they scored an average of 41.42 on a 100-point scale, compared with an average of 61.55 for the group that viewed the discus thrower, according to the study.

You have GOT to be kidding.

ddrintn on April 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

No for real it was all scientific and sh*t :)

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Proof?

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:31 PM

There’s no need to prove that God doesn’t exist, and there’s no reason to believe that it does exist.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Without a doubt St. Paul was used by the Holy Spirit to help spread Christianity, but 2 things should be pointed out.

Clearly it was the Holy Spirit using St. Paul and Paul didn’t convince so many around Asia Minor on his own merits and intellect. Any reading of the New Testament will show you that St. Paul had his faults (as St. Peter did and we all do) and Paul’s personal disposition didn’t always know “how to make friends and influence people.” lol

Secondly, God used Paul, but not Paul alone. After his conversion, St. Paul went into a 3 year spiritual retreat in Arabia. The Church flourished during that time by the Holy Spirit using the Apostles and when Paul later met with St. Peter and conferred with him, Peter had already been preaching the Gospel, along with the other Apostles.

St. Peter and St. John also traveled and settled throughout Asia Minor, specifically Turkey. St. Mark went to Egypt. St. Thomas to India, etc.

St. John didn’t need Paul to tell him about his own personal eyewitness testimony.

St. John’s Gospel and his other writings are without a doubt the New Testament books that show Christ’s Divinity the most.

(See my next post for quotes.)

It is ridiculous for anyone to believe that in a few decades (before mass media and the printing press and modern travel conveniences) one man could have convinced so many to corrupt the truth about Jesus Christ and create a false religion on that basis. It’s one thing not be believe Christianity, but it’s another thing (and unconvincing) to believe that Paul created Christianity and Christ’s Divinity. All the Apostles (except St. John) and countless other Christians went to their death to keep Paul’s lies going? When they in fact knew Jesus personally while He lived and heard the Gospel from His own lips for 3 years? Paul knew it better?

Paul received his faith in Christ directly from Christ. But the details of the Gospel that St. Paul evangelized, he got from the other Apostles, not the other way around.

St. Paul himself mentions a couple times that the Tradition that was handed on to him was what he was in turn handing on to others to continue.

Paul had his disciples who preached, but so did Peter, John, etc. The early Church writings are filled with Bishops and early Christians who got the Gospel directly from these other Apostles. It was not only Paul.

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

John the eyewitness:

At the Last Supper

John 13:21-25:
When he had said this, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?”

Outside of Jesus’ trial

John 18:15-16:
“Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.”

At the foot of the cross, Jesus turned over care of his own mother to John. Note John himself puts Jesus’ life in context of Old Testament Scripture, he doesn’t need St. Paul for that. John noted Scripture in many other places, as well.

John 19:26-28:
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, IN ORDER THAT THE SCRIPTURE MIGHT BE FULFILLED, . . .”

At the empty tomb

John 20:3-8:
“So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.

John 21:24:
“It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.”

John’s testimony that Jesus is God:

John 1:1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.

(“I AM” is the God of the Old Testament.)

John 8:58:
“Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
John 18:5-6:
“They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground.”
In John 5:18:
“For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL TO GOD.”

In John 20 St. Thomas says, “my Lord and my God” and Jesus doesn’t correct him.

Jesus says in Revelation 1:17:
“When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.”

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

There’s no need to prove that God doesn’t exist, and there’s no reason to believe that it does exist.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

It all depends on what your definition of “it” is.

God = It?

What is it?

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 1:45 PM

“infinite time” is not an “infinite regression fallacy. The infinite regression fallacy is a fallacy in a logical argument. A logical argument must begin with some premises.

It is most certainly not the case that simply suggesting something might not have a beginning is a logical fallacy. There are many things that do not have beginnings – the integers, for example (this includes negative numbers).

Infinite regressions are only fallacies when you have a reason to presuppose that something begins. For a logical argument or proof, we are asserting that one thing implies the other, so this already gives us a beginning. But as I pointed out with the integer example, other things need not have a beginning (though some other things do, e.g., the natural numbers)

Because…let’s say that the universe has been oscillating from time immemorial. If this is the case, the next time the universe oscillates, it will be, for arguments sake, the 15,098,984,633,l76th time it’s happened.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Absolutely not! The whole point is that (if the infinite oscillation thing is correct, which it may or may not be) the next time the universe oscillates will not be the first time, or fifth time, or 213243542354325342th time, or an particular “th” time, any more than there is a first, fifth, or 213243542354325342th integer. (here “integer” refers to positive and negative numbers)

If the integers are allowed to not have a first, fifth, or 213243542354325342th member, then why would you logically expect anything else to?

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

We are not going to find common ground on this topic at all if we cannot agree that time moves in a linear fashion, which you should not and cannot expect me to believe that you believe…

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Did St. Paul Invent Christianity?
By: Carl Olson

http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/did-st-paul-invent-christianity

Excerpts:

Who really founded Christianity? Was it Jesus, as most Christians believe? Or did St. Paul invent an elaborate mythology—a shameless, self-serving ruse, some would say—that has distorted or destroyed the authentic teachings of Jesus? . . . .

But this theory has developed a notable scholarly pedigree in modern times. It has been taken up by well-educated and influential men, some of them Scripture scholars. The basic roots can be traced back to the mid-18th century and the influential Tübingen School of historical criticism. . . . .

These same basic lines of argument have been explored further in recent decades by authors intent on demonstrating that if Paul was the “founder” or “creator” of Christianity, then Jesus was not the Incarnate Son of God. . . .

the letters of Paul are largely occasional in nature; that is, they were written to address ongoing issues and questions in churches that were already established. They were meant to be primarily works of exhortation, not argumentation. None of them, after all, were addressed to non-believers; they were not evangelistic in nature, but aimed at exhorting, encouraging, correcting, and pastoring. Because of this, many scholars believe that Paul did not need to quote from Jesus’ teaching, writes David Wenham in Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity?, “because he and his readers have been taught it and know it well. In his letters his task is to discuss what is disputed and unclear, not to repeat what is already very familiar” (5). While this argument from silence is unconvincing to many critics, it intersects very well with the second point, which is made by N.T. Wright in What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? , which is that Jesus and Paul had quite different roles in the “eschatological drama” of salvation history. . . .

This argument rests on the priority and the validity of the Gospels, asserting that if Jesus really was the Messiah, did proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God, did die and rise from the dead, and did ascend into heaven, then he was completely unique. Therefore his teachings and life would have been the first things passed on by oral teaching and preaching, liturgy, and example (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76-79). Paul understood himself to be a “servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1); as such, Wright argues, he didn’t simply “repeat Jesus’ unique, one-off announcement of the kingdom to his fellow Jews. What we are looking for is not a parallel between two abstract messages. It is the appropriate continuity between two people living, and conscious of living, at different points in the eschatological timetable” (181). . . . .

Jesus believed that he had been sent by God to “bring Israel’s history to its climax” and Paul believed that Jesus had succeeded in this heavenly, covenantal mission. Paul was not interested in establishing a new religion or an ethical system or a syncretistic mixture of mystery religions. He was, Wright stressed, “deliberately and consciously implementing the achievement of Jesus” (181). Or, in his own words: “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:10-11). And part of this work—this participation in what Jesus had achieved by his death and resurrection—was to apply and live out the reality of this salvation in many different cultural contexts, including Palestine, Greece, Asia Minor, and Rome. . . .

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Proof?

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 1:31 PM

There’s no need to prove that God doesn’t exist, and there’s no reason to believe that it does exist.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

What an example of Analytic and Logical thinking…

Since this is so – this is so!

Brilliant! Masterful! Logical!

I’m in awe!

And to think, we’ve spent so much time pondering it all when we could have just turned to you!

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

God = It?

Yep. I’m talking about the common understanding of what God is. All-powerful creator of the universe with an interest in human lives, more or less.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 2:02 PM

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

No need to take it from me. It’s just basic understanding of how burden of proof works.

RightOFLeft on April 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM

After his conversion, St. Paul went into a 3 year spiritual retreat in Arabia.

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Correction – I apologize for stating this as a fact.

The text is not clear how much of those 3 years were in Arabia and how much in Damascus

St. Paul doesn’t specifically say he spent 3 years in Damascus, but 3 years before he went to Jerusalem. Paul upon his conversion preached briefly in Damascus. Then went to Arabia for a time, perhaps 2 or more years, in a kind of spiritual retreat to be prepared by the Holy Spirit for his future evangelical mission. Then he returned for a time to begin his ministry in Damascus and went to Jerusalem and “tried to join the disciples” there. Barnabas took him to St. Peter, so that the leaders of the Church could help Paul be accepted by the faithful, and Paul stayed with Peter 2 weeks for direction and confirmation of his orthodox preaching and ministry.

Acts 9: 19 says, “he stayed SOME DAYS with the disciples in Damascus,” right after his conversion.

Then Acts 9:23 says, “after a long time had passed” or “when many days were passed” those in Damascus tried to kill him and he went to Jerusalem. This could be the 3 years spoken of in Galatians. The time he spent in Arabia filling in the long time in between his start of his preaching in Damascus only for “some days” and his return “after a long time.”

Galatians 1:15-18:
“But when (God) . . . . was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.”

When he says he didn’t consult with “flesh and blood,” it seems to indicate he consulted the Holy Spirit Himself when he went to Arabia. Like a spiritual retreat or living a monastic type life in the desert. Then he returned to Damascus.

When it says “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that he was 3 years in Damascus preaching first. He could have been saying “then after three years” in relation to the verse before, when he said he didn’t go immediately to Jerusalem, but “then” went 3 years later, after an unclear amount of time in Arabia, followed by an clear amount of time in Damascus. Again, the text is not clear how much of those 3 years were in Arabia and how much in Damascus.

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Why not? I’m reciting astronomical facts, not quoting somebody’s poetry. If you know of some error in the facts, let’s hear it.

philwynk on April 28, 2012 at 8:06 AM

I guess you don’t understand the meaning of God…look it up, it’s pretty easily found.
Now if you don’t believe in God…fine…but if one does, than the “mathematical” laws you cite are limited to us, not God…get it?
Next time, actually read the post, don’t create some post in your mind, that’s not factual or very analytical of you…

right2bright on April 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I want to expound upon what I meant in my last post to you.

What I was getting at is that you and I don’t share the common ground that subtracting numbers from the number of times an event has already occurred brings us to a lower number – I believe that what I see you denying is beyond my ability to communicate effectively to you.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM

So what I should have said was:

Secondly, God used Paul, but not Paul alone. After his conversion, for 3 years St. Paul went on a spiritual retreat in Arabia and then only preached in Damascus. The Church flourished during that time by the Holy Spirit using the Apostles and when Paul later met with St. Peter and conferred with him, Peter had already been preaching the Gospel, along with the other Apostles.

Sorry to go on about this tiny point, but I am a stickler for details.

Elisa on April 28, 2012 at 2:08 PM

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