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  1. #61
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    This seems like a fairly uncritical, oversimplified stance to take, especially as you are lumping a relatively recent religious group (Mormons) with much older religions. I don't know the extent to which you have studied these religions, so it's perfectly possible that you can draw the comparisons in greater detail between these religions and Christianity and show how they are the same, but I wouldn't accept that at face value.
    While I am not an expert, I've studied all of them to some extent. I'm familiar with the apologetics they use and the critiques offered. I mention Mormons because you talked about how recent the testimonies of Christ were. Joseph Smith is much more contemporary and thus by the same logic even more trustworthy due to it's newness. We have numerous living first hand accounts of his cliams and second hand accounts from those who knew him. All very well documented and faithfully recorded no doubt.

    I don't expect you to accept the claims, in fact, I rely on the fact that you implicitly reject them. Really, without knowing much about them (I would suspect but don't know). You find my skepticism to be perhaps, unenlightened with regard to your faith, but you reject out of hand similar truth claims by others who have simmilar types of arguments for their faith being the truth. I have debated with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Mormons (who I consider Christians) about their religions. The arguments are shockingly similar in every case. So are their reasons for their own personal faith in their religion.

    Buddhists and Taoists are something of exceptions as they rarely debate about the metaphysical truth of their religions, or at least so far as I have experienced. I'm sure it must happen sometimes.

    What is a legend: A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated.

    In early Christianity, the eyewitnesses were both the authoritative sources and protectors of the oral traditions surrounding Jesus.
    Not really. Most of the books of the new testiment only have authorship by tradition, not by documentation or direct statement by the authors. They are collected sayings or stories that were not originally attributed to any particular person but over time have been associated with characcters from the stories they tell. The authorship is essentially hearsay. So we don't know that they were eye witnesses to anything. Nor would people of the time. You just have to trust what other people tell you. And as we all know, people can lie, or exagerate, or speak second hand information as if it were first hand information. That hasn't changed. If you check a lot of sholarship, including Catholic scholarship, the books by those "authors" were not written untill after those people were long dead.

    The manuscripts become important in codifying those traditions, and given that these manuscripts were in circulation while the eyewitnesses were still alive, any deviations would have been questioned and discarded if untrue and copies of those traditions would not have survived.
    It's not like people had global reach and they were not limited to written coppies. These things were circulated and there are many different versions of the stories and many more stories in the early church that were not cannonized by rome. You are just imagining the best case scenario because it's what you desire to believe. Objectively, there is nothing here that fosters any more trust than a post on instagram.

    Once Christians were no longer under persecution from Rome, you begin to see ecumenical councils arise with the goal of bringing together these manuscripts into a unified document--which we know today as the Bible--and likewise culling the legendary elements that had started to creep their way in--as legends usually do.
    And what methodology did they use to seperate the legends from the true documents? The christian tradition is that God decided which were in and which were out. So why would any actuall deliberation be nessesary? This process took place 200-300 years after the events supposedly took place. They couldn't interview anyone. Secular history doesn't record any of the supernatural events described. There were many competing schools of thought (and still are). Basically the people with the most influence and the best ability to persuade decided what would be in and what would be out. These were not scientific and historical inqueries, they were disputes about theological claims and which texts best supported those theologies.
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    While I am not an expert, I've studied all of them to some extent. I'm familiar with the apologetics they use and the critiques offered. I mention Mormons because you talked about how recent the testimonies of Christ were. Joseph Smith is much more contemporary and thus by the same logic even more trustworthy due to it's newness. We have numerous living first hand accounts of his cliams and second hand accounts from those who knew him. All very well documented and faithfully recorded no doubt.
    I could be wrong, but I do not think I made the claim that our relative proximity to events suggests that they are likewise more trustworthy. Perhaps my singling out Mormonism was misleading--my apologies.

    What I was trying to convey was that, having myself being exposed to a number of the histories and claims of each of these religions, it simply would not stand to reason that these very disparate religions should be so casually compared. It seemed a hasty generalization that warranted mention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I don't expect you to accept the claims, in fact, I rely on the fact that you implicitly reject them. Really, without knowing much about them (I would suspect but don't know). You find my skepticism to be perhaps, unenlightened with regard to your faith, but you reject out of hand similar truth claims by others who have simmilar types of arguments for their faith being the truth. I have debated with Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Mormons (who I consider Christians) about their religions. The arguments are shockingly similar in every case. So are their reasons for their own personal faith in their religion.
    To reject these truth claims out of hand would be irrational, of course, but at times unavoidable. I do approach such discussions with a bias, and accept that this colors my understanding of other religions. Knowing that hopefully helps me to get as close as possible to understanding different viewpoints from my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Not really. Most of the books of the new testiment only have authorship by tradition, not by documentation or direct statement by the authors. They are collected sayings or stories that were not originally attributed to any particular person but over time have been associated with characcters from the stories they tell. The authorship is essentially hearsay. So we don't know that they were eye witnesses to anything. Nor would people of the time. You just have to trust what other people tell you. And as we all know, people can lie, or exagerate, or speak second hand information as if it were first hand information. That hasn't changed. If you check a lot of sholarship, including Catholic scholarship, the books by those "authors" were not written untill after those people were long dead.
    There are plenty of NT scholars that would disagree with your assertions here. For example, Richard Bauckham in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses argues that one of the gospels was indeed written by an eyewitness and that much of the rest is "based quite closely on the testimony of the eyewitnesses". Source

    An interesting topic, to be sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    It's not like people had global reach and they were not limited to written coppies. These things were circulated and there are many different versions of the stories and many more stories in the early church that were not cannonized by rome. You are just imagining the best case scenario because it's what you desire to believe. Objectively, there is nothing here that fosters any more trust than a post on instagram.
    Again, per my above reference I am not 'imagining' anything, although I appreciate that you don't know me nor my background, so there's no reason for you to assume that I have researched any of these topics. Perhaps in future you could be a bit more charitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    And what methodology did they use to seperate the legends from the true documents? The christian tradition is that God decided which were in and which were out. So why would any actuall deliberation be nessesary? This process took place 200-300 years after the events supposedly took place. They couldn't interview anyone. Secular history doesn't record any of the supernatural events described. There were many competing schools of thought (and still are). Basically the people with the most influence and the best ability to persuade decided what would be in and what would be out. These were not scientific and historical inqueries, they were disputes about theological claims and which texts best supported those theologies.
    I am curious as to why you think the ecumenical council was called at all, if deliberation wasn't an integral component of it? What would "actual" deliberation have looked like? The first council took place in 325 AD, shortly after the Edict of Milan was enacted which made the council a possibility, as in the period before the Edict, Christians were actively discouraged from practicing and in most cases persecuted for their beliefs.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I am curious as to why you think the ecumenical council was called at all, if deliberation wasn't an integral component of it? What would "actual" deliberation have looked like? The first council took place in 325 AD, shortly after the Edict of Milan was enacted which made the council a possibility, as in the period before the Edict, Christians were actively discouraged from practicing and in most cases persecuted for their beliefs.
    Are you suggesting they discussed other religions as well as Christianity to determine which (if any) were true?
    My understanding is they discussed only Christian doctrine.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I could be wrong, but I do not think I made the claim that our relative proximity to events suggests that they are likewise more trustworthy. Perhaps my singling out Mormonism was misleading--my apologies.
    Sorry if I got the wrong impression, I think you said something like it was only 2000 years ago and so it was more trustworthy. At any rate, we have competing beliefs that are both newer and older than Christianity. I think the only advantage with a newer claim is we can better examine the events surrounding its creation.

    What I was trying to convey was that having myself being exposed to a number of the histories and claims of each of these religions, it simply would not stand to reason that these very disparate religions should be so casually compared. It seemed a hasty generalization that warranted mention.
    I mostly want to convey that every religion has a deep set of apologetics that comes along with it and the nature of their arguments are very similar. The beleifs are different, but the justifications for those beliefs are very similar. They all point to miracles. They all point to historical documents. They all point to long held traditions. They all point to rational thought. They all point to personal spiritual expereince. They will all point to cultural dynamics and superiority. Not every member will put equal weight on each item, but all are common corrents among believers.

    To reject these truth claims out of hand would be irrational, of course, but at times unavoidable. I do approach such discussions with a bias, and accept that this colors my understanding of other religions. Knowing that hopefully helps me to get as close as possible to understanding different viewpoints from my own.
    Admirable and honest.

    There are plenty of NT scholars that would disagree with your assertions here. For example, Richard Bauckham in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses argues that one of the gospels was indeed written by an eyewitness and that much of the rest is "based quite closely on the testimony of the eyewitnesses". Source
    Of course. Bt the problem is, we can't verify it, that is what makes it legend rather than history. We can speculate and guess and try to put the puzzle together, but it is vague enought that anyone can easily smuggle whatever bias they want into it and justify that. I think the most methodological approaches (the least stteeped in justifying an lready held beleif) tell us they were not written very close to one another and that they crib from common original sources in many cases. But without any good way to verify it, it's legend.

    An interesting topic, to be sure.
    Yep, and I don't begrudge forlks for trying to figure it out. The stories are real in that they are real stories, and we do know that they have been passed down more in tact than not. We have found many historical variations on them, so we know they are not entirely consistent and what we preserve today is just one version of what was around then. Not to mention there are still differnet chritian and Jewish traditions that have different cannonical choices.

    And some biblical claims of history are well backed up by archeology, while others are directly disputed, and most are simply unverified one way or another. I've had these kinds of appologetic topics with Hindus as well.

    Again, per my above reference I am not 'imagining' anything, although I appreciate that you don't know me nor my background, so there's no reason for you to assume that I have researched any of these topics. Perhaps in future you could be a bit more charitable.
    Respectfully, no one has a good view of what happened at that time that I am aware of. So if you feel that you know that people of the era were able to easily verify the varasity of manuscripts from another part of the world, I thik you are imagining that rather than basing it on some type of strong evidence. I could be worng, and you could give me an example of how documents in the biblical erra were methodically checked for factual error I could be enlightened on the subject. I think the fact that there were so many disperate versions of these documents and collections of cannon at the time of the necumenical council speaks to the fact there were not such methods available to them.

    I am curious as to why you think the ecumenical council was called at all if deliberation wasn't an integral component of it? What would "actual" deliberation have looked like? The first council took place in 325 AD, shortly after the Edict of Milan was enacted which made the council a possibility, as in the period before the Edict, Christians were actively discouraged from practicing and in most cases persecuted for their beliefs.
    My view is that the first ecumenical council was an attempt by Constantine to solidify control of the Christian church under his leadership just as he held political control over the Roman Empire thus unifying political and religious/social control for himself and his government. Members of the church were feuding with one another over doctrine in the empire so he sought to end such disputes by creating a unified doctrine bound by the authority of the roman empire and estemed members of the church clergy of the time. Constantine was not so interested in any specific outcome of doctrine but in a unity of belief and harmony of cooperation among bishops.

    Christians were persicuted prior to Constantine becoming a Christian Emporer and he rather turned the tables on things, at least for a while. Peganism wasn't quite dead and has some resergences, but ultimately the Christians won out in Roman politics and culture.
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Of course. Bt the problem is, we can't verify it, that is what makes it legend rather than history. We can speculate and guess and try to put the puzzle together, but it is vague enought that anyone can easily smuggle whatever bias they want into it and justify that. I think the most methodological approaches (the least stteeped in justifying an lready held beleif) tell us they were not written very close to one another and that they crib from common original sources in many cases. But without any good way to verify it, it's legend.
    I disagree. Many of the places, people and events described in the NT can be verified by other means. That there are at least five independent sources that comprise the NT manuscripts and that the details between these manuscripts are largely consistent is strong evidence that the people, places and events described can be trusted to have happened. There are only two sources for Socrates, and they weren't written until over a hundred years after his death, yet most would consider Socrates a historical figure that existed. The earliest manuscript evidence we have of the existence of Julius Caesar are 900 years removed from the events, but do we consider the figure of Julius Caesar a legend, or that his story be classified as a legend?

    If we were to be consistent in your application of what is history and what is legend, then we should be prepared to categorize the vast majority of human history as legend and hearsay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Yep, and I don't begrudge forlks for trying to figure it out. The stories are real in that they are real stories, and we do know that they have been passed down more in tact than not. We have found many historical variations on them, so we know they are not entirely consistent and what we preserve today is just one version of what was around then. Not to mention there are still differnet chritian and Jewish traditions that have different cannonical choices.

    And some biblical claims of history are well backed up by archeology, while others are directly disputed, and most are simply unverified one way or another. I've had these kinds of appologetic topics with Hindus as well.
    They aren't 100% consistent, no. The variations that do exist are mostly in the form of typographical errors however and only about 5-10% of the differences are actually significant and have theological impact. That is present in most study Bibles that you purchase, with notes describing which verses are in dispute, not clear, or that could be spurious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Respectfully, no one has a good view of what happened at that time that I am aware of. So if you feel that you know that people of the era were able to easily verify the varasity of manuscripts from another part of the world, I thik you are imagining that rather than basing it on some type of strong evidence. I could be worng, and you could give me an example of how documents in the biblical erra were methodically checked for factual error I could be enlightened on the subject. I think the fact that there were so many disperate versions of these documents and collections of cannon at the time of the necumenical council speaks to the fact there were not such methods available to them.
    Again I would disagree with your assessment. The book by church theologian Bruce Metzger is probably a good place to start to understand how everything came together. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance.

  6. #66
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    To add to the problem of hiddenness, we also have the issue that there's absolutely no evidence that a deity actually exists, or at least interacts in reality in any detectable way.
    What is detectible to many Christians (interaction with the Divine) through personal experience but not to all only implies that we are all different and have different levels of awareness usually at different stages of our life.

    For all you know, Futureboy, as most things in our current reality are in a state of change, next year you might wake up one sunny morning and have an epiphany awareness of interacting with God.
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  7. #67
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I disagree. Many of the places, people and events described in the NT can be verified by other means. That there are at least five independent sources that comprise the NT manuscripts and that the details between these manuscripts are largely consistent is strong evidence that the people, places and events described can be trusted to have happened. There are only two sources for Socrates, and they weren't written until over a hundred years after his death, yet most would consider Socrates a historical figure that existed. The earliest manuscript evidence we have of the existence of Julius Caesar are 900 years removed from the events, but do we consider the figure of Julius Caesar a legend, or that his story be classified as a legend?
    Whoever informed you of these claims is lying to you, especially about Julias Ceasar.
    -There are many direct works of Julias Ceasar in the literary record.
    -His face and name appears on Roman currency from the era of his rule
    -There is at least one contemporary statue of him from the time he was alive
    -We have 12 self-attributed first-hand accounts of his rule from contemporaries of time he lived
    -His name appears on historical inscriptions from the time of his rule

    So, the idea that we don't have anything about him until 900 years later is total nonsense. Either you misunderstood, or you were told a huge lie that is easily falsifiable with a moment's research.

    As to Socrates...
    -We have two contemporary self-attributed sources for Socrates, Plato, and Xenophon. They could have made him up, its true, but since they are not claiming him as a divine being, or that he is God, we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt that ya, he was a historical person. Though we can't prove that beyond these two accounts. But that is more directly attributed accounts than Jesus has.

    But you have to include the fact that the Bible includes a litany of outlandish claims about gods, supernatural powers, and the like. The Greeks wrote plenty about their gods, but we take them at their world when they are talking about historical figures of no supernatural note, and doubt them when it comes to Zeus or Appolo. There is a good reason for that. The bible claims the famous people of Jerusalem got out of their graves and roamed around diring Jesus's resurection. That kind of claim needs a little more validation that, there once was a philosopher in grece with some interesting ideas about how the world works.
    Last edited by Sigfried; January 10th, 2019 at 06:38 AM.
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    What is detectible to many Christians (interaction with the Divine) through personal experience but not to all only implies that we are all different and have different levels of awareness usually at different stages of our life.
    Sure, personal experiences are detectable ... as experiences. This in no way qualifies as an actual detection of the supernatural. Again, there is absolutely no evidence that a deity of any kind interacts with reality in any detectable way.

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    For all you know, Futureboy, as most things in our current reality are in a state of change, next year you might wake up one sunny morning and have an epiphany awareness of interacting with God.
    While I welcome any funky experiences of that kind - they're fun - it would in no way serve as rational justification for belief. Further, the fact that such experiences almost always align with whatever religion one happens to have been brought up in makes your point entirely vacuous, and makes belief based on such experiences entirely arbitrary.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Whoever informed you of these claims is lying to you, especially about Julias Ceasar.
    -There are many direct works of Julias Ceasar in the literary record.
    -His face and name appears on Roman currency from the era of his rule
    -There is at least one contemporary statue of him from the time he was alive
    -We have 12 self-attributed first-hand accounts of his rule from contemporaries of time he lived
    -His name appears on historical inscriptions from the time of his rule

    So, the idea that we don't have anything about him until 900 years later is total nonsense. Either you misunderstood, or you were told a huge lie that is easily falsifiable with a moment's research.
    Much of what we know about Caesar's life comes from autobiographical accounts of his military campaigns (Gallic Wars) and from Cicero and Sallust.

    The earliest surviving manuscripts of Julius Caesar's autobiographical work, which chronicle the Gallic Wars, is dated to around 801 AD (~900 years removed). Source

    Cicero (one of his contemporaries) does mention Julius Caesar in his speeches and other works, the earliest manuscript copies we have date back to around 350 AD (400 years removed). Source

    The earliest surviving manuscript copies of Sallust's works, specifically those which mention Julius Caesar (Catilina, Bellum Catilinae and Bellum Catilinarium) date to the 9th century AD. Source

    We then add biographies of Julius Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch, both written well after Caesar's death (and thus not contemporary sources).

    The earliest copies of The Twelve Caesars, written by Suetonius, can be dated to the 9th century AD. Source

    The earliest copies of Parallel Lives, written by Plutarch, date to the 10th century AD. Source

    We certainly have archaeological evidence of Julius Caesar (as we do for some of the places, people and events depicted in the NT manuscripts), but as far as what he did, all we have are manuscript copies of writings centuries removed from the original events. As you said, "Legends can form in days".

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    As to Socrates...
    -We have two contemporary self-attributed sources for Socrates, Plato, and Xenophon. They could have made him up, its true, but since they are not claiming him as a divine being, or that he is God, we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt that ya, he was a historical person. Though we can't prove that beyond these two accounts. But that is more directly attributed accounts than Jesus has.
    The earliest surviving manuscript copies of Plato's Tetralogies are dated 895 AD, nearly 1300 years after Plato's death. Source

    The earliest surviving manuscript copies of Xenophon's works date likewise to sometime in the 9th century AD, again nearly 1300 years after Xenophon's death. Source

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    But you have to include the fact that the Bible includes a litany of outlandish claims about gods, supernatural powers, and the like. The Greeks wrote plenty about their gods, but we take them at their world when they are talking about historical figures of no supernatural note, and doubt them when it comes to Zeus or Appolo. There is a good reason for that. The bible claims the famous people of Jerusalem got out of their graves and roamed around diring Jesus's resurection. That kind of claim needs a little more validation that, there once was a philosopher in grece with some interesting ideas about how the world works.
    This is generally where these kinds of discussions end. The argument goes that because some of the events described in the NT manuscripts have supernatural elements to them or are "outlandish" or "extraordinary", they can be wholly categorized as fiction/legend because...well they simply couldn't have happened that way. These kinds of claims need "extraordinary" evidence, (i.e. moving the goalposts).

    My point here is to highlight the fact that your naturalistic bias leads you to being irrationally hypercritical of what is objectively better source material (NT manuscripts). It's understandable but intellectually dishonest.

    ---------- Post added at 02:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:20 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor
    Are you suggesting they discussed other religions as well as Christianity to determine which (if any) were true?
    My understanding is they discussed only Christian doctrine.
    Sorry I missed this earlier. No, they were definitely discussing Christian doctrine.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    The chronological difference between Xtianity and the others mentioned is truly negligible compared to some of the even older religions. It may seem like an oversimplified stance, but it is justified so your objection here isn't valid.
    No justification is provided, so it is impossible for the objection to be valid.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Sure, personal experiences are detectable ... as experiences. This in no way qualifies as an actual detection of the supernatural. Again, there is absolutely no evidence that a deity of any kind interacts with reality in any detectable way.
    If Christians or any other religious adherents for that matter, have a life-changing experience of God (God interacting with man) and the experience confirms to them they are interacting with the Divine--this doesn’t mean their experience isn’t real. Nor does it have to be supernatural. If God works through man, (most religions believe this) the Devine can certainly work through the natural. The point being is that just because some may not detect God interacting with creation, doesn’t mean it’s not taking place.

    As far as evidence, physical instruments and physical senses detect physical events and work well for producing physical evidence. But if you want evidence of the Spirit interacting with man in the natural world, and you’re sincere in your quest, it would probably be a good idea to use a method and tools that can observe and experience the Spirit.

    Since your OP refers to Christianity, the Bible does suggest a few such tools and methods.

    While I welcome any funky experiences of that kind - they're fun - it would in no way serve as rational justification for belief.
    Unless, of course, the experience transformed your entire state of mind, knowing, beliefs, outlook and life -- which wouldn't be the first time such an event had taken place.
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Unless, of course, the experience transformed your entire state of mind, knowing, beliefs, outlook and life -- which wouldn't be the first time such an event had taken place.
    Why would it be that God would only do this for some people when all need to know?

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Belthazor View Post
    Why would it be that God would only do this for some people when all need to know?
    One reason might be because God respects the process of evolution (trial and error) that each soul travels. Thus, when the student is ready, non-separation from its Source is the natural setting.
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Much of what we know about Caesar's life comes from autobiographical accounts of his military campaigns (Gallic Wars) and from Cicero and Sallust.
    The earliest surviving manuscripts of Julius Caesar's autobiographical work, which chronicle the Gallic Wars, is dated to around 801 AD (~900 years removed). Source
    Cicero (one of his contemporaries) does mention Julius Caesar in his speeches and other works, the earliest manuscript copies we have date back to around 350 AD (400 years removed). Source
    I had no idea you were talking about the oldest current copies of those works. That is not at all the same thing as saying the oldest sources. Look just because I have a bible printed in 2018 doesn't mean that the bible, as a source dates to 2018. Nor is its oldest current copy evidence it did not exist prior to that. The oldest surviving copy is not any indication that Cesar's writings were not written by Ceasar and that Cicero didn't write of ceasar in Cicero and Ceasar's time. when it is corroborated by archological evidence it is a pretty open and shut case for the histirocity of Ceasar. Jesus does not have that luxury. He has no archological evidence at all, and only unatributed sources that are largely dated to long after the time of his life. This is an apples to oranges comparison. Honestly it feels disengenous for that to be the basis of your argument.

    This is generally where these kinds of discussions end. The argument goes that because some of the events described in the NT manuscripts have supernatural elements to them or are "outlandish" or "extraordinary", they can be wholly categorized as fiction/legend because...well they simply couldn't have happened that way. These kinds of claims need "extraordinary" evidence, (i.e. moving the goalposts).
    Hardly moving the goalposts. Any person alive whould place greater skeptisism of an outlandish claim than a common claim. Tell a man that there was a king in ancient rome and he will say, sure probably was. Tell him that dragons used to cook meals for the king and they will say, prove it to me with some serious evidence because dragon's aren't real. Same goes for people rising from the grave, its not a thing that generally happens so it requires some serious skeptissm and seriously rigerous evidence.

    And the main argument remains, the lives of the historical figures in question are simply much better corroborated and established than Jesus. There is a lot more direct evidence they lived and existed than for Jesus. Socratese doesn't have a lot, but he has more than Jesus does. Julius Ceasar is pretty well beyond any reasonable doubt.

    My point here is to highlight the fact that your naturalistic bias leads you to being irrationally hypercritical of what is objectively better source material (NT manuscripts). It's understandable but intellectually dishonest.
    I'm sorry but I am quite sure you also have a naturalist bias, only it doesn't apply to your religion and instead applies to everyone elses supdernatiral claims. Unless of course you beleive in astrology, ghost hunting, anceint aliens, delving for water, transmuting lead into gold, reincarnation, past life regression, crystal magic, and every other wacky woo woo claim the world has to offer. I'd bet you don't believe in these things, not without some serious evidence, but you do believe in mundane things like, burger resturaunts, airplanes, the moon landing, Africa, inestment banking and so on even if you have never actually seen it with your own eyes. If you can honestly tell me you consider these two types of claim equal then OK. Otherwise, you are just like me except for one special exception.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I had no idea you were talking about the oldest current copies of those works. That is not at all the same thing as saying the oldest sources. Look just because I have a bible printed in 2018 doesn't mean that the bible, as a source dates to 2018. Nor is its oldest current copy evidence it did not exist prior to that. The oldest surviving copy is not any indication that Cesar's writings were not written by Ceasar and that Cicero didn't write of ceasar in Cicero and Ceasar's time. when it is corroborated by archological evidence it is a pretty open and shut case for the histirocity of Ceasar.
    I only provided these sources because you indicated that "legends form in days", which I understood to mean that you are arguing that any source material that we have, if far enough removed in time from the original event, should be considered legend and thus untrustworthy as an accurate historical account. If I am misunderstanding your argument, please clarify.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Jesus does not have that luxury. He has no archological evidence at all, and only unatributed sources that are largely dated to long after the time of his life. This is an apples to oranges comparison. Honestly it feels disengenous for that to be the basis of your argument.
    This is incorrect, as both Tacitus (considered one of the greatest Roman historians) and Josephus (a Jewish historian) reference Jesus in their writings (excluding the obvious mentions in the NT manuscripts). We also have accurate descriptions of people (Roman leadership), places and events (Roman census and taxation) that can be corroborated with archaeological evidence. Furthermore, the oldest existing manuscript copies we have are significantly closer to the events when compared with most other ancient source material. The oldest are dated to within 20-30 years of the events. The writings of John (specifically Revelation) are unique in that he describes the temple as not yet destroyed, which suggests it was written prior to its actual destruction in 70 AD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Hardly moving the goalposts. Any person alive whould place greater skeptisism of an outlandish claim than a common claim. Tell a man that there was a king in ancient rome and he will say, sure probably was. Tell him that dragons used to cook meals for the king and they will say, prove it to me with some serious evidence because dragon's aren't real. Same goes for people rising from the grave, its not a thing that generally happens so it requires some serious skeptissm and seriously rigerous evidence.
    How does one define and classify "seriously rigorous evidence" and how does it differ from "regular" evidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    And the main argument remains, the lives of the historical figures in question are simply much better corroborated and established than Jesus. There is a lot more direct evidence they lived and existed than for Jesus. Socratese doesn't have a lot, but he has more than Jesus does. Julius Ceasar is pretty well beyond any reasonable doubt.
    You assume that to be the case, but as I have argued, you are inconsistent in your evaluation of ancient sources. You argue that "legends can form in days" yet do not seem to mind that the sources we have describing the lives of Julius Caesar and Socrates are at best hundreds of years removed from the primary source. This is intellectually dishonest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I'm sorry but I am quite sure you also have a naturalist bias, only it doesn't apply to your religion and instead applies to everyone elses supdernatiral claims. Unless of course you beleive in astrology, ghost hunting, anceint aliens, delving for water, transmuting lead into gold, reincarnation, past life regression, crystal magic, and every other wacky woo woo claim the world has to offer. I'd bet you don't believe in these things, not without some serious evidence, but you do believe in mundane things like, burger resturaunts, airplanes, the moon landing, Africa, inestment banking and so on even if you have never actually seen it with your own eyes. If you can honestly tell me you consider these two types of claim equal then OK. Otherwise, you are just like me except for one special exception.
    That I doubt a claim due to my bias has no impact on the validity nor soundness of the claim. That something hasn't happened to you personally, or perhaps hasn't happened before, does not necessarily mean it could never happen. It only means that there is good evidence that shows something is improbable or that the supporting evidence is weak and thus unconvincing.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    How does one define and classify "seriously rigorous evidence" and how does it differ from "regular" evidence?
    What would you, Freund, require as evidence to believe I can levitate (IOW, I can "float" in the air without the aid of anything other than the power of my mind/thoughts)?

    My word? A picture of me doing it? Other witnesses telling you they had seem me levitate? You witnessing it in person? Me grasping your hand so you levitated with me? Perhaps if you saw it on the evening news?
    Or something else entirely?

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    If Christians or any other religious adherents for that matter, have a life-changing experience of God (God interacting with man) and the experience confirms to them they are interacting with the Divine--this doesnít mean their experience isnít real. Nor does it have to be supernatural. If God works through man, (most religions believe this) the Devine can certainly work through the natural. The point being is that just because some may not detect God interacting with creation, doesnít mean itís not taking place.
    A deity which doesn't interact with reality in any detectable way is indistinguishable from a deity which doesn't exist. So there's really no point in discussing it, and any who claim to believe in such a deity are just claiming to be able to detect the undetectable.

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    As far as evidence, physical instruments and physical senses detect physical events and work well for producing physical evidence. But if you want evidence of the Spirit interacting with man in the natural world, and youíre sincere in your quest, it would probably be a good idea to use a method and tools that can observe and experience the Spirit.
    There are no methods or tools which have been confirmed to be able to observe and experience anything regarding "the Spirit".

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Since your OP refers to Christianity, the Bible does suggest a few such tools and methods.
    And the fact that these have consistently failed to produce valid evidence makes more sense on the OP's hypothesis. Further, the fact that contradictory theistic claims purport to use the same kinds of tools and methods which people claim to be using to reach conclusions which directly contradict each other completely invalidates them. If the tools and methods are not a reliable pathway to truth, then they alone can never provide rational justification for a belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Unless, of course, the experience transformed your entire state of mind, knowing, beliefs, outlook and life -- which wouldn't be the first time such an event had taken place.
    Nope, still no. What about all those who had a transformative experience of, say, reading Mein Kampf, for example? It surely transformed their entire state of mind, knowing, blah, blah, specious blah. Again, this does not serve as rational justification for belief in claims which entirely lack valid support of any kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    One reason might be because God respects the process of evolution (trial and error) that each soul travels. Thus, when the student is ready, non-separation from its Source is the natural setting.
    This is the issue of god playing favourites. If I have two kids, and I want both of them to know me, and one has actually met me but I don't interact with the other one in any way whatsoever, I can't then hold them both to the same standards and expectation of knowing and believing in me, rewarding the one who does and punishing the one who doesn't. Doing so would make me a colossal dick.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    A deity which doesn't interact with reality in any detectable way is indistinguishable from a deity which doesn't exist. So there's really no point in discussing it, and any who claim to believe in such a deity are just claiming to be able to detect the undetectable.
    If someone actually detects God (as in God actually talks to them), then God is detectable. Unless you can show that this never happens, then you cannot make an argument with the premise that God is undetectable.

    If by "undetectable", you mean something that we have not been able to detect using current scientific knowledge/equipment, that is not a valid bar for determining if something exist. By that standard, things that science could not detect 100 years ago because we lacked the knowledge/tools to detect it back then did not exist back then.

    So we can't currently detect X using our CURRENT tools (such as scientific measuring devices). Does that mean that X does not exist? No. Does it mean that people cannot individually detect it without using with tools? No. Does it mean that you have reason to not believe in X? Of course. Does it mean that you can support that X does not exist? No.




    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    There are no methods or tools which have been confirmed to be able to observe and experience anything regarding "the Spirit".
    And hundreds of years ago.there were no methods or tools which could confirm the existence of infrared light Just like that did not equate proof that infrared light didn't exist back then, our current inability to measure spirit today does not prove that spirit does not exist.

    It looks to me that you are using the argument from ignorance fallacy. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.




    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    And the fact that these have consistently failed to produce valid evidence makes more sense on the OP's hypothesis. Further, the fact that contradictory theistic claims purport to use the same kinds of tools and methods which people claim to be using to reach conclusions which directly contradict each other completely invalidates them. If the tools and methods are not a reliable pathway to truth, then they alone can never provide rational justification for a belief.
    But then in the future, we may develop the tools to detect spirit. All we can say about today is the we don't CURRENTLY have the tools just like we used to not have the tools to detect infrared.
    Last edited by mican333; January 17th, 2019 at 09:56 AM.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If someone actually detects God (as in God actually talks to them)
    In what way is "someone has an experience which they claim was God talking to them" the same as "God actually talks to them"? Claiming a supernatural experience is in no way a demonstration of the supernatural interacting with reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    It looks to me that you are using the argument from ignorance fallacy.
    I'll repeat the statement:
    There are no methods or tools which have been confirmed to be able to observe and experience anything regarding "the Spirit".

    Whether there may or may not in the future be methods or tools which allow us to observe and experience such things is irrelevant. The statement is true regardless.

    Your post, like so many of your arguments regarding theism, relies on one specific type of theist being immeasurably lucky in being correct about the conclusions they reached using the same irrational methods that all other theists used to reach their unluckily wrong conclusions. It's an entirely vapid and pointless exercise. Just happening to be lucky once the results are in doesn't justify one's belief before they are in. Methods which are, demonstrably, not reliable pathways to truth do not provide rational justification for a belief. That is, of course, assuming you actually care about believing in as many true things and as few false things as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But then in the future, we may develop the tools to detect spirit. All we can say about today is the we don't CURRENTLY have the tools just like we used to not have the tools to detect infrared.
    Again, the statement is true regardless of what you think may be the case in the future.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    In what way is "someone has an experience which they claim was God talking to them" the same as "God actually talks to them"? Claiming a supernatural experience is in no way a demonstration of the supernatural interacting with reality.
    I didn't say otherwise. I'm saying that you have not shown that God is undetectable since you've not shown that people don't communicate with God.

    Yes, I understand that no one can prove that they talked to God, but that does not mean that it didn't happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I'll repeat the statement:
    There are no methods or tools which have been confirmed to be able to observe and experience anything regarding "the Spirit".
    I don't challenge that statement. But using that statement as support that spirit does not exist is to engage in the argument from ignorance fallacy (absence of evidence is evidence of absensce.


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Your post, like so many of your arguments regarding theism, relies on one specific type of theist being immeasurably lucky in being correct about the conclusions they reached using the same irrational methods that all other theists used to reach their unluckily wrong conclusions.
    I've made no argument that that comment could reasonably apply to.


    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    Just happening to be lucky once the results are in doesn't justify one's belief before they are in. Methods which are, demonstrably, not reliable pathways to truth do not provide rational justification for a belief. That is, of course, assuming you actually care about believing in as many true things and as few false things as possible.
    About the only rational way I think a theist can come to belief is if God or some other spirit actually contacts them. I do think first hand experience is indeed a rational way to belief. I've never argued anything else regarding this. And I've never seen a valid argument that shows that this does not or can not happen. Since I don't know if it ever happens, my position is that there MAY be a rational way to achieve a belief.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I do think first hand experience is indeed a rational way to belief.
    And you're entitled to your opinion. Fortunately, there are those who actually care whether their beliefs are true, so I'm just going to leave it at that and move on from this pointlessness.

 

 
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