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"Nothing washes the foul taste of Atheism out of your mouth like Janssens-Cola!
Janssens-Cola is also bigotry-free with no DECD (Disrespectful Expletives of Carbon Dioxide) added. Try one today!"
(Mike blogs at magepage.spaces.live.com)
1) M. Janssens (2008-Feb-14)
2) S. Jetchick (2008-Feb-23)
-----Original Message----- From: ~The Mage~ Sent: 14 février 2008 20:57 To: Stefan Jetchick Subject: RE: Faith and Reason Cheerful greetings in Christ! Through reason, I believe that we can do little more than conclude the existence of some kind of higher power. God has revealed Himself to us in two ways: the first is through his creation (Psalm 19). One need only look around at this wonderful world and conclude that a higher power was behind it. Further evidence to this can be attributed to what was written earlier in our correspondance: that without God, morality and epistemology lose their meaning. Ah, but which god? Which higher power? The Ancient Greeks believed in many gods, and they had concoted a story of creation which was very mythical (and quite fascinating, if you've ever had the chance to study it). With that presupposition of many gods, their philosophy, and thus, their reason, centered around it. So, when you say that "the existence of God is not part of Faith, strictly speaking", then I take a small step back and would argue in return that "the existence of a higher power is not part of faith, strictly speaking". An analogy would be useful here... Suppose I show you a painting of a woman wearing a dress, with a slight smirk on her face. Now, reason will tell you that someone painted it, and reason can also tell you that the artist had certain preferences in regards to colour or painting style or canvas choice, and if you are insightful enough, reason can also tell you something about the artist's philosophical beliefs about the world. But although reason can indeed tell you all these things, only when you research the painting and read about it, do you discover more accurate details: the fact that the painting is called the Mona Lisa, the artist's name is Leonardo da Vinci, and learn of his place of residence, birth date, death date, specific philosophical writings, among a host of other things. Here's the key to the analogy: creation is the painting. The Bible is the information about that painting. My argument is that reason is looking at our world and concluding the existence of some higher power that must have created it; faith is reading about that higher power, and discovering that His name is I AM, and that He is God. Reason is judging morality by an absolute standard, knowing that without that standard, morality loses all meaning, and also concluding that since all men are equal in value, that the morality must be above all men. Faith is lining that higher morality up to God's Word that He has given to us in the Bible. Reason is then taking our faith, and applying it to the world around us, for example: 1. What one creates is his own possession. 2. God created heaven and earth. therefore: 3. Heaven and earth are God's possession. 1. Morality comes from a higher power. 2. God is the only higher power. therefore: 3. Morality comes from God. I disagree with Tim when he says that we cannot come to "a neautral intellectual meeting ground around which they can come to a basic body of shared truth". Both believers and non-believers can know things about how the world works. But I will assert that believers and non-believers have no common ground for philosophical truth, i.e. for why the world works. Any type of intellectual activity that involves higher thinking (morality as the big one) is one in which we have nothing in common with the heathen. Example: Murder is wrong. Believers and non-believers both agree. But do we really? Challenge a non-believer to tell you why murder is wrong, and they will stumble. Their morality is an echo of an old (Judeo- Christian!) morality that has lost its foundation. It is almost a logical consequence then, that we witness moral decline in our country. The basis for "murder is wrong" has been eliminated, and so they stick to their moral code only as long as it is conveneient for them. They begin to deny and rewrite their own morality: "It's not really murder. It's only a fetus!"... "It's not murder. It's euthanasia. The people are suffering so why not end it for them? It's the right thing to do." And so the heathen make excuses to eliminate morality one step at a time. So do we have the same basic truths? Only the ones that are observable by our five physical senses: vision (one bean plus two beans is three beans), hearing (C Major is the base chord for music), smell (sewage is putrid, while roses are pleasant), touch (sandpaper is rough, cotton is soft), and taste (sugar is sweet, lemons are sour). Anything beyond those that can be observed by physical sense are ones with which we have no commonality with the unbeliever. Thus, I distinguish between reasonable truths and knowledgable truths. We share knowledgable truths with the unbeliever, but not reasonable truths, because our reasons our based upon different faiths. This nonsense idea about humans taking different reasonable routes to the same intellectual place is crippling to logical debate. No matter how you swing it, you cannot get to Montreal by taking the 400 up to Sudbury, ON. The 400 doesn't go to Montreal. It doesn't! OK... so the hardest question for a Catholic... alright. On what scriptural(!) basis does the Catholic church initiate and maintain the authority of the Pope. I have a host of other questions, but let's start there with the head of the Catholic church. ~The Mage~ Reporting in, Lord. What's my job?
-----Original Message----- From: Stefan Jetchick Sent: 23 février 2008 15:05 To: ~The Mage~ Subject: RE: Faith and Reason Hi Mike, OK, now I have some time. By the way, please holler if you don't want me to put our debate on my web site! I was under the impression you gave me the go-ahead in your previous e-mail. >> I believe that we can do little more than conclude >> the existence of some kind of higher power. There you go again with the word "believe"! ;-) Remember, we are not in the realm of belief in this discussion, but in the realm of Philosophy, i.e. pure reason. You have to justify your assertions rationally. >> God has revealed Himself to us in two ways: the first >> is through His creation (Psalm 19). Concedo! But I usually quote Romans 1:20 for that purpose: "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made." >> The Ancient Greeks believed in many gods, and they had >> concoted a story of creation which was very mythical Not so fast! My book on the History of Philosophy lists about 17 notable Ancient Greek philosophers: Greek and Roman Period. Pagan Philosophy. (By the way, sorry about the French Philosophy books. Hopefully someday I'll translate them.) The interesting one is Aristotle. He claimed to prove the existence of God, one God, not many. So strictly speaking, you would be wrong on that one. >> Suppose I show you a painting of a woman wearing a dress [...] >> Here's the key to the analogy: creation is the painting. >> The Bible is the information about that painting. I guess I would at least partly agree with you. Yes, of course, Natural Theology (i.e. rational research on God, without the Bible) doesn't tell us much about God, compared to the Bible. So in that sense, Concedo, the "Bible is the information about that painting". But Natural Theology can tell us quite a bit: God exists, God is simple, good, infinite, immutable, eternal, true, beautiful, alive (in the spiritual sense), etc. Quick list here: Chapter 3: Natural Theology >> My argument is that reason is looking at our world and >> concluding the existence of some higher power that must >> have created it; faith is reading about that higher power, >> and discovering that His name is I AM, and that He is God. Here again, I think we agree. The disagreement might be where to draw the line between what we can know by reason alone, and what the Bible teaches us. >> Reason is judging morality by an absolute standard, knowing that >> [...] that morality must be above all men. Concedo, but here again, I think reason can go farther. The Ten Commandments (Natural Law) are knowable by reason alone, for example. >> I disagree with Tim when he says that we cannot come to "a neutral >> intellectual meeting ground [...]". Both believers and non-believers >> can know things about how the world works. Concedo. Good! At least we have something to work with! >> But I will assert that believers and non-believers have no common >> ground for philosophical truth Nego, as you can imagine! (See next "Nego" for more explanations.) >> Any type of intellectual activity that involves higher thinking >> (morality as the big one) is one in which we have nothing in common >> with the heathen. Nego again. To explore our disagreement, we would need to review what is Philosophy. >> Challenge a non-believer to tell you why murder is wrong, and they >> will stumble. Distinguo. Not necessarily. As I've said, the existence and general attributes of God are knowable by Philosophy, as well as the spirituality of the human soul. This means we can prove human beings are very different from all other animals, and that human beings are, in a way, "the image and likeness of God", by their intellect and free- will. Hence the dignity of human beings. Hence the fact we shouldn't kill them. >> The basis for "murder is wrong" has been eliminated, and so they >> stick to their moral code only as long as it is convenient for them. In my opinion, you're confusing some things here. What is gnawing away at Canada these days is Atheism. Philosophy (good Philosophy) proves Atheism is wrong. >> And so the heathen make excuses to eliminate morality one step at a time. Distinguo. As I've said, in actual fact, in Canada as we speak, the non-Christians ("heathens") are infected with Atheism. So practically speaking, you are absolutely right. But in theory, things don't have to be that way. I'm arguing more from the theoretical side. >> So do we have the same basic truths? Only the ones that are observable by >> our five physical senses: [...] Anything beyond those that can be observed >> by physical sense are ones with which we have no commonality with the unbeliever. Nego. Technically speaking, I think you've been infected with a philosophical error called "Positivism" (Auguste Comte, 1798-1857): 1. Positivism's Radical Principle Positivism basically "flushes" all Metaphysical truths from Philosophy, leaving only information from external senses (sewage, roses, cotton, sandpaper, etc.) Hence, goodbye Morality, etc. >> I distinguish between reasonable truths and knowledgable truths. >> [...] because our reasons are based upon different faiths. As I've said, your distinction is based on an assumption, which as far as I know is incorrect. We would need to "drill down" in that direction, to find out what's wrong. But we do have some traction: you and I agree that believers and non-believers can agree on sense-knowledge. So we need to work from there, and destroy the error of Positivism, which then opens up the way to Metaphysics, which in turn yields solid foundations for Natural Law. (I'm not proving anything here; just giving a bird's-eye view of what I think we need to do.) >> let's start there with the head >> of the Catholic Church. Ahhh, you mean Jesus Christ, of course! He is the Head of the Church, as you know: The Caring And Feeding Of Your Catholic Constituents, 4) Catholic Dog Food >> On what scriptural(!) basis does the Catholic Church initiate >> and maintain the authority of the Pope. It depends what you mean by "authority of the Pope". If by "authority of the Pope", you mean the authority to: - continue Revelation - invent new beliefs - replace Christ as Head of the Church - be sinless - etc. then of course, neither Holy Scripture nor the teachings of the Catholic Church support such sillyness! In Christ! Stefan
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