Do you tell Time by an argument? Why judge an argument by using a clock?

On another thread this was posted by patg:

"How hard is it to say “I believe everything the magesterium says”? Not very. How hard is it to really study the teachings and come to sincere personal conclusions about them? It’s been pretty hard for most of us.

I didn’t “pick and choose” based on what was convenient or more fun. This is especially true in those areas of belief which our current world view and state of knowledge has made untenable."

If you notice in the second paragraph the poster says this, “This is especially true in those areas of belief which our current world view and state of knowledge has made untenable.”

Our current worldview and state of knowledge?

Is it correct to judge arguments and truth by using a clock?

Would you tell time with an argument?

Truth is truth, no matter the time or place.

Peace

[quote=dennisknapp]…

If you notice in the second paragraph the poster says this, “This is especially true in those areas of belief which our current world view and state of knowledge has made untenable.”

Our current worldview and state of knowledge?

Is it correct to judge arguments and truth by using a clock?
[/quote]

Dennis,

I’ve spent a good bit of time examining the Catholic faith and also modern science. I can’t speak for the original poster, but when I have examined “those areas of belief which our current world view and state of knowledge has made untenable” I find that there’s a lot less to the current state of knowledge than meets the eye. Usually there are a few hard facts on which people have built a framework of speculation. The speculation, if it were true, would make the Catholic faith untenable, but speculation is not fact. A lot of people confuse the two.

  • Liberian

I am also well studied in the faith and scientific speculation. To say that there is a point where there is no reconsiliation is to place probablility over absolutes. This is a very dangerous road to travel.

Truth is not contained in time. Time is contained in truth

Here are the words of someone much wiser (and wittier) than I:

An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four.—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

[quote=Grace and Glory]Here are the words of someone much wiser (and wittier) than I:

An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four.—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
[/quote]

This is a great qoute, thanks!

Peace

What I am saying is that the knowledge gained in the last few hundred years requires that we rethink the reasoning behind many traditional beliefs. We know that God isn’t “up there” above the sky, that germs and genetics cause disease, that weather is the result of such things as El Nino winds and low pressure systems, and that the victory or defeat of a nation in military conflict is explained not on the basis of divine intervention, but rather on which nation had the larger army and the greater military capability. C[font=Arial]urative agents as antibiotics, surgery, and chemotherapy, all of which are morally neutral, work as effectively on sinners as they do on saints.
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[font=Arial]The idea of a bodily assumption or ascension is based on the ancient concept of a three tiered universe in which there is the flat earth, the sky as a “half bowl” above the earth on which the sun and stars move, and heaven as a place above this bowl. We know now that a body ascending up through the clouds would continue into infinite space and that God or heaven really isn’t right up there. The ascension concept made perfect sense in the primitive understanding of the universe but it is pointless to declare it as absolute doctrine now.[/font]

[font=Arial]We know enough of history, geography, science, and ancient literary forms to put to rest the traditional claim that the bible is infallible and innerant in areas where it was never meant to be. Even though the church conditionally declares this in Dei Verbum, it seldom educates the average catholic about even this partial admission (If you doubt this, just notice the number of posts here with topics like “Are the birth stories in Matthew and Luke history?”, “Did Noah’s Ark exist?”, or “Who sinned first, Adam or Eve?”. Questions like these reveal a serious lack of biblical understanding that is seldom addressed by the church).[/font]

[font=Arial]We know enough biology to figure out that the male and female contribute something to the making of a child. The ancients believed that the male seed included everything and the woman only served as the incubator - a misconcept which forms the basis for numerous sins and sexual prohibitions.

The current drastic decline in the power of institutional Christianity is occurring not because of liberal compromises with the ancient verities, but because the traditional basis upon which the faith system has been erected can no longer be sustained. The heart will never worship what the mind rejects. When these realities are finally recognized by church leaders, then perhaps the need for a totally new reformation will become both imperative and unavoidable.

Many in the modern world are no longer drawn to blindly accept and obey a religion which suggests that salvation comes through the barbaric human sacrifice of a perfect person who was crucified to appease an offended theistic deity (who through some twist of logic turns out to be himself). Neither are they attracted to the idea that in the shedding of the blood of someone who never sinned somehow the price of sin was paid. These threadbare concepts are not worthy today of eliciting worship. Indeed, they have become grotesque.
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To summarize, I would like to add the comments of member “amarischuk” from a similar discussion a few months ago:

[font=Arial]"What essentially we have here is the collision of two views of the Church. On the one hand a juvenile and superstious fundamentalism which ranges on issues from Adam and Eve to Noah’s ark to the resurrection of the dead. And the other, a group often equally as devoted to the Truth but simultaneously recognizing the past mythological nature of so much which has been handed down, misunderstood and misappropriated as inerrant revelation.

It is not a question of democracy in the Church. Few liberals want theology (as a science, remembering that it was the work of liberals to make theology a science in the 12th and 20th centuries) subject to democracy. What they (we) oppose is the notion that one man is alledgedly given the power to resolve an issue in its permanence, irregardless of the findings of those commissioned to look into the subject for him."

Respectfully submitted,
Pat[/font]

[quote=patg]What I am saying is that the knowledge gained in the last few hundred years requires that we rethink the reasoning behind many traditional beliefs. We know that God isn’t “up there” above the sky, that germs and genetics cause disease, that weather is the result of such things as El Nino winds and low pressure systems, and that the victory or defeat of a nation in military conflict is explained not on the basis of divine intervention, but rather on which nation had the larger army and the greater military capability. C[font=Arial]urative agents as antibiotics, surgery, and chemotherapy, all of which are morally neutral, work as effectively on sinners as they do on saints.
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The fact that God is not “up there” has nothing to do with what you are really saying here, nor does medicine, etc.
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[quote=patg][/font]
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[font=Arial]The idea of a bodily assumption or ascension is based on the ancient concept of a three tiered universe in which there is the flat earth, the sky as a “half bowl” above the earth on which the sun and stars move, and heaven as a place above this bowl. We know now that a body ascending up through the clouds would continue into infinite space and that God or heaven really isn’t right up there. The ascension concept made perfect sense in the primitive understanding of the universe but it is pointless to declare it as absolute doctrine now.[/font]

[font=Arial]I am aware of the ancient concept of the universe, but this does not make void the understanding the bodily ascension of Christ. He entered the spirit realm and this was what was being shown at the ascension. “He ascended into Heaven” --Nicene Creed.[/font]

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[font=Arial]We know enough of history, geography, science, and ancient literary forms to put to rest the traditional claim that the bible is infallible and innerant in areas where it was never meant to be. Even though the church conditionally declares this in Dei Verbum, it seldom educates the average catholic about even this partial admission (If you doubt this, just notice the number of posts here with topics like “Are the birth stories in Matthew and Luke history?”, “Did Noah’s Ark exist?”, or “Who sinned first, Adam or Eve?”. Questions like these reveal a serious lack of biblical understanding that is seldom addressed by the church).[/font]

[font=Arial]There is plenty of scholarship is defence of the infallible/innerant view of Scripture by credible scholars. [/font]
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[font=Arial]We know enough biology to figure out that the male and female contribute something to the making of a child. The ancients believed that the male seed included everything and the woman only served as the incubator - a misconcept which forms the basis for numerous sins and sexual prohibitions.

There is more to this issue than the knowledge of procreation and whose body does what. There is also the issue of self-giving and true love of neighbor involved. Sex is the full giving of oneself to the other. This giving results in the creation of life. When this act of self-giving is abused then it becomes a sin.

To be continued…
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The current drastic decline in the power of institutional Christianity is occurring not because of liberal compromises with the ancient verities, but because the traditional basis upon which the faith system has been erected can no longer be sustained. The heart will never worship what the mind rejects. When these realities are finally recognized by church leaders, then perhaps the need for a totally new reformation will become both imperative and unavoidable.

I agree that the heart will not accept what the mind rejects, but your argument does not follow that the decline of Christianity is do to failure of tradition structures. The decline has only occured since the acceptance of relativism and modernism by those in the Church. We fail because we give nothing for people to hold on to and believe. We give them sand when they need a Rock.

Whether or not you think it barbaric or grotesque is beside the point. You never answered if it is true or not. If it is true it does not matter what you think of it, you cannot make it untrue. Also, if it is false it does not matter what I think of it, I cannot make it true no matter how much I believe.

To summarize, I would like to add the comments of member “amarischuk” from a similar discussion a few months ago:

[font=Arial]"What essentially we have here is the collision of two views of the Church. On the one hand a juvenile and superstious fundamentalism which ranges on issues from Adam and Eve to Noah’s ark to the resurrection of the dead. And the other, a group often equally as devoted to the Truth but simultaneously recognizing the past mythological nature of so much which has been handed down, misunderstood and misappropriated as inerrant revelation.

It is not a question of democracy in the Church. Few liberals want theology (as a science, remembering that it was the work of liberals to make theology a science in the 12th and 20th centuries) subject to democracy. What they (we) oppose is the notion that one man is alledgedly given the power to resolve an issue in its permanence, irregardless of the findings of those commissioned to look into the subject for him."

Respectfully submitted,
Pat[/font]

This sound alot like John Spong in his books about how our faith must change or die. The problem is, if our faith changes in the way you would like it to it will no longer be our faith. It will no longer be Christianity.

Peace

Pat,

Your excellent post is full of points, but unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) I don’t have time to address all of them. Let me answer your first paragraph.

[quote=patg]What I am saying is that the knowledge gained in the last few hundred years requires that we rethink the reasoning behind many traditional beliefs.
Certainly we need to rethink the reasoning behind the beliefs, and perhaps even rethink the beliefs themselves, but this does not necessarily lead to discarding the beliefs. For example, interpreting Genesis 1 in the light of the Big Bang theory will lead us to a different understanding from what the ancients had of Genesis 1, but I don’t think either of us when we meet in Heaven (God willing) will say that Genesis 1 led us wrong.

We know that God isn’t “up there” above the sky, …

The people in the early church knew that as well. In fact, Greek astronomers had even discovered the precession of the equinoxes a few centuries before Christ.

… that germs and genetics cause disease, that weather

is the result of such things as El Nino winds and low pressure systems, …
We know that the immediate causes of diseases and weather are the various natural causes, but I would not use this to say that God does not intervene in the natural world. If you want divine intervention without the suspension of natural laws, you need look no further than quantum mechanics (nothing can be measured with absolute certainty) and chaos theory (microscopic uncertainties grow into macroscopic effects very quickly).

and that the victory or defeat of a nation in military conflict is explained not on the basis of divine intervention, but rather on which nation had the larger army and the greater military capability…
Again, the ancients knew this; they were not fools. David defeated Goliath using superior weapons technology. On the other hand, you do have things like the sudden wind change at the battle of Lepanto.

C[font=Arial]urative agents as antibiotics, surgery, and chemotherapy, all of which are morally neutral, work as effectively on sinners as they do on saints.[/font]
[/quote]

This is a modern restating of Jesus’ words that God sends the rain on the justand on the unjust. Again, there is nothing new here.

Your mention of the weather and my response of quantum mechanics and chaos theory gives an excellent illustration of what I meant in an earlier post. A hundred and some years ago, under Newtonian mechanics, scientists said that the world was like a large wind-up clock whose motions were foreordained from its initial state. In such a system there was no room for God to intervene in the physical universe; divine intervention was one of “those areas of belief which our current world view and state of knowledge has made untenable.” Since then, science has changed its mind and the apparent contradiction has gone away.

  • Liberian

Many in the modern world are no longer drawn to blindly accept and obey a religion which suggests that salvation comes through the barbaric human sacrifice of a perfect person who was crucified to appease an offended theistic deity (who through some twist of logic turns out to be himself). Neither are they attracted to the idea that in the shedding of the blood of someone who never sinned somehow the price of sin was paid. These threadbare concepts are not worthy today of eliciting worship. Indeed, they have become grotesque.

Funny, as a faithful Catholic, I don’t believe this either, at least not the way you’ve stated it. I don’t think the sacrifice of Christ was about an attempt “to appease an offended theistic deity”. Rather, perfect righteousness came into the world. Because men were wicked, they did not like the righteous man, so they killed him (for a biblical explanation of this, see Wisdom 2:10-20). John tells us that “light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). It was sin that killed Jesus, not the anger of God. That said, Christ’s sacrifice was not an accident to His ministry but rather was essential to it. God knew that the response to His entry into the world would be that He would be crucified, and He chose to use that as an atonement and the source of salvation for mankind. It’s the most powerful example of God bringing good out of evil.

I appreciate your listening to where I am at the moment and your responses. It is pretty impossible to carry on a group discussion of such a “shotgun blast” of comments so I’m not sure where else to go with this.

I feel very strongly about the biblical historicity/inerrancy issues, having read and studied pretty extensively on all sides of the subject. It was just a chance encounter with one of the Jesus Seminar books that got me actively back into caring about religion. The more I study both sides, the less impressed I am with the traditional history/inerrancy crowd.

I also feel very strongly about my comments on the offended theistic deity requiring a savage blood-sacrifice as payment for salvation - heck of a way to treat your son! Sounds like the end justifies the means - send your perfect son to be slaughtered so the sins of the world can be forgiven…

And yes, evil in the world killed him. But, the death was “required” for our salvation.

[quote=patg]I appreciate your listening to where I am at the moment and your responses. It is pretty impossible to carry on a group discussion of such a “shotgun blast” of comments so I’m not sure where else to go with this.

I feel very strongly about the biblical historicity/inerrancy issues, having read and studied pretty extensively on all sides of the subject. It was just a chance encounter with one of the Jesus Seminar books that got me actively back into caring about religion. The more I study both sides, the less impressed I am with the traditional history/inerrancy crowd.

I also feel very strongly about my comments on the offended theistic deity requiring a savage blood-sacrifice as payment for salvation - heck of a way to treat your son! Sounds like the end justifies the means - send your perfect son to be slaughtered so the sins of the world can be forgiven…

And yes, evil in the world killed him. But, the death was “required” for our salvation.
[/quote]

How would you rework things? If the traditional way of looking at things is not appealing how would you rework it?

How would you bring the concept of God up to current understandings?

How would you deal with the issue of sexuality in Christianity?

How would you express the nature of the atonement?

If we understand where the other is coming from I think we have a better chance of getting somewhere.

Peace

[quote=patg]I appreciate your listening to where I am at the moment and your responses. It is pretty impossible to carry on a group discussion of such a “shotgun blast” of comments so I’m not sure where else to go with this.

I feel very strongly about the biblical historicity/inerrancy issues, having read and studied pretty extensively on all sides of the subject. It was just a chance encounter with one of the Jesus Seminar books that got me actively back into caring about religion. The more I study both sides, the less impressed I am with the traditional history/inerrancy crowd.

I also feel very strongly about my comments on the offended theistic deity requiring a savage blood-sacrifice as payment for salvation - heck of a way to treat your son! Sounds like the end justifies the means - send your perfect son to be slaughtered so the sins of the world can be forgiven…

And yes, evil in the world killed him. But, the death was “required” for our salvation.
[/quote]

 You had a shotgun list of accusations.  And most of them were not Church teachings.  In other words, you don't really seem to know what God's word is, or what the Gospel is. 
 Sure some people may have had these "beliefs", the problem is that Church teachings come from God whereas most "beliefs" come from the opinions of people.  
Death was not "required" for our salvation.  Just the fact that Jesus became man was enough to reconcile man back to God and save him. Jesus suffered and died out of love for us, to show how much He loved us and to show how horrible sin is.

Not according to Catholicism. The Death and subsequent Resurrection were imperative to our Salvation- and were not just to show how horrible sin is.

The Mass is a perfect representation of that Sacrifice each and every time it is celebrated. For without the Sacrifice of Christ there would be no way for us to enter Heaven.

newadvent.org/cathen/13407a.htm

[quote=dcdurel]You had a shotgun list of accusations.
[/quote]

I was using that term to refer to my own list, not to the responses.

And most of them were not Church teachings. In other words, you don’t really seem to know what God’s word is, or what the Gospel is.

I’m pretty sure I do, but I am open to enlightenment.

Sure some people may have had these “beliefs”, the problem is that Church teachings come from God whereas most “beliefs” come from the opinions of people.

Weeding out this mess is what is troubling me.

Death was not “required” for our salvation.

Jesus certainly seemed to think so - he acknowledged it as the father’s will in his last prayers.

Just the fact that Jesus became man was enough to reconcile man back to God and save him.

I don’t seem to recall that doctrine?

Jesus suffered and died out of love for us, to show how much He loved us and to show how horrible sin is.

That’s not the “salvation history” I remember.

[quote=patg]I feel very strongly about the biblical historicity/inerrancy issues, having read and studied pretty extensively on all sides of the subject. It was just a chance encounter with one of the Jesus Seminar books that got me actively back into caring about religion. The more I study both sides, the less impressed I am with the traditional history/inerrancy crowd.
[/quote]

Well, if the traditional/inerrancy crowd is wrong, you can only come to certain conclusions.

  1. God is changing.
  2. God got it wrong when He established His Church (God makes mistakes).
  3. The Gates of Hell have overcome the Church (God is either a liar or cannot see the future, which of course means He is not omniscient).
  4. The Church was right for ancient people, but not for us–we know better! (Truth changes, therefore God Who is *Truth, *changes).

That is why you need to study what the Church teaches. Biblical scholars and theologians seldom have a good understanding of what the Church teaches. And Church teachings come from God, through the apostles. Biblical scholars pick up their ideas from other men and their own reasoning.

I said that Jesus did not have to suffer and die, and that just be becoming man He could have redeemed all of us. This is true, because God can do anything. But, he freely chose to suffer and die for our salvation. It was not required.
1019. “Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men.”

See this link for more.
catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0402fea1.asp

I am in the middle of a book entitled “The Rapture Trap” by Dr. Thigpen. In several chapters early in the book, he gives a wonderful explanation of the basic tenents of Christianity, from a Catholic perspective, that addresses why Jesus needed to come to Earth as a man, what He did while He was here, and what the purpose of His passion really was. He goes on to describe the purpose of our current age and what must still come to pass (Why does Jesus need to come back anyways?). I found it very well laid-out and engaging.

I believe he answers very clearly some of the problems you seem to be expressing regarding the Christian Gospel.

While it may certainly be nothing new to you, it is only a few chapters and worth the read.

Peace,
javelin

[quote=dcdurel]That is why you need to study what the Church teaches. Biblical scholars and theologians seldom have a good understanding of what the Church teaches. And Church teachings come from God, through the apostles. Biblical scholars pick up their ideas from other men and their own reasoning.

I said that Jesus did not have to suffer and die, and that just be becoming man He could have redeemed all of us.
[/quote]

But this is contradicted in the very article you posted:

Necessary under certain conditions

Nevertheless, as Aquinas pointed out, there’s a difference between being* absolutely *necessary and being necessary *given certain conditions. *In the case of Jesus’ Passion, by the time Christ had come into the world, certain crucial conditions were already in place: God the Father had already ordained that this was the way our salvation would be accomplished. And his foreknowledge of these events had already been manifested in divine revelation to the prophets and recorded in Scripture.

**Given these conditions, Aquinas concluded, it was correct for Christ to say that he must suffer, that it was necessary, because at that point the matter was already settled: What the Father ordained could not be avoided, and what he foreknew could not be mistaken. As our Lord put it at the Last Supper, “The hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:21–22, emphasis added).

This is true, because God can do anything. But, he freely chose to suffer and die for our salvation. It was not required.
1019. “Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men.”

See this link for more.
catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0402fea1.asp

That was a great article, and did show how God could have chosen any method to allow our salvation. But once he DID choose Jesus- it was NECESSARY for Jesus to die and suffer- as is stated in the article you cite.

Several wonderfull things resulted from this method of salvation which God choose:

It inspires us to love. And more importantly, love in a “world that is broken”.

It gave Christ an opportunity to prove His Divinity through such obedience and selfless love.

It showed us a way to have Faith and Hope in God and His plan for us.

Finally “because it redounded to humanity’s greater dignity (ST 3:46:4). Of course, to simply have God become man in the Incarnation was an honor beyond all telling. But in Christ’s suffering, our race was granted more honor still.”

To avoid hijacking the thread any further, we should maybe take this to another thread if you still have comments or questions…

[quote=Kay Cee]Well, if the traditional/inerrancy crowd is wrong, you can only come to certain conclusions.

  1. God is changing.
    [/quote]

Maybe - we don’t know for sure. But then it doesn’t really matter as it is a fact that our understanding of God has developed and changed greatly.

  1. God got it wrong when He established His Church (God makes mistakes).

Hey, he left people in charge and boy do they make mistakes.

  1. The Gates of Hell have overcome the Church (God is either a liar or cannot see the future, which of course means He is not omniscient).

Maybe He’s not - there’s no way to know for sure.

  1. The Church was right for ancient people, but not for us–we know better! (Truth changes, therefore God Who is *Truth, *changes).

If the ancient people had it so "right’ we would all be Jewish! And yes, our understanding of truth, just as our understanding of God has developed and changed greatly

I can come to a lot better conclusions than you - conclusions that don’t pretend the church is destroyed by allowing for non-historical interpretations of the bible or misplaced concepts of inerrancy. I can read the church documents on the bible and understand the church’s recognition that there is much in the bible that is not factual history and that inerrancy applies to matters of faith, morals, and salvation.

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