God talk is meaningless and Jesus is not the incarnation of a theistic deity


#1

Could someone explain what the following mean in plainly simple English and show me how to refute each?

  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
  2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

I have been making a long discussion to refute this. It would help me very much if you could “translate” this and give a refutation. I am not sure if my personal refutation so far is on the same page with the 2 points above and I am afraid I am straying away from the point of each. Of course, if I stray away from the meaning of the above, then obviously my refutation is useless.

If your refutations/ explanations are as long as a novel, please dont worry! I’ll be happy to read every word of it and I’ll be glad you are making a great charitable effort by helping me out. :smiley:

God Bless,


#2

I can’t provide a refutation because there’s no argument presented.

It’s basically saying that no one thinks God is God anymore so Jesus can’t be God and we have to find some other way to talk about him.

Doesn’t really make sense.


#3

Yes, mere assumptions are not arguments. Our OP should point that out to whoever came up with this silly statement, which he really can’t back up. I mean, if “theism as way of defining God is dead” and the Incarnation is bankrupt, why haven’t all the Christian churches closed their doors out of lack of interest? Why are Christian books, movies, CDs, etc. still being made, and being read, watched, listened to? Why aren’t the seminaries gone or Christain universities defunct, etc? :rolleyes:


#4

Those statements are purely opinion. There is no evidence provided to back them up.

Theology is not “dead”. There is lively theological discussion happening on these forums and in every corner of the world. If theology is dead, why does 85% or 90% of the world believe in some sort of a God?


#5
  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead.

Translation: Belief in God, as a way of defining God, is dead.

This is a meaningless statement.

  1. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity.

Translation: Since God can not be thought of as God, we can’t understand Jesus as the incarnation of God.

Another meaningless statement.

It would help if the person you are arguing with had some grounding in basic realism or realistic philosophy.

The argumentation presented above consists of the spouting of nonsense dressed up to sound esoteric.


#6

This is not an argument, but an assertion. An assertion that doesn’t have any basis in fact. For instance, the overwhelming majority of people on the planet today are “theists.” But we theists don’t agree that it is a “way of defining God” but instead “theism” is an actual word, defined by Merriam-Webster as: “belief in the existence of a god or gods.”

Perhaps your antagonist should buy a dictionary.:rolleyes: Furthermore, if he thinks theism is dead, then he hasn’t got his facts straight. Only about 8% of the entire population of the world is non-theistic. (source: adherents.com/images/rel_pie.gif ).

  1. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms…

God can be conceived of in theistic terms, and the overwhelming number of human beings continue to do so. Consequently, his statement is again, not an argument, not an exercise of reason, but instead is simply an assertion which has no basis in fact. Perhaps your friend should sign up for a “critical thinking” course at his local college.

Let me try that: “Atheism is dead. Atheism is bankcrupt.” Gee, that’s easy. :stuck_out_tongue: When I’m not required to exercise my reasoning, then simply blurting out assertions as a lazy substitute is pretty easy. :wink:

The number one “best seller” in all of history is the Holy Bible. The number two is *The Imitation of Christ. *Theism seems rather dominant in our human culture and understanding, your antagonist’s unsubstantiated claims notwithstanding.


#7

Nonsense.

“God can no longer be conceivedsic]in theistic terms” What does that even mean? ‘Theistic’ means ‘having to do with God.’

“theistic deity” Is there any other kind?

Does this person speak English? Or is he just so Post-Modern that words have no meaning to him any more?

Let’s look at some etymology:

“theos” (Greek) = “God”
“Deitas” (Latin) = “Deity,” that is, “God-ness”

Does he want an “a-theistic God”?


#8

I’m not sure if you can really “refute” baseless assertions offered with zero support whatsoever, other than to say, “Prove it.” The burden of proof is on the one making the strange assertion that “theism and theology is dead.” Part of the problem is he has swallowed the assumption that everything people say about God is just their own opinion, in man’s search to find and/or create God. Part of the reason for that problem is that Christians have refused to accept that the burden of proof is on Christ’s household to proclaim and prove to the world that Jesus is real and the Son of God.

Let’s put it in concrete terms a human can understand: reread the story of King Barak and the Gentile prophet Balaam. Barak could not understand why Balaam would not curse Israel for him. Balaam could not understand why Barak would not accept the fact that he was going to keep his promise to not say anything at all other than what the Lord actually told him to say. What was Barak’s problem? He didn’t believe God really existed. He thought God was just something that people made up and said whatever they wanted to think about Him. When Balaam said “I will not speak except what the Lord gives me to say,” he thought that was just posturing engaged in by all prophets, and he thought all prophets would say whatever they wanted to about God.

In short, this person doesn’t believe that God really exists, except as some sort of possibly useful concept that people are developing and evolving throughout history as their understanding increases. The idea that there are any actual truths about God, that God is real and has actual characteristics, that there could be definitive statements about God that are actually true and false rather than opinions, is foreign to him. The idea that God would ever actually say anything about Himself to mankind is foreign to him. Most of all, the idea that God would ever actually do anything is unthinkable.

To “refute” something it has to be some kind of a logical argument. This isn’t a logical argument. It’s just some preconceived notion he is demanding that you accept.

You are about to celebrate the refutation to his “argument” on that big holiday this Sunday. Prove that Jesus lived and died and came back to life, and you’ve proved that God is real rather than something made up. Then you’ve proved that we need to listen to the Man standing outside the empty tomb holding the keys to hades and death.


#9

Theism, as a way of defining God, is not dead, it is alive and well, it’s not even sick.

Simply because this person cannot conceive God does not mean every person lacks understanding. I don’t believe there’s a building at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C… That doesn’t mean the White House doesn’t exist, it just means I don’t believe. It doesn’t mean there’s an empty lot there.


#10

This is a very stupid thing to say. It’s like saying that we can’t talk about plants because the notion of vegetation is dead - to speak of plants at all, is to speak of a form of vegetation; to talk of God at all, is to talk theistically.

It may be that there is no God, but the possibility can’t be discussed if people don’t avoid talking rubbish at the very outset. People who talk like that need to be careful of the meaning of words, otherwise discussion of God or gods will get nowhere. ##

  1. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

The first sentence is a gratuitous assumption for which no justification whatever is offered. Again, it needs to be argued for - not stated as though it were self-evident; because it nothing of the sort: as the fact of the survival of very elaborate theologies demonstates clearly enough.

Besides - which god are we talking about: the God of the NT ? the God of Aristotle ? The God of some particular philosophy ? The God of Christian dogmatic schemes ? Some ethereal will-o’-the-wisp ? Some other or others ? This lack of precision condemns all discussion to being utterly meaningless & a waste of time. ##

I have been making a long discussion to refute this. It would help me very much if you could “translate” this and give a refutation. I am not sure if my personal refutation so far is on the same page with the 2 points above and I am afraid I am straying away from the point of each. Of course, if I stray away from the meaning of the above, then obviously my refutation is useless.

If your refutations/ explanations are as long as a novel, please dont worry! I’ll be happy to read every word of it and I’ll be glad you are making a great charitable effort by helping me out. :smiley:

God Bless,

Hope that helps you :slight_smile:


#11

That sounds like something my brother once said to me during a discussion on abortion.

He told me that the law defined when a human being began, and since the law said it didn’t begin until birth, that was that. Any other arguement was null and void.

I was so flabbergasted that all capacity for reason left me (as it had quite clearly left him).

It wasn’t until weeks later (thanks a lot, staircase wit), that it was pointed out to me that a “human BEING” is not the same thing as a “human PERSON”. The law can define “person”, but science (and God, but he’s an atheist, so that point’s moot) defines “being”. My brother was using terms that didn’t apply to his arguement.

So it is with your person. And now that all these very smart people have pointed out this fact, you can go and not even bother with long-winded refutations. You can just tell him that his choice of words do not convey the heart of what he’s arguing. Then let him redefine his stance- you’ll have more time to surf the forums!


#12

So far Ive noticed that many of you say that the statements are mostly opinions and cannot be based on anything. That’s what I told this atheist friend of mine at Yahoo Answers. Yes I agree that the statements do lack an argument. This makes them mere assumptions with no backing up. I’ll ask the atheist to clarify what he meant by that. Thanks much. :thumbsup:

First of all, how does one immediately assume theism is dead when billions still believe in God or any other theistic deity? The idea is still alive and growing. I can’t see why it is dead.


#13

It means the Episcopal Church should have tried Spong for heresy years ago… I STILL can’t believe he’s a Bishop in good standing! :doh2:


#14

Spong isn’t really a bishop because the Episcopal “church” isn’t really a Church.

I recommend that we all read Pope Benedict’s littl book Christianity and rhe Crisis of Culture especially pages 42-43 which pretty much debuncks the secular Western Materialistic Western Rationalistic mindset as empty and foolish.

CDL


#15

GuanYuWarGod;2064501]Could someone explain what the following mean in plainly simple English and show me how to refute each?

  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

This sounds like the polemic of a logical positivist holdout. Positivism states that only what is testable and what is logical can be true. This idea was popular starting in the early 1900’s but it died out becuase of one very big problem: It is self refuting. It’s definition of truth is all that is empirically testable or logical obvious; well, this statement is neither of those. Thus it refutes itself.

The person that you are arguing with doesn’t understand their own argument. The term theism isn’t correct. That’s like saying;the belief in UFO’s no longer explains UFO’s. Of course not. Theism only refers the belief that there is a God. Assuming that this person took their argument from something they read once about positivism, they probably mean to argue that language can not adequetly desribe God. Because language cannot have meaning about metaphysics. (This is again using the assumption that only what is testable or logically obvious is true.)
I would try to get that person to clarify what they mean. As everyone pointed out, this argument is nonsense. But they may have a real argument underneath that they really think they mean. Try to get the terms clearer. It doesn’t work to just say Theism doesn’t describe God. Do they mean that language doesn’t describe God? This is a different argument that has been discussed by great thinkers already. you can do a search for Christian apologists who have talked about Logical Positivism and get some great ammo that way. I’m sure Peter Kreeft or William Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharius have some stuff out there.

Hope this helps:D

-Justin


#16

It’s dead because he wants it to be! He’s decided it’s irrelevant, and so therefore it is.

What better reason could there be than that? :slight_smile:


#17

So ( please critique this:cool: and correct me if Im wrong );

  1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.
  2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

The truth value of 2) is tied to the truth value of statement 1), obviously.

  1. -> 2).

So logically speaking, if 1) is false, statement 2) will lose its truth value.

Now, 1) cannot obviously, be true.

Like all of you, I agree that if 1) is true then that would mean that 90% of the world are not theists because theism is dead. But considering that there are like 2 billion Christians and 1 billion Muslims who are theists, then theism is still alive. The Bible is STILL the world’s best selling book. “Passion of the Christ” is in the top 100 highest earning movies ever. And the Church continues to gain many converts every day because people still believe in a God. Of course, there are others that leave, but the Church population continues to grow and grow. The Church is alive and well. Other than that, there are apologeticians and priests , etc, who continue to write books and pass out other Christian material into the public. The Church continues to build more churches to respond to the growing number of Catholics. If you visited another country for example, the Philippines, look at the churches. They are jampacked (!!!) and people even have to stay outside the Church because it gets crowded. Now, how could theism be possibly dead if so many people, billions in fact, still believe or adhere to some form of God?

I also find the 1) very odd because, like what the rest of you said, it’s like saying the belief in Mt. Everest’s existence, for example, no longer explains Mt. Everest’s existence.:confused:

Also, statement 1) lacks basis & evidence. It immediately jumps to the conclusion that theism is dead without giving any proof, facts, etc at all. Therefore, this makes it an opinion.
It lacks a valid argument. It needs to be argued for as it has no basis.

I looked up the meaning of theism in other dictionaries and it is “the belief in the existence in a god”. I really have to disagree with the first sentence because theism is NOT a way of defining God but belief that God exists. So what ground does that first sentence of 1) stand on if it contradicts itself ???
:shrug:

Again, only about 5 - 10% of the world population are not theists while the other 90+% believe in some sort of a God. Theism is just so MUCH more alive than non theism.

If so, how could theism be dead???

  1. is false.
    Because 2)'s statement is tied to 1)'s truth value then 2) is false.

Correct me If Im wrong.


#18

I would be careful about saying that since 1 leads to 2 that 2 is dependent exclusively on 1. There’s a logical fallacy called “denying the antecedent,” which goes something like this:

If P then Q.
Not P.
Therefore, not Q.

However, in this case it seems that 2 is true if and only if 1 is true. I think that’s what you’re saying, but you might want to make that extra-clear since the person with whom you’re dealing doesn’t seem to be the most reasonable.

I honestly would not even address these outrageous “claims,” and I use the term “claims” loosely. 1 and 2 aren’t even coherent statements. “Theism as a way of defining God” is a tautology. There’s no way to talk about God in non-theistic terms, by definition. It doesn’t make sense to deny this.

I would ask for a clarification or a restatement in a way that makes any sense.

Of course, pointing out the obvious: that many people believe in God, is a good idea too.

Good luck!


#19

Sorry dylan! My computer has been a bit faulty lately but for some odd reason I am still recorded as online :rolleyes:.

[quote=dylanshcrader]However, in this case it seems that 2 is true if and only if 1 is true. I think that’s what you’re saying, but you might want to make that extra-clear since the person with whom you’re dealing doesn’t seem to be the most reasonable.
[/quote]

Yup this is exactly what I mean. Thank you again dylanschrader and to all the people who have contributed to this thread.


#20

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