Thursday, August 24, 2006

Exalting in Sola Gratia

Augustine "The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those who knock. but also to cause them to knock and ask."-(Augustine)

Probably the most strongly contested point of the five solas of the Reformation among its protestant heirs is the doctrine of sola gratia, grace alone. We are saved by faith alone through grace alone for the glory of God alone is the phrase. Although more attention will be given to justification by faith in future the question is raised: "If we are saved by trusting (having faith) in the finished work of Christ does that not make our faith what really saves us?" To use the imagery Augustine employs in the above quote the question can be stated: "If we are not saved unless we knock on the door is not our choosing to knock what has saved us?" But as Augustine says not only does God in His goodness open to those who knock but it is His goodness that draws men so they will knock. Thus, salvation from beginning to end is wholly due to the grace of God alone.

Man's Fallen State:

To understand this better we need to have a decent handle on what the bible says about the effects of the Adams fall on mankind. We see early on after the fall that man has become altogether detestable to God, "The thoughts and intents of man's heart was only evil continuously" (Gen 6:5) These new heart affections were not in the original man and woman God had created and this statement in Genesis 6 comes before God sends the flood to punish man. We see the state of man's heart again in Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?" The state of man's heart is not a state of neutral indifference it is in a state predisposed think evil and be deceitful. So how does having this fallen state effect man?

In short it effects everything, man's reasoning (Rom 1:21), man's desires (Col 3:5) and the controversial one, the fall has effected man's will. Man's will is a lackey to the desires of the heart and always chooses what the heart most desires, which we have seen is corrupt. Thus, we see statements like:

"as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
(Rom 3:10-12)

"Because the carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject, to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom 8:7)

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. " (1 Cor 2:14)

In these passages (and many others) it is clear that man in his natural state is at enmity against God, does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, and does not seek God. Now people might seek a "god" but the scriptures teach that there is none that seeks after God. The natural man can be very religious, yet it will be on his terms. The god of the natural man will be treated like ice cream where we pick and choose what kind of god we get, "I'll take the golden rule, and omnibenevolence with a side order of reincarnation please." says the natural man. This is because we naturally find the notion of the true God of the bible offensive, due to the impact of the fall ruining our tastebuds so to speak. It is so bad that Romans 8:7 says man is naturally an enemy of God. So when the natural man hears the message of the cross the bible says it is "foolishness" to him, thus it will be rejected. If this is the case how on earth does anybody come to a saving faith?

Grace Which Leads to Delight:

Man in his ruined state desires not the things of God, but rather the empty promises of sin. This really is the evil of all sin, men turn to sin's hollow promises seeking satisfaction, yet it is God alone that can satisfy our longings, thus all sin is against God. So how then does one with a heart that loves sin and is at enmity with God come to a reconciling faith in Christ? Many will say well we need to exercise our free will and choose to come to Jesus. This however overlooks the scripture's teachings on man's ruined state. Man has no desire to be reconciled to God, so will not choose Christ. Rather, we see that God has promised change our hearts to cause us to desire Him:

"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezek 11:19-20)

God says that He will act on man's sinful heart and basically give a heart transplant, He will remove the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh that they may walk uprightly. Christ spoke of this as the new birth, Jesus said that unless we are born again we can not enter the Kingdom of God (Jn 3).

question: "How does this new birth come about?"

Most today in rejection of sola gratia will state that we choose to be born again, and many evangelistic tracts have that as one of the "steps to get saved". However being born again is a thing of the Spirit which Paul said the natural man finds foolish, so how can the natural man choose to get born again? "Free will!" is the outcry "We are born again after we choose to place our faith.....really?:

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13)

"Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him." (1 John 5:1)

Being born of God in John 1 clearly is due to God not any form of human will, it's a gift, a sheer gift from God. In 1 John we see belief in Christ is preceded by being born of God. The words "has been" in the Greek are in a past perfect tense indicating that the being born of God precedes the believing In Christ and loving the Father. Being born again precedes faith because as we have seen the natural man wants nothing to do with God and is quite happy with his idols and sinful pursuits. Being born again acts as a change of taste buds, where Christ and Christianity once seemed boring and stupid now Christ is altogether lovely and John Newton, Amazing Grace Hymn writerdesireable. Thus, our faith is in itself a gift of God and faith because it is birthed from the unmerited grace of God is in no way the agent that saves. We are saved by grace and grace alone.

This is the amazing grace that takes the hardest of hearts and turns them into hearts of praise. Men like John Newton who was a lecherous slave trader by God's sovereign grace were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Newton gave up the slave trade and labored for the abolishment of slavery in England. Newton of course penned the hymn "Amazing Grace". The grace I have been describing is what that hymn is about, man being in a ruined God rejecting sin loving state and God out of inexpressible love reaches down into the stony heart and opens the spiritual eyes of the sinner so we can sing "I once was blind but now I see!"

We don't see because we wised up and made a decision taking the proper "steps to get saved", no, we see because God gave us eyes to see and thus we came weeping in repentance and joy to Christ the Saving One. To have it the other way around logically is meritorious, I heard one man supporting the I choose to be born again view crisply state "We choose to save ourselves."

On a side note in reference to my discussions with Emergent Christians, I think the truth that we come to faith by God's sovereign grace alone is reason enough for me of why we do not need to change the gospel's presentation to the spirit of the age. Yes, the gospel presentation is stupid and offensive to Postmoderns but not so much because we are postmodern but because the natural man is at enmity with God! We really think that if we doctor the message up that people will get saved due to our slick marketing and craftiness. Nonsense, salvation comes as a gift of God, He opens sinners eyes postmodern or not.

Sola Gratia puts all glory for man's salvation where it belongs to God alone. God out of grace chose to not destroy mankind but sent His Son to save. God was not oblidged to do any saving at all! Yet out of His boundless grace He has chosen to save. Christ truly is the author and finisher of our faith, for our very faith is a gift! Thus, there can be no boasting on the part of the saint who realizes that it is grace alone that makes him a saint.

"Christian! the only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!" - Octavious Winslow

16 comments:

Richard Dawkins said...

Bob, I would appreciate your explanation as to the designation of a "postmodern" as you cite it in this post. What do you mean by a "postmodern", presumably expressed as an individual person with an associated mixture of characteristics implicit therein? I would venture that a "postmodern" from your highly-proselytising commentary, much in line with your guiding light, Luther, is an amalgamation of opinions, attitudes, and experiences anathema to your two-dimensional, circumscribed doctrine. The fact that you maintain that "natural man is at enmity with God" reinforces the intrinsic correlations between Islam or "submission", and the religion of Christianity, that of the subjugation of humanity through over-developed, ancient superstitions, and psychological, social, and cultural manipulation.

Example: asking a Christian why the ancient story of a deity impregnating a mortal woman who then gives birth to a heroic figure whose deeds earn him a place in heaven, is false as applied to Zeus and his many paramours (the mothers of such as Hercules, the Heavenly Twins, etc.), but true as applied to God, Mary and Jesus. Indeed asking what is the significance of the fact that this tale is older even than Greek mythology, and commonplace in Middle Eastern mythologies generally. Why are they myths, whereas what is related in the New Testament (a set of texts carefully chosen from a larger number of competing versions some centuries after they events they allege) is not? I do not expect a rational reply; an appeal to faith will be enough, because with faith anything goes; here is why the claim that the resurgence of non-rational superstitious belief is a danger to the world.

Fundamentalism in all the major religions (and some are fundamentalist by nature) can be and too often is politically infantilising, and in its typical radicalised forms provides utter certainty of being in the right, immunises against tolerance and pluralism, justifies the most atrocious behaviour to the apostate and the infidel, is blind to the appeals of justice let alone mercy or reason, and is intrinsically fascistic and monolithic. One does not have to look very far to find shining examples of this pretty picture in today's world, whether in the Middle East or the Bible belt of the United States. The rest of the world is caught between these two appalling instances of basically the same phenomenon, so it is perhaps no surprise, though no less regrettable, that the infection should spread from both directions.

Bob said...

Hey Mr.Dawkins,
You asked me to give a definition of postmodernism. That's not the easiest thing to do because it is ubiquitous by its very nature. Postmodernism has come about by numerous factors such as the failure of the utopian enlightenment ideal. The mindset toward truth is what I am interested in and the postmodern mindset can be summed up succinctly by atheist philosopher Fredrick Neitchze:

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

You then state:

"I would venture that a "postmodern" from your highly-proselytising commentary, much in line with your guiding light, Luther, is an amalgamation of opinions, attitudes, and experiences anathema to your two-dimensional, circumscribed doctrine."

Yes, I have qualms with postmodernism because of the way truth is reduced to subjectivity and thus becomes relative. "That's true for you but not for me" attitude toward truth is in direct opposition to the objective statements of the bible where Christ states things like "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life in you" (John 6) This is an absolute universal truth statement. The rest of the first paragraph is unwarranted assertions.

"Example: asking a Christian why the ancient story of a deity impregnating a mortal woman who then gives birth to a heroic figure whose deeds earn him a place in heaven, is false as applied to Zeus and his many paramours (the mothers of such as Hercules, the Heavenly Twins, etc.), but true as applied to God, Mary and Jesus."

This is a rather simplistic mythologising of the bible. The New Testiment is written as a historical document whereas Greek mythology is not. In the NT we see men like Herod, Felix and Pilate even Ceasar all men who were alive at the time of the NT writings. The Nt is written about events in real time and space with real historical figures (which are verifiable by secondary sources). Now Greek mythology on the other hand is not written in a historical manner at all...these are stories.

So to assert that because in some Greek mythology somebody was born of a virgin and someone else raised from the dead therefore Christianity should be lumped together with these myths is to commit the fallacy of begging the question.

also:
"Why are they myths, whereas what is related in the New Testament (a set of texts carefully chosen from a larger number of competing versions some centuries after they events they allege) is not?"

Again this is to beg the question. Just because there are myths which record events that resemble events in another book does not automatically catagorize the other book as unfactual. However, as I have referenced that there are secondary sources that confirm Herod, Pilate, and Jesus all existed whereas Greek myths were written not as historical documents at all.

All this to say that you Mr. Dawkins have to make a case for why we should treat the bible as a mythological document. It seems because both make claims of supernatural instances you rule them out from the outset, this is because you presuoppose a naturalistic worldview and come with a bias against any supernatural claims. This actually verifies what the bible says "The natural man is at enmity against God" the outworking of that enmity in many is to have presuppositions that exclude God from the outset. Peter in one of his epistle writes:

"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Peter is claiming that what the apostles followed was unlike any of the other myths that were floating around at the time...he says he was an eyewitness of His [Christ's] majesty.

You next make some sweeping assertions about fundamentalism being dogmatic what really interests me is when you say this:

"[fundamentalism]justifies the most atrocious behaviour to the apostate and the infidel, is blind to the appeals of justice let alone mercy or reason,"

I am just wondering mr.Dawkins how you can based upon your worldview say certain behavior is wrong. Really on what basis can you critique the behaviour of fundamentalists and say there actions are wrong? See you presuppose the existance of morality but your worldview really doesn't give you any reason or standard by which to judge right and wrong. So when you bewail the wrongdoings of fundamentalists I have to ask what gives you the right to say that these actions are wrong? Why was 9/11 a bad thing? Because people died? Well why is that bad? After all we came from slime right?

See I have a standard of morality that is unchanging and yes people in the name of Christianity have done bad things and I can say that because my worldview gives me a moral standard by which to live and judge actions by. In the atheistic worldview morality can in no way be objective just stipulated and based on consensus which is the same as saying there really is no such thing as morality we just make it up. Serial killer Jeffery Dahmer said:

"I didn't believe in God, therefore, I didn't believe I would be held accountable for what I did."

Bob said...

Oh I also want to address this assertion:

" New Testament (a set of texts carefully chosen from a larger number of competing versions some centuries after they events they allege)"

This is simply not true. The NT synoptic gospels were all recorded prior to 70 ad. We know this apart because of the references to the temple in Jerusalem as still existant. In 70 ad the temple was destroyed by the Romans, thus if these accounts were writen after that event the temple would not be refered to as presently existing. Much more could be said about this but again your the one who needs to validate your assertions.

As for the "competitors" this is in reference to gnostic gospels no doubt which were written after the fact. The "gospel of judas" that got so much hype was written between 250 and 300 ad. In your assertion you seem to presuppose that those who were canonizing scripture did it arbitrarily to fit their doctrines or something. Well that is to assume that these men were grossly dishonest and ignore the reality of history and the prevelance of gnostic forgeries claiming to be written by apostles. One of the things the canonizers did was look at all the earliest christian writings and see what books of the bible they quoted to know what books really were written by apostles. So this wasnt arbitrary or willy nilly in fact you can look and see the citations from 1st and 2nd century Christians quoting specific books of the NT, thus showing they were written in the 1st century.

Richard Dawkins said...

Unfortunately your unwitting re-inforcements of my argument pepper your one-dimensional retort. You have no compunction to engage with my identification of the fallacies within your doctrine because it is inconvenient to do so. I alluded to the universality of images, stories, concepts, and symbols, within faith-based prescriptions applicable to all that are able to be subjugated to religious fallacies merely as a precursor to demonstrating my detestation for fairy stories. It matters not what anthropomorphic deity you bend your knees, or supplicate your body to, what is essential is the wholesale discrediting of supernaturalism in all its reprehensible forms.

More regrettable still, though, is the fact that the civilised quarters of the world are not taking seriously the connection between the world's current problems and failure to uphold intellectual rigour in education, and not demanding that religious belief be a private and personal matter for indulgence only in the home, accepting it in the public sphere only on an equal footing with other interest groups such as trades unions and voluntary organisations such as the Rotary Club. This is the most that a religion merits being treated as, as the following proves: if I and a few others claim to constitute a religious group based on belief in the divinity of garden gnomes, should I be entitled to public money for a school in which children can be brought up in this faith, together with a bishop's seat in parliament perhaps? Why would this be laughed out of court when belief of essentially the same intellectual value, say, Christianity, is accorded all such amenities and more?

The answer is obvious to anyone with s semblance of rationality. Religion belongs within the multi-faceted delusions of the private-sphere and should remain so, akin to the notion of a tooth-fairy, and applied no further credence, or acceptance. Those that wish to pursue such fairy-tales should do so privately and without reference to society as a whole. Any other approach allows the potential for the virus to spread to an uncontainable extent. This may seem extreme but it merely represents a sensible approach to the threats posed by monolothic ideologies of any ilk.

natamllc said...

Mr. Dawkins,
dare I bite a bit?

Would you dare me a question perhaps pleasing it might be for you?

You are indeed an intellectual.

Why don't you forgive your mother?

michael

Bob said...

Mr. Dawkins,
Although you write with great prose, you haven't addressed my points I raised in responding to you. You say I have commited fallacies but really fail to name or point them out. Rather, it seems as I stated before that you are ruling out the Christian testimony in the NT in an a-priori fashion just calling it a fairy tale does not validate your rejection of the NT testimony. And actually what you state here is my main point in the prior responses:

"It matters not what anthropomorphic deity you bend your knees, or supplicate your body to, what is essential is the wholesale discrediting of supernaturalism in all its reprehensible forms."

My point is that from the outset you reject any form of supernaturalism. So when there is an account of a Man Jesus raising from the dead and numerous men claim to be "eyewitnesses" you in an a-priori fashion rule it out saying that supernatural events don't happen. Supernatural events simply do not happen according to you therefore any account of such is simply not true. But as I said earlier this is to commit the fallacy of begging the question. It is logically impossible for anyone (apart from Divine revelation) to state a universal negative this would require an omnipotent knowledge of the universe. For you to be warranted in the assertion that no supernatural event ever has or will take place you would need to have knowledge of every supernatural claim and be able to explain each claim naturalistically. Thus you simply beg the very question to rule out a historical claim to supernatural intervention, because supernatural events do not happen.

You ask:
"if I and a few others claim to constitute a religious group based on belief in the divinity of garden gnomes, should I be entitled to public money for a school in which children can be brought up in this faith, together with a bishop's seat in parliament perhaps? Why would this be laughed out of court when belief of essentially the same intellectual value, say, Christianity, is accorded all such amenities and more?"

If you want to worship garden gnome statues that's fine you have that "freedom". As for what status should religious groups recieve from the government (ie aid) I personally don't have a problem with no religious group getting government aid at all. The reason why I personally would think that your garden gnome religion was ridiculous is because of the claims of Christ that ther is but one God and He alone is the way to be saved. Also, I would rule out your garden gnome religion because it would fail to give a basis for the existance of transcendentals (laws of logic, laws of morality, uniformity of nature, source of epistemology).

next you boldly state:

"The answer is obvious to anyone with s semblance of rationality. Religion belongs within the multi-faceted delusions of the private-sphere and should remain so, akin to the notion of a tooth-fairy, and applied no further credence, or acceptance."

Well, this is a nice assertion and ad-hominem slap at religion in general but not a real argument. Again, I think you have ruled out all religious claims (ie the bible/Christ) a-priori and reject any notion of supernatural claims on the basis of the dogma that supernatural events simply do not happen. To throw off Christianity is really to throw of the only worldview that gives a firm basis for morality, epistemology, laws of logic, uniformity of nature etc. I asked you before to give a basis for morality according to your worldview because you seem to think some events done in the name of religion were horrid. I ask on what basis? Where in your worldview does morality come from? If it is just conventional then it is just a made up stipulation and I can reject it as arbitrary.

Anyway, my point is again you need to support your assertions I can run around and say things like "Evolution that's like on the same level as the tooth fairy!" or "Darwinism is an intellectual ball and chain that needs to be cast off!" You probably wouldn't like that because I never actually addressed any issue that would warrant such a statement, nor have you here in your rejection of Christianity. You have just made assertions.

You echoe the real Richard Dawkins well, however I think he needs to stick with digging up bones and talking about how we came from slime and stop trying to be the atheist pope.

David McCrory said...

richard says,

"asking a Christian why the ancient story of a deity impregnating a mortal woman who then gives birth to a heroic figure whose deeds earn him a place in heaven, is false as applied to Zeus and his many paramours (the mothers of such as Hercules, the Heavenly Twins, etc.), but true as applied to God, Mary and Jesus."

The reason the Christian believes it is appropriate to suggest the advent of Christ is true is the Christian faith is both historic and evidential in nature. No one really denies there was a man from Nazereth named Jesus.

Question revolves around the claims of this man. He claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to come to take away the sins of the world. He claimed the way to receive eternal life was through faith in Him. So what remains for everyone in the world to do, including yourself, is to ask, was Jesus a liar, a lunatic, or is He truly my Lord?

natamllc said...

DAVID,

ONLY TO ENSENUATE MYSELF INTO YOUR REMARKS

may I quote you:

The reason the Christian believes it is appropriate to suggest the advent of Christ is true is the Christian faith is both historic and evidential in nature.

Where did you get this belief?

michael

natamllc said...

Mr. Dawkins

you wrote something so profound IT TOOK ME SEVERAL TIMES OF READING AND PONDERING IT TO SEE IT.

Thanks for the insight!

Here it is requoted:

The rest of the world is caught between these two appalling instances of basically the same phenomenon, so it is perhaps no surprise, though no less regrettable, that the infection should spread from both directions.

I have a question too:

do you ever tire of such brillance?

My, my, I certainly can see the dilemma you have boxed us in!

The infection is spreading speeding headlong to a crisis point!

What if Iran gets the bomb then?
What if Venezuela goes whole heartedly communist with China?
What if Native Americans start internal strife on the streets of Detroit?
What if terrorists find another way to blow up Brits in Birmingham?

My God, I am going crazy now!

I am not being slight!

In fact, the Bible, a translation from the Aramaic Middle Eastern point of view puts it equally succinctly as you do:


4 Jesus answered and said to them, Be careful that no man deceives you.

5 For many will come in my name, and say, I am the Christ, and they will deceive many.

6 You are bound to hear of revolutions and rumors of wars; look out and do not be disturbed; for all of these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes, in different places.

8 But all these things are just the beginning of travail.

9 Then they will deliver you over to be oppressed, and they will kill you; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

10 Then many will stumble, and they will hate one another, and betray one another.

11 And many false prophets will rise, and will mislead a great many.

12 And because of the growth of iniquity, the love of many will become cold.

13 But he who has patience to the end, he will be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations; then the end will come.

As I posted in a blog ago, IF YOU DO NOT REALIZE LIFE AFTER DEATH, YOU WILL CAST OFF RESTRAINT NOW TO THE DEGREE OF YOUR MORAL FIBER IN THIS LIFE IF FOR A MOMENT YOU BELIEVED THE WORD OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST, AND HELL ARE A MYTH.

michael

natamllc said...

Mr. Dawkins

What a profound insight you typed equal to Christ's insights of escatalogy too!

You wrote:

Fundamentalism in all the major religions (and some are fundamentalist by nature) can be and too often is politically infantilising, and in its typical radicalised forms provides utter certainty of being in the right, immunises against tolerance and pluralism, justifies the most atrocious behaviour to the apostate and the infidel, is blind to the appeals of justice let alone mercy or reason, and is intrinsically fascistic and monolithic. One does not have to look very far to find shining examples of this pretty picture in today's world, whether in the Middle East or the Bible belt of the United States. The rest of the world is caught between these two appalling instances of basically the same phenomenon, so it is perhaps no surprise, though no less regrettable, that the infection should spread from both directions.


The Holy Ghost had written Jesus said now I quote so it can be said Jesus wrote:

4 Jesus answered and said to them, Be careful that no man deceives you.

5 For many will come in my name, and say, I am the Christ, and they will deceive many.

6 You are bound to hear of revolutions and rumors of wars; look out and do not be disturbed; for all of these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes, in different places.

8 But all these things are just the beginning of travail.

9 Then they will deliver you over to be oppressed, and they will kill you; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

10 Then many will stumble, and they will hate one another, and betray one another.

11 And many false prophets will rise, and will mislead a great many.

12 And because of the growth of iniquity, the love of many will become cold.

13 But he who has patience to the end, he will be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations; then the end will come.

Could I fancy ask thee this:

ARE BOTH WRITINGS MYTH?

With both said, what does it matter if Iran makes a bomb?
Venezuela goes over to China in league?
The Native Americans rise up against the oppressors?
Terrorists find another way to blow up innocent lives in Birmingham, England?
North Korea?
The Tamil Rebells?
and on and on and on???

michael

Richard Dawkins said...

Discussing the veracity of the bible, its origins, the agendas of the narrators, the contextual historical environment shaping the themes and concepts within parables, matters little to me. I do not seek to bellitle the undoubted wealth of information that can be gleaned from the theological field of study, merely would be inclined to encourage any aspiring, young student to concentrate their energies on a more substantial subject.

It would seem self-evident that "God" as referenced in any biblical scripture is simply the outward projection of man's inward nature. The idea, as cited in your historical document of dubious integrity, the Bible, of "God" creating man in his own image, is relevant only when inverted to infinitely more likely premise that man created "God" in his own image. As Isaac Asimov, in one of his more lucid moments contended, "properly read, the bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."

The character of your argument that morality, ethics, and basic concepts of right, and wrong, can only be predicated on the simplistic(often barbarically so) ideas of the bible scribed by its many contributors, and applicable in modernity only in its most basic forms, unarguably tempered by an acceptance of the historical era in which it resides. Judicial systems both pre-dating the Bible's creation, and in contemptorary times, formed necessarily with only minimal reference to the procrastinations within scripture. If you are only able to countenance a balanced appreciation of how law and order, and morality should be applied within any society with reference to the often clumsy rhetoric of your theological tome, this is fairly worrying. However in relation to the Bible I think your superlative, fellow-countryman, Twain, expressed most aptly, and succinctly my sentiments, "it ain't those parts of the bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

Bob said...

Mr.Dawkins said:
"It would seem self-evident that "God" as referenced in any biblical scripture is simply the outward projection of man's inward nature."

Really? That's kind of funny considering nobody likes the concept of eternal damnation and things like wrath. It seems more fitting to say that the unitarian "god" is the outworking of man's inward desires. So I don't find it self evident in any sense at all, this is your opinion, one which you espouse because as the original post says you are at enmity with God. So you write off Christianity a-priori saying its just made up. Well I can say that about anything but it doesn't make it true. Your entire argument is based upon your anti-theistic presuppositions, which you are not warranted to hold to.

You further state:
"The character of your argument that morality, ethics, and basic concepts of right, and wrong, can only be predicated on the simplistic(often barbarically so) ideas of the bible scribed by its many contributors, and applicable in modernity only in its most basic forms, unarguably tempered by an acceptance of the historical era in which it resides."

Well again you want to say that the bible's morality is barbaric, I am still wondering how in your atheistic worldview you get notions of right and wrong to begin with? What is the basis for morality in your worldview Mr.Dawkins? Until you can give one your moral criticisms of Christianity are unjustified nonesensical statements.

"If you are only able to countenance a balanced appreciation of how law and order, and morality should be applied within any society with reference to the often clumsy rhetoric of your theological tome, this is fairly worrying."

What I find more worrying is that in your worldview you have no objective basis for morality at all. Again you still have not provided a foundation for your views of morality yet you want to criticize the bible's system, this is to beg the very question.

Bob said...

David,
Good comments, Jesus Christ was without question a historical figure, the question is who was/is He?

The problem with Mr. Dawkins arguments is that from the very outset supernaturalism is ruled out. He presuposes the falsity of theism from the start because of his a-priori commitment to naturalism. Christians really are the true "free-thinkers" when it comes to supernatural claims, we see God's Providencial hand guiding events and sometimes in radical ways, so we can see things both naturalistically and supernatural, we are not bound to one or the other because God is bhind it all.

natamllc said...

Oh Mr. Dawkins

please Sir, say it ain't so?

Twain had insights.

You do too.

Your quote of Twain is quite an admission seeing Jesus did say if you say you see, you are blind?

Prey thee tell, are you?

You said:

However in relation to the Bible I think your superlative, fellow-countryman, Twain, expressed most aptly, and succinctly my sentiments, "it ain't those parts of the bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

Is it ok to conclude then Mr. Dawkins that you too understand?

And about your mother, what are you going to do about it?

huh

michael

Richard Dawkins said...

While it may disturb you to realise, some people may disagree with your opinion from time to time. People who are not confined by perfunctory precepts tend to be rather more accepting of differing viewpoints. The crucial point is that you are incapable of such tolerance, because a percieved binding force of no tangible consequence is at work, and those that attempt to engage with your narrow-minded ethos are reduced to the status of "the unclean" by default.

The fundamentalism I alluded to is demonstrated by every statement of certainty you pose due to the perception that you have of religiosity signifying life in simple terms, with a hand-book to confirm the actions you may take as being righteous. Unfortunately, life is an immensely complex tapestry which cannot be placated, or dispelled with reference to any ancient customs or belief-systems, and has to be approached from a pragmatic, and ever-shifting perspective.

Of course every seed of doubt I sow represents a devilish manifestation substantiating your skewed perspective of life, and in all probability confirming your belief that I am the essence of evil, but that is merely a manifestation of your inert, intransigent, and unshakeable piety. I almost feel sorry for your frankly ludicrous belief of eternal happiness beyond your expiration.

Bob said...

Mr.Dawkins states:
" The crucial point is that you are incapable of such tolerance, because a percieved binding force of no tangible consequence is at work, and those that attempt to engage with your narrow-minded ethos are reduced to the status of "the unclean" by default."

Incapable of tolerance eh? Interesting Mr. Dawkins you presuppose that being tolerant is a good thing, something I should do...where did you get that notion? Why should I be tolerant according to your worldview Mr.Dawkins, why should I care about anyone else at all for that matter? As for being narrow-minded can I not say the same thing about you? (because this is just an ad hominem statement)

You accuse me of being commited to my theism and closed minded...that's fine. However, I think you are equally closed minded in your commitment to atheism. You reject the claims of the bible from the outset because of your commitment to naturalism, that's kinda narrow-minded.

"I almost feel sorry for your frankly ludicrous belief of eternal happiness beyond your expiration."

And I feel sorry for oyu Mr.Dawkins because you have no hope that transcends this physcal world. James says our life is but a vapor, you will die one day Mr.Dawkins. Christ has promised that he that believes in Him shall never perish but have everlasting life, I have a hope (hope in the biblical sense means certainty) that transcends this world.