Open thread for #20.12: Matt and Tracie


Matt and Tracie discuss different ways in which people justify their treatment of others within authoritarian systems, such as, but not exclusively religious systems, and how people who wear the same label sometimes justify opposite actions in the name of systems represented under those same labels.

Comments

  1. Gnostic says

    I would love to see a discussion between Matt and Sam Harris about Islam/Islamism. Has anything like that happened and been recorded? If not, is there any chance it might happen?

  2. Philllip Moore says

    Mike already had his mind made up before he called. I’m wondering what others think about why he even called.

  3. Monocle Smile says

    The “I had an experience” crew is even more boring than in years past. You experienced something. Cool, I guess. Move on. I have no idea why people get obsessed with these “experiences” any more than someone would over vivid dreams.
    Mike was more annoying than anything else. I can’t stand these fence-sitters who want to have their cake and eat it, too.

    @Philllip
    In my bluntly honest opinion…Mike is an attention whore. NDE people often are.

    Lol at Peter in the UK, who’s actually John the JW from the UK. The dude is hopeless.

  4. says

    My rule of thumb is, if I can’t properly justify my position with someone else, even hypothetically, then I don’t have a good reason to believe it myself. That should be a gigantic red flag.

  5. Zachary says

    The dialogue between Matt and Peter is a beautiful example of the Socratic method and its usefulness by Matt. Peter used old and terrible arguments, but they are the arguments you’ll hear from quite a few Christians and it was quite valuable to hear an experienced debater such as Matt respond to them.

  6. adamah says

    Very enjoyable show, with two of my fave hosts.

    I haven’t performed an audio waveform or linguistic dialect analysis (!), but It seems “John from London, UK” (our resident JW caller from a few months ago) is back, only now resurrected and calling the AE under the pseudonym, ‘Peter from London, UK”.

    “Peter” parrots the same JW catch-phrases as John did (eg he refers to “the Truth”), hallmarks which anyone familiar with JW teachings and anachronisms would recognize.

    You’ve gotta love John’s weak command of logic, as shown when Matt used the analogy of a bomb-maker who plants time bombs throughout the city: per John, the bomb-maker is not responsible for any harm or deaths caused by his devices, just as long as he warns the general public that he’s planted the bombs. Instead, the bombs are to take the blame!

    JWs give God the credit for making the good and/or benign (i.e. planets , animal/human life), but when it comes to the bad/evil, that’s simply not the fault of God: Satan is supposed to bear all the blame.

    As a 12 y.o. child raised as a JW, I asked a similar question: “Where did evil come from? Why would God create humans with the capacity for performing “evil” acts?”

    Of course, I never received a satisfactory response. So predictable, yet so many JWs don’t (or won’t) see the huge fly in their theological soup, since “God gave mankind free will” is no answer.

    John/Peter still apparently hasn’t bothered to look into what the phrase “free will” means, for if he had, he’d likely realize that slogan is merely a “thought-stopper” (aka “deepity”, or even “baffling them with theocratic BS”).

  7. says

    #10 – Right after the show, I said I recognized that caller. Since I don’t follow the calls/names of people who call, I would not have known he was using a different name, but definitely identified him as someone I’d engaged previously. I’m honestly not even sure he’s legit, because he is really not very good at defending his positions, but at the same time, sometimes people can be quite bad at defending their positions….so…?

  8. says

    #8 – Wholeheartedly agree. I had a conversation with a theist at a past show dinner where I simply asked why he would accept/trust his perceptions in any situation where it indicates something utterly divorced from what he knows to be reality. Certainly things can be encountered that challenge our understanding of reality, but without evidence in support of what we perceived–why would we go with “this really occurred,” and not “I had an odd experience, and I *thought* I experienced, XYZ”? I am willing to trust my perceptions, but not the point they begin telling me things that differ on a level of “this cannot possibly be happening.” When it reaches that level, without any supporting evidence, I have to consider my perception is faulty and I did not experience what I seemed to. The person at dinner had a wholly opposite view–willing to trust his perceptions completely. He tried to argue that if there were several people who had the same perception, then that would be evidence, and used an example of people claiming to have played with a dragon in their living room for hours on end, with one even being burned.

    I found it ironic he used the Sagan example, as the burn is specifically what Sagan points to as nonevidence in the case of fire-breathing dragons–as there are many known causes of burns. I noted that if they found a giant scale behind the sofa that could be DNA tested and was found to be some sort of animal never before cataloged, THAT would be something for people to consider as evidence there is something valid to the story–but simply more people claiming they saw it too, is no help in a case where what they’re claiming defies known reality. Perceptions can be faulty, and this can never be ruled out.

    In the case of the caller, every time, EVERY TIME, he would say “well, you’d have to then look at evidence…” to support any claim. And yet, time and again, he would return to “but what if a lot of people made the claim.” Then, Matt would take him right back down the trail to where the caller himself would say “well, you’d need to look at the evidence [to support the claim]”…and then right back to “but if a lot of people claimed it…” It was just rinse and repeat. And there are only so many times you can get a person all the way to the water, and see them run back to their starting point. Maybe after some time he’ll start to actually HEAR what he was saying, and it will stick?

  9. Bruce Smith says

    @adamah
    > so many JWs don’t (or won’t) see the huge fly in their theological soup, since “God gave
    > mankind free will” is no answer.

    I agree. If we have free will, it is already a limited free will. We don’t have the free will to choose not to age, we don’t have the free will to defy gravity by choosing to levitate and so on.

    So, I see no reason why the restriction not to perform evil acts would be any thing more than just another limit to already limited free will so I don’t see a god wanting us to have free will as any excuse for anything.

  10. says

    First, I love Matt’s suggestion that Tracey record a conversation with a Muslim Imam. I’d pay to see it. Hell, Tracey ought to have her own patreon project where she makes videos where she just has conversations with various religious leaders of various faiths. She’s amazing at holding conversations.

    To echo Gnostic’s comment (#4), I too would like to see Matt have a conversation with Sam Harris. I’ve suggested elsewhere that Matt would make an ideal guest for Sam’s podcast, where Sam has recently been attempting difficult conversations with his opponents and critics (with mixed results). As an expert on the art of conversation – through practical experience, if nothing else – Matt would make a fascinating guest to discuss the question of how to converse with people of opposing opinions. I think Tracey would also be good to have on for the same reason.

    But to piggyback off Gnostic’s more specific point, I think a conversation between Matt and Sam on Islam and Islamism would be useful as well. Matt (along with Tracey) clearly has nuanced and well-thought-out opinions on the subject of Islam – in sharp contrast to some other members of the AETV staff I could mention – but his ideas might use just a tad more refining in terms of the scope of specific harmful Islamic beliefs worldwide.

    Matt has said that Islam might be the most dangerous religion in the world – but not necessarily the most dangerous in the USA or in Austin. The answer to the question of which religion is most dangerous changes based on the scope of the question. This is a good point. Unlike in the USA, the global community has many Islamic theocracies that fail to curb extremism/literalism. And – as Matt pointed out – the scale of the threat of Islamism around the world admits no comparison to a lone nut in the USA attacking a government building or to a handful of Christian lunatics who have succeeded in killing maybe a dozen or so people in abortion clinics over the course of decades. There’s no comparison in terms of scale, threat, and damage: Islamism is a danger for the globe that is an order of many, many, many magnitudes greater than the danger posed by Christian nuts in the USA. Matt is correct in pointing all of this out.

    However, Matt didn’t address the way that even some beliefs relatively popular among many supposedly “moderate” Muslims around the world are harmful and destabilizing. He seems to think that the problem is with specific Islamic regimes that he describes as “relatively small.”

    But consider the results of a Pew study that found that close to 90% of Egyptians agree with the idea that apostates from Islam ought to be killed. Troublingly high percentages on that question exist in all Muslim-majority countries. If you look at the numbers supporting the stoning of adulterous women, death penalty for blasphemy, death penalty for gays, and even supporting the use of suicidal terror against civilians in defense of Islam, the numbers are shockingly high.

    Just to put a fine point on that last issue: the question specifically asked in the poll was whether it was ever justified to use suicide bombings against civilians in defense of Islam. What percentage would we consider comforting in response to that question? 1%? 3%? The percentage is never even close to that low. In most countries polled, the percentages are in the twenties or thirties, and in some countries, the number is much higher still. The lowest number I could find was in Tunisia, where only 4% think suicide bombing is “often” justified, 1 % think “sometimes,” and 3% said “rarely,” and 2% said they “don’t know.” [For the sake of fairness, I won’t count “don’t know,” but I find it *very* troubling when people say they “don’t know” whether it can be justified to blow up innocent people in the name of religion] So there’s eight percent who think there are at least some instances in which it’s okay to perform a suicide bombing in defense of Islam: that number works out to be close to a million people, just in that one country alone.

    Depending on exactly which issue we’re talking about, tens of millions of people in multiple countries support horrendous, harmful Islamic beliefs. The vast majority of these people are “peaceful” in the sense that they don’t personally commit violence, but their beliefs are anything but peaceful. A very large number of Muslims worldwide fall into this category of “conservative Muslims,” who are not personally violent, who are probably very kind people most of the time in their personal lives, but who believe some of the most atrocious things about gender, blasphemy, and criminal punishment under sharia law. They’re not some “extremist sect”: they hold beliefs that are relatively mainstream among conservative Islam.

    Now, look. *Obviously* most Western Muslims don’t hold such views, and *obviously* there are millions and millions of Muslims living in Muslim-majority countries around the world who do not hold these views and who are being horribly oppressed by Islam (in fact, if you are a woman, a homosexual, or a freethinker, you would be supremely unlucky to be born into a Muslim-majority country). It’s obvious that “not all Muslims” are a problem and that a significant number of Muslims, in fact, are *victims* of Islam.

    But the issue remains that at least tens of millions of people in the Muslim world – and on some issues the numbers are much higher – routinely support harmful beliefs explicitly sanctioned in their holy books. Most of these people aren’t going out and being violent personally, but they support attitudes that enable violence and oppression on a scale that would make the work of Christian theocrats in the USA appear cute by comparison.

    Islamic reform is going to happen from *within* Islam, not from without. But pressure from outside Islam is going to help encourage that reform to happen sooner rather than later. And, in an age of weapons of mass destruction, we don’t have time to wait around for a few centuries.

    It’s unfortunate that some of the points and facts I’ve been making and citing in this post are sometimes identical to points made and facts deployed by right-wing racists and bigots. But the fact that some readers are undoubtedly cautious about what I’m saying is mainly a result of the failure of left-leaning thinkers to speak out on the subject of Islam — and their failure comes from a misguided (but often well-meaning) fear of *appearing* racist or bigoted. If more reasonable people like Matt and Tracey would speak out against the *specific* harmful ideas and beliefs in Islam, it would foster a climate where it’s more acceptable to challenge these ideas without appearing racist.

  11. adamah says

    Heicart said:

    #10 – Right after the show, I said I recognized that caller. Since I don’t follow the calls/names of people who call, I would not have known he was using a different name, but definitely identified him as someone I’d engaged previously.

    I’m honestly not even sure he’s legit, because he is really not very good at defending his positions, but at the same time, sometimes people can be quite bad at defending their positions….so…?

    Unfortunately, I’ve had the same exact interchange with many different JWs over the past 40 yrs, so even if he’s not “legit”, it almost doesn’t matter: others who are questioning their beliefs might possibly benefit from seeing their same fave rationalizations being dismantled and disarmed right before their very eyes.

    His “God has the capacity for foreknowledge but chooses not to exercise it, like a landlord who has a pass-key” defense is similarly weak.

    For one, it’s completely without scriptural basis, and worse, the idea is contrary to what the Bible actually says. Instead, God is said to be able to read one’s innermost private thoughts, and able to read one’s desires while the person is still in the womb.
    JW’s inevitably counter with, “But that’s Old Testament!”.

    Fine…

    In the Gospels, Jesus reinforced the concept of God reading one’s innermost thoughts with the introduction of the theological concept of “thought sins”, saying that thinking adulterous thoughts about a woman was the same as actually committing adultery in the flesh.

    So it’s not like God has suddenly developed a concept of respecting individual rights to personal privacy: that’s a concept from the Age of Enlightenment (i.e. within the last 500 yrs). That’s from Rousseau, and not Jesus.

    The other major fly in the ointment with the ‘God chooses not to exercise Divine foreknowledge’ defense is this:

    Which came first: God possessing Divine foreknowledge, or God’s decision not to know individual outcomes in all cases?

    In the latter case, how does God choose which foreknowledge to suppress, without actually knowing what it contains beforehand?

    Does God induce amnesia on Himself with a large rubber mallet, knocking himself silly until He forgot something?

    Obviously I’m being hyperbolic and irreverent, but the point stands that It’s not like God can unring a bell of knowledge once it’s rung….

    (Genesis claims humans are made in his image, which means such questions are reasonable… And this is typically the point where they ‘appeal to ignorance’, saying the ways of God are unknowable to us flawed imperfect mortal humans…. Gotta keep those goalposts mobile, I guess…)

    In general, though, “Peter” served as a perfect example of what you (Traci) spoke about earlier in the show: how humans will align their God beliefs with a philosophy and morality they’d like God to have, so they effectively make God in their image and not vice-versa, engaging in facile scripture-twisting that leaves pretzel makers green with envy….

    It’s either that, or you’re a freakin’ prophet! 😉

    Bruce (#13) said:

    I agree. If we have free will, it is already a limited free will. We don’t have the free will to choose not to age, we don’t have the free will to defy gravity by choosing to levitate and so on.

    So, I see no reason why the restriction not to perform evil acts would be any thing more than just another limit to already limited free will so I don’t see a god wanting us to have free will as any excuse for anything.

    Word…

    And more directly to the point, the phrase “Free will choice” implies being given an opportunity to express one’s will (or individual desires) by CHOOSING amongst options equally FREE of all ramifications or consequences.

    As such, God’s ‘offer’ which cannot be refused (“worship me or die!”) is NOWHERE close to constituting a free-will choice, and anyone who parrots that meme reflects their absolute ignorance of what the term “free will choice” actually implies.

    So what constitutes a “free will choice”, you ask?

    The decision to choose between vanilla vs. chocolate ice cream IS a “free will choice”, since the alternatives are fairly equivalent and benign, assuming no strings are attached to either alternative in a heavy-handed attempt to sway the decision (eg “choose vanilla ice cream or I’ll kill you” is clearly an attempt to sway the decision).

  12. eric viste says

    i typically only see ‘YouTube comments disabled’ under the videos of religious types too brittle to take commentary. i understand you have your own reasons, and that you’ve created this site where comments are allowed but it still puts me off. i appreciate what you do, i just disagree with this policy.

    trying to post this i could not use the facebook link ”
    “error”: {
    “message”: “Error validating application. Application has been deleted.”,
    “type”: “OAuthException”,
    “code”: 101,
    “fbtrace_id”: “FEayHqMB4Nv”
    }”
    and when i used the below ‘name email’ etc i was brought to a page calling me a ‘Possible Imposter’ .
    none of this inspires me to try to comment in the future- i tend to disengage from sites that don’t allow me to comment at will.

  13. PeterFromLondonUK says

    So…. If lots of people agree with a rule or rules, then the rules become objective ?
    Was this Matt’s point ?

    Anyways,,,, next week i will be talking about how energy can become conscious, as we all agree, but this was via intelligent design. Just to give you a bit of warning.

    🙂

  14. Monocle Smile says

    @Los
    That’s a pretty well reasoned post. However, AXP has done a number of episodes specifically on Islam and has tackled several Muslim callers recently. Not sure what you’re asking from them that hasn’t already been done. It is also reasonable for Americans like the AXP hosts and myself to focus on problems in our own country.

  15. PeterFromLondonUK says

    18. It has been set up deliberately this way so that they can listen to their own confirmation bias.

    This is why the truth will have to be taught to them later.

  16. John Phillips, FCD says

    @22 Peter/(AKA John) from London. yet here you are posting your opinion proving your own statement wrong. Do you even have the self awareness to know how wrong you are about just about everything I have heard you talk about. You truly are a great example of Dunning-Kruger.

  17. Aaron123 says

    I found the guy from Canada very surprising. He says that fundemantalist christians seem like liberals when compared to moderate muslims. I wonder if he meant to compare fundemantalist christians to fundemantalist muslims.

  18. Yaddith says

    PeterFromLondon: I think Matt’s point about rules is that a rule has an objective existence whether arrived at subjectively or objectively. Its existence is not contingent on whether or not people agree with it, although in a free society a majority of people could effectively decide to change the rule.

  19. says

    Hello Russell and Tracie, I’m sorry to cross threads here. This message is not related to this post, but to #783: Atheism in Egypt, on which Tracie read out a statement by an Egyptian atheist. I couldn’t figure out how else to get this message to you.

    As you can probably guess from my own blog here, it’s a matter very close to my heart. I wonder whether there is a transcript of that statement available. I’d like to either reproduce it verbatim on my blog, or quote from it extensively. I happen to strongly disagree with the popular notion that the Arab Spring has failed. I even disagree that it was just about getting rid of dictators. Few people write about it these days because, well, the Arab Spring is over. In my view, it’s only just begun.

    Good on you for lending your voice to the voiceless in that instance. I know it was 2012, but that statement is even more relevant now than it was then. So I would be very grateful if you could either point me towards a transcript of it, or share it with me (I’m assuming that would be OK with the author).

    Many thanks. Anjuli

  20. corwyn says

    @22:

    Yup. That is exactly why the ACA has created at great cost of both money and time, a weekly program where theists of all sorts are invited to call in and challenge the beliefs of the hosts. It is why a dozen people give up their Sunday evening every week. Because they want to revel in their confirmation bias. /sarcasm

    How many times do you have to project your own behaviors onto atheists before you notice your own confirmation bias?

  21. Russell Glasser says

    Hey folks, quick note about moderation here, even though I realize that the people most in need of this information are unlikely to read it.

    There are some informal rules posted at http://freethoughtblogs.com/axp/moderation-policy/ . As you can see, we definitely do moderate the comments here, and make no bones about it. We do not ban users for simple disagreement. I have, however, had an unusually high number of brand new commenters who haven’t made the cut in the last few weeks, and maybe this will come as no surprise.

    The first rule states:

    “If the very first post you write contains personal attacks, insults, abuse, or ad hominems against people on this blog, there is a very high probability that it won’t be approved. This is true whether the target is show hosts, moderators, or active commenters. We would like constructive conversations to take place, and a person who creates an account just to insult somebody else probably does not share that goal.”

    I try to let that be my main guide for filtering new contributors. While I, like everyone else, feel defensive when criticized, I like to do my best to engage with serious criticism and give sincere thought to whether there might be some truth to it. So as moderator I try to assume the best intentions for all new commenters, even if they have some harsh words for the show — be it criticism of our technical competence or our ideological positions.

    However, brand new posters who created an account to create a polemic filled post referring to hosts and crew as “idiots,” “disgraceful,” or “cowardly,” etc., or graphically fantasize about any of us getting injured or killed due to our opinions, are clearly running afoul of the rule I quoted above. I have little interest in engaging with such a person, and will ban them on the spot without posting their comments.

    That’s the policy, and I make no apologies for it. Once you’re approved as a regular commenter, the rules become a lot less stringent. For the most part you’re free to say whatever you want. If you’re in danger of getting kicked for similar civility violations, you will generally get a polite warning from the moderator and given plenty of time to chill out prior to a ban.

    That said, I’d like to think that the regulars here have stuck around because they are generally thoughtful folks who appreciate the environment we’ve got. I’m very happy with the discussions that take place on this blog, and even the occasional heated arguments are generally friendly and on point. Just wanted to say I love you guys. 😉

    Russell

  22. corwyn says

    i will be talking about how energy can become conscious, as we all agree, but this was via intelligent design.

    Start by explaining how the designer started as energy and became conscious. Without *that* the whole thing is moronic.

    p.s. Changing your name is likely to result in you wearing out your welcome on the show.

  23. Russell Glasser says

    @PeterFromLondonUK: You should not count on being allowed to keep calling the show week after week making the same arguments. We like theist callers, and I’m willing to talk to you as often as the conversation remains constructive. But do bear in mind that it is our show, not your personal vanity platform, and we reserve the right to set the agenda.

  24. PeterFromLondonUK says

    31. True, but you do not have a monopoly on truth.

    I like talking to you, and i hope you learn the truth. Eventually everyone will know the truth.

  25. Russell Glasser says

    Of course I don’t have a monopoly on truth. Never claimed otherwise.

    So, how do you feel you’ve done so far teaching people the truth via your calls? Won a lot of souls?

  26. PeterFromLondonUK says

    33. i am no part of Christendom. The idea of a soul external from a human is not true. We are living souls and when we die we are non existent as the Bible says.

    I am a good for nothing slave, what i have done via your show is what i ought to have done.

    🙂

  27. says

    @Monocle Smile:

    I’m not really looking for anything in particular from AXP. I was just writing about an issue that I think is massively important, an issue on which I often get pushback from fellow liberals.

    Plenty of left-leaning folks refuse to believe that Islam is a primary causal factor in much of the horror in the Muslim world: some deny that it’s a factor at all. To these folks, terrorism — and the general bad behavior and beliefs of Muslims — is explained entirely by Western foreign policy, poverty, and the oppression of Muslims.

    It’s at this point, I note that multiple studies have found that radicalized Muslims tend to have *more* education and opportunity, not less (the 9/11 hijackers, for instance, were college educated, with multiple PhDs among them). I note that Palestinian Christians — who suffer the same oppression as their Muslim neighbors — do not carry out suicide bombings. I note that Westen recruits of ISIS all lead regular Western lives full of opportunity and absent significant geopolitical oppression. I note that captured Jihadists yammer endlessly about religion and paradise. I note that even terrorists motivated by legitimate grievances have those grievances greatly magnified by religion (i.e. anger at the proximity of Western troops to Muslim holy sites).

    Islam is the only motivating factor that explains all of these facts: indeed, many actions of Islamists and jihadists do not make sense without a sincere belief in the literal doctrines of Islam.

    But the frustrating — and perhaps dangerous — thing is that the fashion nowadays is to deride people who point out these troubling facts as “Islamophobes.” This curious word is used too often to confuse actual bigotry against Muslim people — which, obviously, we should oppose — with legitimate criticism of Islam as a set of ideas.

    More often than not, reasonable left-leaning people — motivated by the best of intentions — reflexively side against anyone criticizing Islam. In my estimation, these people are dangerously contributing to moving the public conversation in the wrong direction: *away* from a reasonable critique of intensely dangerous Islamic ideas, and *away* from an effort to put pressure on Islam to reform from within.

  28. PeterFromLondonUK says

    28. I see your point. Ultimately there is only one truth, and we will all have to learn it, but some will learn it later because they have the wrong attitude.

  29. PeterFromLondonUK says

    30. God has always been (no start) and has always been conscious, but i do not know all the details.

  30. PeterFromLondonUK says

    30. This week i identify as Peter. Next week i may decide to identify as a black female lizard, If this stops me from the show, fair enough. Some may not like my identity changing.

  31. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK
    > God has always been (no start) and has always been conscious, but i do not know all the details.

    I don’t think you actually know *any* of the details. Who has examined this god to determine that it has always been conscious and had no start? How could anyone even determine such a thing? Just saying it’s so, no matter who says it, doesn’t make it so.

  32. PeterFromLondonUK says

    40. God tells us the details about Himself via the Bible. Truth is not dependant on you knowing about it.

  33. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Russell

    Just wanted to say I love you guys. ?

    Russell

    <3 too.

    To PeterFromLondonUK
    I believe I asked this question to you before: Could you be wrong? Hypothetically, could any amount of (as yet to be discovered) evidence change your mind? I believe that you answered "no". Thus, you are close-minded and dogmatic, and I see no point to engage in conversation with you. If I am mistaken regarding how I remembered our previous conversions, please correct me.

  34. PeterFromLondonUK says

    43. Hi. The truth is the truth.

    Could it be possible that i do not fully understand the truth ? Yes

    Is it a fact that humanity does not have access to all the details about God ? Yes.

    I am a truth seeker and i go where the truth is.

    JW.org. will help humanity get to the truth quicker.

  35. says

    @44

    If you have any interest in being convincing to us, your best bet is to adopt the standard epistemology that we use. For example, “because my book says so” wins you zero points. Hypothesis testing works better.

    If you do not adopt methods that we find convincing – and knowingly so – I can only conclude that you don’t care about convincing us. And thus, I don’t care to listen to you, as I’m only bound to perceive your “reasoning” as epistemic gibberish.

  36. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK says
    > God tells us the details about Himself via the Bible

    How can anyone verify it’s god telling you the things in the Bible? Is it impossible for someone else besides a god to have written the things in the Bible? Humans write made up stories. Why can’t humans have made up the stories about god in the Bible? How would we know the difference?

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To PeterFromLondonUK
    That didn’t answer my clear and obvious (IMO) intended question. Let me be more clear: Hypothetically, could any amount of and kind of (as yet to be discovered) evidence convince you that Christianity is false, that Jesus is not the son of a god, etc.?

  38. says

    … and of course, I usually extend an invitation as well, to propose an alternative epistemology, and demonstrate that it’s logical, and makes sense.

  39. PeterFromLondonUK says

    45. Fulfilled prophecy is the proof.

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, it just means that you will have to learn the truth later.

    Most of mankind will learn the truth once they’re brought back to life on Earth.

  40. PeterFromLondonUK says

    46. Text is an inferior form of communication.

    It is deliberately difficult so that Satan can rule over the Earth.

    Fulfilled prophecy is the proof, once convinced then the rest of the Bible is accepted on trusting your friend ….. God

  41. PeterFromLondonUK says

    47. Christendom is part of false religion and God will destroy it as outlined in the Bible.

    Human government and commerce will also be destroyed by God. Apples are free.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Again, hypothetically, can any amount and kind of evidence convince you that Jesus was not the son of a god?

  43. corwyn says

    @50:

    The problem with that is that we know the bible was written by Satan. He uses the prophesies convince us that it we should do the evil that is written in it.

  44. PeterFromLondonUK says

    52. Christendom states that Jesus is God.

    Jesus is not God.

    There is only one truth, your knowing the truth is not the most important issue.

  45. says

    45. Fulfilled prophecy is the proof.

    And discussions of epistemology would tear that notion to shreds… everything from the incredible vagueness of those “prophecies”, to predicting that humans will operate as they have, to post-diction and confirmation bias, can easily account for those. We never even have to touch magic as an explanatory mechanism.

    Plus, it only “proves” the Bible, and/or a god, if you’ve plucked the desired outcome out of a hat, arbitrarily excluding other possibilities. Haven’t you called up before and been through all this, or was that someone else?

    It’s topics like this that make it apparent that you’re not interested in the epistemology (or lack thereof) behind the claim, and therefore, are not interested in convincing us. Otherwise, you’d be capable of arguing why the prophetic claims work epistemically, are valid, and point exclusively towards your hypothesis (that a transcendent being whispered in the ears of the biblical authors).

  46. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To PeterFromLondonUK
    You’re not honestly engaging. One more time: Can you be convinced by as yet to be discovered evidence that the bible is a fiction book, written by humans, and only humans – i.e. no input from a god, and no input from Satan, and no input from any other kind of non-human person?

  47. says

    #27 – Anjuli –

    I have seen your request. I need to find the episode and listen to the letter. I will see if I can grab a few unique phrases from it and pull it up in my e-mail if I still have it. As you say, 2012 is not exactly yesterday, but it sounds like the sort of thing I would have kept. I do recall reading that on the air, but not the specifics. If you could e-mail me at the show address, I can use e-mail to send it to you. I can’t imagine it would be a problem to use it on your blog, as it’s been read on the air and is now published on the internet as content at our video. Thanks.

  48. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    You just keep saying stuff without justification. You keep following each assertion with another one. Would you accept that from someone from another religion? If you were told that Zeus is real and lives on Mount Olympus and it’s known to be true because Zeus tells us in ancient Greek texts, will you accept it as true?

  49. PeterFromLondonUK says

    58. Hi Tracie. It was nice speaking to you. Do you also think some rules can be temporarily objective via a subjective source if lots of people agree with the rules ?

  50. PeterFromLondonUK says

    59. All false religion is designed as a tool to deceive humanity,

    Beliefs count for nothing, including energy slowing down into physical and becoming conscious by chance.

    I do not accept anything as true without proof unlike Atheists. (There is no proof that energy can turn into a universe etc without intelligent manipulation.)

  51. Monocle Smile says

    I think Benny Hill’s theme goes well with John the Limey’s calls and posts, myself.

  52. PeterFromLondonUK says

    I really laughed when Matt cut me off. I thought it was humorous to be honest. I’ve watch the video a few times, and the end makes me literally laugh out loud.

    Anyways…. i look forward to our next chat, although i think it would be more productive to debate Russell. Russell has a different style and will probably learn the truth before Matt.

  53. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > Fulfilled prophecy is the proof

    > I do not accept anything as true without proof

    Then I can only assume you can present proof that prophesies have been fulfilled if you are using that as proof of something else. Please show me that proof. I would sincerely like to examine it.

  54. says

    In reply to Los @36.

    It is refreshing to read your comments. Regarding this one, I agree with everything you say, except for the last fragment: “and *away* from an effort to put pressure on Islam to reform from within.” It is my contention that Islam, by it’s very nature, is irreformable. Some have taken this contention to mean I’m calling for the abolition of Islam. I am not, as I’m also certain that religion cannot be abolished any more than any state of mind can be abolished. But I don’t want to divert this thread down that road here.

  55. Muz says

    Los @ #36

    The endless accusation that ‘the left’ refuses to ‘face facts’ about Islam receives pushback not only because of lilly livered self-defeating political correctness, but just as much because people don’t agree that these facts are indeed facts. Or if they are, are not being interpreted correctly and, as you have said yourself, will only give fodder to actual racists and fascists in our midst as well as the Islamists on the other end.
    I’d be all for facing said facts if I agreed on the story they tell and if the fact facers out there had seemingly given a moments thought to what on earth to do next after facing these supposed facts. It’s at that point the cry seems little more than intellectual masturbation masquerading as moral righteousness.

    Say we accept that Islam is The, or at least A Causal Problem as you have put it. That it’s somehow worse or more potent than every other unifying cause that called people to violence and self sacrifice in history. Ok, now what? Frikken Donald Trump is right! Gert Vilders is right! Lock ’em up. Shut ’em out. Bring special police forces to bear on every Islamic community in the west. Bring whatever military force necessary to contain and control Islamic countries. It’s all good sense now right? As much as we might say we can be principled and reasonable and uphold our values in reacting to this information, what are the odds of that really – especially when the apparent danger is so great?
    Even if it’s true it’s a total non starter.

    But there are other facets to this matter which people can reasonably hold without being merely too weak or deluded to face the truth. As I mentioned, there’s not a lot of reason to think that fundamentalist Islam is behaving all that differently from other inspirational causes that have given purpose to the lives/deaths of losers and frustrated youth. It’s more diffuse thanks to modern communications and diasporas and it crossing a lot of lines as both culture and faith seems to give it some more reach, but in essence there’s a lot we should recognise.
    The escalation in ruthless tactics and rhetoric of terrorism does hold a kind of dark logic when seen geopolitically from the world wars on down, especially from the 70s onwards.

    Another thing is there’s a potent myth that has taken hold in parts of the Islamic world, one which functions much like a conspiracy theory, and it’s that the West has some long term goal to destroy Islam itself. It’s a pretty handy uniting myth since we’ve unwittingly given them plenty of apparent evidence to bolster the argument and still do. That paranoia is like nitro to the engine of fundamentalism (and there’s a decent amount of persecution and paranoia inherent to major Abrahamic religions as it is).
    In purely practical terms we want them to believe this less, not more.

    I’ve also heard it said that you can’t stop the man in the street in an Islamic country and expect them to give much besides the doctrinal response to a question on law and order. Depends somewhat on the country of course, but whether these stats people wave around accounted for that I don’t know. I personally have some trouble reading too much into polling done in countries not famously democratic in the first place. More authoritarian societies’ relationship to public opinion is somewhat different than ours. But these polls are something I don;t have a lot of information on anyway.

    All the same, these matters tell me that setting up a straw liberal and knocking them down over points like the relative opportunity or money a given jihadist had in life means everyone in that exchange is missing the greater volume of information to be considered. The straw liberal might even be very carefully constructed and true to life, it’s still and irrelevant victory. Apparent oppression might not explain these jihadists, but Islam doesn’t really either. All these factors and more may in fact be in play.
    As a simple criticism one can ask, if Islam is the driving or dominant factor in these events (as opposed to one of many historically and culturally driven ones) then why now? It’s been there to drive people to terrible behaviour for a long time, but hasn’t been thoroughly consistent on that front.
    It’s an important factor in current events, but on its own its explanatory power is ultimately weak.

  56. Monocle Smile says

    @Los
    I was going to write a post similar to Muz’s, but Muz said it much better.
    I would also like to add that I have never personally observed anyone being labeled an “Islamophobe” by a nonreligious person who wasn’t spouting either falsehoods, racist garbage, or both.
    Also, you can say all you want that Palestinian Christians don’t produce suicide bombers, but you can’t also ignore the Christian militias currently slicing their way through Africa (and their daughters’ genitals).

  57. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Los
    Agreed in most / in whole concerning policy recommendations.

    However, it pains me to read this:

    As I mentioned, there’s not a lot of reason to think that fundamentalist Islam is behaving all that differently from other inspirational causes that have given purpose to the lives/deaths of losers and frustrated youth.

    That is just patently silly IMHO, for the usual reasons. Different religions do preach different things, and the people in different religions will therefore tend to have different beliefs – statistically speaking, on aggregate – and therefore we should expect people of different religions to behave differently. I believe that your rhetoric is a form of false religious apologetics, a pernicious kind of accommodationism, that says that no one really believes what their religion preaches, and that in this particular case, Islam is just a convenient but value-empty cultural thing to rally behind – which obviously leads to the question “Why don’t we see it with equal frequency for other social clubs, like fans of a particular soccer team?”.

    Again, for emphasis, I agree that it’s counterproductive to target Muslims in any way. I also think it’s counterproductive to describe this as a war on Islam, because it’s not. But to say that Islam has no part in it, and Islam is just like any other religions, and all religions are value-empty, etc., is just patently ridiculous.

    Further, neither can I say all of the fault rests on Islam. There are plenty of non-violent Muslims, a large majority of them. Obviously there are other causal factors in play, such as the usual complaints of colonialism and other foreign policy “blunders”, to put it mildly.

  58. PeterFromLondonUK says

    65. Well it is like Matt said in 945 :- Fulfilled prophecy convinces some people, but not me.

    Fulfilled prophecy has been designed to not convince everyone so that Satan has a chance to rule the world.

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, you can learn it later, most will learn once they are brought back to life on earth.

  59. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Chess rules and God’s rules are subjective.

    You do not HAVE to apply the subjective rules, but you will not have a good experience if you do not agree to apply the subjective rules.

  60. says

    @70

    65. Well it is like Matt said in 945 :- Fulfilled prophecy convinces some people, but not me.
    Fulfilled prophecy has been designed to not convince everyone so that Satan has a chance to rule the world.

    Then you’ve just thrown the entire concept into an epistemic blender. If we have a supernatural conspiracy theory, where supernatural agents are mucking around with the process and data, then it has no epistemic value.

    It’d be impossible to conduct any medical research if we had to account for invisible demons changing the measurements whenever we weren’t looking.

    What is the purpose of God providing “proof” (not that science deals with proofs), and purposely sabotaging it? Why would God want to give Satan a chance to rule the world? Or are you saying that Satan provided you with the “proofs” so that you can supply them to us? Or are you saying that Satan corrupted the Bible?

    Do you ever think any of your positions through?

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, you can learn it later, most will learn once they are brought back to life on earth.

    I’m trying to help you out here, believe it or not. I’m practically handing you an issue of Nintendo Power, in terms of having any kind of success conversing with (skeptical) atheists. In part, that’s because I’m tired of the pointless arguments where the opposing side doesn’t appear to give a single damn about what the truth really is, otherwise, that person would actually try to give epistemological considerations an attempt.

    But okay, if you insist on taking the totally ineffectual approach, and wasting everyone’s time…

  61. says

    Also keep in mind that the purpose of “proof” is to persuade those who disagree with you, even the hard-nosed skeptics. If it’s been designed to *not* be persuasive to those people, then it’s kind of totally lost its point.

  62. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK
    >Your knowing the truth now is not the most important
    > issue,

    The most important issue in our discussion is whether you have any proof or not. If not, then admit that your following statement is not true:

    > I do not accept anything as true without proof

  63. PeterFromLondonUK says

    72. Satan has not been allowed to interfere with the Bible. The proof is difficult via God so that Satan has an opportunity to prove his point over the issue of sovereignty.

    God could easily provide easy to understand proof.

    I agree that the people that do this show are not interested in finding the truth.

  64. PeterFromLondonUK says

    73. It has been designed to be proof for those with the correct attitude. The others will learn the truth later, but ALL will learn the truth.

    Most of humanity will learn the truth once God brings them back to life on paradise Earth.

  65. PeterFromLondonUK says

    74. Truth is not dependant on proof nor your knowing or not knowing about it.

    I am not worried about when you learn the truth, you will most probably learn the truth once you (die &) are brought back to life on paradise Earth.

    I hope that that makes sense my friend. Nice to chat with you.

  66. says

    72. Satan has not been allowed to interfere with the Bible. The proof is difficult via God so that Satan has an opportunity to prove his point over the issue of sovereignty. God could easily provide easy to understand proof.

    Then your god is evil. He is deceptive. He is not worthy of worship (not that I think anything is).

    I agree that the people that do this show are not interested in finding the truth.

    There is a way to determine whether someone cares about what’s true – whether they’re critically thinking about the epistemology. One of us is engaging in this. (Hint: not you)

    I’m honestly wondering whether you understand what I’m asking for. I’m asking you to describe and justify your process for knowing the things you claim to know. Your responses have already completely stripped biblical prophecy of any qualifications for “proof”, even on a basic conceptual level.

    I, at least, am willing to discuss and address my own process, and validate whether the process actually – demonstrably – *works*.

    73. It has been designed to be proof for those with the correct attitude. The others will learn the truth later, but ALL will learn the truth.

    What you’re describing is not “proof”, but rather an application of Confirmation Bias. Evidence is not contingent on “attitude”. This is epistemically vacuous.

    It’s one thing for you to not find ERVs compelling, in support of common ancestry, but at least we weren’t being bizarre enough to specifically try to make the ERV evidence unconvincing to creationists, based on some attempt to settle a debate with Hitler.

    We do not find mere posturing convincing. Again – trying to save you time here.

    Most of humanity will learn the truth once God brings them back to life on paradise Earth.

    Okay.

  67. says

    74. Truth is not dependant on proof nor your knowing or not knowing about it.

    I agree. However, I’m talking about our ability to determine what that truth is – the process. This appeal to biblical prophecy is:

    1) My favorite book makes claims.
    2) Some of those claims, if you squint hard enough, and are general enough, appear to come true in the future, if given enough (garguantuan amounts of) time.
    3) My preferred explanation for this is God

    There’s no attempt to validate, investigate, or engage in any critical thinking regarding this. Every connection is tenuous and does not necessarily follow.

    Occam’s razor would have me selecting the least-assuming explanation – a combination of psychology, coincidence, and logical fallacies. Your explanation is literally the single most absurd, most-assuming explanation it’s possible to have. You skipped right over all the other possibilities – like time travellers – which actually make fewer assumptions, and make use of fewer unprecedented mechanics.

    I’m less concerned about what you believe about the truth, and more about why you believe it.

    I am not worried about when you learn the truth, you will most probably learn the truth once you (die &) are brought back to life on paradise Earth.
    I hope that that makes sense my friend. Nice to chat with you.

    Very little of your position makes sense. That’s kind of the point.

  68. corwyn says

    @75:

    Satan has not been allowed to interfere with the Bible.

    You have fallen for Satan’s lies. He, is where you got the idea that he wasn’t allowed to interfere with the bible. Easy to prove that wrong. Humans have interfered with the bible (because there are different versions). If they can, he can (if nothing else by influencing them).

  69. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > Truth is not dependant on proof

    That is true, but if this is also true:

    > I do not accept anything as true without proof

    … then you have proof. I keep asking but you keep failing to provide any.

  70. says

    His idea of “proof” seems to be:

    1) Designed to convince anyone who already accepts the conclusion, and
    2) Designed to not be convincing to anyone who doesn’t already accept the conclusion

    … which is an odd approach.

  71. PeterFromLondonUK says

    80. Text is ambiguous, and open to interpretation. Text is inferior to verbal in many cases although text is better to record information (shopping list etc.).

  72. PeterFromLondonUK says

    82. 1. God expects humans to come to the unprovable conclusion that life came about via intelligent design.

    2. Correct.

  73. SVL says

    Hey Matt
    Are you allowed to be a following a science show like Smarter Everyday where the host is a Christian?
    Just kidding of course, he has a nice show 🙂

  74. says

    @84 – we’ve been through this. Given your responses, it’s not recognizable as “proof” in any kind of coherent, intelligible sense. How can it be “proof” of anything, when your’e claiming that it’s nature is purposefully deceptive? And that’s not even getting into whether it meets and kind of standards of evidence.

    @85

    82. 1. God expects humans to come to the unprovable conclusion that life came about via intelligent design.

    Can you try being consistent? The “unprovable” conclusion, that he’s provided “proof” for? Do you know what these words mean?

    I’m too intellectually honest to accept something as true without sufficient evidence (as you claimed as your own position, but abandoned mere seconds later).

    2. Correct.

    … which makes it not “proof” (among other reasons). It also shows that this god character is untrustworthy and deceptive. If that’s the case, and he at least inspired the Bible, then the Bible is not to be trusted either (setting aside any human contamination).

    I’m sorry, but for someone who is supposedly interested in convincing me otherwise, you’re increasing my confidence in my own position that the theistic case is unintelligible, inconsistent and entirely unsupported.

  75. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > Fulfilled prophecy is the proof

    You’ve already said that and I’ve already asked for proof of fulfilled prophesy. Do you have any proof of fulfilled prophesy? Yes or no. If the answer is yes, then please provide it.

  76. PeterFromLondonUK says

    86.

    You said ……………….

    Can you try being consistent? The “unprovable” conclusion, that he’s provided “proof” for? Do you know what these words mean?
    I’m too intellectually honest to accept something as true without sufficient evidence (as you claimed as your own position, but abandoned mere seconds later).

    Me…..

    God has provided difficult to understand proof in the form of fulfilled prophecy for the Bible being true.
    The unprovable conclusion of there being an intelligent designer remains such until the Bible is consulted.

  77. PeterFromLondonUK says

    87.

    I’ve copied and pasted here for you my friend. :-

    The preceding article in this series considered the composite sign Jesus gave, which indicates the nearness of the end of the present world. That sign includes a global proclamation of the good news of God’s Kingdom—God’s government that will soon rule the entire earth. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 24:3, 14) When that proclamation work is finished, “the end will come,” said Jesus. You may be surprised to learn that the first thing that God will remove will be false religion, which misrepresents him. In the Bible, false religion is symbolized by a harlot named “Babylon the Great.”—Revelation 17:1, 5.

    Prophecy 1:
    “[Babylon the Great’s] plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Revelation 18:2, 8.

    Fulfillment: The Bible reveals that at his appointed time, God will move the world’s political powers to turn against Babylon the Great and destroy her. They will “make her devastated and naked” and “eat up her fleshy parts.” (Revelation 17:16) In other words, they will expose her shameful character and plunder her immense wealth. Her destruction will be quick and so complete that not a trace of her will remain.—Revelation 18:21.

    The political rulers may think that their deed was of their own making. However, the fulfillment of this amazing prophecy will confirm that Babylon’s end was an act of God. He will have “put it into their hearts to carry out his thought.”—Revelation 17:17.

    Prophecy 2:
    “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom. . . . It will crush and put an end to all these [man-made] kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.

    Fulfillment: Having disposed of false religion, God will turn his attention to other organizations—political and commercial—as well as to wicked people. (Proverbs 2:22; Revelation 19:17, 18) Like a landlord who evicts destructive tenants, God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” He will destroy those who fill it with violence and sexually degrading practices.—Revelation 11:18; Romans 1:18, 26-29.

    Who will survive? The Bible answers: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11; 72:7.

    Can we trust Bible prophecies? Can we be sure that God will terminate wickedness and suffering and preserve the righteous? Yes!

    Bible Prophecies Are Trustworthy
    Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jehovah God is the Author of the Bible and that everything he has promised he will do. (2 Timothy 3:16) Is this belief reasonable?

    If you had a lifelong friend who truly loved you and never lied to you, would you believe him if he promised to do something good for you and if what he promised was within his means? Undoubtedly you would. God is even better than any human friend we may have. “God never tells a lie!”—Titus 1:2, Contemporary English Version.

    God does not approve of blind faith, or credulity. Accordingly, he inspired the Bible writers to record many prophecies that only he, the Almighty, could fulfill. A number of those prophecies and their amazing fulfillment were discussed in the first six installments in this series of articles. We can be confident, then, that God will fulfill the predictions that involve our future, including those mentioned in this article.

    Yes, the Creator will bring an end to false religion, oppressive rulership, and the greedy commercial world. Would you like to learn more about what will happen after those events occur? The next issue of Awake! will help you. It will contain the final article in this series.

    IDENTIFYING BABYLON THE GREAT
    How do we know that the symbolic woman named Babylon the Great, described in the Bible book of Revelation, pictures all false religion? Consider the evidence:
    She could not be a literal woman because the imagery in Revelation is in the form of “signs,” or symbols.—Revelation 1:1.
    Babylon the Great sits on waters, which represent “peoples and crowds and nations.” (Revelation 17:1, 5, 15) A literal woman cannot do that. False religion, however, gets its support from its huge membership.
    This symbolic woman is a “great city that has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.” In other words, she is organized and has international influence.—Revelation 17:18.
    A spiritual harlot, Babylon the Great forms alliances with “the kings of the earth.” Moreover, these mourn her destruction. (Revelation 17:1, 2; 18:9) So she cannot be a political entity.
    The commercial leaders also mourn her destruction. (Revelation 18:15) Hence, she cannot be a secular commercial power.
    The Bible describes the blending of the worship of God with a love for the world as spiritual adultery. (James 4:4) Babylon the Great fits that profile. Also, she promotes spiritism, a religious practice.—Revelation 18:23.
    The ancient city of Babylon, after which Babylon the Great is named, was a profoundly religious city.—Isaiah 47:1, 12, 13; Jeremiah 50:1, 2, 38.
    Thus, we can say with confidence that Babylon the Great pictures the combined false religions of the world.
    FULFILLED BIBLE PROPHECIES
    Below is a list of the many remarkable Bible prophecies that were discussed in the first six installments of this series. As those articles showed, these prophecies proved to be accurate!
    PROPHECIES ABOUT ABRAHAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS
    The descendants of the faithful man Abraham would become a great nation, later called the nation of Israel.—Genesis 12:1, 2.
    Abraham’s descendants would return to the land of Canaan after living in a foreign land for four generations.—Genesis 15:13, 16.
    Abraham’s descendants would take possession of “the entire land of Canaan.”—Genesis 17:8.
    Because the Israelites rebelled against God, he would allow them to be conquered and taken captive.—Jeremiah 25:8-11.
    God would restore the Jews to their homeland after they spent 70 years in captivity.—Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10.
    The Babylonian world power would be overthrown, and in time Babylon would become rubble.—Isaiah 13:19, 20.
    PROPHECIES ABOUT THE MESSIAH AND HIS FOLLOWERS
    The Messiah, or Christ, would stem from the family line of King David.—Isaiah 9:7.
    The future Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.—Micah 5:2.
    The Messiah would appear 483 years after “the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem.” That word was given in 455 B.C.E.—Daniel 9:25.
    Before his execution, the Messiah would be severely flogged.—Isaiah 50:6.
    The Messiah would be executed as a despised criminal, yet he would be buried with “the rich class.”—Isaiah 53:9.
    Christ’s followers would spread his message throughout Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the known world.—Acts 1:8.
    Christians would be persecuted.—Mark 13:9.
    Deceitful and oppressive individuals would infiltrate the Christian congregation, causing many to become apostate.—Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Peter 2:1, 2.
    PROPHECIES ABOUT THE LAST DAYS
    The time of the end would be marked by
    Worldwide preaching of the “good news of [God’s] kingdom.”—Matthew 24:14.
    Warfare, even on a global scale.—Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:4.
    Food shortages.—Matthew 24:7.
    Great earthquakes.—Luke 21:11.
    Terrible diseases.—Luke 21:11.
    Hatred and violence.—Matthew 24:10, 12.
    Greedy, self-centered people and money lovers.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
    Copyright © 2016 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania Terms of Use Privacy Policy Mobile JW.ORG

  78. says

    @88

    God has provided difficult to understand proof in the form of fulfilled prophecy for the Bible being true.
    The unprovable conclusion of there being an intelligent designer remains such until the Bible is consulted.

    So they’re two separate claims, in regards to provability – fair enough.

    Difficult to understand” is not the same as “designed to not be compelling to those who don’t already accept the conclusion“. I don’t find anything particularly difficult to understand about the claims themselves. The part I struggle with is why anyone would find them compelling. The epistemology isn’t there.

    Prophecy 1:
    “[Babylon the Great’s] plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Revelation 18:2, 8.

    Take this for example. The reason why I don’t find this compelling is for a number of reasons. First, when in history *hasn’t* this been true? It’d be like predicting that an earthquake will hit California. I don’t need a universe-creating entity to tell me that.

    Why would I? If I find that something was knocked off my table, I don’t need to explain it with interdimensional aliens. It was probably my cat. Yet, here you are, trying to tell me that this object, having been knocked off the table, is PROOF that interdimensional aliens exist.

    Why that conclusion, and not others? With no given timeframe for these predictions, the longer we go, the more likely they are to come true just out of statistical chance.

    Not compelling.

    Fulfillment: The Bible reveals that at his appointed time, God will move the world’s political powers to turn against Babylon the Great and destroy her. They will “make her devastated and naked” and “eat up her fleshy parts.” (Revelation 17:16) In other words, they will expose her shameful character and plunder her immense wealth. Her destruction will be quick and so complete that not a trace of her will remain.—Revelation 18:21.

    The second point here – it’s talking about Babylon, not modern day nations. Perhaps you think I’m taking that too literally, but that’s part of the point. The instant you start fudging what descriptors apply to what, it’s so widely open to interpretation, that you can engage in post-diction and attach it to whatever modern events you want.

    That drastically increases the chances that this *appears* to come true, without any divine intervention.

    Nor does it connect to a god, as opposed to time travelers, or people with simple precognition. Correlating it to a god because it happens to be in the same book as other claims in an Associative Fallacy. “Proof” generally isn’t comprised of logical fallacies.

    So even your first example is little more than wishful thinking, and is epistemically bankrupt. It’s so weak, it’s laughable – as laughable as the guy who’s taking mundane events to “prove” interdimensional aliens.

    By what process are you determining that the events you’re pointing at, are actually what the book is referring to? How do you account for other events in history that could have applied as well? How do you distinguish between false positives, and the real thing? By what methodology do you determine that conclusion A (God) is better supported over conclusion (B)?

    If you were engaging in any level of critical thinking, these questions would be flooding your mind.

  79. says

    @89

    89. Babylon the great is Christendom and all false religion.

    On what do you base that? And secondly, if that’s true, how has prophecy #1 (below) come true?

    Prophecy 1:
    “[Babylon the Great’s] plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong.”—Revelation 18:2, 8.

    Keep in mind that a “prophecy” that hasn’t actually come true can’t even support a claim. It’d be like me hypothesizing that a certain medication can cure AIDS, but then just never doing that test. The existence of the claim doesn’t validate the factual nature of the claim.

  80. corwyn says

    @89:

    Fulfillment: The Bible reveals that at his appointed time, God will move

    And there we have it. You think that something that (you claim) will happen IN THE FUTURE should be taken as a fulfilled (note the past tense) prophesy right now. You just don’t understand words as normal people use them.

  81. PeterFromLondonUK says

    91.

    Illustration :-

    Your friend says they like ice cream, you say prove it.
    You both go to an MRI scanner and the print out is proof.
    When your friend says the next day that they like beef burgers, and you ask for proof, then the friendship may not continue for long.

  82. PeterFromLondonUK says

    93. If the proof was totally convincing, eg the dead being brought back to life, then it would not give Satan an opportunity to deceive humanity.

  83. says

    91.
    Illustration :-
    Your friend says they like ice cream, you say prove it.
    You both go to an MRI scanner and the print out is proof.
    When your friend says the next day that they like beef burgers, and you ask for proof, then the friendship may not continue for long.

    We’re not talking about whether you’re trusting a friend. We’re talking about a productive, independently verified, process for determining whether truth claims are substantiated.

    If I have a book, “1000 facts of electricity”, and the first 999 are verifiably true, that doesn’t mean that fact #1000, “Electricity comes from Zeus” is also true. That’s not how it works. Each assertion needs to be independently validated, regardless if it costs me friends.

    93. If the proof was totally convincing, eg the dead being brought back to life, then it would not give Satan an opportunity to deceive humanity.

    I don’t care about your supernatural conspiracy theory. If the “proof” is decided to specifically not be convincing to people who don’t already accept the conclusion, it is definitionally not “proof” (or even weak evidence). If it doesn’t meet any standards of epistemology – importantly ones that are shown to reliably produce knowledge – then I do not have any rational basis for accepting the claims as true. It doesn’t matter if you insist upon that until you’re blue in the face… we’re not going to find it compelling, because claims like that, themselves, need to be independently corroborated. “My dusty old book says so” is abysmally insufficient.

    I’m sorry you believe in something that you have no capacity to demonstrate. That’s not our problem.

  84. Ethan Myerson says

    Can anyone explain what Peter means when he refers to “Christendom”, as a contrast to his own belief structure. He clearly feels that his religion is not contained within the set called “Christendom”, but what is? Is it literally everyone else other than Peter who calls him/herself a Christian? Is it specific sects or churches?

    Obviously I’d prefer this answer from Peter if you can do so clearly, so that I’m not asking others to put words into your mouth. Who makes up “Christendom”, and in what way are you (and your fellows) distinct from that set? Thanks!

  85. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    Thank you for posting the proof I requested. I appreciate that.

    Others are already asking questions about some of it but, I’d like to focus on Prophesy #2 where the fulfillment of it is stated like this:

    > Fulfillment: Having disposed of false religion, God will
    > turn his attention to other organizations—political
    > and commercial—as well as to wicked people.

    But there are still other false religions, and there are still political and commercial organizations as well as wicked people (right?).

    Can we then agree that the fulfillment you stated of prophesy #2, has not yet come true so it can’t yet be used as proof?

  86. Yaddith says

    PeterFromLondonUK: The New Testament gospels are largely composed of passages and incidents cut and pasted from the Old Testament, so it is not at all surprising that these works of historical fiction seem to fulfill Old Testament “prophesy.” As Dr. Robert M. Price has observed, if you remove the portions of the gospels that are based on the Old Testament, there isn’t much left!

  87. PeterFromLondonUK says

    97.

    Here is the Wiki :-

    Christendom[1][2] has several meanings. In a cultural sense, it refers to the religion itself, or to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity. In its historical sense, the term usually refers to the medieval and early modern period, during which the Christian world represented a geopolitical power juxtaposed with both paganism and especially the military threat of the Muslim world. In the traditional Roman Catholic sense of the word, it refers to the sum total of nations in which the Catholic Church is the established religion of the state, or which have ecclesiastical concordats with the Holy See.

    We (JW.org) are no part of Christendom although we believe the Bible to be the word of God.

    Christendom teaches lies about God. Trinity (Jesus is not God), hell (Jesus went to hell for part of 3 days), Paradise Earth. etc.

    Christendom members killed each other in WW1&2.

    Hope that explains it.

  88. PeterFromLondonUK says

    98. Yes i will concede the point. It is good to know about it though because you will see it happen very soon.

  89. corwyn says

    @95:

    If the proof was totally convincing…

    Once again. When *I* use the word ‘proof’ I mean ‘something that is totally convincing’. That is how I DEFINE ‘proof’ (roughly). I have no idea what you mean by the word, possibly ‘shilloth’.

    But doesn’t address my point:

    And there we have it. You think that something that (you claim) will happen IN THE FUTURE should be taken as a fulfilled (note the past tense) prophesy right now.

    A fulfilled prophesy is something PREdicted that HAS come true. Your prophesy doesn’t even pass the Harry Potter test (i.e. something in the beginning of the book, which comes true by the end of the book).

    English, do you speak it?

  90. PeterFromLondonUK says

    99. I can see and understand your point.

    Interpretation of humans is at fault here. The prophecy that is being fulfilled today in our time would eliminate the interpretation of historians.

    Energy creatures (Angels, of which some rebelled and became demons, although we are made up from physical which is slowed down energy) have been alive for a long time and saw what happened in the past, and are witnesses to what is written in the Bible.

    The main issue here is to build up a case against Satan so that he can be killed legally.

    Lots of proof will come later and the fact that most of humanity do not and have not known the truth is a temporary situation. Even the dead will learn the truth once they are brought back to life on Earth.

  91. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Imagine God gave humanity overwhelming proof that He exists and that He is the intelligent designer of slowing down energy into physical mass.

    Well…. Satan would claim that he was nor given an opportunity to challenge God’s subjective rules nor an opportunity to question God’s authority.

    This system (human governance, commerce (illusion) and false religion (including Christendom)) has been set up so that Satan can rule over humanity.

    If God looked into the future and killed Satan before any other energy creatures knew about it, nor Satan knew, everyone would wonder why God did it.

    Satan will be killed later, and you will all learn about the truth later, unless you have the correct attitude, then you will learn the truth before everyone else.

    But,,, even when you all know the truth, it counts for nothing, because Satan knows the truth and he will be dead soon.

    The conclusion is…. obey God and all natural laws set up by God, like eating and breathing, and you will live forever on paradise Earth as set out for Adam and Eve.

  92. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Christopher Hitchens will be brought back to life on Earth, and will be taught the truth, but he might decide not to obey God, which is his prerogative.

    Christopher Hitchens is non existent at the moment in hell, and will be brought back to life in the new system, but according to Christopher who was not aware of time when he was dead, it would appear to him that he woke up the next day and was being taught the truth, then he would be introduced to his dead loved ones that would also be resurrected back to life on Earth.

    I speculate that a generation will be brought back to life every 5 to 7 years through out the 1000 year rule of God’s government (kingdom). So Christopher’s parents (presuming they’re dead at the moment) will be brought bak to live 5 to 7 years after Christopher.

  93. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Christendom is a despicable organisation, hence God will destroy it.

    God encourages His people to get out of her. (Her = The whore of Revelation which is all false religion.(Christendom being the most reprehensible because they had the Bible))

  94. Yaddith says

    PeterFromLondonUK: I’ll probably regret asking this, but I’ll bite: Exactly why would Almighty God care whether or not “Satan would claim that he was nor (sic) given an opportunity to challenge God’s subjective rules?” Why would God think that he had to justify any of his actions to Satan or any other entity? By definition, he is not answerable to anyone.

  95. PeterFromLondonUK says

    111. not* (sorry.)

    God could of killed him as soon as Satan rebelled, but this would not of resolved the issue of universal sovereignty.

    God would of been acting like a dictator if He killed him straight away. God has allowed Satan to rule instead of God.

    The greatest friend of truth is time. So the timing of Satan’s death is not as important as the issue of sovereignty being resolved.

    Satan could never be number one if he obeyed the rules. Satan thought that he had a real chance of being successful, along with the others that supported Satan.

    Also other energy creatures would wonder why God killed their friend as soon as he raised the issue.

    God could of easily of nipped it in the bud, but…. by allowing everyone to see the effects of such a rebellion, they could see why Satan has to be killed.

  96. PeterFromLondonUK says

    Do we all agree that energy can become conscious or do most think that physical has always been?

    Just wondering where most are on the understanding.

  97. Yaddith says

    PeterFromLondonUK: I don’t know what kind of wimpy God the Jehovah’s Witnesses worship, but the God of the Old Testament would just kick butt and take names!

  98. PeterFromLondonUK says

    114. Jehovah is the same God now as He was then.

    Jehovah is only keeping Satan alive so that God can glorify His own name, and this will serve as a precedent for anyone who dare challenge God in the future.

    Also, even though we will live forever on paradise Earth, we will still be mortal unlike those who go to heaven and rule with Christ in the heavenly government, they cannot die ever and are immortal along with Jesus. Jesus was made immortal after he was resurrected.

    Satan will be one of the first energy creatures to be killed. (All that have been created are still alive now.)

    Anyone who challenges God in the future will be killed straight away. (Pure energy creature (angel), or slowed down energy into physical creature (human).

    All the dead will be brought back to life and be given a chance to join the winning team.

    .
    .
    If they rebel they will face the second death mentioned in Revelation.

  99. bawdygeorge says

    Peter/caller of many names/whatever his name is loves to quote the Bible…

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness”

    Lying for the Lord, or just plain hypocrisy?

  100. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Do we all agree that energy can become conscious or do most think that physical has always been?

    In your obtuse way of speaking, yes I believe that non-conscious energy, when put into a proper arrangement, can become conscious.

    And you still haven’t answered my questions: Can you imagine hypothetical evidence that would change your mind, and convince you that Jehovah does not exist, and Satan does not exist, etc.?

  101. PeterFromLondonUK says

    116. I can identify as i wish. I told you i have changed my name and this is my prerogative.

    117. No.

  102. bawdygeorge says

    @118: Got it – your hypocrisy places you squarely in the Ted Haggard camp of theists. No loss, I suppose – you were never in danger of being taken seriously.

  103. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #112:

    other energy creatures would wonder why God killed their friend as soon as he raised the issue.
     
    God could of easily of nipped it in the bud, but… by allowing everyone to see the effects of such a rebellion, they could see why Satan has to be killed.

     
    That God can’t even explain to his energy friends why he’s worth following. Directly! Worse still, a book is “an inferior form of communication”. So the Bible is not sufficient justification even for you.
     
     
    #112:

    God would of been acting like a dictator if He killed him straight away.

    #115:

    Anyone who challenges God in the future will be killed straight away.

    So it’s okay to act like a self-glorifying dictator, in the future. Gotcha.

  104. says

    @Muz (#67)

    You write: “Say we accept that Islam is The, or at least A Causal Problem as you have put it. That it’s somehow worse or more potent than every other unifying cause that called people to violence and self sacrifice in history. Ok, now what? Frikken Donald Trump is right! Gert Vilders is right! Lock ’em up. Shut ’em out”

    Well, no. Trump isn’t right: this is a *bad* way to deal with the problem of Islam, but liberals can only propose *better*, more reasonable ways if they first *acknowledge* the problem.

    One better way is to encourage public dialogues on how Islam is interpreted. The media could get involved here by putting more secularist Muslims in the spotlight. How about a movie in which a young British Muslim plays a moderate Muslim version of James Bond who takes out jihadists?

    Another better way is to work closely with Islamic communities to identify and legally investigate (with proper search warrants) those subscribing to literalist or Wahabist or Salafist interpretations of Islam. It’s not bigotry to look for jihadists in Muslim communities. By definition, 100% of jihadists are Muslims.

    Another way is to vet refugees specifically for Islamist beliefs. We shouldn’t be seeking to keep out all Muslims — indeed, we should want to help most refugees since plenty of Muslims around the world authentically want to live free, peaceful lives in a secular country. But we should make an effort to keep out people who subscribe to dangerous, militant forms of their religion

    You write: “Another thing is there’s a potent myth that has taken hold in parts of the Islamic world, one which functions much like a conspiracy theory, and it’s that the West has some long term goal to destroy Islam itself.”

    Well, the West *is* at war with certain interpretations of Islam. We need as many Muslims as possible to join us in war against these variants of Islam.

    That cannot happen if we refuse to name the problem.

    You write: “I personally have some trouble reading too much into polling done in countries not famously democratic in the first place”

    This is silly. The numbers vary greatly on all issues, and there’s nothing suggesting forced conformity. The numbers are just troublingly high on some really important issues

  105. says

    @Monocle Smile (#68)

    I would also like to add that I have never personally observed anyone being labeled an “Islamophobe” by a nonreligious person who wasn’t spouting either falsehoods, racist garbage, or both.

    Well, I have repeatedly seen people suggest and even directly claim that any special attention on Islam — even the idea that it is related to terrorism — is to some degree racist and bigoted.

    We need to talk about these issues, and such an attitude is deeply unhelpful.

    Also, you can say all you want that Palestinian Christians don’t produce suicide bombers, but you can’t also ignore the Christian militias currently slicing their way through Africa (and their daughters’ genitals).

    I didn’t say that Christians don’t do bad things too. I think all religion is bad.

    But there’s a difference between being motivated by a plausible reading of a holy text and being motivated by the tribalism encouraged more generally by religion.

    This might be easier to see if we switch the example a bit: Buddhist monks killing Hindus. A lot of people look at that and say, “See? All religions can be violent! It doesn’t matter what the doctrines are — therefore, there’s no reason to single out Islam!”

    But that’s wrong. Buddhists killing Hindus aren’t motivated by the teachings of Buddhism. You can’t find anything in the Pali Canon that advocates murder or genocide. Buddhist killings are motivated by general tribalism, much like brawls between Yankees and Red Sox fans. They just hate the guys on the other team, whatever the “other team” is.

    There’s a very clear line between the literal teachings of Islam and much of the chaos we see in the Muslim world (including FGM, which is endorsed or at least allowed under Islam [granted, this is a cultural practice that predates Islam and is practiced by some non-Muslims, but Muslims practice FGM at higher rates]). The line between specific injunction in the Bible and militant Christian groups is often blurrier (though undoubtedly there *are* cases where specific Christian beliefs encourage killing, as they did in medieval Europe for centuries).

    My point, again, is that Islam is currently the worst offender overall, worldwide in terms of specific beliefs yielding specific dangerous consequences. The point of bringing up Christian Palestinians was to show that beliefs matter: Palestinian Christians are almost never suicide bombers, while their Muslim neighbors are. These are identical ethnic people facing identical oppression. What difference explains the difference in behavior? It’s what they believe.

  106. Monocle Smile says

    @Los
    You kind of lost me.

    Well, I have repeatedly seen people suggest and even directly claim that any special attention on Islam — even the idea that it is related to terrorism — is to some degree racist and bigoted

    I am once again unsure why you’re writing about this here, of all places.

    But there’s a difference between being motivated by a plausible reading of a holy text and being motivated by the tribalism encouraged more generally by religion

    I don’t see this as a meaningful distinction, and I’m not sure you’ve read the Bible.

    Another better way is to work closely with Islamic communities to identify and legally investigate (with proper search warrants) those subscribing to literalist or Wahabist or Salafist interpretations of Islam. It’s not bigotry to look for jihadists in Muslim communities. By definition, 100% of jihadists are Muslims.

    This is getting dangerously close to North Korea nonsense. We don’t do this with dominionist christians, sovereign citizens, etc. with the exceptions of Waco and Ruby Ridge. Sorry, “you have violent thoughts” isn’t enough to justify going Patriot Act on people. Most people at some point fantasize about killing someone.

    Another way is to vet refugees specifically for Islamist beliefs. We shouldn’t be seeking to keep out all Muslims — indeed, we should want to help most refugees since plenty of Muslims around the world authentically want to live free, peaceful lives in a secular country. But we should make an effort to keep out people who subscribe to dangerous, militant forms of their religion

    For someone who claims they think Donald Trump is wrong…you don’t seem to think Trump is wrong. I’m not on board with thought police. I can’t possibly agree with these tactics.

    Palestinian Christians are almost never suicide bombers, while their Muslim neighbors are. These are identical ethnic people facing identical oppression

    That second sentence isn’t true, and I’d like to see actual numbers on the first. All we have is your word.

  107. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Another better way is to work closely with Islamic communities to identify and legally investigate (with proper search warrants) those subscribing to literalist or Wahabist or Salafist interpretations of Islam. It’s not bigotry to look for jihadists in Muslim communities. By definition, 100% of jihadists are Muslims.

    This was discussed at some length in an earlier thread, a week or two ago.

    In short, you have some right ideas: in particular, yes Islam is an important element in the mix (again, not the only element). However, your proposed “solutions” are way out of proportion. In America, you are way more likely to be killed by a Christian terrorist. Yet, I don’t see you proposing that we do the same, or stronger, policies that target Christian terrorists. Why is that I wonder *sarcasm*?

    It is a waste of resources to target Muslim terrorists living in the United States. It is also very likely that your proposed policies will be abused and misused in order to create antagonism towards Muslims at large, which is a very counterproductive thing to do. It will only make our problem worse IMO.

    Part of living in a free society is accepting that there will be some risks, and that we cannot prevent all crime. Muslim terrorists in the United States are close to a rounding error. Your policies are way out of proportion, and they are probably unconstitutional on several grounds, including discrimination on the basis of religion, and possibly police powers / search and seizure civil liberties too.

    PS:
    There are other instances of modern movements with lots of suicide bombers who are not Muslim. Do some research. Don’t just trust everything that comes out of Sam Harris’s mouth.

    Still, I will defend one point of Harris’s against his detractors – Islam obviously has something to do with it, and there’s a reason we don’t see suicide bombers of one football team against another.

    However again, we do regularly see quite extreme violence, relatively speaking, of football fans on fival football fans. (And by football, I mean “soccer”.) Again, just to drive home the point that Islam is not the only sort of tribalism that, together with other factors, can produce horrible, violent, nonsensical behavior.

    It’s definitely true that Islam is currently at or near the top of that list, and this should not be a surprise.

  108. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK:

    @CompulsoryAccount7746:

    #112:

    God would of been acting like a dictator if He killed him straight away.

    #115:

    Anyone who challenges God in the future will be killed straight away.

    So it’s okay to act like a self-glorifying dictator, in the future. Gotcha.

     
    No. The precedent would of [have] been set.

     
    What precedent!? That this God would let someone run the world into the ground, causing untold suffering and collateral damage for millennia, just to make a point? That one particular energy friend would do a bad job. A point that this God was impotent to make himself.
     
    And after making that point, in a most ineffecient callously sadistic way, to “glorify himself”, he would have any dissenters killed – NOT reformed. This God would STILL be impotent to prove his own worth. They’re apparently not meant to learn anything from this, except “obey or die”. This isn’t about free will and refusing to learn. This is an incompetent teacher.
     
     
    You need an excuse for why you are unsatisfied with the state of the world, because your “good friend” surely would have done a better job himself. Your “good friend” wouldn’t have let all those bad things happen to you.
     
    Blame middle management. Blame Satan. Then someday, CEO God’ll come back from his golf game and make everything wonderful – as it ought to be. A kingdom where no one will complain… not because it’s actually wonderful with nothing to complain about… because anyone who would complain gets killed.

  109. PeterFromLondonUK says

    126. Yes i see your point. But many complain that Satan hasn’t been killed earlier.

    Morality is subjective, and we are seeing the results of not keeping to God’s rules. God wants everyone to join the winning side.

  110. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #127:

    Yes i see your point. But many complain that Satan hasn’t been killed earlier.

    Do you? Do you see my point? Because it looks like you’re trying to handwave a common complaint away by calling it common.
     
     
    @PeterFromLondonUK #127:

    we are seeing the results of not keeping to God’s rules.

    Then letting folks in on the secret early with the Bible is counterproductive, to showing how bad the world would be if the rules weren’t followed.
     
    #49:

    Your knowing the truth now is not the most important issue, it just means that you will have to learn the truth later.
     
    Most of mankind will learn the truth once they’re brought back to life on Earth.

    Then you have no reason to waste your life advertising for the JW organization. And you have no reason to endorse the JW organization yourself. Your justifications are pathetic, deliberately pathetic you even claim, as if that made it better.
     
    Find a better hobby than defending that organization at your expense. Parroting their self-sabotaging rhetoric to invite conflict only degrades you, and makes your self-esteem dependent on their flattery. It doesn’t give you purpose.

  111. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #127:
    And responding to atrocities (and the promise of more) with “Morality is subjective”…
    Just wow.

  112. Muz says

    EL @ #69

    (not Los, but me). I find it difficult to respond to the post since it has taken one thing I’ve said and run with it so far afield from what it or the post as whole implies most of it doesn’t actually need addressing. But no matter. If I had suggested, or meant to suggest, Islam is one of any neutral inspirations in the world or that such things are all equal that would be a mistake. But as far as pernicious logic goes, I think it would be not a lot worse than giving such weight to Islam and its teachings that it in effect becomes magic words capable of turning anyone to violence. This, occasionally from rationalists and atheists a lot of the time, is a tacit position from which reason can not recover, I fear.

    But I don’t think that applies here, luckily (although some callers to the show now and then…)
    Perhaps you’d like the sentence better if I’d put “inspired ~(xyz)~ to kill” in there somewhere, because that’s what I’m driving at. And there have been a decent amount of those.
    100 years ago the US and the western world was in the grip of terror caused by anarchist bombers. The logic and reasoning of their purpose was even more obscure and cherry picked than radical Islam. But they were determined to ruin and destroy what they saw as the evil in power (and with a philosophy out to destroy government power itself as an evil, there’s a conveniently target rich environment). It was a movement that seemed like an idea virus spreading among the populace. A terrifying force of thought that reason and righteousness could not contain.

    You likely know all this. So to take the short version, it wasn’t stopped in any definitive way and the authorities didn’t cover themselves with glory fighting it and might have made it worse. But to some degree it ran its course and fizzled out on its own.
    The thing is, the ideas behind it didn’t go away. But the spirit to murder for these ideas seemed to evaporate. It wasn’t because what was said changed, or that people were turned away from the suite of philosophies around it (although there was some of that). People ignored that part of it.

    Someone might interpret that as suggesting we just wait for radical Islam to run its course. I’m not suggesting that. The impact of opposition is hard to measure, especially when it is preventative or dissuasive, but I wouldn’t want to do without it. Nor am I suggesting Islam plays no part or is simply interchangable. No, it has its own flavor and adds it to these things. When you get the captured jihadi in a room for a chat you aren’t going to be talking to him or her about the generic human tendencies to inspiration and inspired violence and self sacrifice. You’re going to be talking about Islam, and their thinking might be intractable.

    But if we say it’s all Islam or culture or any of this without including some recognition of these patterns in violent inspirational causes, we’re not being intellectually honest either. And I firmly believe our response can only be worse for it.

    Really, when I look at policy people on the ground in the middle east dealing with IS and AQ and so forth, I think they are pretty nuanced in handling the various convolutions of regional Islamic cultures at work there, being realistic without being soft and so forth (it wasn’t always like this, but after a decade and half we’re finally getting there). It’s the Western public’s cod understanding of this stuff that is the biggest worry as far as I’m concerned. If we do not nuance ourselves we will make more jihadis more readily (but based on other posts I think we agree there more or less).

    I’ll have to respond to Los a bit later.

  113. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Muz #130:

    The thing is, the ideas behind it didn’t go away. But the spirit to murder for these ideas seemed to evaporate. It wasn’t because what was said changed, or that people were turned away from the suite of philosophies around it (although there was some of that). People ignored that part of it.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Propaganda of the deed

    The predictable state responses to these actions were supposed to display to the people the inherently repressive nature of the bourgeois state. This would in turn bolster the revolutionary spirit of the people, leading to the overthrow of the state. This is the basic formula of the cycle protests-repression-protests, which in specific conditions may lead to an effective state of insurrection.
     
    This cycle has been observed during the 1905 Russian Revolution or in Paris in May 1968. However, it failed to achieve its revolutionary objective on the vast majority of occasions, thus leading to the abandonment by the vast majority of the anarchist movement of such bombings. However, the state never failed in its repressive response […] These harsh laws, […] progressively led to increased criticism among the anarchist movement of assassinations.

  114. adamah says

    Peter from London UK says:

    God has always been (no start) and has always been conscious, but i do not know all the details.

    But wait a minute: if we were talking about evolution, wouldn’t you reject it, on the grounds that you didn’t observe it happening (despite the massive amounts of physical tangible evidence in the fossil record, to DNA studies confirming genetic changes over time, etc)?

    So, presumably you were around to witness God creating life? No?!?

    John/Peter said:

    I do not accept anything as true without proof

    Then you must’ve missed the example of Doubting Thomas, since he was personally rebuked by Jesus for demanding visible tangible evidence before he would believe something, instead of relying on FAITH, considered the greatest virtue, a gift bestowed by God upon those blessed to receive it.

    Oh, the delicious irony of believers “special pleading” to apply logical double-standards to justify their belief in God(s)…

  115. adamah says

    Peter from UK said:

    Imagine God gave humanity overwhelming proof that He exists and that He is the intelligent designer of slowing down energy into physical mass.
    Well…. Satan would claim that he was nor given an opportunity to challenge God’s subjective rules nor an opportunity to question God’s authority.

    So how exactly does the entire book of Revelation not amount to God’s attempt to preclude a ‘fair trial’ by prophesying the outcome of the trial in advance while the trial is still under way?

    In case any are not aware, the book of Revelation foretells the verdict, where Satan and his forces are to be destroyed (i.e. given the death penalty), with God serving as the judge in the “trial”.

    So if you’re going to use the “God doesn’t want to preclude a fair trial” defense, God has already blown it by not only writing the outcome of the trial, but also by sending Jesus to Earth 2 millennia ago to deliver the message of salvation.

    You might want to find another analogy (and one that makes a tad more logical sense).

  116. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Muz
    Overall, pretty reasonable.

    Some nits:

    The logic and reasoning of their purpose was even more obscure and cherry picked than radical Islam.

    Cherry picking? Cherry picking what? Presumably from some official book.

    It is not cherry picked. To even use the term “cherry picking” is to first assume that there is one true form of anarchism, or one true form of Islam, etc., and that is a mistake IMO.

    Worse, a cultural movement like the anarchist movement that you cite, and modern Islam, and modern Catholocism, etc., is more than just a book. It’s way more than just a book. If it was just a book, then Christianity and Islam would be much more comparable in terms of violence, suicide bombings, etc. However, Christianity is more than just their book. It’s also a bunch of accumulated traditions that have risen in the minds of the believers to true dogma. Dittos for Islam.

    It wasn’t because what was said changed, or that people were turned away from the suite of philosophies around it (although there was some of that). People ignored that part of it.

    Depending on reading, this is flatly logically inconsistent. Surely if they ignored part of it, then they turned away from that part of it. They turned away from that part of the suite of philosophy. They changed their philosophy. Not all of it. Just part of it.

  117. PeterFromLondonUK says

    134. Judgement was made in 1914 when Satan was thrown out of heaven. Satan will be put into the Abyss for 1000 years (Not aware of time/anything) Then released and sees the Earth full of perfect humans. So Satan is on death row now.

  118. says

    #114 PeterFromLondonUK said: “Do we all agree that energy can become conscious…..?”

    Umm… NO.

    I can SHOW you approximately 7.2 billion instances of where a mind is associated with a physical brain.
    Can you SHOW me even ONE that IS NOT?

  119. adamah says

    Peter said:

    Judgement was made in 1914 when Satan was thrown out of heaven.

    But are you forgetting the books of Daniel and Revelations were written during Satan’s attempt to run the show better than God?

    I’m pretty certain the Xian Bible predates 1914 C.E. by at least a millennia or two. 😉

    And Peter, you’re leaving out the best part: per JW eschatology, Satan wasn’t sent to the abyss in 1914, but booted out of Heaven and confined to Earth.

    That’s right, folks: JW’s believe Satan was sent to Earth after being kicked out of Heaven in 1914 CE.

    So when Peter says this:

    So Satan is on death row now.

    Lovely World View to hold there, which is consistent with their “no part of this World” alienated thinking.

    Thanks, but I’d rather not envision the Planet Earth as a prison death row (rather pessimistic way to view the World, no?).

    And per JW doctrine, Satan is to be thrown into the abyss (think solitary confinement) AFTER Armageddon, only to be paroled back to Earth (death row) after 1,000 yrs confinement for one last attempt at a membership drive amongst humans to lead us astray (where once again, God is prophecized to emerge as the victor, per JW interpretations of the Books of Daniel and Revelation).

    Earlier in the thread, I believe Peter said that “resurrection of the dead” would serve as compelling proof of God’s existence (although God seemingly prefers to play a nice game of “hide and seek” with humanity, not wanting to make it too easy for us to believe in him: that wouldn’t be sporting!).

    Once again, Peter apparently forgot about the many accounts of Jesus’ resurrecting the dead (e.g. Lazarus)?

    So let’s put those two concepts together:

    By allowing Jesus to come to Earth during Satan’s turn at running things to perform resurrections (with Jesus relying on the delegated authority of God to raise the dead), God was playing “dirty pool” by not giving Satan a fair chance to prove his claim that he could do a better job at running the show than God.

    From where I’m sitting, Satan has a valid point: God WAS interfering with Satan’s turn at the wheel, not giving him a fair chance without throwing out some heavy-handed interference (let’s just set aside the whole problem of inspiring the Bible, etc).

    In science, it’s considered unethical to interfere with an experiment, “tipping the scales” so that the desired outcome occurs (and that’s one reason why God would make a poor scientist: if he were competent, God would’ve design a double-blind study to settle the “Universal Sovereignty” issue, defining outcomes and performance metrics to determine who was the better ruler).

    I know, I know: God is supposedly prescient (which precludes the need for ANY testing, as the outcome is already known), but Peter willingly admits the test was run for the rest of us non-prescients.

  120. Monocle Smile says

    @Limey

    Judgement was made in 1914 when Satan was thrown out of heaven

    I recommend professional help.

  121. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #136:

    … the Earth full of perfect humans…

     
     
    @CompulsoryAccount7746 #127:

    “Anyone who challenges God in the future will be killed straight away.”
     
    A kingdom where no one will complain… not because it’s actually wonderful with nothing to complain about… because anyone who would complain gets killed.

     
    @PeterFromLondonUK #128:

    Yes i see your point.
    […]
    Morality is subjective […] join the winning side

    That’s the rallying cry of craven psychopaths.

  122. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Morality is subjective, and we are seeing the results of not keeping to God’s rules. God wants everyone to join the winning side.

    Better to die free than live a slave. I die free.

    Give me liberty, or give me death!

    Live free or die

    If Stargate SG-1 has taught me anything, it is that the proper response to being shown an evil god is not to bow down and worship, but to try and blow it up. Nuke god!

  123. Robert,+not+Bob says

    #130, Sky Captain: that’s the whole religious morality argument: the assertion that without an Authority it’s impossible to select among behaviors; that *insert atrocity here* can’t be more bad than, say, petting a puppy.

  124. PeterFromLondonUK says

    141. Protection for those obeying the rules.
    So if someone is free to kill or harm, like they are now, God will kill them for not obeying His rules in the future.

  125. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #144:

    God will kill them for not obeying His rules

    You’ve made it clear you have no problem with harm or killing.
     
    You’re quite enthusiastic about that killer actually.
    “Obey or die.”
     
    And you’re spouting this, on the basis of an empty promise: that someday a genocidal monster would leave you among the survivors, when he was done slaughtering everyone else.

  126. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ugg. Yep. Same as last thread. I believe it was Adamah that explained this quite reasonably: That engaging with non-believers is a requirement of his sect, and he just found the cushiest way of doing it. He’s going to ruin any thread that he’s in with his useless, dare I say disingenuous posts. He’s just reading from a script, or thereabouts, AFAICT.

  127. PeterFromLondonUK says

    145. If someone goes into a school and shoots children, it is ok to kill the criminal.

  128. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @EL: Agreed.
     
    Comment: AXP Ep 946 – KiwiDaveo #48

    he is a Jehovah Witnesses I would suggest he not be allowed more airtime to preach to people via AXP which clearly what he is doing. JPs have a requirement to perform a minimum amount of proselytizing, standard commitment to ministry work is 840 hours a year. (Works out to about 16 hours a week).
    […]
    John is basically using AXP to log his hours of “witnessing” which has the advantage of being able to be done in his warm house.
    […]
    JWs are monitored in their conmmunication […] and aren’t allowed to engage in open dialogue with “outsiders” so John won’t honestly engage in a honest discussion of his personal beliefs […] If John was for example was to admit a personal doubt he faces the real possibility of being cutoff from loved ones who remain within the cult.

  129. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #90:

    the first thing that God will remove will be false religion, which misrepresents him. In the Bible, false religion is symbolized by a harlot named “Babylon the Great.”
    […]
    [Babylon the Great’s] plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire
    […]
    prophecy will confirm that Babylon’s end was an act of God.

     
    #147:

    If someone goes into a school and shoots children, it is ok to kill the criminal.

    And by that you mean: If someone goes into a church and teaches children ‘false religion’, it is okay to kill the preacher.
     
    (And burn down the church, after infecting and starving the children apparently.)

  130. Bruce Smith says

    @PeterFromLondonUK

    > If you had a lifelong friend who truly loved you and
    > never lied to you, would you believe him if he
    > promised to do something good for you and if
    > what he promised was within his means?

    You asked this question a while ago. I thought about it and my answer is a follows.

    In your analogy, you’re comparing a friend to god. So, if, like god, I’d never met my friend, I didn’t know anyone who had met my friend, all I had were stories from centuries ago about my friend and some of those stories involve magic (acts that violate the known laws of physics), then no, I wouldn’t trust my friend to do anything for me because I would have no reason to believe my friend even exists or ever did.

  131. says

    I’d also throw in that – if that friend was indeed real, I *might* believe that person, but I’m being epistemically invalid.

    But it also depends on what’s being claimed. Not all claims are equal. If he claims that he bought a Corvette… probably. If he claims to have obtained that Corvette from a unicorn in a parallel dimension… no. Not a chance of my believing him, regardless of our history. There’s too many violations of known reality, as well as too many unprecedented extraordinary claims.

  132. says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #142 said ” All physical is slowed down energy and used to be energy.”

    Back-filling with equivocation.
    Moving the goalposts.

  133. adamah says

    @PeterFromLondonUK #136:

    … the Earth full of perfect humans…

    Yeah, Peter, that reminds me:

    Please provide the JW definition of the word, ‘perfect’.

    It clearly doesn’t mean “unable to displease God or to commit sins”, since both Adam and Eve were said to be created as ‘perfect’ (although it’s interesting to note the Genesis account itself doesn’t say or imply that sort of thing anywhere). Yet in their ‘perfect’ state, they somehow managed to sin.

    The ol’ JW retort to the ‘free will’ question is, “God didn’t want to create mankind as robots, who HAD to love and worship Him; so God gave Adam and Eve free will.”

    That commonly-parroted JW cliche is based on the widespread JW misunderstanding that ‘free will’ is not a personality trait arising from a specific group of cells implanted into the brain that allow independent thought.

    Rather, ‘free will’ is being given the PERMISSION, the freedom, to make choices free of the coercive influence of others (including God), free from any attempts to persuade or influence the decision.

    That clearly doesn’t apply to the Genesis account, since God previously said, “From the tree of knowledge you must not eat, or you positively will die”.

    So Eve’s choice to eat of the fruit (which promised to bestow wisdom to whomever ate it) was not even a situation where ‘free will’ was an issue, since God contaminated the ‘free will’ component by prohibiting eating the fruit beforehand. Hence the JW retort is a non-sequitur, since it’s comparing apples and oranges.

    Hence why I’m asking what ‘perfect’ means in JW speak.

    PS JWs are indoctrinated to view all attempts to squelch their preaching work as coming from the Devil, and hence, being persecuted in the name of God.

    Hence any attempts to ban or squelch his free speech rights only reinforces their beliefs, and are quite futile. JWs are masterful in creating “persecution complexes” in their rank-and-file members.

    So if you don’t have anything useful to add to the discussion, simply ignore Peter’s posts.

  134. adamah says

    Peter said:

    If someone goes into a school and shoots children, it is ok to kill the criminal.

    But don’t forget that it’s OK to kill the children if the killer was one of God’s prophets whom they teased or mocked (by calling him “baldy”).

    The impudent little snots deserved death and brought it upon themselves (AKA blaming the victims).

    Other acts deserving of death, per the Bible:

    1) being a Canaanite (or a Gentile)

    2) violating the sabbath

    3) being the offspring of someone who makes hasty vows (eg Jephthah’s daughter).

    4) Eating God’s wisdom-bestowing fruit (although the question of why God would place his magical wisdom-bestowing fruit in the freakin’ MIDDLE of the Garden of Eden to entrap them is an unanswered question).

    Ironically though, it’s not a death penalty offense to beat one’s slave into a coma, just as long as the slave clings to life for a day or two and dies thereafter (after all, it could’ve been death due to natural causes, and the beating had NOTHING to do with their death, nosiree).

  135. PeterFromLondonUK says

    150.

    I see your point. You will have to wait for the new system to learn the truth like most of humanity then. But even when you learn the truth, it counts for nothing because Satan knows the truth and God is going to kill him.

    Nice to chat with you btw.

  136. StonedRanger says

    I continue to find it interesting that people are still trying to engage with peter/john when he has admitted that he isn’t interested in having an honest conversation, he just wants to preach to us. It doesn’t matter to him that he is lying to us, (because without engaging us honestly, that’s what his whole argument amounts to) he will carry on. He uses the same arguments, is consistently dishonest with us, and repeats the same crap over and over and never actually answers anyones questions. He knows his argument is weak, so he is forced to stick to his script. If AXP wont block him the only way to make him go away is to not engage him. Don’t give him the opportunity, he doesn’t understand why he is wrong or he is unwilling to examine what we say with a critical mind (if he is even able to do so is up for debate).

  137. PeterFromLondonUK says

    156. You sound like a Christendom member who is determined to stop the AXP.

    Lol.

  138. Muz says

    Sky Cap @ #132

    Well indeed. The Palmer raids and so on was pretty much the sort of paranoid response the Galleanists wanted. But the distastefulness of murder and assassination was more potent. I might be reading/listening to the wrong analyses, but exactly why this happened is still up for debate. As I said, the affectiveness of even harsh opposition is hard to measure. It probably played a role. But what else did? Shifts in the movement itself that would have happened without opposition? (some cite the creation of the Soviet Union as stealing their thunder. The movement (or a related one) in some sense had a win, so the cause wasn’t quite so desperate any more. I can’t really comment on that, but it struck me as an interesting idea that’s the opposite of the way ISIS seems to work in inspirational terms. Which is annoying). Was it the overriding democratic spirit and more effective rule of law in the US, letting people consider options for political change besides murder more easily? etc etc
    I wouldn’t be surprised if all or most of these things people think of played some part. The point is, what was a social phantom of terrifying viral potency (to some anyway), that demanded extreme behaviour from it’s followers, didn’t seem quite so inspiring and certain anymore. But at the time it was some sort of demonic host of incomprehensible Joker-esque destruction and the only course of action that seemed to make any sense was to destroy it utterly, scorch it back to the source and stop its spread. I feel like now we know this feeling.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I continue to find it interesting that people are still trying to engage with peter/john

    Meh. Sorry. I usually like to apply a lot of principle of charity, perhaps in part because too often I’ve been denied the same by people who should know better (no one here).

    But yeah, IMHO nothing productive will happen with this guy. It really is like he’s reading off a script.

  140. StonedRanger says

    158 peter/john
    If you paid even the slightest bit of attention to what is said to you on these blogs you would know Im an atheist. And thanks for once again proving my point.

  141. PeterFromLondonUK says

    161. Christendom members want APX banned and stopped, in this way you show a similar attitude of stopping free speech irrelevant of your belief that energy can become conscious by chance.

  142. PeterFromLondonUK says

    165. Thanks. Ok fair enough, it is your platform, you can do as you please, just as someone is free to shut their door on me. But the major platform is the planet Earth, and God will decide who can stay forever upon it.

    So i agree with you.

  143. Yaddith says

    Revelation is the silliest and sickest book of the bible, and it is appalling that the Jehovah’s Witnesses chose to build their religion on this monstrous foundation.

  144. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    To Catholicism’s credit, during World War II, the vatican added a decree to tame its eschatology.
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Millennialism

    Christian views on the future order of events diversified after the Protestant reformation (c.1517).
     
    In particular, new emphasis was placed on the passages in the Book of Revelation which seemed to say that as Christ would return to judge the living and the dead, Satan would be locked away for 1000 years, but then released on the world to instigate a final battle against God and his Saints (Rev. 20:1–6).
     
    Previous Catholic and Orthodox theologians had no clear or consensus view on what this actually meant

     

    the “Third Reich” – The Age of the Holy Ghost.
    […]
    many Germans also referred to Hitler as being the German Messiah
    […]
    After Adolf Hitler’s unsuccessful attempt to implement a thousand-year-reign, the Vatican issued an official statement [in 1944] that millennial claims could not be safely taught and that the related scriptures in Revelation (also called the Apocalypse) should be understood spiritually.

     
    Curiously, the history of JW eschatology doesn’t reflect any self-awareness despite being specifically targeted with purple triangle badges.
     
     
    Article: Wikipedia – Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Germany

    Historians […] have suggested the extraordinary animosity between National Socialism and [Bible Student-JW] teachings was rooted in the similarity in structure of both ideologies, which were based on authoritarianism and totalitarianism and which each believed had a monopoly on the “truth”.
    […]
    [German historian Detlef Garbe] accepts that both ideologies claimed to represent the “epitome of truth”, demanded the person as a whole, tolerated no questioning of ideology and also held a common belief in salvation utopias for certain parts of humankind and the vision of a Thousand-Year Reign.
    […]
    Garbe, noting that the increasing repression by authorities simply provoked the religion’s determination to go underground and maintain their activity, concludes that “the extraordinary severity with which Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted resulted from a conflict that gradually escalated in an interaction of action and reaction… the authorities responsible for the persecution always responded with increasing severity to the continuous stubbornness of the IBSA members”. He said the National Socialists were baffled by an opponent that, convinced it was being directed by God’s channel, did not back down under intensified persecution, as expected.
    […]
    Scholars are divided over the ultimate intention of the Nazi regime towards Jehovah’s Witnesses. Garbe believes the Gestapo considered members of the religion to be “incorrigible” elements who had to be ruthlessly eliminated. […] [But ex-JW James Penton has argued] they wanted to break their opposition to the values of the Third Reich and turn them into loyal German citizens

  145. PeterFromLondonUK says

    168. Sorry, i do not understand the point you are trying to make. (presuming that to be the case.)

  146. Yaddith says

    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain: Thanks! Very informative comments. Somehow it never occurred to me that the Nazis were millennialists, but obviously that is correct. And I can see why the Nazis would have regarded the Jehovah’s Witnesses as rivals. Unfortunately, although the Catholics may have turned away from the book of Revelation to some degree, American Evangelicals seem to have embraced it wholeheartedly.

  147. Yaddith says

    Our friend John/Peter From London maintains that “morality is subjective,” and from his point of view this makes perfect sense. If one defines morality as “whatever God says it is,” then morality is indeed subjective (i.e., it is one entity’s opinion).

  148. adamah says

    Indianajones said:

    @JPFLUK 164: As per the moderation policy http://xkcd.com/1357/

    Yeah, you might recheck the AE mod policy here, as I’m fairly certain posting a cartoon calling John an a-hole is verboten.

    Last I checked, the idea was to encourage a dialogue between believers and non-believers (much like the show itself), and not to squelch it by calling other posters a-holes in an attempt to run them off.

    (It’s interesting that you posted a link to a cartoon, rather than just insulting John directly. I’m reminded of when Matt used the bomb-maker analogy, explaining that God ultimately is responsible the harm stemming from creating a flawed Satan.

    So if you think posting a cartoon gives you plausible deniability as an exception to the “no ad homs” rule, and all the blame therefore goes to the cartoonist himself, then you may be in for a rude awakening, needing to learn a lesson in personal accountability for ones actions.

    For if the same defense doesn’t hold water for God, it shouldn’t work for you.)

    And great job providing ironic supportive evidence to John’s claim that this blog serves as an echo chamber to confirm our biases, so we all sing with one voice….

    Thanks, but I’ve had a belly-full of that kind of ‘group-think’ while in the JW’s to last a life-time, and I’m not looking to join ANY group that requires conforming to any arbitrary, illogical, ill-conceived ideologies.

    PSS Thanks to Sky Captain for providing interesting background explanation on why the Nazis viewed JW’s with contempt.

  149. PeterFromLondonUK says

    173. Matt said that if lots of people agree on a rule, then it become objective.

  150. adamah says

    I (Adamah) said in #138:

    And Peter, you’re leaving out the best part: per JW eschatology, Satan wasn’t sent to the abyss in 1914, but booted out of Heaven and confined to Earth.
    That’s right, folks: JW’s believe Satan was sent to Earth after being kicked out of Heaven in 1914 CE.

    To follow up on this, I vaguely remember a scripture (John 3:16, was it?) that offers us this comforting message:

    “For God so loved the World, He gave his only-begotten Satan to be confined to the Earth to cause untold misery and death.”

    OK, so that’s from memory: the verse in question may not say exactly that…. 😉

    Still, it points to how contradictory the Bible is, making that claim in John while simultaneously including prophecies about Satan being confined to the Earth, life being destroyed by a global flood, multiple genocidal campaigns aimed at cities of heathens (Sodom and Gonorrah), etc.

    In it’s defense, the Bible (including the Book of Revelation) was written in a time before humans were even aware of the existence of other planets, so it wouldn’t make any sense to confine Satan to a planet (eg Jupiter or Mars) not inhabited by humans.

    After all, it was written by mortal men who believed in many goofy things ( e.g. the “firmament”: you know, the dome that acts as the ceiling over the planet Earth, onto which the stars are hung? No?).

  151. adamah says

    John said:

    173. Matt said that if lots of people agree on a rule, then it become objective.

    Uh, no, he didn’t. You misunderstood his point.

    For if all people alive believed the Earth was flat, their collective belief didn’t make it so, with the Earth obliging by changing its shape from an oblate spheroid into a flat disk.

    The point Matt was making was that it doesn’t matter how many people believe in a certain idea (that’s a fallacy called, “appeal to popularity”), since when it comes to verifiable claims, only the actual evidence matters.

    Understand too that this principle doesn’t apply to ‘conventions’, which are arbitrary agreements by everyone to follow rules and standards (e.g. the length of a ‘foot’ is one convention, as is the use of languages, laws, etc).

  152. PeterFromLondonUK says

    177. All of humanity is in a dying condition. God has cut some human’s life short. God will bring unrighteous people back to life.

    JOHN 3:16
    16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son,+ so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.+ 17 For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.+ 18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged.+ Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.+ 19 Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world,+ but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. 20 For whoever practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be reproved.* 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light,+ so that his works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with God.”

    REV 12:7-9
    7 And war broke out in heaven: Miʹcha·el*+ and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled 8 but they did not prevail,* nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon+ was hurled, the original serpent,+ the one called Devil+ and Satan,+ who is misleading the entire inhabited earth;+ he was hurled down to the earth,+ and his angels were hurled down with him.

    That happened in 1914. Satan will be thrown into the abyss at Armageddon for 1000 years while the Earth is turned into a paradise and the dead brought back to life. They will be taught the truth.

  153. Yaddith says

    I can’t have an honest discussion with someone who just wants to quote from crib notes. If I wanted JW propaganda, I would read The Watchtower.

  154. adamah says

    Author: PeterFromLondonUK said:

    Matt said that 55MPH could be objective if lots of people agree.

    I’m not watching the episode again to examine the context, but speed limits are LAWS, hence arbitrary social contracts which all humans agree to abide with as part of the privilege of being allowed to drive on public roads. In some cases they’re quite arbitrary, and hence subject to revision or tweaking.

    Don’t misunderstand: although many laws are grounded in objective studies (eg lives saved by lower speed limits, the reduced use of fuels by lower limits, etc), the laws themselves often use arbitrary standards. That’s partly why we set the speed limit @ 55mph, and not 57mph (’55’ is a memorable round number; although as a Brit, you should understand that the speed limit wouldn’t be as memorable when converted to 88.5 kph).

    Also, practically speaking, an idea becomes objective once it’s passed into law. If you don’t believe me, try telling the highway patrol officer who pulls you over for speeding that the speed limit is a subjective matter which you personally choose not to respect, but be prepared to face jail, court, and hiring a good lawyer so you can try that argument on a jaundiced judge… Unfortunately for that argument, philosophers have been down that road centuries ago: see “social contract theory”.

    Again, though, it doesn’t matter how many people believe an idea or fact, since that’s a potential fallacy (the “appeal to popularity)”.

    Hence it doesn’t matter how many recordings Justin Beiber sells: sales volume and popularity are no guarantees to how good the music is (where musical tastes are subjective).

    Discerning between what is objective vs subjective is something that’s critically important, esp when one engages in fantasy-driven thinking.

  155. Brian McHugh says

    I thought some of you folk across the pond might be interested in this…
    Scotland, for the first time has official confirmation of being a majority atheist country. 52% have no religion. It is just a poll, but decent sample size and the Scottish Attidudes Survey assists with policy formulation in the Scottish Parliament. Great news…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35953639

  156. PeterFromLondonUK says

    182. Whoever breaks God’s rules in the new system will also face consequences.

  157. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @indianajones #165

    As per the moderation policy http://xkcd.com/1357/

    @adamah #173:

    Yeah, you might recheck the AE mod policy here, as I’m fairly certain posting a cartoon calling John an a-hole is verboten.

     
    Article: AXP’s Moderation Policy

    For complaints about violations of your free speech, please refer to: http://xkcd.com/1357/

  158. indianajones says

    @173 “Yeah, you might recheck the AE mod policy here”

    The link is IN the mod policy here.

  159. adamah says

    Uh, where exactly did John complain that his free speech rights were being infringed? If he posted anything to that effect, I missed it.

    (Hint: he obviously has no reasonable expectation of free speech here, since not only is this forum hosted on a privately-owned server (i.e. it’s private property), but if his user name is to be trusted, he’s a citizen of the UK: US constitutional rights don’t apply (I vaguely recall a spat with Britain from my American history class: does the date ‘1776’ ring a bell with anyone else?).)

    In fact, the first one who mentioned ‘free speech’ in this thread was me (Adamah), but apparently some of you missed the context: we were discussing GOV’T persecution experienced by JWs at the hands of the NAZI Party, which definitely places the issue into the domain of GOV’T interference (as does their past persecution in Malawi, Russia, etc).

    Furthermore, the average JW is vastly more aware (if only indoctrinated?) of their organization’s role in protecting and helping define free speech and other basic civil rights in the US, since during the 1930s-1940s JWs were involved in some landmark SCOTUS cases (usually handled by J. Covington, a JW lawyer who pleaded their cases before the SCOTUS).

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/jw_freedom.html

    (It’s an odd brag for JW’s to make, since anyone familiar with their neutrality stance knows they don’t salute or pledge allegiance to any Nation’s flag, and refuse to serve in the armed forces as conscientious objectors, etc. I suppose it’s their way of pointing out how they contribute something useful to society, without actually violating their neutrality stance?)

    Anyway, I read Stoned Ranger’s and/or Indianajones words as a heavy-handed and misguided attempt to squelch dialogue; ‘misguided’, since it’s not like religious thinking will magically disappear, just as long as us atheists refuse to engage in reasoned conversation.

    Instead, we’re actually engaged in ‘door-to-door’ combat, fighting to change minds and beliefs, one hard-won neuron at a time.

    Can’t happen, you say? If Matt D. can be deconverted, then hope springs eternal for anyone! 🙂

    BTW, I don’t willingly sacrifice my ability to counter John’s prostelizing work: I’m a vet who served on active duty for 10 yrs in the USAF (a ‘mustang’, i.e. enlisted, then officer). I don’t cave in to illogical requests to fall in-line with anyone’s ‘group-think’.

    And you still didn’t address the question: why did you guys straw-man John? You’ve already passed judgment that John shouldn’t be allowed to post here (saying something to the effect, that if AXP mods don’t ban him, he should instead be shunned).

    Care to explain?

  160. Vivec says

    @adamah 188
    He made a couple complaint posts in response to the AXP “no youtube comments” policies way upthread like @22

    18. It has been set up deliberately this way so that they can listen to their own confirmation bias.
    This is why the truth will have to be taught to them later.

  161. indianajones says

    *Sigh* ok Adamah,

    ‘And you still didn’t address the question’ that you hadn’t asked.

    ‘why did you guys straw-man John’ I didn’t try to mis-characterize or reshape his argument (aka my understanding of ‘strawman’) in order to knock it down at all. In any way shape or form. I didn’t even respond to it. Maybe I will some time, maybe I won’t. I can’t speak for StonedRanger.

    ‘where exactly did John complain that his free speech rights were being infringed?’ I wasn’t responding to any complaint that he may or may not have made. I was giving PJFLUK an answer to the question he asked at 164 where he said ‘You teach me what it is then.’

    ‘You’ve already passed judgment that John shouldn’t be allowed to post here (saying something to the effect, that if AXP mods don’t ban him, he should instead be shunned).’ No I didn’t, nor did I even imply it. I answered a question that was AFAICT posed to the viewers of this forum in general.

  162. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @adamah #188:

    You’ve already passed judgment that John shouldn’t be allowed to post here
    […]
    Care to explain?

     
    Article: AXP’s Moderation Policy

    Once your first comment is approved the moderators are likely to lighten up on you. However, a repeated pattern of violating the above rules, or saying the same thing over and over again without acknowledging any of the responses, can still get you banned.

    For examples of this, see most of his comments, in this and other threads (previously named JohnFromLONDONuk).
     
    Russell Glasser #31: “@PeterFromLondonUK: You should not count on being allowed to keep calling the show week after week making the same arguments.”
     
    KiwiDaveo’s comment elsewhere, quoted and linked here at #148, is relevant as well.
     
     

    Anyway, I read Stoned Ranger’s and/or Indianajones words as a heavy-handed and misguided attempt to squelch dialogue

    For context regarding the comic, see comments #162, #163, #164, immediately preceding indianajones’ XKCD link at #165.
     
    For an explanation of StonedRanger’s comment, see #156.
     

    Uh, where exactly did John complain that his free speech rights were being infringed? If he posted anything to that effect, I missed it.

    See #162.

  163. Monocle Smile says

    Hey look, adamah fabricated a bad reason to brag about his imaginary accomplishments. I might have a heart attack and die of “not surprise.”

  164. indianajones says

    Just thought of something adamah: If my definition of ‘strawman’ is not yours, please tell me what it is and I will address that.

  165. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @indianajones #193:
    Fair warning, he has… issues with fallacies. (See below)
     
    Thread: AXP Ep 877 (2014-08-03)

  166. adamah says

    Vivec said:

    He made a couple complaint posts in response to the AXP “no youtube comments” policies way upthread like @22

    @Vivec (189), I requested the specific quote where John ever claimed his rights to free speech was being denied.

    Sorry, but his complaint upstream about the YT policy doesn’t come anywhere close to fulfilling the requested criteria (unless one is willing to insert concepts where they weren’t explicitly stated; typically it’s the believers who are masters at eisegesis).

    And as I pointed out above, that’s the exact comment I had in mind (about this forum serving as an atheist echo chamber) which ironically is being validated by those who’d suppress his unpopular (at least, on an atheist blog) ideas.

    The irony is, many viewers of TAE complain of the lack of theist callers, but then when some actually DO call (and/or post), many atheists want to form vigilante mobs to run them out of town or ban them from posting.

    The self-serving sense of superiority and ego gratification becomes nauseating, when it gets so thick…. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum, with the crowds gathering to watch the gladiator fights and blood-letting.

    People should ask themselves: why are you posting? Is it to liberate minds from centuries of religious indoctrination, or is it to bolster one’s flaccid ego and make yourself feel superior to others?

    Indianajones said:

    I wasn’t responding to any complaint that he may or may not have made. </b

    The part in bold is legalistic waffling, a way to not admit that you’ve realized you don’t have a leg to stand on. That’s indicative of your having ‘straw-manned’ (i.e. misrepresented, putting words in his mouth) his position in order to make his position easier to attack.

    Indianajones said:

    I was giving PJFLUK an answer to the question he asked at 164 where he said ‘You teach me what it is then.’

    It seems like you’d benefit from reviewing the difference between explaining something (in this case, the concept of “free speech”) vs insulting, since it’s pretty clear the link you posted served as pretense to call him an a-hole (by proxy), when you incorrectly assumed he complained his free speech was being suppressed (when in fact he hadn’t).

    As I explained above, JWs are regularly trained in their weekly field service meetings on the “rules of engagement” for free speech laws, as it comes with the territory of interacting with the general public (whether knocking on their doors, or standing on street corners).

    Hence JWs are more likely than the average citizen to know there are no “free speech rights” on private property: the owner can ask them to leave their property, and they must respect the owner’s property rights (the concept of free speech only applies to public property).

    @Sky Captain, you win a gold star, since I agree that John is walking a tight-rope here by not always engaging in conversations, sometimes repeatedly posting the same curt JW slogans and failing to respond to direct questions (I’m still waiting for him to give his JW-approved definition of “perfect”, as requested). But that’s the decision of the mods to make, and its presumptive to do their job….

    And there’s a World of difference between your posting relevant excerpts of the mod policy vs making trumped-up and/or false accusations only as a pretense to hurl an insult. That’s my only beef….

    Monocle Smile said:

    Hey look, adamah fabricated a bad reason to brag about his imaginary accomplishments. I might have a heart attack and die of “not surprise.”

    Surprise, surprise: look who’s engaging in (yet another) ad hom attack.

    As far as the “imaginary accomplishments” bit (denigrating my service to our country in the military):

    I never said my service made my opinion more valuable than anyone else’s, but if you think my serving makes my opinion less valuable than someone who didn’t serve, then you’ve got the problem…

  167. Vivec says

    The irony is, many viewers of TAE complain of the lack of theist callers, but then when some actually DO call (and/or post), many atheists want to form vigilante mobs to run them out of town or ban them from posting.

    I’m not one of them. I think that letting theists ramble about their pet fallacy for 20-30 minutes leads to some of the least-interesting episodes this show has. I’m far more interested in one of Don’s presentations or the philosophical explanations that Matt and Tracie did way back when, or even wacky atheists like Patrick “I’m going to sue everyone”.

    If I wanted to hear theists peddle anti-science nonsense I’d go to a creationist lecture or something.

    So yeah, not bothered by people being rude to disingenuous JW callers spam-posting one liners and scripture. If that runs him off, good.

  168. PeterFromLondonUK says

    195. Perfect is what God says is good. God has the right to set the standard of perfection.
    You may not agree with what perfect is because perfect is subjective, but only God has the right to set the standard of perfection.

  169. Handsome Jack says

    Hey, the crew are free to do whatever they want with it. I’m just saying nonsense peddling theists (like you) aren’t why I watch.

  170. Handsome Jack says

    Hm. This is Vivec, by the way. I don’t know why my phone defaults to this name.

  171. adamah says

    In 197, Peter said:

    195. Perfect is what God says is good. God has the right to set the standard of perfection.

    Thanks for the response, and I’ll tentatively accept that statement as it stands (even though it’s actually an “appeal to God’s authority” argument: but let’s just set that issue aside for now).

    OK, that definition of ‘perfect’ is consistent with God declaring His creations to be “very good” in Genesis (although note that God didn’t say his creations were “free from all defects”, a qualification which most people would expect in the modern usage of the word, ‘perfection’).

    Peter said:

    You may not agree with what perfect is because perfect is subjective, but only God has the right to set the standard of perfection.

    Once again, I’ll tentatively accept that “appeal to authority” argument, just to move the discussion forward.

    So once God’s criteria for “perfection” is set, it then becomes objective?

    And presumably He follows His own objective criteria for all time thereafter, and cannot change or alter His own objective criteria?

    Of course, God wouldn’t ever need to rectify any errors in criteria, since God is ‘perfect’, hence always right: God doesn’t make mistakes.

    After all, that’s one of the many touted benefits of believing in God: His criteria for morality is claimed to be objective, constant, non-changing, immutable, and standing for all time.

    Is that about right? Do you agree?

    So, would an action or thought that was considered to be a sin by God in the past also be considered as a sin in the future, regardless if the act or thought was explicitly stated by God to constitute a sin?

  172. PeterFromLondonUK says

    201. You need to listen to 20.12 from 1:24:00 again.

    Morality is subjective. Perfection is subjective. I never spoke about anything being objective.

    If God chooses to change what is sinful, like eating pork etc, then God can do that.

    God can change His rules as and when He wants to.

    Yes this is all about sovereignty and an appeal to authority argument.

  173. Vivec says

    Yet another response brushed off with talking points and assertions. You’d have a more productive time slamming your hand in a door jam than talking to them.

  174. adamah says

    Peter, thanks for the on-point reply (at least see it as ‘on-point’: I suspect other posters are unfamiliar with Xian theology, and hence cannot recognize it when they see a theological discussion).

    Peter said:

    Morality is subjective. Perfection is subjective. I never spoke about anything being objective.

    If God chooses to change what is sinful, like eating pork etc, then God can do that. God can change His rules as and when He wants to.

    Yes this is all about sovereignty and an appeal to authority argument.

    I highlighted the prohibition against eating pork, since I was specifically asking you about MORAL laws, and not just the Deuteronomic (“health and safety”) and Levitical (“ritual purity”) codes.

    (When I was a kid, that’s the way it was explained to me: the “no pork” prohibition protected the Hebrews against food-borne trichinosis.)

    OK, but Just realize you’ve precluded any subsequent claims of the moral superiority of God, based on the existence of some “moral absolutes”. Many Xians would disagree with you on that point.

    And also realize you just precluded the Bible as serving as a reliable source of morality, since you admit God’s subjective morality CHANGES; hence, it needs to be updated. Eg the Torah clearly approves of (and regulates the practice of) slavery, something most modern people would recognize as immoral (aside from Islamists, who’d cite the Quran as proof that Allah approves of it).

    Also realize your sentiment above is in direct contradiction to many Biblical passages (OT and NT), such as Jesus’ words found at Matt 5:17:

    Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.

    Last I checked, the Earth is still here (I just looked out the window, and nothing seems awry). Hence the Law (of Moses, referring to Gods commands found in the Torah) is still in play.

    So who’s wrong: you, or Jesus?

  175. PeterFromLondonUK says

    205. Polygamy was allowed, and now it is not.

    God allows slavery and lots of other bad things such as humans dying and not living forever.

    The Earth of Noah’s time passed away. The system of Satan will pass away. The Earth will not be made to totter. It will always be here for humans to live forever on.

    God has the right to change rules and set rules.

  176. adamah says

    Peter said:

    The Earth of Noah’s time passed away. The system of Satan will pass away. The Earth will not be made to totter. It will always be here for humans to live forever on.

    Since you brought up Noah’s flood, when exactly did God “hand over the keys to the car” to Satan, so he could be given a fair chance to demonstrate that Satan could rule over God’s creations better than God could?

    (I’m asking the question rhetorically, as I already know the answer: per JW doctrine, that transfer of power occurred right after Adam and Eve’s fall from perfection, back in the Garden of Eden.)

    So how exactly does God killing 99.99999% of the World’s population during the Flood of Noah (only a few chapters later in Genesis) NOT represent yet-another example of God’s massive interference during Satan’s turn at demonstrating his ability to rule things better than God?

    Answer: it doesn’t.

    God is made out to appear to be afraid of losing a fair trial run, and feels the need to cheat….

    The JW “Universal Sovereignity” hypothesis is completely-inconsistent with many parts of the Bible (OT and NT) itself, making the God character appear to be an immoral, incompetent ruler who acts like an authoritarian dictator, and hence must rely on a string of ‘appeals to Ultimate Authority’ arguments (which is something you’re quite willing to admit).

    So why waste everyone’s time arguing about how God doesn’t want to interfere with free will, wants to give Satan a fair chance, etc, etc, when you’re only going to play the ‘appeal to authority’ argument anyway? You readily admitted it all boils down to simply doing as you’re told, whether it makes any logical sense or not (as if you’re an unthinking amoral robot who has to blindly follow orders: oh, the irony).

    Point being, God’s supposed superior morality is merely a red herring to JW’s, when you admit it’s all about “do as God says or die”.

    BTW, God doesn’t merely “allow slavery” (as you said); God actually instituted the practice of slavery via a “righteous” Noah, right after the Flood, when Noah cursed Caanan (Ham’s son) to serve as a slave to the descendents of Japheth and Shem (note the similarity between ‘Shem’ and ‘Semites’: it’s no coincidence, since Shem’s descendants in the Torah ultimately became God’s “chosen people”, the Jews. The descendants of Caanan were of course the arch-enemies of the Jews, the Caananites).

    In fact, it’s interesting to note the first occurrence of the word ‘slave’ in the Bible appears in Genesis 9, when “righteous” Noah curses Ham’s son and his descendents to serve as slaves (and blesses Noah’s other sons by allowing them to own slaves).

    Not convinced?

    In Hebrew, the name ‘Noah’ means, “deliverer of comfort”, presumably so some humans could sip on mint juleps in the plantation whilst their slaves sweat in the fields (Noah was named by his father earlier in the account, where he prophecized his son would bring comfort to mankind via allowing them to not work the cursed infertile ground of Adam).

  177. adamah says

    Oh, on this bit:

    God allows slavery and lots of other bad things such as humans dying and not living forever.

    God doesn’t merely ALLOW humans “to not live forever and die”: according to your own Bible, He CAUSED them to die by blocking access to the “Tree of Life” (see Genesis 3:24) and by limiting their lifespan (see Genesis 6:3).

    Again, this goes to the fundamental concept of attributing blame where it ultimately lies: NOT with the victims, or the weapons used, but with the one ultimately responsible for causing harm (this is akin to Matt’s example of God’s responsibility for creating evil Satan).

    In the military, we had a saying: “the fish sticks from the head down”. Point being, when some widespread wrong-doing occurs in their chain of command, the guy at the top is supposed to take responsibility for creating a climate which allows the behavior to flourish (e.g. sexual harassment, following the Tailhook scandal).

    To that point, I made an animated cartoon and posted it on YouTube, the concept being one of those infomercials with two class-action product-liability lawyers seeking plaintiffs to join their class-action suit filed against God for making defective products (mankind):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGQvQv9o-Mg&sns=em

    Once again, you are seeking to deny the ugly reality of what the Bible actually says about your God, and in typical JW fashion, you’re blaming the victims.

    It’s extremely comforting such capricious Gods don’t actually exist, as the idea of living in abject terror at the risk of offending an omnipotent God is the horror portrayed in the classic Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a Good Life”:

  178. indianajones says

    @adamah
    Indianajones said:
    I wasn’t responding to any complaint that he may or may not have made. </b
    The part in bold is legalistic waffling

    Whereas I think most of your waffling is weapons grade bullshit. Just while we are critiquing each others prose and all. However, I weary of this and retire from the field. Last word is all your is you want it.

  179. PeterFromLondonUK says

    208. If God steps in, He is accused of being bad. If He does not step in, He is accused of bad. Got it.

  180. PeterFromLondonUK says

    208. We all get to see Satan’s system (now), and we will all see God’s new system. Then we can choose which side is best.

  181. adamah says

    Peter said:

    208. If God steps in, He is accused of being bad. If He does not step in, He is accused of bad. Got it.

    No, my point is that according to the JW “Universal Sovereignty Doctrine” (USD), a fair and just God wouldn’t interfere during Satan’s turn at the wheel AT ALL.

    In case some are aren’t aware, the USD is the JW attempt to tackle a pesky issue that’s bothered theologians for millennia: why does God allows evil to occur (AKA ‘theodicy’)?

    USD would at least make some coherent sense to addressing theodicy, except the JW version runs completely contrary to the overwhelming evidence found in, of all places, not scientific findings, but the Bible itself (e.g. Noah’s Flood, God scrambling languages at the Tower of Babel, God inspiring the Bible to be written, God delegating authority to Jesus to come to Earth and resurrect the dead, etc). The list goes on and on for Bible examples that are inconsistent with USD.

    In fact, ANY attempts to offer an explanation to the theodicy problem violates the USD, since they’re logically incompatible. The mere fact we’re discussing it serves as damning evidence against it, since even claiming to know of the USD is violative of the basis upon which it rests.

    In writing what you did above (comments about “damed if God does, and damned if He doesn’t”) , I suspect you’re confusing issues from another thread, where “Bible code guy” claims the Bible contains a hidden prophecy of the NAZI genocide of Jews, yet God did nothing to prevent it. The hidden messages supposedly serve as proof-positive of God’s existence (supposedly to the glory of God), yet God’s inactivity remains a problem.

    But per the USD, although God failed to intervene to stop the genocide, at least inactivity would be consistent with the USD (although God prophesying the genocide still would represent interference during Satan’s turn, since prophecies are clearly attempts to bias the outcome).

    After all, Satan and God are taking turns at running things, right? That’s why God has been confined to the abyss during Satan’s turn, just like Satan will be sent to the abyss during God’s turn. That’s how it’s supposed to happen, right? I mean, fair is fair (geese and ganders, etc).

    BTW, JWs view the Flood as a ‘proto-Armageddon’, but JWs should hope God doesn’t behave as capriciously as He is depicted as acting in the Genesis Flood account: God regrets making mankind, wipes out all but a handful of His creations in a blind rage.

    Then God cools down, and regrets killing almost all His creations in a massive drowning campaign, so He supposedly made rainbows as a promise and reminder to Himself to never do that sort of thing again.

    Note that in the account, God is depicted as not possessing prescience: the emotion of ‘regret’ is completely inconsistent with already knowing the future. However, JWs point to Genesis as containing the first prophecy pointing to Jesus (the scripture which refers to putting enmity between her seed and the serpents seed, etc). So did God choose not to foresee the Flood?

    It just dawned on me: why don’t Xians point to rainbows as proof-positive of Gods existence? Point being, the Bible describes rainbows as made by God as a miracle, and we still see them today: therefore rainbows serve as proof-positive of God’s existence!

    The reason Xians don’t do that is they likely they’d be laughed at, and for good reason: most people know that multi-colored rainbows result from light rays of different wavelengths being differentially-refracted by water droplets in the air, as a property of water and light waves. So the explanation of rainbows being made by God is yet-another post-hoc rationalization for the existence of God rendered useless by science.

    But since Peter readily admits God can carry out any action He wants, and declare it as “good”, God is allowed to change His mind (or make it up as He goes, as He seemingly does in the Flood account.)

    BTW, the USD is YOUR belief, not mine. Believing in it must require heavy use of cognitive suppression techniques to alleviate the pain of believing absolutely incoherent nonsense….

    On this:

    208. We all get to see Satan’s system (now), and we will all see God’s new system.

    Stop the presses: has God given the Governing Body “New Light”? Because last time I checked, the vast majority of the World’s population (i.e. all non-JWs) were prophecized to be killed by God during Armageddon.

    But now the policy is even us atheists (you know, the ones whom the Psalmist described as “fools” for saying there is no God?) will survive Armageddon?

    Cool beans, except for one slight problem: God and Satan don’t actually exist!

    Instead, the Bible serves as a framework to modify current theologies and ideas as they come in and out of vogue (eg slavery).

    When we can choose which side is best.

    Did the Governing Body also get “New Light” on their being perhaps a show of hands to cast one’s vote on who makes the better ruler of the Universe, so we all can (in your words) “choose which side is best”?

    Or do you actually mean it’s the same ol’ choice as always of picking between Team Yahweh (and living forever on a paradise Earth), or picking Team Satan (and perishing)?

    Don’t look now, but you speak an awful lot like the serpent in Genesis, “spinning” for “the Truth” by telling half-truths so as to make it as least-offensive to basic common sense.

  182. PeterFromLondonUK says

    212. Jesus went to the Abyss for part of 3 days, nor God.

    God will not flood the Earth again, but will remove opposers of God at Armageddon.

    The unrighteous will be brought back to life, but some will be killed again, this is the second death.

    God can step in to prove His side of the issue. Pharaoh etc. God protects His people as a group, some killed via Satan;s system will be brought back to life. We are all in a dying condition.

    Anyways…. you not knowing the truth, or your knowing the truth is not important. You can learn it in the new system, and once you’ve learned it, it counts for nothing.

  183. adamah says

    Peter said:

    212. Jesus went to the Abyss for part of 3 days, nor God.

    Nice job entirely missing the point! Did the absence of a winkie confuse you?

    As the old saying goes, “sarcasm is lost on small child and dogs.” To that list, apparently we can add, “über-JWs”. 😉

    My point was if the USD were a satisfactory explanation for the problem of theodicy, God’s going into the abyss (‘solitary confinement’, as you put it earlier) during Satan’s ‘turn at the wheel’ to give him a fair chance without any temptation for Divine meddling might satisfy to explain God’s non-intervention when evil occurs: evil results because God is absent, confined to the abyss.

    However, as I said earlier, the Bible is chockfull of examples of God’s inability to avoid meddling, so the Bible itsel precludes any reasonable person from accepting that as a cogent answer to the problem of evil.

    God can step in to prove His side of the issue. Pharaoh etc.

    Uh, step in to prove his side? Again, what happened to taking turns (Satan goes first, then God gets his turn)?

    Heh, it’s also funny you’d voluntarily bring up the Pharaoh incident….

    According to Exodus, God interfered yet again during Satan’s turn (and violated Pharoah’s ‘free will’ to boot) by “hardening (the pharoah’s) heart”. God even said He had planned to do it, even before Moses went to the Pharoah.

    And why did God do that? The Bible tells us why, in Romans 9:17-18:

    “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”

    18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

    So much for the, “God wanted humans to have free will, and not make them robots, who had to love and worship Him” JW rationalization: that statement flies directly in the face of the words of Romans 9:18.

    God protects His people as a group, some killed via Satan’s system will be brought back to life. We are all in a dying condition.

    “God protects His people as a group”, but you have to read the fine print:

    *this offer does not include any Israelite who violates the Sabbath, is gay, anyone who complains of hunger in the desert, anyone who tries to catch the Ark of the covenant from falling, etc. In those cases, the punishment is death.

    I suppose a modern version is any adult JW who refuses to accept a blood transfusion, or kills their own children as a result of refusing blood.

    I hate to sound cruel here, but that’s simply natural selection at work, and you don’t have to understand or know the principles of evolution to be effected by it.

    Which ironically leads us to your words below:

    Anyways…. you not knowing the truth, or your knowing the truth is not important. You can learn it in the new system, and once you’ve learned it, it counts for nothing.

    What happened to “the truth shall set you free”? JW’s don’t believe in the words of John any longer?

    Which brings up another point:

    If God is going to resort to an ‘appeal to Divine Authority’ argument to enforce compliance loving and worshipping Him, why even put up the pretense of fairness by attempting to spread the message of warning to all humanity?

    If God doesn’t feel compelled to follow His own plans and prophecies, then how do you know God isn’t just engaging in tom-foolery (or more likely, some old mortal men sitting in Bethel aren’t just using an ancient book to increase their membership scrolls, running a lucrative scam)?

    I suppose we’re beating a dead horse/donkey/mule at this point, so unless you’ve got anything verifiable to discuss, I’m moving on….

  184. PeterFromLondonUK says

    215/ Knowing the truth sets us free from false religion. But this does not guarantee such ones will be faithful forever. Yes i am done too. Nice to chat with you.