Faith matters

Some skeptics say they can’t believe in God because He can’t be proven. They ask why, if God exists, He makes Himself so mysterious and hard to find? Others say there’s no physical evidence for this immaterial God. Of course, there wouldn’t be physical evidence, would there.

However, I’ve found that no amount of evidence, logic, or reason will convince someone who does not want to believe. And that’s what we must admit to ourselves. It’s not about evidence, logic, or reason…it’s about faith. Now, there may be other issues behind why people refuse to believe in God but faith is probably the most important one.

Faith is about trust, which deals with the deepest issue in humankind. If you believe the story, trust was the issue with God from the very beginning in the Garden.

Of course, faith and trust are more than just believing something is so. There is a commitment to trust. Let me illustrate what I mean with an old story.

The world’s greatest tightrope walker was going to cross Niagara Falls, not only on a tightrope, but by pushing a wheelbarrow. This stunning feat made Charles Blondin famous in the summer of 1859. According to the report, Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow across Niagara while blindfolded on a tightrope 160 feet above the water. After successfully crossing the falls, he asked for some audience participation. He had already proven he could do it, now he asked if anyone thought he could do again. It is said that he asked his audience:

“Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?”

Of course the crowd shouted that “Yes, they believed!” It was then that Blondin posed the salient question:

Who will get in the wheelbarrow?”

Of course…no one did.

And that’s the issue, isn’t it. We might even see something with our own eyes and still not trust in it. We won’t commit to it.

But it’s faith that trusts in something…or someone…even when we can’t see it.

for we live by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. (2 Cor.5:7 TPT)

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. (Heb.11:3 NET)

I just finished a series (“Classical Arguments for God“) that logically shows the necessity for a Prime Mover, a “most fundamental cause” for our continuing existence. This agent must necessarily be immaterial or invisible, transcending our little world of time and space. This is simply true by logical deduction. Yet, even when shown the logic, people still will not consider it.

For example, as I said in “God is not a god” classical theists believe this to be true about our continuing existence:

Whereas, atheists seem to believe this to be true about our continuing existence:

(Graphics by Mathoma, from “A Defense of Classical Theology“)

Apparently, some will believe in anything that can be reasonably and logically argued…as long as it’s not “God.”

But, still, everyone has faith in something.  Those who don’t believe in God may have faith that the material world is all there is, even though it cannot be proven by science and we can logically deduce that it isn’t all there is. They can have faith when science tells them that things are true even when these things can only ever be shown mathematically. They have faith in theories that have little or no empirical evidence to support them, or have faith that the invisible laws of nature will continue as they have for millions of years.

We, Christians, have faith that God is the one who holds all these things together, and I’ve shown that we have logic and reason to back it up.

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  (Col.1:16-17 NIV)

We all exercise faith everyday. So, it’s not a matter of faith as much as it is about trust. Something to think about.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 38 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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167 Responses to Faith matters

  1. Ben says:

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I think what made me lose faith is the fact that I was a Christian for so long. What I mean is that I had one version of God shown to me + the Christian version) and one book to back up the claim. I have issues with a lot of the Bible and I don’t know how to believe in that specific God. The Bible makes many claims that absolutely require faith. I can be open to having faith but I need more than just stories as proof. I don’t know how much of the Bible is corroborated by physical evidence, though I know a lot of archaeological evidence is there to back some up. The supernatural parts require a lot of faith and that’s where I struggled.

    I still see so much unexplainable things in this world that science fails to answer. I still have a hard time thinking we are just accidentally here. I guess I still have deistic views as I see too much creation in a world that many say isn’t created. The Christian version is hard to accept based on faith alone, but “a” god? I haven’t yet shut the door on that possibility.

    I think where I am right now is a place where skeptics will think I’m backsliding and Christians may see an opportunity to reconcile me to God. Personally I don’t know what is the absolute truth. Science and religion both leave me with more questions than answers.

    • I love your honesty and balanced thinking. Keep searching and staying open.

    • Mel Wild says:

      What I mean is that I had one version of God shown to me + the Christian version) and one book to back up the claim. I have issues with a lot of the Bible and I don’t know how to believe in that specific God. The Bible makes many claims that absolutely require faith.

      You make some valid points, Ben. Could it be that you don’t have a problem with the idea of God per se, but you have a problem with a particular theology of God?

      You mentioned the “Christian version.” As you’re probably aware, there is more than one Christian version of theology, even though there is common agreement on the core tenets. Some versions might be more compatible to your questions than others. I think I can agree with you if we are to take the Bible to be given to us verbatim, literally true, in some wooden literal way, that this is indefensible. Even if we are to take it like a science or history textbook. The early church fathers would’ve never treated the Bible that way. This would be a more modern take on Scripture.

      Anyway, thanks for your honest reflections here.

      • Ben says:

        I don’t have a problem with the idea of God. A being, a force or something else. I’m open to a creator. I have issues with the God of the Bible because it is very specific. Specific claims require specific evidence to back it up. Faith is not necessarily specific. If someone said, “I believe in a creator” and gave reasons why, I think less skeptics would have issues and probably not argue. When you say “this” God did “this” specific thing and “this” book proves it, people want specific proof or evidence to know why you believe that. That’s my take on it anyway.

        When I said the “Christian version” I meant the one I was taught to know. The traditional “American church” version that most people associate with Christianity. I know there are huge variations within that group, but most are similar enough to get the idea of which one I mean…I think. I agree that the early church is much different than the one today. I’ve researched enough to know how very different many Christians do things compared to the original intentions.

        I think without the Bible, most people who believe there’s a creator would have a more deistic view or a view of an unspecific god. I just don’t see anything outside of the Bible that shows a god the way the one within the Bible is portrayed. A lot of cultures believe in a deity of some kind. Many believe in a creator based on nature and their perception of why things are the way they are.

        I don’t know. I can definitely see a creator being real based solely on the world around me. I could use the world as my reasoning, or “evidence.” I couldn’t do that as a Christian because all I had was a book to back up my claims of the supernatural. My curious mind wanted answers as to why I believed the way I believed. I just couldn’t find answers in the book that I used to trust completely.

        Thanks for responding Mel. I appreciate it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I really like your thinking. It’s refreshing to me to hear someone who struggles with Christian theology (which is understandable for the reasons already stated) but is honest and open about the evidence we can see in our everyday experience. Thanks for sharing this, Ben. Blessings to you.

        • Something that I wrestle with, the “specifics of the God of the Bible,” impact how we are going to behave and treat one another. So, some people are perceiving God as wrathful,violent, abusive, hating on sin, hating on people. Condoning slavery. Advocating for abuse. I’m not saying that lightly, I’ve met some people preaching that very thing and using the specifics of the bible to try to back it up. Flat out they got their theology all wrong, their specifics are missing, well the “specifics” and what they are doing is projecting their own image onto the face of God.

          I like what you said here, “I just couldn’t find answers in the book that I used to trust completely.” I have, I can find the answers in the bible, BUT, I had to ask God about it. I had get to know the Author of the book before I could understand the book itself . So I guess my first authority is actually Jesus, and after that The Word. Myself, I believe the bible is the inspired word of God, BUT it is also a flat, two dimensional, collection of words that we can get all wrong. We can call that “user error.” Unfortunately in the world there can be some massive user error going on.

        • Hello again Ben. You raise some good points.

          As Mel was saying in this post, even Faith needs some/much support: Trust. To name one.

          So logically, how is “trust” obtained? Are we born to recognize it in its purest form? What or who exactly defines trust? Is there a cumulative unanimous definition of what trust is and consists of? Or are we to just simply trust (at face value) one person to tell us what/who to trust or what is trust? Who or whom has the market cornered on trust and how did they accomplish that?

          Ask these questions of 100, or 1,000, or 100,000, or 300,000,000 people and/or knowledgable scholars around the world in various disciplines on all continents and you’ll quickly deduce that there is no such thing as Monism, or one faith, or one identical definition of what “trust” looks like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like, or feels like. Nothing, not even Mel’s blog and posts, or Christianity, or human beings and their cerebral constructs are capable of reaching 100% immutable certainty… except MAYBE closer and closer to it over several/many generations. This also applies to Faiths. To know this to be the case about both Faith and Trust, all one has to do is keep asking, keep observing, in as neutral a manner as is humanly possible. If you do not have some mental or neurological disability/disorder, you WILL conclude that 100% certainty in anything is a false perception/illusion, a myth. There is only degrees of probability. One thing I HAVE concluded along with many thousands/millions of other humans, is that the biblically-based Christian faith/religion (more so its modern versions) is lacking extensively and has a pretty high probability of unreliabilty, contradictions, incongruencies, and flat-out fiction. If one completely removes its 4th-century CE canonical bible and theology, then its orthodoxy isn’t any more accurate or believable than those who believe or have “faith and trust” in the reality of Sasquatch or Extra-terrestrial beings.

          If I am wrong, if those I’ve learned from and the experiences and education I have learned from are wrong, or partially wrong, I absolutely WELCOME those contentions for the hard facts of “100% certainty of Monism” or even the compelling probabilities for “100% certainty of Monism” as many trusting-faithers claim.

          I encourage you Ben to continue your search and journey as far as time allows. Listen fairly to any and ALL your doubts! Don’t even take my experience, opinions, or learning as gospel. LOL What you are doing not too many people have the courage and endurance to do and see it through to its natural end… so I applaud you Ben. Nothing at all wrong with being a different drummer to a different beat. 😉 ❤

        • Ben says:

          Thank you PT. What I am doing is just questioning any and all things I don’t fully understand. That’s quite an undertaking as I don’t fully understand most things. All I have concluded so far is that absolute truth remains elusive. That’s where faith comes in. But to fully trust something I don’t fully understand or something I know is not completely trustworthy is outside my comfort zone.

          I think I’m beginning to overcome feelings of anger and resentment about losing the faith I once had and I’m starting to come to acceptance that some of the things I once took completely on faith are things I no longer believe in. Now of course if facts come to my attention that I’ve overlooked that make me revert to earlier thinking, then so be it. I may shut some doors on things that I know are false but my door is always open to truth. Whatever that truth may be.

        • I think that is an admirable, humane position Ben. Bravo! As long as you are genuinely attempting to “understand” fully what is being asserted to you, then evolving levels of truth can indeed be found. And may I suggest that since truth and knowledge are bedmates, it would also be very wise to understand ignorance (Agnotology) and how many forms of ignorance always coexist with truth-knowledge, and they both influence each other, particularly in human perceptions and social settings, and are sometimes quite fluid.

          In the meantime, don’t forget to live a life, YOUR life, RIGHT NOW to its fullest and to leave this world and humanity better than when you arrived! 😉 ❤

    • shiarrael says:

      I think where I am right now is a place where skeptics will think I’m backsliding and Christians may see an opportunity to reconcile me to God.

      Or maybe you’ve just arrived in the no-man’s land where my tribe dwells – the Perpetually Bewildered Agnostics. 😉
      We’re a pretty diverse bunch, no uniting symbol or flag (unless you count the “Heathen!” one, but atheists get that one, too. Unfair!), but members of this tribe are easily identified by always being that annoying dude (or dudette) who won’t stop asking questions (btw, have you earned your “Accidentally driven both a theist and an atheist up one wall and down another with stupid questions” merit badge yet?)

      We’re also not clustered around a central village, mainly we roam our no-man’s land in loose groups. Some will roam far and wide in their lifetimes, from the borders of Theistan all the way to Atheisia and back, others will favor the nearness of one border over the other, and only occasionally peek over the central hills.

      I used to hang out close to Theistan a lot, but they didn’t really want me (I think they were afraid I was an illegal immigrant), so these days I’m more often roaming near the other guys. They sometimes make shooing noises, too, but for the most part they just pat me on the head and throw me a book when I get too annoying.

      Either way, if you feel comfortable among my kin – pull up a rock. We got no answers, either, but the shrimp is choice and “Who can ask the most daft question” competitions are on Saturdays.

  2. Nan says:

    Mel, I know from reading your blogs that you place your faith in a “prime mover,” referred to by most as “God,” a silent and unseen entity or force. And while there is no “evidence” to back up this belief, for you it is as real and genuine as your own life.

    But then you turn around and deride others that have “faith in theories that have little or no empirical evidence to support them.” I fail to see the difference.

    • Mel Wild says:

      But then you turn around and deride others that have “faith in theories that have little or no empirical evidence to support them.” I fail to see the difference.

      Nan, I wasn’t deriding anyone here. Actually, my point is that there is no real difference. I was showing that we all exercise faith in some areas of our lives, whether we believe in God or not. I actually believe in a lot of science that’s not based on empirical evidence. I see no reason to doubt it if it can be shown mathematically or by logic. And that’s because my worldview is not confined to a naturalistic view. I don’t see faith in science in the natural realm and faith in God in the metaphysical as mutually exclusive.

      And when you say “there’s no evidence to support them,” all you are saying is that there is no physical evidence that natural science can prove. But can we prove this the only evidence for reality there is? Of course not. And, as the graphics (above) illustrate, people who don’t believe in a “Prime Mover” end up with incoherence. That’s not deriding or mocking them; it’s simply pointing out that their position is not a cogent one.

      • Nan says:

        My point is (and I’ve made it before) is that, in my opinion, you defend your POV that is based on faith, but then downplay (I’ll remove the word “deride”) those that believe in a naturalistic view. When push comes to shove, neither can be proven so it’s simply what perspective each person chooses to adhere to. Thus, I question why you tend to present one as being more valid than the other. Perhaps this is not your core intent, but this is how it comes across to me.

        • Mel Wild says:

          My point is (and I’ve made it before) is that, in my opinion, you defend your POV that is based on faith, but then downplay (I’ll remove the word “deride”) those that believe in a naturalistic view. When push comes to shove, neither can be proven so it’s simply what perspective each person chooses to adhere to.

          Fair enough. And probably so. And perhaps if Naturalists would admit that their view that the material world is all there is, is faith-based, we could have more meaningful conversations instead of them constantly telling us we have no evidence or that our position is irrational and even superstitious. So, yes it does go both ways in that regard.

          Thus, I question why you tend to present one as being more valid than the other.

          With regard to validity, I would disagree. Not all views are necessarily equally valid. Some views are more logically valid than others, even if we can’t prove them empirically. And we’re going to be honest, we should admit that if it’s shown to us.

  3. I love this post, Mel! You’ve nailed it.

    I’ve had a post in the works for a while now, one I can’t quite get right,but it speaks to the nature of trust, also known as faith and also authority. What makes us trust in someone’s authority? What makes us revoke someone’s authority? In our world today there is a lot of skepticism, distrust, and revoked authority.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I think it’s too easy to dismiss something as “faith-based,” when it’s really about what one trusts in. As you said in a recent post of yours, authority means you’re appealing to something or someone higher that yourself. And that always involves an element of trust.

  4. John Branyan says:

    Everything we believe is “faith-based” at some level. Those who claim to be informed by pure “evidence” are deluded. Validating “evidence” requires faith in our various perceptions. Whether we call it “faith” or “trust” it’s the same idea.

    The silliest ideas come from those who insist they can escape “religion” by simply declaring themselves to be non-religious. They defiantly “de-convert” from Christianity to embrace an incoherent naturalism that is just as fundamentally dogmatic.

    • Mel Wild says:

      They defiantly “de-convert” from Christianity to embrace an incoherent naturalism that is just as fundamentally dogmatic.

      Pretty much what I’ve seen. Trading one form of fundamentalist dogma for another.

  5. shiarrael says:

    But, still, everyone has faith in something.

    Not if you’re a New Yorker, you don’t. They don’t even have faith in their own faithlessness, the cynical buggers (Sorry. 😜 couldn’t resist that little dig at my city-bred cousins).

    You may have something there, Mel.
    A humanist has faith in humanity, a scientist has faith in numbers and logic. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, if the overarching idea bears out. There, I think, might be a key point. How long is an individual able to hold on to faith, if humans continue to be right bastards and numbers won’t cooperate?

    I still think the scientist may have a leg up in the faith matter, because by and large the discipline requires more flexibility – you can’t just toss the whole thing because quantum mechanics (for example) blows your idea out of the water. They have to stretch and adapt as a matter of course. Easier to keep faith, if challenges are built into the structure from the get-go.
    Harder, I think, if you have absolutist views where challenges chip away at the foundations.

    Those who don’t believe in God may have faith that the material world is all there is, even though it cannot be proven by science and we can logically deduce that it isn’t all there is.

    Hrrrrrrrr yeea…no? (*insert skeptically bobbing head*)
    Non-belief in god(s) doesn’t automatically equate non-belief in metaphysics. Unless you meant it in a “complete rejection of the possibility that there is anything other than what we can currently perceive and measure” way. But I think that is actually quite rare. I know atheists who are completely open to the idea of, say, energy-based life forms.

    Same with “we can logically deduce”. All we can deduce, if we’re trying to be as unbiased as a human can be, and as honest as we can, is that we don’t have a clue either way.
    Science doesn’t know = there must be god(s) … doesn’t work.
    Science doesn’t know = They (we) don’t know. That’s it.

    If that’s what you meant,…. never mind. Carry on. 😉

    They can have faith when science tells them that things are true even when these things can only ever be shown mathematically.

    Math is lovely like that. It has that stunning characteristic of actually working.
    Does your car, your phone have GPS?
    Do you type on a computer that is connected to the internet?
    Do you drive a car with an internal combustion engine?
    Have you ever traveled by boat, by plane?
    Congratulations! You have faith in math! You literally got into that wheelbarrow and staked your life on the numbers working.

    As for the ‘things that can only be shown mathematically’
    It’s easy for me to have faith in Einstein, for example, if I can see that the ‘simpler’ applications of his math work splendidly in practice.
    Would I get into Hawking’s wheelbarrow on the rope if not for CERN and the fact the man was right a lot more often than not? Hrrrrr… maybe. I still might ask him if he was sure about the whole thing. Really sure. Of course, he never claimed he was. Only that he was pretty sure. So …
    Easy to have faith, see?

    Plus, if I tell a scientist I have faith with reservations, I won’t end up tied to a stake. Big bonus.

    They have faith in theories that have little or no empirical evidence to support them,

    Similar to math. If the underlying idea works, and demonstrably so, it’s not a big stretch to say “until further notice I’ll go with this idea”.
    I’d also (just to avoid misunderstandings) like to point out that a “Theory” requires a good amount of empirical evidence. With little or none, you have a “Hypothesis”.
    Can’t count how many times I’ve had to explain that Theory of Evolution does not mean ‘just a theory, they have no evidence’. 😖

    or have faith that the invisible laws of nature will continue as they have for millions of years.

    Well, yes. It’s where probability comes in.
    Is it impossible for a micro-wormhole to open right in my backyard and plow through my cabbage, raining brassica into the Magellanic Cloud? No.
    Is it likely?

    We, Christians, have faith that God is the one who holds all these things together, and I’ve shown that we have logic and reason to back it up.

    Well, no, not exactly.
    You started with an axiom, and reasoned your way back to it. Remove the axiom, and the thing falls apart at the seams.
    That doesn’t mean the axiom itself is a complete failure, or that the reasoning doesn’t have merit. Just that probability doesn’t equal certainty.

    If you presented this as a “I’m pretty sure this is how it works, and here’s my Theory and how I arrived at it” rather than a Highlander-esque absolute “There can be only this explanation, all else is rubbish!” you might get more takers 😉

    • Mel Wild says:

      Shiarrael, I was pretty much following you until you said the following:

      You started with an axiom, and reasoned your way back to it. Remove the axiom, and the thing falls apart at the seams.

      Uh…no. Quite the opposite. Actually, what I was referring to were the arguments I made (over five posts). They start with things in our everyday experience and work down the essentially-ordered causal chain until we come to what has been described as a “Prime Mover” (fully actualized, Pure Act). And you must have one, otherwise you have incoherence (infinite regress, which means nothing exists). This is simple deductive reasoning that has nothing to do with theology. I THEN plugged in the Scripture passage I used (Col.1:16-17) to show that it’s compatible with this logical conclusion. So, I actually worked backwards from what you said.

      To be clear, no one is saying this argument proves the Christian God. And there are a lot of things I believe that I can agree are not absolute, but I AM saying you necessarily must have a prime mover. Otherwise, you have non-existence. And this prime mover must have certain properties in order to be fully actualized. This is not some axiom, it’s just a matter of logical deduction (like a mathematical fact).

      So, if the skeptic wants to challenge the classical argument for “God” (or Prime Mover, if you prefer), then they must provide a logical explanation for essentially-ordered things, which I have not seen to date.

      Other than this point, like I said, I have no problem with what you said. I agree with a lot of it and you make some good points. 🙂

      • shiarrael says:

        They start with things in our everyday experience and work down the essentially-ordered causal chain until we come to what has been described as a “Prime Mover” (fully actualized, Pure Act)

        OK, I went over your series again to try and follow your train of thought. Some of the terminology was difficult to sink my teeth into, but I think I got the gist. I think

        And here’s the thing that led to my ‘axiom’ impression:
        It’s an argument that relies on metaphysics to work. On the Motion and Essence/Existence as defined by Aquinas.
        Yes, it works down (or backwards) a causal chain. However it does so with a target in mind. The appealing part is that the target is not being pressed into a specific religion, and that’s also why I’m willing and able to go with the logically deduced from our everyday experience idea. To a point, at least.
        But sometimes things are not as they seem, and our experiences may not always be how the larger universe works. We’re really, really small, you know? 😉

        So.
        I have no problem with a philosophical argument starting with an axiom (“There must be something, let’s call it God and take it from there”) and then getting excited when your reasoning bears out after you followed a chain of observations/thoughts back/down to it.
        I must point out however that another person without the god-idea in mind may follow the same thoughts and come to a different conclusion (or even those with a vague idea. Buddhists, for example).
        Or they postpone judgement, because they feel there is information missing.

        For example – I missed the concept of entropy in the argument (maybe it was in there and I overlooked it, trying to figure out something else?). Would it even fit? Or would one squeeze it in as the personification of evil? The counterpart to the Motion force?

        So yes, for people who reject the axiom or find it premature, the argument can be picked apart at any point.

        Take motion: We assume that ‘rest’ is a default state, and must be a starting point for everything. But how do we know for certain? What logical reason do we have to assume that complete non-motion is the natural state of being? It’s not explained in this particular line of reasoning.

        Then there’s the “Fully Actualized” matter. Even if we don’t poke at the term itself, what does this mean? Fully would mean both all evil and all good, no? It would have to be everywhere at once, and everything, but then it would also logically have to have potential, so it couldn’t be … (this is where I get a headache).

        then they must provide a logical explanation for essentially-ordered things, which I have not seen to date.

        Not really 😉
        If we find a horse alone on the fields and you say “There’s a barn a mile back, it must have come from there” and I say “Maybe, but it could be any barn, you know? There could be one over that hill right there. We just can’t see it from here.” I’m not obligated to go trekking around the countryside to show you 20 other barns.

        You made the first practical connection, and you could be right … or not. I merely pointed out the possibility of other barns. For all we know, the little bugger could be a runaway from Kentucky.

        Which brings me back to “I think this is how it works” vs “It must be this barn!” – and the little matter that lost of people have ideas on “this is how essentially ordered things might work” of course 😉 and they find your reasoning as flawed as you find theirs.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, I will try to answer your questions here as succinctly as possible. Keep in mind, Aquinas’s summary was 3,500 pages long! So, there’s no way I’m going to do it justice here.

          Yes, it works down (or backwards) a causal chain. However it does so with a target in mind.

          Yes, but the target is to find the most fundamental source of the essentially dependent chain that is not dependent upon anything outside of itself. This source must be “Fully actualized” (which I define below), otherwise we just continue down through the dependent members forever which would result in infinite regress, which is impossible because then the chain could not exist in the first place.

          Take motion: We assume that ‘rest’ is a default state, and must be a starting point for everything. But how do we know for certain? What logical reason do we have to assume that complete non-motion is the natural state of being? It’s not explained in this particular line of reasoning.

          When classic theists are talking about “motion” it does not refer to change in spatial condition or time; it means change in potency to actualization in any member of a causal chain for its continuing existence. And potency can only be actualized by something already actualized. In my guitar music analogy, the music is made up of fluctuating sound waves, which are “actualized” by the vibrations of the strings of the guitar, which is actualized by the musician plucking the strings. If any part of this causal chain is inhibited, the music ceases to exist. Of course, the analogy breaks down beyond this because we must ask what is the motive force behind the guitar player. But, in principle, that’s essentially what we mean by “motion.”

          So we must go down this causal chain until we find a member that is fully actualized (see below).

          Then there’s the “Fully Actualized” matter. Even if we don’t poke at the term itself, what does this mean?

          It simply means that there must be a member in the essentially dependent chain that is not in “motion, that it’s fully actualized in every sense of the word. In other words, it cannot be dependent upon any outside force for its own existence. Another argument of Aquinas says that its essence (what it is) is exactly the same as its existence (that it is). For instance, I am a human being named Mel (essence) but it is possible for me not to exist (existence). So, I’m not fully actualized. Something fully actualized cannot not exist. Aquinas called it Subsistent Existence Itself. So, anything in the cosmos that changes states does not qualify to be this Prime Mover or, as Aristotle called it, Pure Act.

          Fully would mean both all evil and all good, no?

          Classical theists don’t believe that evil is a thing. Evil is the absence of the good, like a shadow is not a thing, it’s the absence of light.

          I hope this simplistic explanation helps. 🙂

        • Hello Mel,

          I wanted to let you know that I left a comment above/below(?) for Shia that had two weblinks… which of course threw it into your Moderation folder. Would you check that please and approve? Thank you kindly sir. 🙂

        • shiarrael says:

          Hey Mel,

          thank you for expanding on the details a bit – it really is a large subject.

          […] otherwise we just continue down through the dependent members forever which would result in infinite regress, which is impossible

          This is where I figuratively chase my own tail.
          We assume that infinite regress is impossible. But if we go with the “everything must have a reason” chain .. the Prime Mover must be an exception, because we’re not asking “but what caused god?”. We stop at zero, as it were.

          But if we make an exception in this case, we admit that there can be something uncaused. If that is possible, our whole idea of going along the chain because there must be causes … is in conflict.

          So, if we assume that everything must have a cause .. infinite regress becomes necessary (unless we go with the A ⇒ B ⇒ C ⇒ A cycle idea…)

          Gnarf!

          it means change in potency to actualization in any member of a causal chain for its continuing existence.

          Maybe I’m overthinking this.
          But if I go with the potential-actual idea, I think old Aristotelis and his building materials -> the building -> the house.

          It does still leave me with the assumption that not doing anything without outside influence is the natural state of being for everything, for which I have no satisfying explanation (why is this so? Why do we think it is so? Is it really so?). And it still leaves out entropy (put in philosophical context, would this be reverse actualization? Non-realized potency? Would this be seen as side effect not relevant to the overall idea? But then why does it exist in the first place? Or is it part of the whole thing? Then why… unh. sorry. Stopping now.)

          Something fully actualized cannot not exist.

          Why?
          Would the whole argument fall apart if we had, say, a Mel (essence) start the whole thing, but then at some point it ceased to exist?
          And why can’t it change at all? Would that ruin the argument, or rather make it more plausible?

          Classical theists don’t believe that evil is a thing. Evil is the absence of the good

          Okay, so, no “No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it” for Classical Theists. 😉

          That one is another tough bone for me, as a mere absence of good can’t (to me) quite explain the amount of energy expended by non-good things, people etc.
          Also, wouldn’t it assume that non-good is a default state? Or am I overthinking again?

        • Mel Wild says:

          We assume that infinite regress is impossible. But if we go with the “everything must have a reason” chain .. the Prime Mover must be an exception, because we’re not asking “but what caused god?”. We stop at zero, as it were.

          Hi Shiarrael. I totally understand the difficulty of thinking this way. It took me a while, too.

          I think your conundrum is in your premise. The classical argument has never been “everything must have a cause.” The argument is that everything that is in motion must have a cause. Cause, being the motive force behind putting something “in motion, going from potential to actualized. Therefore it needs an outside motive force to take it from potential to actual in order to exist. And everything in the chain cannot be in motion because there would be no fundamental cause at the bottom of the chain and everything would cease to exist (everything would remain in potential only).

          That one is another tough bone for me, as a mere absence of good can’t (to me) quite explain the amount of energy expended by non-good things, people etc.

          The problem of evil is a tough subject. Period. I think I will just put the video from Professor Elmar Kremer explain the classical theist position on good and evil. He does a much better job and it will save making this comment exceedingly long. 🙂

        • Since Mel is big on videos I think this one from Dr. David Eagleman is relevant and apropos as far as “this barn” versus “that barn” when all barns, as you aptly pointed out, are a matter of perception from less than accurate perceivers. 🧐 Case and point… (hope this works here under your Settings for videos Mel)

          http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365572212/

          If not, here is the URL:
          http://www.pbs.org/the-brain-with-david-eagleman/episodes/what-is-reality/

          “How the Brain Creates Reality” is the 3-min clip. Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And here are a couple of videos that debunk the ideas that consciousness comes from matter. It seems neurologists are confusing brain patterns with actual consciousness and intentionality. That’s why they’ve called it the “hard problem of consciousness.” But it seems to me it’s only hard because they’re stuck in their materialist dogma.

          Here’s David Bentley Hart with Robert Kuhn on “Closer to Truth” about the problem of materialist’s reductionism of consciousness to material brain activity.

          Here’s Bernardo Kastrop. This is a teaser for his book, “Why Materialism is Baloney.” Kastrop fleshes out these arguments in much greater detail in his book and longer lectures available on video.

        • Thank you for approving the PBS video Mel.

    • Dylan Black says:

      @Shia. This comment is a fantastic cap to the conversation we were having the other day (I’m sorry I angered the proverbial god of that realm which quashed the conversation :\). Like Mel, the only quibble I had was the “falls apart at the seams” statement… Which was likely just hyperbolic, in which case, I don’t really care – I agree with your concluding paragraph.

      Anyway, I’m not necessarily looking to continue the conversation (open to further discussion, but I’m not being needy is my point), but saw this as an opportunity to properly end it. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments both here and there!

      • shiarrael says:

        Hey Dylan,

        yea we kind of hijacked the thread there a bit and went off on tangents galore before circling back… and going off again. I think we strained our good host’s patience in the end.
        But I agree it was a good discussion, bouts of mutual bewilderment notwithstanding! 😜

        And yes it was an ill-fitting metaphor, I hope I was doing a bit better in my response to Mel – meaning that the ‘seams’ can be picked at separately if one goes looking (I’m really trying to not be annoying by asking too many questions about the details, especially because there’s a certain philosophical elegance to the overall idea).

        Thank you for stopping by to say hello!

    • An outstanding comment Shia and very well considered and articulated. Well done! And btw, welcome to our tribe’s vast, diverse circle of blogs everywhere. It can be a cornicopia of learning, exchanging of ideas, theories, mathematical equations, fiction, fantastic science (well, not so much here 😉 ) and even some Outlandish-Highlanderish ideas and folklore too! If anything, it is entertaining.

      Anyway, great to see you here as well. ❤

  6. sklyjd says:

    “However, I’ve found that no amount of evidence, logic, or reason will convince someone who does not want to believe.”

    First of all, Mel, there is no quantifiable evidence for any gods existing over many thousands of years and your unwavering faith that one Christian God does exist is not good enough. Your statement may have been relevant hundreds of years ago when ancient people believed the foul weather and the sun rising in the sky was attributed to God, but today it is so far-fetched from reality it can only be categorically false.

    Most individuals as true atheists do not believe in God, because as you first pointed out in your post, God will never be proven to exist and that is a vast indisputable fact in this century of advanced scientific knowledge making atheism the most logical deduction for reasonable people to make.

    An adult individual would have to be eagerly wanting to believe in a higher power due to personal and emotional distress to justify acceptance of a massive amount of what is unsubstantiated or often termed as blind faith. The dedicated worshipping of a mystical ancient loving God who can save you physically from what are pre-Christian religious concepts that are based on sacrifices, inherent sin, good and evil, heaven and hell, angels and devils are intended for psychological intimidation.

    The wheelbarrow analogy does not fit. The wheelbarrow and danger to life are well understood because it is purely a physical analogy.

    What may appear invisible physically to us such as gravity, gases, the laws of nature and dark matter can be identified with special properties, whereas none of the invisible gods have any measurable evidence apart from what exists as reality in the brains of devoted theists, however science is progressing on that neurological level also.

    • Mel Wild says:

      First of all, Mel, there is no quantifiable evidence for any gods existing over many thousands of years and your unwavering faith that one Christian God does exist is not good enough.

      Skyljd, obviously you don’t really read my posts or understand the arguments because you keep arguing points I’m not making. You seem to just react with pat anti-theist answers. First of all, what do you mean by “quantifiable evidence?” Like I said in the post, you are looking for physical evidence, material evidence, which no one has ever said you will find. Science will never be able to test for God for methodological reasons. This point is, and always will be, bogus.

      And you say these things and, yet, you have no coherent explanation for your own existence. Something to think about.

      Your statement may have been relevant hundreds of years ago when ancient people believed the foul weather and the sun rising in the sky was attributed to God,

      Now you’re just appealing to the silly “god of the gaps” argument which is totally irrelevant to any point I’ve made. You should stop trying to knock down your favorite straw man and actually engage in the conversation.

      What may appear invisible physically to us such as gravity, gases, the laws of nature and dark matter can be identified with special properties, whereas none of the invisible gods have any measurable evidence….

      Yet, science believes in multiverses and 11 extra dimensions, etc., and we have absolutely no “measurable evidence” for these things other than mathematics. And we probably never will have any measurable evidence for these things. And, as I’ve said before, I have no reason to doubt these things exist, even though science can provide no empirical evidence for them.

      And why are there laws of nature in the first place, Skyljd? Why should there be any laws at all?

      …apart from what exists as reality in the brains of devoted theists, however science is progressing on that neurological level also.

      And this is a total faith statement. Neuroscience has not made any significant progress in discovering what actually makes for consciousness, intentionality, or sentience. You are confusing these things with brain activity and brain mapping, which they have made a lot of progress on. They have lots of speculation and hypotheses about consciousness, at best. This is just wishful thinking on the part of those devoted to their materialist dogma.

    • …science is progressing on that neurological level also.

      Quite true Sklyjd. In fact, because science is an Open-system of methodological testing, it does continue to improve and become increasingly more accurate, at least as long as there is adequate diversity (the more the better!) of scepticism/scrutiny by qualified Peers. This type of “freedom” does not exist in most religions (a Closed-system) for at least ONE big reason:

      Their belief(s) in and of humanity’s plight. Plain and simple. 😦

      • Mel Wild says:

        Actually, I don’t think this is true at all. Much of real science is stunted by the materialistic dogma held by many scientists and pop science we see on TV. Nothing could be more painfully obvious than in the study of consciousness. I think we would advance much more quickly if we jettisoned our now antiquated view of the mechanized and closed universe of materialism.

        • As I’ve mention, scrutiny, challenges, etc, are all welcomed by qualified Peers. That is the beauty of evolving science. There are many “concepts” of our existence that need to be jettisoned for being so antiquated! It’s a long list. Television Pop-science and other “Pop-ideologies” should ALWAYS be taken with salt, not at face-value. Without specifics Mel, I can agree with you on that because I do indeed see too little application of critical-thinking going on in Pop-culture. One major example will be the phenomena of the Placebo-effect amongst peer-pressure/assimilation within a hyped-up “Performance” in big crowds. Just as you imply, all of our human brains are gullible to specific phenomenons. 😉

  7. Gary says:

    Science does not ask us to have faith that anything is true. Science formulates hypotheses (theories) of what PROBABLY is true. Even the “Law” of gravity is really an hypothesis. There are no infallible truths in science. Everything is open to change due to the discovery of new evidence. If new evidence is discovered that disproves the “Law” of gravity, this “law” will be discarded. Science has no sacred cows.

    As to the origin of our universe, I believe that there is sufficient evidence for intelligent, educated people to believe in the existence of a Creator. I don’t think it is overwhelming evidence, but I think it is good evidence. But why should I believe that the evidence for a Creator is evidence for your god, Yahweh-Jesus?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Gary. You’re right about science and the classic argument for God. We have good reason to believe in both. As far as believing in Jesus in particular, the classical argument I gave is not intended to point to a specific “God,” but to “Prime Mover” that theists call “God.” As far as why Jesus, that’s a different subject that I have covered before and will cover in the future.

      • Gary says:

        Very good. I look forward to your future posts about the evidence for Jesus as the Creator.

        One caveat on the evidence for a Creator: Just because common sense tells you that a universe governed by natural laws must have an intelligent Designer; that something can never come from nothing; does not mean that common sense can’t be wrong. For millennia, humans beings were absolutely certain that the sun revolves around the earth because common sense and our observations of the sun told us that it was the sun moving not us/the earth.

        Our common sense was wrong.

        This is why I encourage people to take a wait and see attitude to the origin of the universe. Wait for more evidence before making a decision. This is why I am an agnostic, and not an atheist. I see no reason to rush to a decision on this issue.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your comments, Gary. On your caveat:

          Just because common sense tells you that a universe governed by natural laws must have an intelligent Designer; that something can never come from nothing; does not mean that common sense can’t be wrong.

          I agree, common sense based on limited experience can be mistaken, but Ptolemaic Geocentrism did not disprove the laws of nature, only our limited perception. Nothing changed about the actual way the universe is constructed according to logic and laws.

          Also, I understand what you’re saying but that wasn’t the argument I made. That would be an argument that a theistic personalist, like William Paley, would’ve made. I’m not saying it’s necessarily wrong, but it’s not the classical argument for “God.” The classical argument is not about the origin of the universe. The universe could be eternal and it wouldn’t matter. It’s saying that there must be a fundamental member that is not dependent upon anything outside of itself for its own continuing existence. This is a matter of logical deduction. The only thing that is in question are the premises. If the premises are valid then the conclusion must necessarily follow, much like when we say 2 + 2 always equals 4. If we cannot trust logical deduction then we cannot trust scientific method either. So, to doubt logical deduction (or math or laws of nature) is a slippery slope toward not being able to discern anything at all.

          That would be my caveat to your caveat. 🙂

    • A good point and comment Gary. Are you familiar with Stephen Hawking’s M-theory? At this point, and correct me if I’m wrong, his M-theory so far cannot be disproven. In his highly acclaimed book, “The Grand Design,” he writes:

      Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going. (p. 180)

      And then later in a 1-on-1 interview he elaborated:

      When people ask me if a God created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang, so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It’s like asking directions to the edge of the earth; The Earth is a sphere; it doesn’t have an edge; so looking for it is a futile exercise.

      With M-theory, something can indeed come from nothing and he shows it to be via Quantum Physics, String Theory, and Multiverse Theory. It is utterly fascinating and I’m very interested to read about the challenges to it all. So far, it has and is standing. 🙂

  8. Gary says:

    I would encourage non-theists to consider the possibility of a Creator and to actually look at the evidence which supports the existence of a Creator with an open mind. I would encourage theists, in our discussion, Christian theists, to look at the evidence for a Creator first and try to identify the Creator based on that evidence, instead of starting with THEIR Creator and working backward.

    Evidence of a Creator:

    1. The orderliness of the natural laws of the universe.
    Our universe does not operate in a random fashion. It is very orderly. Planets follow their orbits according to laws, such as the law of gravity. They do not randomly bounce around in space. We have regular seasons of weather. Water always boils at one set temperature at sea level, etc..

    2. We have never observed something created out of nothing. Everything in our universe has a cause.
    It is just common sense that something bigger than the universe; something outside the universe; was needed to initiate/create the universe.

    So if we are correct that a Creator exists, what is he (she/they/it) like? Here is what I see as the evidence for the character of our Creator *I will use the pronoun “he” for simplicity):

    1. He appears to be emotionally indifferent to the suffering of living organisms.
    Although the origin of the universe has not been proven, we have massive evidence regarding how life on earth has evolved: through a brutal pattern of natural selection and genetic drift. The history of living organisms on our planet has not been pretty. It has been an existence of MASSIVE suffering and pain over millions of years. Our Creator seems indifferent to this suffering. (It is also possible that our Creator no longer exists.)

    2. He appears to be indifferent whether we know his identity.
    A Creator with unlimited supernatural powers could very easily make sure that each and every human being knows who he is and what he is all about. Yet this is not the case in our world. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of different groups of people worshipping a different (alleged) Creator.

    3. He appears to be indifferent to our knowledge of how our universe operates.
    From the very beginning of humanity, the Creator could have provided every human with a guide for how to produce food from the land, how to raise livestock. how to build a shelter/home, proper sanitation, and proper health care. This was not the case. Humans were left to their own devices to discover these things after thousands of years of suffering and struggle.

    This is the evidence for the Creator. Does this Creator sound anything like the Jesus of the Christian Bible?

    Absolutely not.

    Even if Jesus rose from the dead, that only proves that he had supernatural powers. It does not prove that he is the Creator.

  9. Gary says:

    If someone were to ask my advice on debating Christians on their supernatural belief system, I would say the following:

    Concede the existence of a Creator right off the bat.

    If you do not, clever Christian apologists will ensnare you in a morass of philosophical arguments and theory from which you will never escape.  The debate will never end.

    I believe that the philosophical discussion of the origin of the universe and the existence of a Creator serves as a smoke screen, a distraction, from the central claim of Christianity:  that the bloated, brain-dead corpse of a first century peasant from northern Palestine was suddenly reanimated back to life; his human body transformed into the body of a modern day superhero; a superhero body with the power to exit his sealed tomb, walk through locked doors, teleport between cities, and eventually levitate into outer space; a resurrected superhero-like being who currently sits on a golden throne at the edge of the universe where he rules as the all-mighty, omniscient, eternal, King of the Cosmos.

    No amount of philosophy is going to help that claim.

    “But the resurrection proves that Jesus is God.  We have over 500 people who claim to have seen the resurrected body of Jesus!”  Christians will counter.

    Ok.  Let’s concede the resurrection!

    A resurrection does not prove that Jesus is the Creator God!  The earliest Christian writers of the “holy”, “inspired” New Testament never claimed that Jesus raised himself from the dead.  The earliest writers of the New Testament claimed that the Creator (God) raised Jesus from the dead.  The resurrection of Jesus would only prove that the Creator has supernatural powers.  And if we have already conceded that the Creator exists and created the universe using supernatural powers, so what if he occasionally uses his supernatural powers to raise/resurrect people from the dead.

    Did anyone witness the resurrection of Jesus?  Does anyone claim to have watched as the body of Jesus began to breath again and as it was transformed into a superhero body?  No. All we have are claims by a bunch of peasants and one rabbi that he “appeared” to them sometime later.

    But let’s concede that these people really did see the resurrected body of Jesus!  What does that prove?  It proves that the Creator has the power to resurrect people!  It does not prove that Jesus is the Creator.  And for all we know, Jesus isn’t the only person to be resurrected.  There are tens of thousands of missing people whose bodies have never been found.  I challenge Christians to prove that these tens of thousands of missing bodies have not been resurrected by the Creator!

    Where is the body of Amelia Erhart?  Never found!  How do we know that her body was not resurrected by the Creator and that she currently is not sitting on a golden throne on the edge of the universe where she rules as Queen of the Cosmos???

    The resurrection of Jesus in no way proves that he is the Creator.

    “But what about all the fulfilled Old Testament prophesies about Jesus?”

    Says who?  Instead of spending days, months, and years debating these alleged prophesies, let’s take a look at the current standing of experts on these alleged prophesies?  Do we have a consensus among Bible scholars?  No!  A large segment of Bible scholars say that there is not ONE single prophesy about Jesus in the Old Testament.  And it isn’t just liberal and atheist Bible scholars who assert that there are no clear prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament, the unanimous or near unanimous consensus of Jewish Bible scholars say that there are no prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament!  

    And think about this:  When was the last time you read in the Guiness book of world records that the Bible, Old or New, has the highest rate of accurate predictions of the future of any fortune-telling book ever written?  Never.  When was the last time you read in any public university history text book that the Bible, Old or New Testament, has the highest accuracy of any document predicting future events?  Never!  Historians do not buy the (fundamentalist) Judeo-Christian claim that the Bible is full of incredibly accurate tales of fortune telling!

    Why not?  Answer:  Because the predictions have either not been clearly fulfilled, or, they are so vague that they are not considered true predictions.  Christians can jump up and down screaming at the top of their lungs that historians are biased but these are the same historians who believe that Jesus was a real historical person!

    The evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator God is poor, poor, poor.  No amount of philosophical argument is going to change that fact. And because of that, the entire Christian belief system collapses.

    • Mel Wild says:

      No amount of evidence is going to matter if you’re not open to it. Of course, by your standard here we have no reason to believe anything in history.

      • Gary says:

        What is my standard?

        I believe that there is sufficient evidence to believe that:
        -Jesus was a real historical person.
        -Jesus was a apocalyptic preacher.
        -Jesus developed a reputation as a healer and miracle worker.
        -Jesus’ teachings and actions antagonized the Jewish authorities.
        -Jesus was crucified by the Romans.
        -Jesus was buried, quite possibly in the tomb of a member of the Sanhedrin.
        -Jesus’ tomb was found empty.
        -Shortly after his death, some of Jesus’ followers believed that Jesus had appeared to them alive again.
        -I believe that Paul was a real person and is the author of at least seven epistles.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, now you sound like Bart Ehrman. 🙂

          So, your problem is not historical, but with Jesus claiming to be God, or the supernatural in general? And how would Jesus prove Himself to be who He said He was to you?

  10. Gary says:

    I don’t believe it is a matter of the supernatural necessarily but the probability of ANY very rare, very extraordinary event. Let me give you an example:

    A farmer in Nebraska announces to the world tomorrow that while plowing his corn field, he dug up a first century BCE Roman chariot. He does not allege anything supernatural to his find, just the presence of an ancient Roman chariot in his field. How often are first century BCE Roman chariots discovered? I have no idea. But if someone told me that archaeologists had dug up a first century Roman chariot, I would probably believe this claim at face value without asking for any additional evidence…until they told me that the ancient Roman chariot was discovered in the Western Hemisphere, in the middle of North America, in a corn field in Nebraska!

    I would then demand A LOT of evidence. A lot! Even if 5,000 people confirm that this Nebraska farmer really did dig up this ancient Roman chariot, I would still not believe that someone from Antiquity left this object in Nebraska approximately two thousand years ago even if the top investigators can not find any evidence of a hoax or evidence of a recent burial of this artifact.

    So when you tell me that the dead corpse of Jesus was reanimated/resurrected and later levitated into outer space, you are going to have to give me much better evidence than that a group of farmers and fishermen (and one rabbi) saw him alive again in “appearances”.

    But once again, even if Jesus was resurrected, that would in no way prove that he is the Creator.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would then demand A LOT of evidence. A lot! Even if 5,000 people confirm that this Nebraska farmer really did dig up this ancient Roman chariot…

      Okay, but if the farmer didn’t change his testimony even under pain of death, even when he had all his possessions taken from him for believing it, and his life was totally transformed by the experience, then 2,000 years later over 2 billion people still believe him, you would have to consider that there may be more to this than you first thought.

      So when you tell me that the dead corpse of Jesus was reanimated/resurrected and later levitated into outer space…

      Okay, you’ve said this in two comments now. I have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re certainly not talking about a resurrection when you say a dead corpse was reanimated. You’re talking about a resuscitation of some kind not a resurrection. And no one is claiming that Jesus is in outer space. And, even so, if this corpse was walking around (or flying around) it would eventually die again, right? So, why didn’t his enemies ever produce a body? They certainly would’ve if they could’ve. And we’re back to the eye-witnesses being tortured, losing everything, and going to their grave believing what they saw. I would hardly die for something I knew was a lie.

      • Gary says:

        “if the farmer didn’t change his testimony even under pain of death, even when he had all his possessions taken from him for believing it, and his life was totally transformed by the experience…”

        Sincerity of belief and a willingness to die for that belief does not make the belief true. Human beings have often been mistaken about their most cherished beliefs. I believe that the earliest Christians sincerely believed that Jesus had been resurrected and had appeared to them. I don’t believe for a second that they lied about seeing Jesus. They truly believed that they had seen him. The question is: Why did they sincerely believe this? Was it due to a supernatural act of the Creator or was it due to a mistaken human perception, such as a case of mistaken identity (a false sighting), an illusion, a vivid dream, or an altered state of consciousness (ie. an hallucination)?

        ” then 2,000 years later over 2 billion people still believe him, you would have to consider that there may be more to this than you first thought.”

        Almost fourteen hundred years later over 1.5 billion people believe that a man flew on a winged horse to heaven. How much creedence do you give to this very widespread belief?

        “You’re certainly not talking about a resurrection when you say a dead corpse was reanimated. You’re talking about a resuscitation of some kind not a resurrection.”

        I’m not sure which branch of Christianity you profess, but traditional western Christianity believes that life was restored to the original body of Jesus, but at the same time, this human body was transformed into a celestial body with celestial powers. So the human body of Jesus WAS reanimated but it was also transformed. If it had been reanimated but not transformed, it would be a resuscitation. If it had been transformed but not resuscitated, then Jesus human body was simply replaced with a celestial body. The human body never came back to life; the human body did not rise from the dead. You can’t say that Jesus came back from the dead if his original body was not reanimated (the original cells of the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. started functioning again.

        • Gary says:

          Typo: Should be, “If it had been transformed but not reanimated…”

        • Mel Wild says:

          So the human body of Jesus WAS reanimated but it was also transformed. If it had been reanimated but not transformed, it would be a resuscitation. If it had been transformed but not resuscitated, then Jesus human body was simply replaced with a celestial body.

          Okay, now you are giving more information. You just said a “reanimated corpse” before (sounded like you were talking about the Frankenstein monster). I agree with what you said here. Thanks.

      • Gary says:

        “So, why didn’t his enemies ever produce a body? They certainly would’ve if they could’ve.”

        Says who? You are making assumptions based on your unsubstantiated belief that every statement of fact in the Gospels is an historical fact. In this case your statement assumes that the Jewish authorities cared that approximately 120 Galilean peasants (if the author of Acts is correct) believed that their dead leader and messiah claimant was alive again. Maybe they saw this belief and silly and ignorant and chose to ignore it. Now if it was historical fact that thousands and thousands of Jews were converting within the first few months of Jesus’ death, the Jewish authorities probably would have cared. But many scholars are skeptical about these “thousands” of conversions.

        Was Jesus the big deal that the Gospels make him out to be? Maybe, but maybe not. Is it really possible that a Jew rode into Jerusalem during the festival of Passover with the city bursting at the seams with tens of thousands of Jews from all over the world, and great crowds of Jews went into the streets to greet this man as the new king of Israel, the deliver of the nation of Israel from the Roman occupiers, as the Gospel authors state??? Again, most scholars are skeptical.

        I believe the evidence is clear that Jesus lived, Jesus got on the wrong side of the Jews and Romans, and they crucified him. I’m not sure we can confidently say that Jesus was the big shot the Gospels make him out to be. The Jews and the Romans may have seen him as just another in a long line of trouble makers…and squashed him to rid themselves of a minor nuisance.

        “And we’re back to the eye-witnesses being tortured, losing everything, and going to their grave believing what they saw. I would hardly die for something I knew was a lie.”

        You might not die for something that you knew was a lie, but thousands upon thousands of people have died for what they THOUGHT was the truth; what they THOUGHT they had heard; and what they THOUGHT they had seen…but were MISTAKEN!

        Once again, I sincerely believe that the followers of Jesus were sincere, good, pious people who sincerely believed that they had seen Jesus alive again. I simply suspect that there are many more probable explanations for this belief than that a once in history supernatural event occurred. I’m not saying its impossible, only improbable.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Two quick comments and then I’m off to bed.

          First, you are speculating that Jesus’ resurrection didn’t make a stir among the Jews. But we do have evidence that thousands of Jews believed these follower’s testimony 50 days later. And it quickly spread to the gentiles. Again, where is the evidence for his body? Why couldn’t the Jewish leaders stop this cult, like they did every other messiah cult that ended with the death of its leader? They could’ve easily done so by producing the body.

          Second, your comparison doesn’t work. I might sincerely die for what I thought was the truth but it would be faith- based. I wasn’t there. But these people were there. They would know for certain if it was a lie if it was. That’s a completely different situation. No, I don’t buy your argument here. People don’t suffer torture and brutal death when they know for certain that what they’re dying for is a lie.

  11. Gary says:

    “How would Jesus prove Himself to be who He said He was to you?”

    You and I probably disagree about what Jesus said about himself. I personally believe that Jesus believed that he was divine in some sense of that word; that God had given him the power to forgive sins; that at his baptism God the Creator had made him his Son; that he was the messiah, sent to redeem the world from sin, disease, death, etc. I do not believe that the historical Jesus would have claimed to be Yahweh . The Jews would have killed him on the spot if he had. If one reads the Synoptics (leaving out John which was written much later) Jesus never inferred that he was the Creator. Divine, yes. Yahweh, no.

    But that is another topic.

    What you really want to know is what it would take for me to believe what YOU think Jesus said about himself: That he is God; the Creator of the Universe. I would say that I would probably demand to see the same level of evidence that you would demand to believe that Mohammad really did fly on a winged horse to heaven (somewhere in outer space),

    • Mel Wild says:

      I do not believe that the historical Jesus would have claimed to be Yahweh . The Jews would have killed him on the spot if he had. If one reads the Synoptics (leaving out John which was written much later) Jesus never inferred that he was the Creator. Divine, yes. Yahweh, no.

      A couple of responses to this. First, the Jews did try to stone him, throw him off a cliff, and have him executed for claiming to be God’s Son (which to them meant God). Second, why should we eliminate the gospel of John? You’re a bit selective. I mean, I could deny anything by cherry-picking what data I allow. Yes, the text was written later than the others, but the writer quotes a well-known pre-gospel oral creed right in the first chapter that predates all the gospels by decades (many of the first followers couldn’t read anyway). This particular creed is interwoven between his account of John the Baptist (John 1:1-5, 10-14, 16-18). And from this early oral creed we have these words translated into English:

      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 This One was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came-into-being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being which has come-into-being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 DLNT)

      Sounds pretty clear to me. Of course, Jesus Himself is not being quoted, but he is quoted claiming pretty much the same thing in many instances later in the text.

      I personally believe that Jesus believed that he was divine in some sense of that word;

      You mean like a demiurge? A god among the gods? That would be pagan mythology not anything to do with Christology, which also would be blasphemous to the Jewish mindset.

      I would say that I would probably demand to see the same level of evidence that you would demand to believe that Mohammad really did fly on a winged horse to heaven (somewhere in outer space)…

      Ah, the Mohammad on the winged horse thing. I suppose I’ll hear about the flying spaghetti monster next. My question would be, why should I care if Mohammad can fly into the sky on a winged horse into outer space? Good for him. What significance does that have with anything? Nothing personal meant here and I don’t mean to be condescending, but truly this shop-worn response has gone beyond boring for me.

      • Gary says:

        “Yes, the text was written later than the others, but the writer quotes a well-known pre-gospel oral creed right in the first chapter that predates all the gospels by decades (many of the first followers couldn’t read anyway). This particular creed is interwoven between his account of John the Baptist (John 1:1-5, 10-14, 16-18). And from this early oral creed we have these words translated into English.”

        We are going far afield from the original topic, but what the heck.

        Please provide a source which confirms that the majority of NT scholars believes that the author of John is quoting a pre-Synoptic creed. I don’t think you can. I’m sure you can find a few fundamentalist Protestant or evangelical scholars who hold this view but it would definitely be a (small) minority view.

        I agree that the Early Creed in First Corinthians 15 derives from a pre-Gospel, even a pre-Pauline source, but not the first chapter of John.

        Please consider: One can find one or a few outlier scholars who believe anything and everything. I believe that we should stick with majority scholarly opinion or at least a sizable minority opinion.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Please provide a source which confirms that the majority of NT scholars believes that the author of John is quoting a pre-Synoptic creed. I don’t think you can. I’m sure you can find a few fundamentalist Protestant or evangelical scholars who hold this view but it would definitely be a (small) minority view.

          And we will dismiss all atheist or agnostic scholars, and all non-Christian scholars, too, right? After all, if we’re going to eliminate prejudice and bias, we have to eliminate it on both sides.

          The whole “most scholars” thing is another tiresome argument I don’t want to get into here. I will talk to you later. Good night.

      • Gary says:

        Gary: “I personally believe that Jesus believed that he was divine in some sense of that word.”

        Mel: “You mean like a demiurge? A god among the gods? That would be pagan mythology not anything to do with Christology, which also would be blasphemous to the Jewish mindset.”

        In Jewish tradition, the king of Israel was considered “the son of God”, the anointed one. In fact, that is what “messiah” means: the anointed one. So if Jesus was walking around Palestine claiming to be the “messiah”, then every Jew knew that he was claiming to be “an anointed one”, which would mean that he considered himself to be the king (of the soon to be established) new Kingdom of Israel, and therefore, the anointed one, the son of Go, just as King David was the son of God.

        Claiming to be the “anointed one”, the messiah, the future king of Israel, who like Saul, David, Solomon, etc., as king of Israel, is the son of God, was NOT considered a violation of Jewish law. It might have sounded nuts, but it was not a crime. Claiming to be God or to be equal with God would have been a violation of Jewish law.

        What I believe to be the best evidence that Jesus did NOT walk around Palestine claiming that he existed before the world was created, that he was with God in the creation of the universe, that if you see him, you are see the Father, that he is the “I am” is that no where do you find such bold statements of equality with God in the Synoptics. True, one can find passages which infer divinity and you, Mel, would probably even say infer equality with God, but the keyword is INFER. We see none of the bold, outright, unmistakable, very high christological claims in the Synoptics that we see in John. In addition, in Mark, Jesus wants to keep his identity under wraps. He repeatedly tells those who he heals not to identify him, while in John, he is emphasizing his Divinity in practically every pericope!

        • Mel Wild says:

          Another bad argument. They didn’t try to kill or stone a king of Israel for being called the “son of God.” But they did want to kill Jesus for claiming what he claimed.

          Again, you are trying to dismiss anything that doesn’t fit your conclusions. You cherry-pick which gospel accounts are allowed, who said what, so that you can make your claim. Sorry, I don’t buy it.

      • Gary says:

        “Ah, the Mohammad on the winged horse thing. I suppose I’ll hear about the flying spaghetti monster next. My question would be, why should I care if Mohammad can fly into the sky on a winged horse into outer space? Good for him. What significance does that have with anything? Nothing personal meant here and I don’t mean to be condescending, but truly this shop-worn response has gone beyond boring for me.”

        Ditto your resurrected corpse story.

        You see, Mel, your resurrected corpse story is very believable to you, but to me, it is just as preposterous as a flying prophet story or a flying spaghetti story. Could any of these claims be possible? Sure! ANYTHING is possible in a worldview where we allow for the possibility of anything happening. The question we each have to ask ourselves is this: Based on cumulative human history, how probable is this claim to be true? If it has never happened before or since, then this one very rare, extraordinary event probably did not happen. We cannot prove for sure that it didn’t, but its probability is so low that we can ignore it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Based on cumulative human history, how probable is this claim to be true? If it has never happened before or since, then this one very rare, extraordinary event probably did not happen.

          Again, you must follow Ehrman a lot, or just restating Hume’s argument. And neither believes in miracles. But like Ehrman’s predecessor, Hume, the argument fails because of it’s circular reasoning. First, we do not have anywhere close to what we can call “accumulated history,” or all human experience, to prove that miracles cannot happen. That’s just a speculative faith statement based on a very limited perspective from someone who is prejudiced against it. And, besides, the event only needed to happen once to be true. We’re not talking about a natural regularity or law of nature here. And we do have the kind of accumulative circumstantial evidence that would stand up in court that it probably did happen and, as you said, you will never be able to prove that it didn’t happen.

          Speaking of resurrections, what’s funny about Ehrman bringing up this argument is that Hume was debunked over a couple hundred years ago by philosophers who came after him. So, now we see this philosophical “corpse” alive again in popular skepticism. I did a post on his fallacious argumentation here: “Why Hume was certainly wrong about miracles.”

          Again, you are just repeating Ehrman when he says that the probability is low so we can ignore it, which is a fallacious conclusion. A category mistake. There are a lot of historical events that happened once in history. Sure, we can ignore singular events if we want, but that doesn’t make it a valid point. I think G.K. Chesterton said it best about this prejudice:

          “Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.” (Chesterton, “Orthodoxy,” p. 278-279)

  12. I get what you’re saying about belief and trust, but I don’t think the wheelbarrow analogy holds up here. Blondin had proved to his audience that he could do it, and they could SEE what he had done. With God though, many claims are made about his existence, and we’re told to trust him but without the same level of concrete evidence that Blondin has provided. Why should we believe in the Christian God, as opposed to some other Hindu God? Stories on their own aren’t generally counted as proof.

    You make the claim (like many Christians) that we as unbelievers don’t want to believe, but in many cases that couldn’t be further from the truth. I used to be a Christian and in many ways I WISH God were real, but my personal experiences and what I have learnt suggest to me that the Christian God isn’t real (in my opinion, of course).

    Anyways, I don’t mean to be harsh or attack you or anything like that, just to show you a perspective from ‘the other side of the fence’ as it were. Have a good day.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I understand what you’re trying to say about the wheelbarrow story, but if they saw him do it (had physical evidence) why didn’t anyone take him up on it? I personally don’t think the problem is physical or empirical evidence. We have no trouble believing a lot of things without evidence. It’s more a matter of trust.

      You said you used to be a Christian. Then you know about how Jesus gave a parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16). The rich man begged Abraham to go tell his family. But he said if they didn’t believe the testimony of Moses and Abraham they would not believe even if someone were to be raised from the dead.

      You make the claim (like many Christians) that we as unbelievers don’t want to believe, but in many cases that couldn’t be further from the truth. I used to be a Christian and in many ways I WISH God were real, but my personal experiences and what I have learnt suggest to me that the Christian God isn’t real (in my opinion, of course).

      I understand what you’re saying here, too, and I also understand that faith isn’t easy for some. So thanks for pointing that out. I sincerely hope you find what you’re looking for.

  13. Gary says:

    Let’s get back to the topic at hand: Even if Jesus was resurrected, that does not prove he is the Creator. It only proves that the Creator performs supernatural acts from time to time. Just because (you believe) that Jesus claimed to be the Creator doesn’t mean he was. You cannot prove that Jesus is the only person whom the Creator has resurrected. You cannot prove that Jesus was not just a man whom the Creator, for some unknown reason, granted a resurrection.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You cannot prove that Jesus was not just a man whom the Creator, for some unknown reason, granted a resurrection.

      Of course, I can’t prove it, and you cannot disprove it. And there are a lot of other historical events we will never prove that we believe. And we cannot prove dimensions outside of space and time, or multiverses, or why gravity exists, but we can believe in them. And this all gets back to the subject of my post. It’s a matter of faith and trust. But our faith is not without evidence and reason and an ontological and theological foundation. And my everyday relationship to Jesus is far more tangible than a lot of things I believe about this world we live in. And that’s true for many millions of other people. You can dismiss it if you want. It doesn’t really matter.

      So, we can agree to disagree.

      • Gary says:

        Exactly!

        I never claimed that your belief system has ZERO evidence, just that it is poor.

        No one asks readers of a history textbook to have “trust and faith” that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. You are asked to evaluate the evidence and either trust or not trust the evidence.

        Christians ask non-believers to exercise faith (hoping for things not seen, according to the apostle Paul) to believe the Christian very extra-ordinary claims. The request for the non-believer to exercise faith is a tell that the evidence for the Christian extra-ordinary claims is weak.

        But none of this matters in regards to our original point of discussion. Even if Jesus claimed to be God and even if he were resurrected from the dead, that in no way proves that he is the Creator. In fact, the earliest writers of the New Testament clearly indicate that Jesus was NOT the Creator: the earliest Christian authors of the New Testament state that Jesus “was raised” from the dead. That “God raised him from the dead”. They never claim that Jesus raised himself from the dead. This is clear evidence that even the early Christians did not consider Jesus the Creator.

        The resurrection of Jesus does NOT prove that Jesus is the Creator. It only proves that the Creator at times performs supernatural acts. And you cannot prove that other humans have not been resurrected. For all we know, thousands of people in human history have been resurrected by the Creator.

        You can spend hours and hours demonstrating with intricate philosophical arguments that the Creator exists, but if you do not have better evidence than the Resurrection for your claim that Jesus is the Creator, your entire Christian belief system collapses.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You can spend hours and hours demonstrating with intricate philosophical arguments that the Creator exists, but if you do not have better evidence than the Resurrection for your claim that Jesus is the Creator, your entire Christian belief system collapses.

          Or not. And you can spend hours and hours on Christian blogs and prove nothing at all. So, there we are.

  14. Gary says:

    The reason I do spend hours on Christian blogs is that I am involved in what I believe to be one of the greatest and most important movements in the history of humankind: the debunking of religious superstitions, the cause of so much hatred, sectarianism, and violence in the world.

    You see, Mel, the possible existence of a supernatural Creator in no way translates to evidence that the supernatural operates in our universe. The seeming inviolability of the laws of nature is strong evidence that the Creator, if one exists, dictated that the supernatural would not operate in our universe.

    Millions and millions of humans can claim that they have experienced a “miracle”, a supernatural act, but millions and millions of humans at one time were absolutely certain that they regularly witnessed the sun revolve around the earth. The “millions” have frequently been wrong.

    Free yourself from the superstitions of ancient Bronze Age peoples, Mel. Yahweh does not exist. Jesus was just a man; a good man, but just a man nonetheless. The supernatural does not operate in our world.

    • Mel Wild says:

      The reason I do spend hours on Christian blogs is that I am involved in what I believe to be one of the greatest and most important movements in the history of humankind: the debunking of religious superstitions, the cause of so much hatred, sectarianism, and violence in the world.

      Which is a faith-based hope based on the silly superstitions of materialists. Well, prepare for great disappointment. And you’re certainly wasting your time here.

      • Gary says:

        One last comment:

        Mel, I would strongly encourage you to read two small books:

        1. “The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus” by NT scholar Raymond Brown, who every much believed in the supernatural and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
        2. “Why Evolution is True” by biologist Jerry Coyne.

        I think you will find them absolutely fascinating if not life changing.

        Peace to you.

        🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks. I’m familiar with Coyne but not Brown. But I am familiar with a lot of the Johannine speculations and theories.

          Keep in mind, there are NT scholars that might be great textual critics (like Ehrman) but it doesn’t mean that they have an equally good grasp of the context or content that’s actually written (the theology and philosophy). And none of them enter into it without some bias.

          And I think you would benefit from David Bentley Hart’s book, “Experience of God.” It’s not about the resurrection, but it gives a well-formed argument for the basis of our beliefs.

          Peace to you as well.

      • That’s a matter of perspective and personal opinion Mel… yours, to be precise.

        I know, I know… you disagree. 🙄 Just pointing out the obvious. 😉

        Have a good day and weekend.

    • The reason I do spend hours on Christian blogs is that I am involved in what I believe to be one of the greatest and most important movements in the history of humankind: the debunking of religious superstitions, the cause of so much hatred, sectarianism, and violence in the world.

      Gary, I applaude you and wish you continued success! Please know that you are CERTAINLY not alone — your/our numbers are growing! The thing for me personally is that I have found so much more in life to enjoy and pursue — since being a former Fundy-Christian, graduate of seminary, missionary on many continents, church staff/deacon, etc, etc. — that I must pick-n-choose reasonable battles to wage with grossly antiquated belief-systems you’re referring to here. This wonderful life is way too short to waste on hardline/hardcore zealots. And besides, according to many studies & census data, most religious people only choose their beliefs for two reasons:

      1. Their birth place/parents and family/community (belonging)
      2. They ask “Will this faith/social/church decision hurt me or help me in my foreseeable future?

      Both are very self-centered, temporally trendy, and not based on any objective truths or probabilities. HAH! That’s the irony.

      Anyway Gary, keep up the great work Sir!

  15. grogalot says:

    Well, I thought I would never get to the end of the comments… Finally! Certainly God exists, or not, between the ears of humans. My question: Do humans have two “lives” or just the one, which is allotted to all other living creatures (God’s own creation) on earth. To me, it is delusional, a form of mental illness, which the monotheists have been scammed into believing that humans are a special species. Common sense guys, everything dies. GROG

    • sklyjd says:

      I agree that all gods, demons, devils, Satanic deities, angels etc. Exist only in the believers’ brain. Neuroscience has compelling evidence already and Kathleen Taylor, a researcher at the University of Oxford says we may learn so much about the neural basis of fundamentalism that they can cure people of it.

      I believe if this were true many people would still find reason to believe there is a god creator.

      • RE: your last sentence sklyjd, when confronted with overwhelming evidence, fact, and cumulative consensus — e.g. the Moon landings, Heliocentricity, the true age of Earth, our Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe/Cosmos, the Holocaust, the precision of high-level mathematics such as linear algrebra, eigenvectors, eigenvalues, and differential equations to name just four — you are correct. Because they do not or will not understand it (pride?), they will STILL find reasons to stay in the frying pan as that frog. 😉

      • grogalot says:

        sklyjd We want to believe in magic. My point is, if all life forms on earth are related, which we know they are,then it follows that humans have only one life, die like everything else, and there is no resurrection and no heaven. What has happened is people have been fooled, deluded, and dream-wished into believing that humans are special. The myth of God has become normalized to the point that it is okay for these believers to talk in public about their fantasy world of the hereafter and the path to glory and truth and purity. They are shizotypal and have two lives, but one is just a dream.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Neuroscience has compelling evidence already and Kathleen Taylor, a researcher at the University of Oxford says we may learn so much about the neural basis of fundamentalism that they can cure people of it.

        Wow, not too egotistical and insulting are you. A bit scary actually. But Hitler would be proud of you. I’m sure we can bring eugenics back and weed out the undesirables.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for straightening us all out. But your worldview is a bit depressing. No thanks.

      • grogalot says:

        You are welcome Mel. Does the eternal soul go to hell if the sinner is sent there? What did you look like before you were born? It seems the believers can make up any story they please as God is all powerful. Why do believers think they are so special as to have a second, eternal life? Ah, they were created by God. That answers everything. Are you depressed by a life without the dream of heaven?

  16. Scottie says:

    Hello Mel. Do you give equal evidential weight to a scientific hypothesis backed up by mathematicals and philosophical logical deduction arguments? If not, which one gets more authority / evidence from you. I can not see the two as equal. IMO, one is an idea based on the science that came before it and backed up by the math, the other is a thought exercise that can not be proved or disproved. Both have parameters but the science one has prior science and math as a starting point while the logical deduction argument is entirely a mind thought puzzle. Thanks. Hug

    • Good question Scottie. I imagine the answer will be HEAVY in ontology. 😉 But of course I could be totally wrong or partially wrong. LOL

      • Mel Wild says:

        I imagine the answer will be HEAVY in ontology. 😉

        Of course, if one’s ontology is incoherent they would want to be dismissive about it. 🙂

        • Perhaps. Incoherency can wear many masks, and have many microphones or bull-horns. On the other side, “coherency” can too. Just take for example blood-letting to remove disease or that the Earth was flat; both appeared to be coherent and true for a long, long time. It would seem that coherency & incoherency depends on the observer(s). Fortunately, a way to hedge against this imperfection and fallacy is to TEST from a wide-range of DIVERSE observations to get closer to high probability. 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          Perhaps. Incoherency can wear many masks, and have many microphones or bull-horns. On the other side, “coherency” can too.

          It depends on what you’re talking about. In this case it’s not a matter of “appearing coherent.” It’s a matter of logical deduction. So, when I say “ontologically incoherent” (in this particular case), I mean like someone trying to say that 2 + 2 equals 5. Or, saying it’s just opinion and no one can really know the answer to 2 + 2. No, we can prove it’s logically incoherent. Testing and knowing more about the universe won’t make 2 + 2 equal 5, and it won’t make a difference here.

          And let me be clear. There are a lot of things that we cannot prove and must agree to disagree because they are rather subjective. But this is not one of those cases. This is what I don’t think you understand.

          So, sorry, your response is just a smokescreen, I’m afraid. You can’t just confuse this particular issue with fuzzy subjectivism.

        • I’ll make this simple for you Mel. Please TRY your best to understand other variant viewpoints than your own. Please TRY to suspend (temporarily?) your personal bias for a moment for the benefit of knowledge and ignorance for any readers here. I hope you can.

          If I am confusing your issue of Faith and Trust by simply conceding that it is different for every single person, every single culture, every single continent, that there is not even one single definition of “Faith” or “Trust”… as in YOUR description here on this blog-post… then PLEASE show me, Scottie, and everyone else how YOUR personal viewpoint is unanimous and identical — showing “non-subjectivism” — around the world among agreed scholars AND MORE SO among Christendom? Prove your personal viewpoint as the one and only perfect perspective in history, now, and on this planet. Bust a move my friendly Brainiac. You might even become the Pope or higher. 😉

        • Mel Wild says:

          See, you’re just confusing the issue again. I wasn’t talking about faith and trust when I say something is ontologically incoherent. Ontological incoherence was the subject of this thread, which was my comment that you were responding to.

          But, of course, I agree with you if we’re talking about faith and trust. That is a different subject, and was the subject and point of my post.

        • “Confusing” to you Mel. And I seriously doubt for you that faith and trust are a different or independent subject (this post) from ontology.

          Nevertheless, you are still not understanding my point. Do you realize that there are more than one method, one way to interpret, to perceive the nature of existence BEYOND ontology? That there is not one way, one philosophical discipline, and not just Melvin Wild’s ways? And I wasn’t trying to contrast ontological incoherence or coherence when I mentioned it to Scottie. However, based upon your recent blogs and comments I anticipated your answer to him would be heavily ontological. I was indeed insinuating that you can get tunnel-vision, for example, and strictly obsessed by ontology. But replying to you I was simply pointing out the differences of incoherence and coherence relative to (as I previously mentioned) an observer and THEIR OWN biases. What you define as “fuzzy,” many others would define as obvious when observing and actually talking to… let’s say 10,000 various people (just like yourself) on other continents in other cultures NOT IDENTICAL to you Mel.

          So is it safe to assume that you are NOT going to “prove your personal viewpoint as the one and only perfect perspective in history, now, and on this planet”? That you have the one and only key (and brain?) to all truth, all answers and perfect rebuttals, perception, and interpretation of all knowledge and life? 🤭

          And also, don’t forget that 2,000 year old orthodoxy and social coersion does not prove truth. Surely you agree with this when you consider the history and current state of Muslim natons/cultures and that orthodoxy.

        • Mel Wild says:

          “Confusing” to you Mel. And I seriously doubt for you that faith and trust are a different or independent subject (this post) from ontology.

          No, I’m not confused at all about what you’re doing. You are confusing the issue by changing the subject. Faith and trust have nothing to do with logical deduction. The point was you said the following:

          I imagine the answer will be HEAVY in ontology.

          To which I answered:

          Of course, if one’s ontology is incoherent they would want to be dismissive about it.

          From there you tried to dismiss my point by NOT addressing ontology at all, but to bring up a whole range of OTHER things that people believe and have different viewpoints on, which I fully understand but it was NOT the point at all.

          Again, my ontological argument was a matter of logical deduction, not faith-based or a pretext to shoehorn in religion. And it also shows that a non-theist view is incoherent (or non-existent). This is a logical fact, not a religious point of view. You apparently don’t want to admit that, which you have a right to do. But understand then that when one tries to be dismissive about ontology it’s like saying the foundation of a house is not important. Let’s worry about the paint colors and carpeting. This is why ontology is important, regardless of whether one is theist or not. And naturalists or materialists have no coherent ontology. That is the point, not whether we have various views that we can temporarily suspend judgment on other things that are more subjective (which I agree with).

          Let me say this as respectfully as I can. These conversations would be less annoying and more productive if people would just acknowledge when someone has a valid point, and stop changing the subject to something they think they have a better argument for. I rarely see that (there are a few exceptions) from anti-Christians who come here.

          And also, don’t forget that 2,000 year old orthodoxy and social coersion does not prove truth.

          Of course, I do agree with this. But that’s a straw man here and, again, was never the point. The point is, logical deduction is timeless, like mathematics, regardless of where its’ applied, and if the premises are valid, the conclusion does prove truth. What it looks like to me is this: to bring up other things is just a smokescreen to obfuscate the rather large ontological elephant in the room here. 🙂

        • Nan says:

          I’m sorry, Mel, but I just couldn’t resist … These conversations would be less annoying and more productive if people would just acknowledge when someone has a valid point

          Works both ways … 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, Nan, that’s a given. And when someone shows me something logically valid (not just an opinion or perspective), I have acknowledged that point. I also acknowledge when I’m wrong about what I thought was their point or even when they bring up the shop-worn list of “Christian” atrocities in history. I agree with them. But I expect the same from them when the shoe’s on the other foot, not just changing the subject.

          I speak in general now, and not necessarily about this particular conversation with Professor Taboo, but honest conversation is rarely the case with some anti-Christian commenters who come here. In fact, some will change the subject when they can’t converse on it and then accuse me of not answering their question, which is quite immature and annoying. Some even accuse me of lying, which is totally unsubstantiated with any facts. It’s just plain childish. Why is this so hard for them to admit anything? They would have more credibility and would maybe even be listened to if they did.

        • Works both ways …

          Exactly what I’ve been implicitly and explicitly telling him Nan for quite sometime. But he ALWAYS has an irrefutable answer/retort. It makes one wonder WHY he has his comment section open at all for exchanges and dialogue. Why do we even bother? LOL 🙄🤭

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, not in this case. Again, you’re missing the point. YES, yes, yes, many things are subjective and we cannot be sure, but logical deduction does not “work both ways.” It’s either true or it’s false. 2 + 2 will never equal 5. And it doesn’t matter what your opinion or viewpoint is on it.

          So, I also wonder why I even bother trying to explain this to you. 🙄 🙂

        • I believe you meant to say…

          And it doesn’t matter what your or anyone else’s opinion or viewpoint is on anything I say. Comments here are only for people who agree with me and give me hugs.

          😜 I’ll give you this Mel, you have made me chuckle and roll my eyes everywhere. Hope I’ve done the same for you. (surely he’ll agree with THAT!) HAH!!! 😆

        • Mel Wild says:

          I believe you meant to say…
          “And it doesn’t matter what your or anyone else’s opinion or viewpoint is on anything I say. Comments here are only for people who agree with me and give me hugs.”

          I’ll give you this Mel, you have made me chuckle and roll my eyes everywhere. Hope I’ve done the same for you. (surely he’ll agree with THAT!) HAH!!! 😆

          No, I would not have said your “quote” at all. Of course, you are free to believe whatever you want. But don’t come here and put words in my mouth and pat me on the head and dismiss me when I challenge your misrepresentation of my point. And acknowledging valid points goes a long way toward meaningful conversation. Respect should go both ways. I think you would agree with that.

        • LOL… timeout Mel. Relax. 😄

          You missed my emojis which indicated my satire, my liberal license to obviously embellish (a bit) your comments/replies and characterizations of MY words/comments during our tense(?) 😉 disagreements and gangling discernments of what was being said and/or suggested. This last comment above, did you not see or misunderstand their implied meaning? I was not being totally serious — which was also implied by my opening statemen and subsequent emoji: “I believe you meant to say… 😜”

          Humor/satire can go both ways. It’s often needed in such a stuffy serious world. I think you would agree with that. 🤭

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay. It was not clear, or at least seemed to have some underlying insinuation. I agree. Satire can go both ways.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hello Mel. Do you give equal evidential weight to a scientific hypothesis backed up by mathematicals and philosophical logical deduction arguments?

      Hi Scottie. Both are useful if used properly. For instance, if I want to know something about how the cosmos works (regularities, laws of nature) I would look to scientific hypotheses backed by mathematics. But if we are talking about something that necessarily leads to where science cannot answer the question, we must turn to metaphysics and the mathematics and logic involved there. Science cannot answer those questions.

      The problem I see happening today is that some hypotheses are not based in pure science but in trying to prove a materialist dogma. This is when science turns into scientism, doing the very same thing that Fundamentalists are accused of doing with their arguments for God. Actually, it’s really just fundamentalist scientism. This is when Science becomes a religion rather than a methodology.

      • Scottie says:

        Thank you Mel. I know tomorrow is your church day so I understand if you don’t get back to this for a while. I was wondering one thing in your reply, and it was when you were talking of turning to metaphysics. You mentioned mathematics along with logic. The logic part I can understand as the whole thing we are talking is a logical deduction, where one thing follows logically to another. But I am not aware mathematics has anything to do with that. I don’t understand how math is part of the deductive reasoning part. It seems like adding apples and oranges, or adding a bit of science to the non-science to get a half science answer. Did I miss something? Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          My short answer, Scottie, is that logic is mathematical by nature. For instance, an equation in logic: if P then Q; if not P then not Q. There are dozens of other formulations used in logic. So, when metaphysics is using deductive reasoning it is the same thing as mathematical theorems. I hope that answers your question.

        • Scottie says:

          Thanks Mel. I need to think on it. I am having trouble equating the kind of math I understand with the math you are talk about. I guess I was thinking of the long math formulas on chalkboards seen when they are figuring things like planetary gravitational orbits and other stuff I have seen dealing with NASA / jet propulsion labs mars landers videos. Or the computer ones shown. I was not thinking of that math in terms of a logic word deduction puzzle. Guess I will need to study more to reconcile the two. Have a great day. Hugs

        • Scottie, you might be interested in my latest “mathematical” comment/question down at the bottom. Well, actually it isn’t a question, but a proven fact, proven right here on Earth with atomic clocks. 😉

        • Scottie says:

          Thanks Professor I will look it up. Hugs

        • What you’ll want to search for Scottie is “Gravitational Time Dilation.” 🙂

          2 (mins) + 2 (mins) = 4 (mins) in some locations, but it does not equal 4 (mins) in other locations. The point being that some/many things which seem “absolute” to us here or to one observer/measurer here, is not necessarily the same things somewhere else… and gravitational forces are typically one reason that is so.

          If you’d like a video-link explaining Gravitational Time Dilation on measurement(s), then let me know.

        • Scottie says:

          I watched a couple already. Maybe not as scientific as some, but they showed a person jumping from a really tall point and the time difference between the jumper and the time difference at the ground. I seen an animation on speed relativity using a rocket and two people, one in the rocket and one outside it. I know what you are saying is true. I am now thinking that really smart people like Hawkings did not see the need in their figuring for a god fully actuated prime mover. In fact from what you and John have wrote, ( the small part I understood ) they say the whole beginning of inflation would be a normal natural part of having a universe or the type of existence we have now.

          What I am really trying to wrap my head around is why a logical deduction should be considered proof of something tangible. I have seen a video of Matt Dillahunty showing how a logic deduction can be wrong based on false premise. If you put in a wrong presupposition, the answer you get following the deduction is wrong also.

          So while I admit I do not understand all the steps Mel is taking, I just can’t seem to get my mind around the path he takes to the result of a deity prime mover. But I am ok with saying I simply don’t know. I do not know yet what came before the inflation event. I do not see evidence of a deity, but I can’t say with any degree of certainty that it was done by cause A , cause B, or whatever. If smarter people than me, who spend their lives searching and discovering these things have not come to a conclusion, I will have to be content to wait until they do. I can not seem to follow Mel’s reasoning so I can not explain where I would disagree with it. The part I disagree with is the part that comes up with a deity instead of a natural law or reason. It is not Mel’s fault I can not follow his step by step deductions as he has explained them many times here and on other posts. So I will simply say I just don’t know, and I wait for more information. Hugs and loves to all, also thanks to everyone for trying hard to teach me. Scottie

        • Nan says:

          Scottie, I think you summed it up well with this statement … If smarter people than me, who spend their lives searching and discovering these things have not come to a conclusion …

          No matter what Mel has put forth, it is his opinion/persuasion/conclusion on the things he has read and studied. There are zillions of others (and if I may suggest, far more educated) who devote their entire lives and careers to discovering answers about our place in the universe … and the universe itself. And … as you pointed out … none of them have yet reached a conclusion.

          So don’t ever apologize for your lack of knowledge. The eternal questions have not yet been answered.

        • $$Amen$$ to that Nan! 😉 ❤

        • That’s a fine assessment Scottie, and a humble one too. 😉 You may be further interested in my reply to Mel down below. What I’m trying to coney to him, you, or anyone else here is that Mel’s reasoning, logically deducing, and complex wordy-writing is NOT absolute, not always true, not always entirely false, especially from a Christian theological POV with any past or present constructs that appear to support “Christological theology”… is all STILL limited by time/space to present more balanced information, assertions, or knowledge. In short, Mel and myself would (should?) always readily admit and say:

          Don’t take MY word for all of this. Go do your OWN fair, balanced study and research — if you have the time! LOL 😆

        • Scottie says:

          Thank you Professor. I love reading your comments, they always give me things to think on. Hugs

        • Hahahaha!!! Well, thank you Scottie, but there are plenty of others that would not agree with you and say… “Professor T? OMSS, * he is a babbling idiot that makes my cranium overheat! He’s pure nonsense!” 😉

          * — Oh My Shooting Stars! ☄️

  17. KIA says:

    Ironically, brother mel, I would have titled this post of yours… “The limitless amount of Evidence that Faith Alone allows one to dismiss when one is committed to do so.” The key take away and encouragement from one who no longer ‘knows’ what he thought he did, is to no longer allow any kind of Faith be so central and powerful a motivator that it closes the mind, the door and the heart to actual verifiable evidence to the contrary.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Of course, we have to define what we mean by “evidence,” but I would say exactly the same thing to those who are so closed-minded to anything outside of the natural realm that they’re stuck in the dogma of materialism and scientism, even though they think they’re enlightened.

      • KIA says:

        “The dogma of materialism and scientism”

        Amazing. Just amazing the levels of false equivalency you are willing to stoop to brother, to defend the indefensible… you drag science down to the level of religion by the mere assertion that they are one and the same. Amazingly dishonest.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Amazing. Just amazing the levels of false equivalency you are willing to stoop to brother, to defend the indefensible…

          The indefensible? Haha. Thanks for making my point. Sorry, “brother,” that dog just won’t hunt here. I’m not dragging science down to the level of religion at all. I’m dragging scientism and materialism down to the level of a religion, which is when one tries to extend the purview of science to beyond what it’s capable of addressing. When it’s made into a worldview (that science cannot prove) rather than a useful but limited methodology. There is a VAST difference. And, yes, there are many who come here who are rather dogmatic about it. It just seems to me to be the flip side of Christian fundamentalism. They’ve left one form of fundamentalism for another, which is rather ironic to me.

          But go ahead and believe whatever you want.

        • KIA says:

          Sorry pastor Mel, it doesn’t, or should I say shouldn’t, work that way. We don’t, or shouldn’t, just ‘believe what we want to’. We should believe what is true, verified and sufficiently evidenced truth. Faith alone that our beliefs about reality are true is not nearly enough to demonstrate that they are in fact true and in accordance with reality.
          The God of the bible starts with an assertion that must be accepted without verification or even the ability to verify. Thus, this bold assertion, which underpins all else after in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, regardless of all you philosophical and pseudo intellectualism, gives the lie to your claims of the rationalism, the logic, the reasonableness of Christianity… and reminds us that in the ultimate, your foundation is Faith Alone.
          That assertion is “In the beginning God…”. Not just any God, God of the gaps, Spinoza’s God, Aristotle’s God, but the specific God of the Bible.
          This is why you spend so much time “baffling with BS” in order to hide the fact that your faith in the biblical God has at it’s foundation Zero to do with evidence, verifiable demonstration or philosophical gymnastics. This is what makes you dishonest. And hiding it as you do with insults and barrages of sarcastic and sometimes caustic counter attacks makes you less than Christ-like, it makes you more like the Satan you also believe exists but equally have no ability to demonstrate his existence.
          I’m not angry with you or the God of the bible. I should be, but I’m not. I’m angry with what you do here and how you ‘defend’ your faith by the fallacy of equivocation the scientific pursuit of knowledge of how our universe and reality actually works with the Faith in how the Bible tells you that it works, that must believed and not questioned, or be verbally or emotionally abused by ministers and Apologists like you. I’m sure you think you are doing the Work of God, but you may want to reexamine that assumption and it’s effects. -kia

  18. Scottie says:

    Hello again Mel. I have been thinking on what you wrote to me, and reading the comments, then thinking some more, reading more comments. Something you wrote to Professor Taboo when you both were talking with Nan caught my eye. You wrote

    … and if the premises are valid, the conclusion does prove truth.

    That really is the critical point as far as I can see. It is sort of what I think I see some others trying to say, that there is different starting points. You seem to be saying repeatedly that there is only one starting point as I understand your replies. You keep saying that the oncological logical deduction leads to only one point. But if the premise can change , then the place you end up with also must change. If the premise can be different for each person doing the logic deduction then the answer could also be different. That is why I think I have some trouble trying to understand the result you claim must be the end answer, because if the answer depends on a premise then the answer must be able to change. When I was learning computers I was told “what we put in equals what we get out”. So to accept your end answer I must accept your start premise. I have read others claim their start premise is more correct than yours, so now I am thinking I must not look so hard at the end answer but in fact I must look really hard the start premise. As you say 2 + 2 = 4 but never 5. But the math in your logic puzzles come after the start premise. You are stating 2 + 2 = 4 proves the point, but we now have to ask, how did you get the 2 in the first place. The logic deduction may still say + 2 =, but if you change the start number as some other people do, you could get a really different answer than 4 at the end.

    Would I be wrong to say the start point is dependant on if you have a naturalistic or no gods view, versus a religious or theist view? To me that could explain the discrepancies in the results different people are getting and why everyone can claim they are correct in their logical deductions. Just a thought. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      It is sort of what I think I see some others trying to say, that there is different starting points. You seem to be saying repeatedly that there is only one starting point as I understand your replies. You keep saying that the oncological logical deduction leads to only one point.

      Okay, I will try to explain this again. When we say “starting point” we must ask from whose perspective. The classical argument starts from our perspective, things we can observe in everyday life. And when we do this, we observe that everything in nature is in motion (potential to actual). I might’ve had the potential to exist, but I did not exist until my mother birthed me. Also, there is the essence of a thing and its existence. For instance, my essence is that I’m a human being named Mel, and I currently exist on earth. But I don’t have to exist, and I didn’t always exist, so I am a contingent being. In addition, I depend upon outside forces (environment, etc) for my continued existence.

      So, we must logically work through the causal chain, through more fundamental motive forces than the one before it, until we reach a member of the chain that is not in motion (fully actualized, not dependent upon anything else for its own existence). Aristotle called this member Pure Act (fully actualized in every way). Aquinas called it “Subsistent Existence Itself.” This member’s essence (what it is) would necessarily (logically) have to be exactly the same as its existence (that it is). In other words, it can never not exist.

      And if all members in the chain are in motion then everything would necessarily be in a state of potential (because something can only be moved from potential to actual by something already in a state of actuality), which means nothing would exist at all. This is why you cannot have infinite regress in an essentially ordered series. This is simple logical deduction, observing our everyday life in nature.

      So, this argument starts from our everyday experience until it logically and ultimately must reach the Pure Act or Prime Mover. This, we theists call God. So, our conclusion about God is the very last step, not the first one. One, again, made on logical deduction.

  19. Mel,

    Apologies for the long delay of this comment-reply, but I’ve just been too busy the last 2-3 days with other wonderful life activities. Hence, this might seem disjointed here, but oh well, here goes. It is indeed important to mention and contest something YOU feel/think is absolute, always.

    Up above within Scottie’s comment(s) you and I were very briefly discussing ontology, incoherence and coherence. And you wrote:

    …like someone trying to say that 2 + 2 equals 5. Or, saying it’s just opinion and no one can really know the answer to 2 + 2. No, we can prove it’s logically incoherent. Testing and knowing more about the universe won’t make 2 + 2 equal 5.

    If we were to use your implied (logical deductions?) “absolute” increments or measurements of 2, would they be true/consistent if we were measuring minutes, weeks, or months near or within the gravitational sphere-of-influence of a Black Hole? Or yet even here on Earth well below sea-level, at sea-level, or at the highest peak of the highest mountain top where gravity varies at all those levels… would 2-minutes + 2-minutes equal 4-minutes all the time at any one of those altitudes or real close to a Black Hole?

    And full disclosure, those are rhetorical questions demonstrating that 2 + 2 doesn’t always equal 4. 😉

    • Mel Wild says:

      Of course, I used mathematics only as an analogy to logical deduction. But all you are doing here is adding compensating variables, like a black hole or gravitational forces. That’s irrelevant to the argument. You are saying something more like 2t + 2g = x, which is a different equation altogether. The fact still remain, 2 + 2 always equals 4. There is no other answer. Logical deduction works the same way, once we know the premises.

      • (huge exhale and sigh) 😖

        I believe Bertrand Russell, Einstein, Ernst Zermelo & Abraham Fraenkel, recently Noson Yanofsky, and even Xenophanes, along with others, would disagree with your personal fixation on or mastering of absolute logical deducing. Are you familiar with the Barber’s Paradox? Basically, (I’m copying/pasting from my different books) it says there is a statement “S” such that both itself and its negation (not S) are true. The particular statement here is “The set of all sets which are not members of themselves, contains itself” Here is the “logical deduction”:

        1. If S is true, and Q is any other statement, then “S or Q” is clearly true.
        2. Since “not S” is also true, so is “S or Q and not S”.
        3. Therefore Q is true, no matter what it is.

        Hence, once you have a reasoned contradiction — which inside a Universe or Multiverses FULL of paradox is not hard to find — you can prove anything you like, just using the/your rules of logical deduction! My point I’ve been trying to convey, perhaps poorly (because I am imperfect when pressed for time, especially in my grammatical composition 😄 ), is what Yanofsky also says:

        There are inherent limits to logic that can’t be resolved, and they bedevil our minds too.

        Yanofsky is certainly speaking to you and I, Mel. And yet, when it is indeed shown (above) that 2m + 2m can equal 5m sometimes, and other times in different gravitational circumstances it equals 4m…

        I’ve found that no amount of evidence, logic, or reason will convince someone who does not want to believe. And that’s what we must admit to ourselves. — Pastor Melvin Wild

        Then that is the point where one might reach some sort of “Faith with Trust.” BUT what defines that faith/trust cannot be made absolute or certain with 100% cumulative unaninmity. That’s fact. LOL 😉

  20. grogalot says:

    kia God Damn! pardon please. You write beautifully and clearly. That is so well said. It is impossible though, to penetrate the deluded mind of those who believe in salvation, resurrection, and the Holy Shit. Pardon please. GROG

    • KIA says:

      Thank you for the compliments on my writing. Would that all Christians think and reexamine what they believe and why. Recovery Awaits. -kia

      • grogalot says:

        Education is the only way. And it begins with parents. Have you read Sam Harris’s book, The End of Faith? There is a meaningful statement, in the Epilogue, p.224.
        After a bit of thought about why the resurrection delusion occurs, it appears the simple explanation is the belief that human’s are special, so special that there must be an explanation. God steps in, claims responsibility and promises a second life beyond this one. With all the perks, by the way! grog

        • KIA says:

          I have it on the shelf but have not gotten to it yet. I’m currently reading a couple of books right now. Two on apologetics and counter apologetics and a very nice novel on Irish Country life in the 1940s.

      • John Branyan says:

        I hope Grog asks you what you believe now that you’ve reexamined the Christian faith.
        Your responses are always hilarious!

        • KIA says:

          Thx jb. Have a great day.

        • KIA says:

          Is this all just a game for you then John? Either way, I do hope you have a great Monday.

        • John Branyan says:

          And I hope you a Monday full of tortured conviction that shatters your pompous arrogance and leaves you desperately seeking truth instead of blathering about your fictional “recovery”.

        • KIA says:

          Oh, the love of Jesus shines thru you brother. It’s really quite remarkable how like the Christ you serve you are.

        • John Branyan says:

          Thanks.
          I’m curious why you’re so repulsed by the shining love of Jesus. What new, better theology have you found?

        • KIA says:

          I was being ironic. You show no such love at all. Have a great day

        • John Branyan says:

          Oh.
          So you’re NOT repulsed by the shining love of Jesus? Then it’s very odd that you left Christianity.
          I’m sure it would help Grog (who is enamored with your brilliant writing) to explain the new Jesus-free religion that has lead to your recovery.

          (This is where you dodge away and I laugh…)

        • KIA says:

          This is why I blocked you on my blog. Asked and answered, now you’re just picking a fight. I decline.

        • John Branyan says:

          Asked millions of times.
          Never answered once.
          Nice dodge though!
          LOL!

        • KIA says:

          Again, I blocked you because of exactly this kind of tactic. You’re abusive.

        • John Branyan says:

          I know. Asking you questions is “abusive”.
          I hope Grog keeps up his gentle flattery lest he injure you with inquiry.
          Recovery awaits!
          LOL!

        • That goes for several others too. BrainYawn has nothing intelligent to say or contribute. Well, exception…

          …to parrot others he agrees with and they with him. Toss him a cracker once a month or two. LOL 🤪😝

        • John Branyan says:

          To be fair, though, you’re right about one thing. This is EXACTLY why you blocked me on your blog.
          You don’t tolerate questions about your beliefs.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Hey John. The shining loving Jesus also called the Pharisees who rejected Him a brood of vipers, empty tombs, fools, blind guides, and sons of the devil. Perhaps, you might’ve been a bit too gracious in response to his snide and sanctimonious mockery. Just a thought…since we’re appealing to the Bible.

        • John Branyan says:

          Mike’s stubborn pride is the root of his problem. He’s no different than anyone else in this. He is the fool who thinks himself wise. I have people just like him in my own family.

          The kindest, most Christlike thing I can do is tell the foolish rebel the truth. An angry response is normally what happens. That’s when a wise person would ask, “Why am I so upset by this?” and the Holy Spirit starts to soften the heart. As long as Mike preaches “recovery awaits” from the pits of his dark heart, he is doomed.

        • sklyjd says:

          “The kindest, most Christlike thing I can do is tell the foolish rebel the truth.”

          Indoctrinated, brainwashed truth would be far more accurate. You are under a type of hypnosis and you do not even realise it. Here is your chance to understand.

          https://michaelsherlockauthor.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/the-church-hypnotic-manipulation-sunday-morning-hypnosis/

          So be more considerate of your own situation before you call people foolish.

        • John Branyan says:

          “So be more considerate of your own situation before you call people foolish.”

          Right back at ya!

  21. grogalot says:

    How about Christopher Hitchens? Ireland during the war must have been lovely.

  22. GREAT article. We are told to spread the gospel, and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting ❤️

  23. Trust is such a big thing!! I think we can always get better at it, starting small and letting it grow.

  24. Pingback: Can you discern factual from opinion statements? | In My Father's House

  25. Pingback: Two kinds of doubts | In My Father's House

  26. That was good, Pastor Mel.

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