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Mrs Jono
11-07-2012, 03:18 PM
— followers of denominations of Christianity in conflict with his own are not Christians
Definitely not me.

Wow, so not Jono at all! Jono has written counterpoint against that in his articles and books, even.

Rincewind
11-07-2012, 03:39 PM
Definitely not me.

Didn't you say of Bishop Spong,

"it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ."

Capablanca-Fan
11-07-2012, 04:09 PM
Didn't you say of Bishop Spong,

"it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ."
Yes, and he really is not a Christian. But this is different from rr's claim, which as Mrs said, is easily disproven from my books and articles.

Rincewind
11-07-2012, 04:26 PM
Yes, and he really is not a Christian. But this is different from rr's claim, which as Mrs said, is easily disproven from my books and articles.

So Bishops from other denominations can be called non-Christian because they disagree with you? That is not all that different from RR's claim since you could call liberal American Episcopals as following the teaching of Spong to some significant degree and you would also call them non-Christians for the same reasons.

Mrs Jono
11-07-2012, 07:06 PM
So Bishops from other denominations can be called non-Christian because they disagree with you? That is not all that different from RR's claim since you could call liberal American Episcopals as following the teaching of Spong to some significant degree and you would also call them non-Christians for the same reasons.

Your question would be like asking "So atheists who believe Jesus Christ is their Saviour cannot be called atheists because they disagree with you?" :eh:

And the rest of what you said just does not follow.

Rincewind
11-07-2012, 08:02 PM
Your question would be like asking "So atheists who believe Jesus Christ is their Saviour cannot be called atheists because they disagree with you?" :eh:

I'm afraid you are quite incorrect.

The point of Jono calling certain people (like retired Bishop Spong, et al) non-Christian is that by the generally applied definition they are Christian. Jono by applying a much stricter definition is only allowing the imprimatur of "Christian" to those people who he feels are sufficiently well-aligned with his particular theological position and others are distanced as "call themselves Christians" or more pejorative phrases like "absurd to claim to be a Christian", etc.

In the case of atheist the accepted definition is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods. I'm quite happy for anyone without a belief in god(s) to adopt the term including the atheist religious like some mainstream forms of Buddhism and what I would call the completely fringe Raëlianism.

The salient point being that they don't have to agree with my particular form of atheism to be accurately termed an atheist but they do have to conform to a sensible and widely accepted definition of the term.

I can't see that a person who accepts Jesus Christ as their Saviour (in other than a banal sense) can be, by any reasonable definition, termed an "atheist". But I'm happy for you to try and persuade me otherwise.

And the rest of what you said just does not follow.

Desmond
11-07-2012, 08:49 PM
Wow, so not Jono at all! Jono has written counterpoint against that in his articles and books, even.I think you have some catching up to do (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=9320).

Capablanca-Fan
11-07-2012, 10:22 PM
I think you have some catching up to do (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=9320).
That thread proves Mrs' point :wall: :wall: :wall:

Capablanca-Fan
11-07-2012, 10:29 PM
The point of Jono calling certain people (like retired Bishop Spong, et al) non-Christian is that by the generally applied definition they are Christian.
Not at all. Spong doesn't even believe in God, the Resurrection and Virginal Conception of Christ, or any of the foundational doctrines of Christianity. It would be like a Marxist defending the virtues of private property and free enterprise.

Within the set of basic Christian beliefs, there is a lot of leeway, hence many genuinely Christian denominations.

I'm hardly going to let an atheopath like RW tell me who I can regard as a fellow Christians.

Goughfather
11-07-2012, 10:43 PM
I'm hardly going to let an atheopath like RW tell me who I can regard as a fellow Christians.

This assumes that you may be regarded as a Christian in the first place.

Rincewind
11-07-2012, 11:10 PM
Not at all. Spong doesn't even believe in God, the Resurrection and Virginal Conception of Christ, or any of the foundational doctrines of Christianity.

You are being pretty uncharitable with Spong here. While Spong does not believe (say) in the literal biological reality of a virginal birth, that is not the same thing as say he does not believe in the virginal birth as a principle of faith signifying the difference between Jesus and ordinary people.

Likewise when you say he doesn't even believe in God, again you are making an false characterisation. He disagrees with your characterisation of god (considering as he does as based on barbaric legends and folklore) but he is still a believer of his understanding of the Christian god. Otherwise his statement that "a new way must be found to talk about God" makes no sense.

And similar arguments apply for the resurrection which he terms an action of a god rather than the physical resuscitation of a human. So he believes in the resurrection but not necessarily in a biological literal sense.

Sure there are many people who disagree with him and lots of them are no doubt Anglicans (like Dr Rowan Williams) but you can't say that he is not Christian when he is a theist, follower of Christ and the gospels and is earnestly trying to understand the nature of the divine and his relationship with it.

The point of all this is that there are generally accepted terms of reference for what constitutes a Christian. While perhaps sailing close to the breeze, Spong would still be called Christian by a dispassionate observer. The motivation you have in calling him non-Christian is whole because you consider yourself a Christian and you feel that Spong brings down the tone of the neighbourhood. That is simply bigotry as per your definition above.

Rincewind
11-07-2012, 11:45 PM
I'm hardly going to let an atheopath like RW tell me who I can regard as a fellow Christians.

Sounds to me like you are a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 05:06 AM
I'm afraid you are quite incorrect.

The point of Jono calling certain people (like retired Bishop Spong, et al) non-Christian is that by the generally applied definition they are Christian.

No. Like my atheist example, it is by the very definition of Christianity that proves not all who profess to be Christian are in fact Christians. Even you used the qualifier banal in your reply.

Since it appears to me that you would most likely dismiss my fellow Christians as bigots, let's look for a moment to a famous atheist, Bertrand Russell, who wrote an essay entitled Why I am not a Christian (http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html).


I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian.

No matter that I disagree with him on other matters, I accept this is a valid point. Good works do not make one a Christian, nor does refusal to accept the most basic tenets that define Christianity.

Russell goes on to say more on the subject (see the link for the full context), but in summary:


I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian.

Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense? Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no.

Does Spong believe in immortality in the Christian sense? His writings point toward the answer being no, but even if I missed something that disagrees with me here, it isn't enough to simply believe in immortality. The ancient Egyptians believed in immortality with their gods, but by no definition can they be called Christian.

So even by Russell's limiting definition, Spong is not a Christian. And even Russell says it is a definition that is effectively redefined from the original meaning:


The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions.

Nowadays it is not quite that. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity.

Why? Why should we agree that the definition should be changed from its original meaning?

Would you allow the redefining of atheist to include those who accept Christ as their Saviour (in the non-banal sense, to agree with you)? I can tell from your previous answer you would not. Does that mean you are exhibiting bigotry for refusing to allow them to be called atheists? I'd say no.


I can't see that a person who accepts Jesus Christ as their Saviour (in other than a banal sense) can be, by any reasonable definition, termed an "atheist".

Exactly.

Jono and I both believe that there are Christians who are inconsistent in their beliefs, but are still Christians. We also believe there are those of whom we can discern are not Christians, based on their opposition to those most basic tenets that define Christianity. If we failed to recoginse those instances, we'd invalidate the term as to make it meaningless.

It's not a case of refusing to eat haggis or wear a kilt; it's a case of having absolutely zero Scot heritage and/or citizenship.

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 05:13 AM
virginal birth

As an aside, virgin birth, no matter how colloquially used, is not the same as virgin conception. :doh:

Not really aimed at you, RW, but I go :wall: when I read them being used interchangeably.

Capablanca-Fan
12-07-2012, 05:43 AM
As an aside, virgin birth, no matter how colloquially used, is not the same as virgin conception. :doh:

Not really aimed at you, RW, but I go :wall: when I read them being used interchangeably.
Indeed, lots of Christians use it, so hard to fault RW, but the Christian doctrine, as Mrs says, is that the conception was miraculous, while the birth was normal. See The Virginal Conception of Christ (http://creation.com/the-virginal-conception-of-christ).

Desmond
12-07-2012, 05:54 AM
Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense? Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no. I don't see what is remarkable about a Christian believing that part of God is always with them, indeed I would be interested to hear how an omnipresent being could not be.

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 06:36 AM
I don't see what is remarkable about a Christian believing that part of God is always with them, indeed I would be interested to hear how an omnipresent being could not be.

Your focus misses "God not separate from us" is the denial of omnipresence (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/omnipresent), by stating He is not a separate being.

In technical terms, omnipresence means God is both immanent (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/immanent) and transcendent (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transcendent); Spong rejects the transcendence part.

Romans 1:25 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201:25&version=NASB) stresses the distinction between Creator and creation.

Desmond
12-07-2012, 06:53 AM
Your focus misses "God not separate from us" is the denial of omnipresence (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/omnipresent), by stating He is not a separate being.

In technical terms, omnipresence means God is both immanent (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/immanent) and transcendent (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transcendent); Spong rejects the transcendence part.I don't think I would draw that conclusion based on the line you quoted; got a source so I can read it in context?

EDIT: Nevermind I found it here (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=3R3LyYk47osC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=spong+We+have+come+to+the+dawning+realisation+t hat+God+might+not+be+separate+from+us+but+rather+d eep+within+us&source=bl&ots=Jth4Kn2iNp&sig=Ij73gZKIPc3sT50Olld3HdpO5UY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p-j9T_rSNaq4iQf7nOXeBg&ved=0CFIQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=spong%20We%20have%20come%20to%20the%20dawning%20 realisation%20that%20God%20might%20not%20be%20sepa rate%20from%20us%20but%20rather%20deep%20within%20 us&f=false). The very next line reads:

The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 09:13 AM
I don't think I would draw that conclusion based on the line you quoted...

Here's more from Spong:


"This understanding of God is called “theism” in theological circles. It assumes that God is a supernatural being who lives outside this world, but who periodically invades this world in a miraculous way. There is no question but that this is the popular and the majority view of the God that one meets in the pages of scripture."

...

"This theistically understood deity was also said to have entered the world in the “fullness of time” in the form of a human life known as Jesus of Nazareth. That is the central image upon which the traditional Christian faith story is built. So powerful was this theistic definition of God that it dominated the way people told the Jesus story. Ultimately it was this definition that prevented people from seeing Jesus as a God-infused human being and forced them rather to perceive him as a divine visitor who came from heaven."

...

"But this theistic God died long before the ecological crisis overtook us, and despite great efforts at denial by fundamentalists, those who embrace the modern world recognize that this is so. There is no theistic God who exists to take care of you or me.* There is no God who stands ready to set aside the laws by which this universe operates to come to our aid in time of need."

...

"Christian evangelicals like to use the term “born again.” It is an interesting choice of words, for when one is “born again,” one is newly a child. It represents a second return to a state of chronic dependency. Perhaps what we specifically need is not to be “born again,” but to grow up and become mature adults. Until we recognize that this understanding of God is no more, that the theistic God has either died or that such a God never existed, we will fail to reach the maturity that enables us to recognize that we have to be responsible for ourselves—for our own breeding habits and for our constant violation of the earth that is our home."

From The Sins of Scripture (Text repeated in this article (http://bit.ly/NMlMPW)) - emphasis in bold



* I think most would agree that contradicts one of the most important verses of Scripture, John 3:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3%3A16&version=NASB), which states, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.


The very next line reads:

The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.

Yes, and that is pantheism, not Christianity!

See pantheism defined here (http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blrel_theism_pan.htm) (in the atheist section of About.com), almost identically: ""... or that God is the sum total of all there is and that the combined substances, forces, and natural laws which we see around us are but manifestations of God". Also pay attention to the three paragraphs in that article, from "...explicit pantheism has been rejected by orthodox Christian theologians for three reasons" and the reasons given. I don't agree with everything in the article, obviously, but the three listed reasons somewhat enforce what I've been saying about it not being Christianity.

Rincewind
12-07-2012, 11:00 AM
No. Like my atheist example, it is by the very definition of Christianity that proves not all who profess to be Christian are in fact Christians. Even you used the qualifier banal in your reply.

My usage of banal was in relation to the word "Saviour". When someone talks of Jesus as their Saviour they are normally referring to a concept related to the doctrine of the immortal soul. Someone can be a saviour in a more everyday sense, for example one could say that Michael Hussey has been the saviour of Australian Cricket on many occasions but that is what I meant by the banal meaning of saviour. Likewise, if someone thinks Jesus was ethically profound but not divine and their saviour in terms of leading them to good ethical behaviour this too would be banal compared with the spiritual usage of Saviour.


Since it appears to me that you would most likely dismiss my fellow Christians as bigots

Not at all but people who use the term "fellow Christians" as a means of excluding people who are generally terms Christians but who the speaker does not consider to be so generally are bigots.


let's look for a moment to a famous atheist, Bertrand Russell

Sure but I think he was a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist.



I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian.

I agree with that in principle but I would add that the purpose of Russell's definition in this essay is not to give a widely-accepted definition of Christian but rather to be very specific about his own beliefs and so necessarily focuses on a few issues which are important to him in terms of his rejection of Christianity. So rather than a definition, per se, Russell actually provides a set of minimum criteria.

That being said, I'm happy that Spong conforms to the Russellian criteria so we can continue on this basis if that is your wont.


No matter that I disagree with him on other matters, I accept this is a valid point. Good works do not make one a Christian, nor does refusal to accept the most basic tenets that define Christianity.

Russell goes on to say more on the subject (see the link for the full context), but in summary:


I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian.

I think this is a rather weak definition as in my mind there is more to it than that. I think you have to accept the Gospels as reflecting some sort of reality, either a literal reality or what some people call a religious reality (as distinct from the former). With just a dogma on the existence of god and immortality Russell is too inclusive. So they are a good start in terms of providing necessary conditions I would not call it a good definition.


Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense?

I believe we are now coming to the crux of your bigotry. Russell did not say "in the christian sense". These are just weasel words you have inserted so that you are able to de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity.

That is not to say that Spong's concept of god is mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and a number of theologians have taken issue with his idea of god. However he does believe in god.


Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no.

I think you are being rather to presumptuous here. I don't think Spong claims to know what God is but he does believe that the dogma separation of God from the creation is preventing finding out. Hence his aim is to try and break down this dogma so that a dialogue can be opened along these lines. It is not clear that Spong believes that this is all there is to god and hence I find the argument that he is a pantheist, pure and simple, is completely unconvincing.


Does Spong believe in immortality in the Christian sense?

You just can't help yourself, can you?


His writings point toward the answer being no

You seem to have adopted the ipse dixit mode of argument here. Which part of his writings point towards the answer being "no"?


but even if I missed something that disagrees with me here, it isn't enough to simply believe in immortality. The ancient Egyptians believed in immortality with their gods, but by no definition can they be called Christian.

Which is why you were rather silly to adopt Russell's necessary criteria to frame your reply around. Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious. One because it gives the believer something to cling on to in the face of impending death and two it allows the priestly class to use afterlife reward and punishment to rationalise earthly inequities and control the population of believers.


So even by Russell's limiting definition, Spong is not a Christian.

Sorry but he believes in god and without evidence to the contrary he also believes in immortality, so by the Russell "definition" he is a Christian.

It's only when you put the words "in the christian sense" into Russell's mouth that you start to have an issue. However this is essentially circular since by "in the Christian sense" you mean "in the sense of the tradition which I follow" which returns to the issue of bigotry.


And even Russell says it is a definition that is effectively redefined from the original meaning:

... excerpt removed...

Why? Why should we agree that the definition should be changed from its original meaning?


I believe Russell was reasonably comfortable with the concept of the language evolving over time. There is nothing "more true" about the usage of the term Christian in Augustine's time and I assume when we discuss things we are both happy with using terms as generally accepted usage in the 21st century and not 4th century. Ignoring the the moment the problem that English as a language didn't exist in the 4th century.


Would you allow the redefining of atheist to include those who accept Christ as their Saviour (in the non-banal sense, to agree with you)? I can tell from your previous answer you would not.

I would hope that what you could tell from my previous answer is that I don't presume to define standard English usage that is something that evolves over time and is a complex social phenomenon which I (as an individual) have very little control over. Should the term atheist somehow change from it's present meaning and there was sufficient need to distinguish those who don't believe in god(s) then usage would dictate that a word would be coined to fill this need and I would adopt it.


Does that mean you are exhibiting bigotry for refusing to allow them to be called atheists? I'd say no.

This seems like a hypothetical argument based on faulty reasoning of my position as outlined in my reply to the previous section.


Jono and I both believe that there are Christians who are inconsistent in their beliefs, but are still Christians. We also believe there are those of whom we can discern are not Christians, based on their opposition to those most basic tenets that define Christianity. If we failed to recoginse those instances, we'd invalidate the term as to make it meaningless.

Yes but these are people who are widely identified as Christians and fundamentalists are the ones who are imposing their literalist dogma and excluding those who disagree with that theological position. Spong believes in god and immortality and considers the gospels as scripture. His ideas on a number of points of theology are radically different to you and indeed to a large segment of mainstream theology as well. However to deny him and others of the same viewpoint the label Christian is uncharitable, unreasonable and by Jono's own definition bigoted.

Rincewind
12-07-2012, 11:03 AM
I go :wall: when I read them being used interchangeably.

I appreciate the distinction and I agree in principle, but bear in mind that I was raised catholic some 40+ years ago and heard the term "the virgin birth" many more times that "the virgin conception", (in the catholic tradition the conception was more than just virgin, it was immaculate) so I might be dyed in the wool on this point.

Desmond
12-07-2012, 02:21 PM
Someone can be a saviour in a more everyday sense, for example one could say that Michael Hussey has been the saviour of Australian Cricket on many occasions but that is what I meant by the banal meaning of saviour. :lol: Did you put that in for my benefit? ;) :snooty: :naughty: :wall:

Rincewind
12-07-2012, 02:45 PM
Did you put that in for my benefit?

Just seeing who was paying attention. ;)

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 07:28 PM
bigots ... the crux of your bigotry ... de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity

From here on out, decries of bigotry relating to my descriptively differentiating between or contrasting distinct ideas will be ignored, because it is no more bigotry than a statement pointing out MSG might be found more often in Chinese cuisine than in Italian cuisine could be considered racist.

For example, you point out, "Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious [sic]." Russell's essay gives a contrasting example of Mohammedans belief in immortality. Ergo, to indicate I am speaking of immortality in the Christian sense (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G861&t=NASB) is both appropriate, and imperative to avoid miscommunication.

You also mistook my point of using my fellow Christians, incorrectly labeling it a remark of bigotry, rather than recognizing it descriptively differentiated work by my fellow (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/essential-american-english/fellow) Christians from work written by, as you indicated, "a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist" (which still means he was a famous atheist ;). I didn't say he was famous for being an atheist.). It was used to indicate that I am aware that you might dismiss those with whom I align my beliefs, thereby staving off any claims of shared bias.

If it is your intention to continue to kick sand in my face in any effort to drag me into a boxing ring with you, I respectfully both decline, and point out that you are wasting my time. If you'd like to remain at the table with substantive communication, I'll be more than happy to continue discussing this subject with you for a little while longer.

From here forward, if you see me write #ForrestGump, all I mean is "That's all I [had] to say about that". :)


That being said, I'm happy that Spong conforms to the Russellian criteria so we can continue on this basis if that is your wont.

I don't see how he does, and I think you might think so because you separated the first bit of what I said from the rest of my points. So, I disagree.


I think this is a rather weak definition as in my mind there is more to it than that. I think you have to accept the Gospels as reflecting some sort of reality, either a literal reality or what some people call a religious reality (as distinct from the former). With just a dogma on the existence of god and immortality Russell is too inclusive. So they are a good start in terms of providing necessary conditions I would not call it a good definition.

I don't disagree that it was rather weak, but it was a start, and it avoided claims of shared bias by solely using Christian sources. I guess we should begin with what you think an acceptable definition of Christianity would look like.


That is not to say that Spong's concept of god is mainstream by any stretch of the imagination and a number of theologians have taken issue with his idea of god. However he does believe in god.

Do you think a correct definition of Christianity must include the divinity of Christ? I think you would agree that Orthodox Judaism includes belief in God, but does not include belief that Christ is divine or that He is the Messiah.


I think you are being rather to presumptuous here.

I disagree, and more evidence was provided in a following post, including more of Spong's own writings.


You just can't help yourself, can you?

#ForrestGump


You seem to have adopted the ipse dixit mode of argument here. Which part of his writings point towards the answer being "no"?

Examples in the subsequent post.


Should the term atheist somehow change from it's present meaning and there was sufficient need to distinguish those who don't believe in god(s) then usage would dictate that a word would be coined to fill this need and I would adopt it.

Ah, but to that point, what if the manner in which it was changed made it lose enough of the meaning it has now as to be indistinguishable from either the original meaning, and from other currently existing belief system?

Mrs Jono
12-07-2012, 07:29 PM
... so I might be dyed in the wool on this point.

Yeah, I wasn't picking at you; it's just one of those things that crawl under my skin.

Desmond
12-07-2012, 08:08 PM
Yes, and that is pantheism, not Christianity!
Pantheism or panentheism? And whichever your answer, am I to understand you correctly that that is a belief that no Christian could hold and still call himself one?

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 01:40 AM
From here on out, decries of bigotry relating to my descriptively differentiating between or contrasting distinct ideas will be ignored, because it is no more bigotry than a statement pointing out MSG might be found more often in Chinese cuisine than in Italian cuisine could be considered racist.

Your analogy is weak as we are not talking about a measurable quantity. What we have is a generally accepted definition of what is is to be a Christian and a subset of that group claiming that another subset denying that the first subset is in fact a member of that group because they don't align well enough with their own particular theological position.


For example, you point out, "Immortality is quite a common theme in the various religious [sic]." Russell's essay gives a contrasting example of Mohammedans belief in immortality. Ergo, to indicate I am speaking of immortality in the Christian sense (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G861&t=NASB) is both appropriate, and imperative to avoid miscommunication.

I think you misunderstand Russell here. He doesn't contrast the Islamic concept of immortality with the Christian one what he does is he says that because Muslims both believe in God and immortality that just the two criteria you focussed on in the last post were really insufficient to define Christianity and some belief concerning Christ was necessary. (If you need a reference it is about 1/2 way through the second para. of the essay.)


You also mistook my point of using my fellow Christians, incorrectly labeling it a remark of bigotry, rather than recognizing it descriptively differentiated work by my fellow (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/essential-american-english/fellow) Christians from work written by, as you indicated, "a famous philosopher who happened to be an atheist" (which still means he was a famous atheist ;). I didn't say he was famous for being an atheist.). It was used to indicate that I am aware that you might dismiss those with whom I align my beliefs, thereby staving off any claims of shared bias.

No more a famous atheist than many others perhaps well known for the bigotry he was subject to in America. However regarding the "my fellow Christians" and "a famous atheist" they both smack of making a point rather than just being descriptive. I know you are a Christian and whether Russell was an atheist or not is besides the point as to whether I would think his definition was adequate. To use of the phrases then just jar, not significantly but slightly in the same way John Howard's use of "My fellow Australians" used to jar.


If it is your intention to continue to kick sand in my face in any effort to drag me into a boxing ring with you, I respectfully both decline, and point out that you are wasting my time. If you'd like to remain at the table with substantive communication, I'll be more than happy to continue discussing this subject with you for a little while longer.

I'm not sure what you are getting so defensive over. It is my claim that fundamentalists claiming some liberals are "not christians" is bigotry. You seem to subscribe to the first view and hence it's logical that I would consider you a bigot.


From here forward, if you see me write #ForrestGump, all I mean is "That's all I [had] to say about that". :)

The seems to contradict your earlier claim of wanting to remain at the table with substantive communication.


I don't see how he does, and I think you might think so because you separated the first bit of what I said from the rest of my points. So, I disagree.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean I didn't allow you to add "in the Christian sense" to Russell's definition then I think that is justified for the reason I already said. Either we are using Russell's definition or we are using yours. You can't use yours and call it Russell's.


I don't disagree that it was rather weak, but it was a start, and it avoided claims of shared bias by solely using Christian sources. I guess we should begin with what you think an acceptable definition of Christianity would look like.

I'm happy with Russell's view that as a minimum a Christian should believe in a God and the concept of an existence transcending death. The nature of the second seems to vary quite a bit between denominations but they all seem to have something along those lines. Also to use Russell's words...

"I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men."


Do you think a correct definition of Christianity must include the divinity of Christ? I think you would agree that Orthodox Judaism includes belief in God, but does not include belief that Christ is divine or that He is the Messiah.

See Russell's criteria above.


I disagree, and more evidence was provided in a following post, including more of Spong's own writings.

Some more quotes were forthcoming (in reply to RR and not me and in a subsequent post so if you intended these to also address these point you should have said so by editing your reply to me).

In any case, Spong saying "The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability." is clearly not pantheism. Pantheists generally believe the universe and god are identical and hence the "something more" disqualifies Spong's position from being considered pantheism. You could claim it is panentheism (in fact you did originally but then seemed to change to pantheism) but in any case I would contend that panentheism is compatable with Christianity, certainly with the Russellian definition we have been working with.


#ForrestGump

The point though is you cannot add your own words from a circular argument and claim that Spong does not conform to Russell's definition. What you are really saying is that Spong doesn't conform with the Jonos' definition, which we already knew.


Examples in the subsequent post.

None of which as far as I could tell dealt with his concept of immortality directly. That all seemed to be directed to RR on the point of whether he believed in a god at all.


Ah, but to that point, what if the manner in which it was changed made it lose enough of the meaning it has now as to be indistinguishable from either the original meaning, and from other currently existing belief system?

I don't know what you re getting at here. These sort of hypothetical questions are pretty pointless so perhaps you could rephrase it in terms of what you think has happened to the definition of Christianity and we might get somewhere. The fact that there are more Christian denominations now than in the time of Augustine does not mean the term Christian has lost it's essential meaning it just reflects the historical fact that these denominations now exist requiring a broader definition to capture the essential feature which is a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

To claim (as I think both the Jonos do) that your understanding of teaching of Jesus is more "Christian" than that of another denomination would seem to me to be symptomatic of intolerance of the viewpoint of that different opinion.

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 01:49 AM
Pantheism or panentheism?

Well, let's see:


The very next line reads:

The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability.

Firstly, this is a very illogical statement, given that the sum of all that is allows no room for plus something more.

Although his writings at times have pointed in one direction or the other,


"... one can also discover a God who is not an external supernatural being, but who is perceived as the life force that flows through all that is (http://web.archive.org/web/20060605184856/http://www.somareview.com/print.cfm?pagename=badtheology.cfm)."

I'd posit that his beliefs are more in line with Pantheism.

"Pantheism comes from two Greek words, pan (all) and theism (God) meaning "all is God" or "God is all." It is the belief that all things contain divinity and that God is the sum of all things. Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone - and consequently that everyone and everything is God." http://www.theopedia.com/Pantheism

If he were Panentheistic, he'd believe the "combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything)" [http://www.gotquestions.org/panentheism.html]. This is inconsistent in his writings, as he denies God as the supreme being, including what he says in A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born, where (pg 3) he begins the book by saying he does "not define God as a supernatural being". He goes further on the next page to say:


Since I do not see God as a being, I cannot interpret Jesus as the earthly incarnation of this supernatural deity, nor can I with credibility assume that he possessed sufficient Godlike power to do such miraculous things as...

(and he gives some examples)

A bit further in the book, he defines "the theistic God", which he rejects, as follows:


I define the theistic God as "a being, supernatural in power, dwelling outside this world and invading the wrorld[sic] periodically to accomplish the divine will."

And later still:


To have the courage to be is to move beyond the self-absorbed survival mode to which human life is so deeply attached. It is to live for another. It is to worship the God who is not a being but Being itself. This God is not a supernatural entity

and much later:


It no longer defines God as an external supernatural being who was incarnated into the human Jesus through a miraculous birth[sic].

So, I'll ask you the same question. Pantheism or panentheism? Which would you say is more closely aligned with his statements?

As to whether pantheism is compatible with Christianity, I think Bill Muehlenberg's article (http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/01/09/pantheism-and-biblical-christianity/) covers the topic pretty well (and includes some commentary on Avatar).

Goughfather
13-07-2012, 02:16 AM
So, I'll ask you the same question. Pantheism or panentheism? Which would you say is more closely aligned with his statements?

Rincey is quite correct to describe Spong as panentheistic. It is clear that Spong's reference to "all that is" is a reference to the physical world, so there is certainly no contradiction. In saying this, I recognise that this may be a very difficult concept for literalists such as Mrs. Jono and Jono to grasp. Yet this panentheistic concept that God is "the ground of being" advocated by Paul Tillich and embraced by Spong is an idea that is well received in broader Christendom, although perhaps not in Jono and Mrs. Jono's sect.

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 02:42 AM
Your analogy is weak as we are not talking about a measurable quantity.

Most analogies are weak, but serve to illustrate the speaker's point in a manner that might be more familiar to the listener.


What we have is a generally accepted definition of what is is to be a Christian and a subset of that group claiming that another subset denying that the first subset is in fact a member of that group because they don't align well enough with their own particular theological position.

I don't know if I am just overly tired, or if it is due to the lack of internal punctuation, but I'm just not following this. At. All.


I think you misunderstand Russell here.

Not at all.


He doesn't contrast the Islamic concept of immortality with the Christian one

Yes, I am aware of that. I think you might be getting caught in a bit of "discussion creep", akin to instruction creep, heh. You said that I said that you said. Let's just leave this go as simply you attributed a form of bigotry to me that was neither accurate nor acceptable, since I merely qualified for distinction.


...just the two criteria you focussed on in the last post were really insufficient to define Christianity and some belief concerning Christ was necessary...

And again, I don't disagree. I indicated it was a foundation for discussion. Again, how would you define Christianity? Can we agree that it is at the very (very!) least "of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Christian)"?



The seems to contradict your earlier claim of wanting to remain at the table with substantive communication.

Nope. Note the word substantive (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/substantive). I intend to use the tag as a humorous (to me) way to indicate my intent to ignore any further nitpicking or bullying. I've been civil, and expect the same civility in return.



I'm not sure what you mean by this. If you mean I didn't allow you to add "in the Christian sense" to Russell's definition then I think that is justified for the reason I already said. Either we are using Russell's definition or we are using yours. You can't use yours and call it Russell's.

I think you lost the plot here, and your confusion has now confused me, since that's not anything I said or meant at all. Let's just move on.


I'm happy with Russell's view that as a minimum a Christian should believe in a God and the concept of an existence transcending death. The nature of the second seems to vary quite a bit between denominations but they all seem to have something along those lines. Also to use Russell's words...

"I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men."

So you think that is an appropriate and sufficient definition of Christianity? Do I understand you correctly?


Some more quotes were forthcoming (in reply to RR and not me and in a subsequent post so if you intended these to also address these point you should have said so by editing your reply to me).

Huh? Indicating the answer is in the thread now should be sufficient, rather than editing a previous post with a redundant replies. Or do you not read all the replies in a thread?


In any case, Spong saying "The sense of God as the sum of all that is, plus something more, grows in acceptability." is clearly not pantheism.

Not on its own, no, it is not. That's why I said that statement is panentheism. In the post above this one, I show that Spong's beliefs align more with pantheism, though


(in fact you did originally but then seemed to change to pantheism)

Different quotes. Spong is inconsistent, which is why you may be confused. He makes statements that lean one direction, but then contradicts himself. His overall leaning seems to indicate pantheism, though. I explained why I posit this in the post I made above this one.


I don't know what you re getting at here.

I think you do understand me. Is it just that you don't want the conversation to go this particular direction? Is it because you'd eventually have to admit that the shifting goalposts of redefinition can completely distort the original definition to the point of being unrecognizable? Is it bigotry to point to basic definitions? Atheism cannot by definition include belief, acceptance, or even acknowledgment of the existence of God or gods, right? Is it bigotry to insist that is fact, or merely insisting someone adhere to the way the word is defined?

What I'm "getting at" is questioning whether you would ever find acceptable any definition so changed as to redefine the meaning into another category altogether. Can atheism ever be redefined acceptably to include things that are contrary to the definition as it stands today?


To claim (as I think both the Jonos do) that your understanding of teaching of Jesus is more "Christian" than that of another denomination would seem to me to be symptomatic of intolerance of the viewpoint of that different opinion.

Huh? You do realise we aren't discussing denominational differences here (e.g., immersion baptism vs sprinkling, Arminianism vs Calvinism, etc.), right? And that's not my Jono's claim (and I doubt it's Jono2's claim either). It sounds like a straw man to me.

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 07:05 AM
I saw this on my FB wall, and just had to add it here as an example of something that must have been redefined so far as to be nothing close to the original definition:

http://i50.tinypic.com/1e9838.jpg

Of course any objections to this improved, healthier definition of Beef will be countered with accusations of bigotry. :eek: #bighousestare (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=big%20house%20stare)

;)

Capablanca-Fan
13-07-2012, 07:26 AM
Of course any objections to this improved, healthier definition of Beef will be countered with accusations of bigotry. :eek: #bighousestare (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=big%20house%20stare)

;)
A kotopoulophobe? ;):cool:

Capablanca-Fan
13-07-2012, 07:49 AM
In my ancient splattering of Spong (http://creation.com/whats-wrong-with-bishop-spong), I wrote:


He also criticises them [‘fundamentalists’] for taking the Bible literally. By this he does not mean that they literally interpret passages which are clearly expressed in poetic or figurative language. Rather, he criticises them for accepting the Bible’s doctrinal, moral, and historical propositions as actually true.

I.e., his foes are those who take the foundational biblical doctrines as true, such as those forming the basis of the classic Nicene Creed, such as:

God as "Maker of heaven and earth"
Jesus as "very God of very God",
Jesus was "incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary"
Jesus "rose again" from the dead.
How believers "look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

Those who deny those foundational teachings of this ancient ecumenical creed are not Christians.

Desmond
13-07-2012, 08:38 AM
Well, let's see:Yes, let's.


Firstly, this is a very illogical statement, given that the sum of all that is allows no room for plus something more.As GF points out, it is clear that he is referring to everything in the physical world plus something beyond.



Although his writings at times have pointed in one direction or the other,


"... one can also discover a God who is not an external supernatural being, but who is perceived as the life force that flows through all that is (http://web.archive.org/web/20060605184856/http://www.somareview.com/print.cfm?pagename=badtheology.cfm)."

I'd posit that his beliefs are more in line with Pantheism.
Let's have a look a the quotation in context, shall we.


To begin that task I turn to the minority voices of the Bible that speak of a different understanding of the God experience that might make more sense in our time. On the other, less frequently read pages of our sacred text one can also discover a God who is not an external supernatural being, but who is perceived as the life force that flows through all that is. Sometimes this God is called Spirit and is identified with the wind that vitalizes and animates the forests. Sometimes this God is identified with our very breath as an indwelling presence. When this divine life force comes upon us, it does not lift us out of the world. Rather, it brings life out of death (see Ezek. 37:1–15) or it calls us into a new state of living. The classic biblical story indicating this is the account of Pentecost (Acts 2), which suggests that Spirit-filled people can step beyond tribal boundaries and speak the language of their hearers and thus respond to a call to a new humanity because God is no longer external but internal.

He talks about understanding God, rethinking God, and so on based on the Christian text. Sounds remarkably like Christianity to me.



If he were Panentheistic, he'd believe the "combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything)" [http://www.gotquestions.org/panentheism.html]. This is inconsistent in his writings, as he denies God as the supreme being, including what he says in A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born, where (pg 3) he begins the book by saying he does "not define God as a supernatural being". He goes further on the next page to say:


Since I do not see God as a being, I cannot interpret Jesus as the earthly incarnation of this supernatural deity, nor can I with credibility assume that he possessed sufficient Godlike power to do such miraculous things as...

(and he gives some examples)
Actually he begins the book with "I am Christian... I believe that God is real... I call Jesus my Lord... I define myself first and foremost as a Christian believer."

Let's drop the quote mining shall we.


A bit further in the book, he defines "the theistic God", which he rejects, as follows:


I define the theistic God as "a being, supernatural in power, dwelling outside this world and invading the wrorld[sic] periodically to accomplish the divine will." Sounds like Panentheism and consistent with Christianity. I'd like to read it in context though; got a link?


And later still:


To have the courage to be is to move beyond the self-absorbed survival mode to which human life is so deeply attached. It is to live for another. It is to worship the God who is not a being but Being itself. This God is not a supernatural entityYes it does seem inconsistent; got a link so I can read it in context?


and much later:


It no longer defines God as an external supernatural being who was incarnated into the human Jesus through a miraculous birth[sic].
Again, context please.


So, I'll ask you the same question. Pantheism or panentheism? Which would you say is more closely aligned with his statements?Well to be fair the reason I asked you to clarify was that you called him both in the space of a few posts. It does seem very clear that he believes in something beyond the physical, which as I understand it rules out Pantheism.

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 11:15 AM
Most analogies are weak, but serve to illustrate the speaker's point in a manner that might be more familiar to the listener.

True but you excelled in this case for the reasons I mentioned the two cases are simply not comparable.


I don't know if I am just overly tired, or if it is due to the lack of internal punctuation, but I'm just not following this. At. All.

Have a nap and read it again.


Not at all.

Yes you did.

Isn't this fun.


Yes, I am aware of that. I think you might be getting caught in a bit of "discussion creep", akin to instruction creep, heh. You said that I said that you said. Let's just leave this go as simply you attributed a form of bigotry to me that was neither accurate nor acceptable, since I merely qualified for distinction.

I understand that that is your claim but in all cases the distinctions were unnecessary and therefore I content their inclusion was to draw attention to those aspects. A rhetorical device akin to jingoism.


And again, I don't disagree. I indicated it was a foundation for discussion. Again, how would you define Christianity? Can we agree that it is at the very (very!) least "of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Christian)"?

Yes the teachings of Jesus Christ are central to someone identifying as Christian. However I would caution you that many people have different interpretations of the import of those teachings and to give your own and similarly aligned interpretations primacy is exactly the intolerance of other opinions which leads to the charge of bigotry.


Nope. Note the word substantive (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/substantive). I intend to use the tag as a humorous (to me) way to indicate my intent to ignore any further nitpicking or bullying. I've been civil, and expect the same civility in return.

I didn't realise you were so hard up for a laugh. Although is seems to me you pull out the humour when the discussion become too heavy for you.


I think you lost the plot here, and your confusion has now confused me, since that's not anything I said or meant at all. Let's just move on.

No. That wasn't difficult to understand at all. You have simply be caught out trying to pass your definition of Christian off as Russell's and you don't want to admit your mistake. Anywhere where you added "in the Christian sense" to your first reply were were basically making a circular argument. Along the following lines.

1. A Christian must believe in the immortality, in the Christian sense
2. (tacit) In the Christian sense I mean as I believe in immorality
ergo
Those who don't believe in the same sort of immortality as me are not Christians

I hope that clarifies my objection.


So you think that is an appropriate and sufficient definition of Christianity? Do I understand you correctly?

For the purposes of this discussion I believe it is ok.

In short: Belief in god, immortality and following the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Huh? Indicating the answer is in the thread now should be sufficient, rather than editing a previous post with a redundant replies. Or do you not read all the replies in a thread?

Am I to assume that anything you post in a reply to anyone might actually be a reply to me without any indication. I find that quite a bizarre MO that would lead to a breakdown of reasonable conversation.

If that is your usual way of operating, can I request that in replies to me you do so in the same manner that I reply to you? i.e. by quoting the post you are replying to so I can at least try to make sense of your posts.


Not on its own, no, it is not. That's why I said that statement is panentheism. In the post above this one, I show that Spong's beliefs align more with pantheism, though

As panentheism is some sense a superset including pantheism other writings of Spong which have lead you to that conclusion are probably set in the panentheistic context. In other words, perhaps Spong in those passages are talking about the component of panentheism which is compatible with pantheism in those passages while not denying the "something more".


Different quotes. Spong is inconsistent, which is why you may be confused. He makes statements that lean one direction, but then contradicts himself. His overall leaning seems to indicate pantheism, though. I explained why I posit this in the post I made above this one.

I think you want to believe that but I don't think it is true. For the reason above panentheism does incorporate a component which can be considered pantheism. You are probably just interpreting those passages as the whole of Spong's position while ignoring the clarifying passages which indicate panentheism.


I think you do understand me. Is it just that you don't want the conversation to go this particular direction? Is it because you'd eventually have to admit that the shifting goalposts of redefinition can completely distort the original definition to the point of being unrecognizable? Is it bigotry to point to basic definitions? Atheism cannot by definition include belief, acceptance, or even acknowledgment of the existence of God or gods, right? Is it bigotry to insist that is fact, or merely insisting someone adhere to the way the word is defined?

I just think the hypothetical argument has gone as far as it can go without reduction to farce. This is basically an appeal to a hypothetical double standard along the lines of "what if..." to which my standard reply is provide a concrete example of a concrete double standard. At present the current usage of atheist denotes those without a belief in gods and that is how I use the term. If in the future for some bizarre reason "Christian" generally meant soneone who doesn't believe in any gods and "Atheist" meant a follower of Joe Smith then I would call myself a Christian. In doing so people in this hypothetica future would know what that meant (that is equivalent to the present day usage of atheist).


What I'm "getting at" is questioning whether you would ever find acceptable any definition so changed as to redefine the meaning into another category altogether. Can atheism ever be redefined acceptably to include things that are contrary to the definition as it stands today?

I hope my passage answers that. If Christian meant belief in no gods (and nothing else) then I would use that term in that way.


Huh? You do realise we aren't discussing denominational differences here (e.g., immersion baptism vs sprinkling, Arminianism vs Calvinism, etc.), right? And that's not my Jono's claim (and I doubt it's Jono2's claim either). It sounds like a straw man to me.

No sounds like you have a hierarchy of differences that you are following and people that are sufficiently well aligned you call "Christians with denominational differences" and those who are not so well aligned you call "non-Christians".

The whole issue is the general usage of the word Christian is wider than you employ and denying those subsets the brand name is simply intolerance of their viewpoint.

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 11:20 AM
Those who deny those foundational teachings of this ancient ecumenical creed are not Christians.

Are you saying the Nicene Creed was divinely inspired and therefore infallible?

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 11:55 AM
UGH. I jumped around too much on this reply; I hope I haven't made it a pig's breakfast.


he is referring to everything in the physical world plus something beyond.

Yes, he is referring to that. Did I say he wasn't? I thought I said it was illogical. :eh:


Let's have a look a the quotation in context, shall we.

Sure. That's why I provide links, where available, so the entire context can be read. If you want the context on this forum, you probably should have included his stated motivation as revealed in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, "Our job is not to recreate God but to seek a more adequate, new definition of our experience of God." A new definition? Based on "our experience"? Where is that "based on the Christian text" (Save your time; that's a rhetorical question, as Scripture says the opposite.), as you say in this next bit I quote:


He talks about understanding God, rethinking God, and so on based on the Christian text.

He doublespeaks not recreating God, while saying we must redefine God. As God is not a created creature, the first is meaningless, and his redefining God relies on discarding Sola Scriptura for external New Age, Pantheistic, and experiential influences, i.e., it is not "based on the Christian text" in the sense you or I would understand you meaning there.


Sounds remarkably like Christianity to me.

Rather it sounds exactly like what he said it is, "a different understanding of the God experience".


Actually he begins the book [...]

Let's not nitpick, else I'll point out the book begins "ONE" and then a speech, before he gets to what either of us quoted starting on page 3, as I indicated. ;)


[...] with "I am Christian... I believe that God is real... I call Jesus my Lord... I define myself first and foremost as a Christian believer."

You left out "Yet I do not define God as a supernatural being", and so on.

He defines himself? What God? What Jesus? What Lord? What belief in Christian Scripture? If one redefines Scripture according to personal experience and modern revisionism, to the point of discarding most if not all of what defines it as Christianity, is it still Christianity?

On celebatheists.com wiki (run by rationalresponders.com), there is an entry for Spong (http://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong): "Mr. Spong may be an odd choice to add to your website because he still calls himself a Christian and still claims to believe in God. However, when you read Why Christianity Must Change or Die and A New Christianity For A New World, he really is an atheist." So it is only bigotry if Christians say he isn't following Christianity? :whistle:


Let's drop the quote mining shall we.

I linked the article, and the other is a book (I'm not typing the bloody thing out for you :P). You'd have to look here (http://books.google.com/books?id=N0prKo_wtksC&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+New+Christianity+for+a+New+World:+Why+Traditi onal+Faith+Is+Dying+and+How+a+New+Faith+Is+Being+B orn&source=bl&ots=JcoQuB68H8&sig=ulaRuAgMD2VkBo1sjeQFJgEp5eg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jGP_T8ueDebU2AWL-6itBA&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=A%20New%20Christianity%20for%20a%20New%20World%3 A%20Why%20Traditional%20Faith%20Is%20Dying%20and%2 0How%20a%20New%20Faith%20Is%20Being%20Born&f=false) or elsewhere, for the context. Again, the book used for these references is A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born. Unfortunately, the Google Books is limited to what you can preview, so without the book in front of you, you would probably have to rely on searching around Google, or obtain a copy of the book. Alternatively, keyword searches on the Google Books page for the book might help with a bit of context. Try "supernatural" first; you can sort by relevance or page order. Some other pages not available there are on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/New-Christianity-World-Traditional-Faith/dp/0060670843) look inside (particularly the early pages where he summarises his beliefs).


A bit further in the book, he defines "the theistic God", which he rejects, as follows:

I define the theistic God as "a being, supernatural in power, dwelling outside this world and invading the wrorld[sic] periodically to accomplish the divine will."

Sounds like Panentheism and consistent with Christianity.
Errrrrrtt #brakes. You missed "which he rejects", didn't you? :eh:

If you will forgive any typos, I'll type this one part out for you to read, in context (as much as I'm willing to type; see Amazon look inside for more if you need it, page 32):

I suggest that these observable behaviors, from the mundane addiction to caffeine to the terrifying reality of ethnic cleansing, are significantly related. More specifically, I suggest that they are nothing less than emotional manifestations of the death of the theistic God. I intend to buttress this assertion with the additional suggestion, which I shall document in the next chapter, that theism was itself originally born as a way of dealing with the trama of self-consciousness; it was devised as a tool that enabled human beings to keep their hysteria, a by-product of self-consciousness, at bay.


Yes it does seem inconsistent; ...got a link so I can read it in context? Page 73


Again, context please. Page 144.

As above, I can only suggest you use the Amazon and Google Books keyword(s) search. I didn't see 144 on Amazon, but I think 73 was there, IIRC.


Well to be fair the reason I asked you to clarify was that you called him both in the space of a few posts. It does seem very clear that he believes in something beyond the physical, which as I understand it rules out Pantheism.
Except his writings, including denials of the supernatural, make the "something" airy-fairy.

This book in particular reads more like a handbook for Atheism, as long as the blurb read, "For the discerning Atheist who would like his cake and eat it, now you too can refer to yourself as Christian, without compromising your Atheism." :doh:

Some things are just mutually exclusive.

Capablanca-Fan
13-07-2012, 12:04 PM
Are you saying the Nicene Creed was divinely inspired and therefore infallible?
Not divinely inspired, but an accurate summary of Christian beliefs, and accepted by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants (hence ecumenical creed).

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 12:27 PM
Not divinely inspired

But then by flat out refusing to profess the Nicene creed a person is not contradicting scripture.

Desmond
13-07-2012, 12:53 PM
UGH. I jumped around too much on this reply; I hope I haven't made it a pig's breakfast.Seems ok, and let me say thanks for typing those passages out. I wasn't sure if you were doing that or if you had an electronic copy.


Yes, he is referring to that. Did I say he wasn't? I thought I said it was illogical. :eh: If that is also your understanding of what he meant, how is it illogical?



Sure. That's why I provide links, where available, so the entire context can be read. If you want the context on this forum, you probably should have included his stated motivation as revealed in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, "Our job is not to recreate God but to seek a more adequate, new definition of our experience of God." A new definition? Based on "our experience"?I think those two things are not the same. Really just highlights my point about viewing in context.


Where is that "based on the Christian text" (Save your time; that's a rhetorical question, as Scripture says the opposite.), Rhetorical questions aside ;) I'd say it is based on the Christian text because he explicitly points out passages where God is a spirit, God is love and so on and so forth. That is what I meant.


He doublespeaks not recreating God, while saying we must redefine God. As God is not a created creature, the first is meaningless, and his redefining God relies on discarding Sola Scriptura for external New Age, Pantheistic, and experiential influences, i.e., it is not "based on the Christian text" in the sense you or I would understand you meaning there.
I disagree. You and he can look at the same text and take different things out of it but that doesn't mean that only one of your interpretations can be valid.


Rather it sounds exactly like what he said it is, "a different understanding of the God experience".i.e. a different flavour of Christianity.



Let's not nitpick, else I'll point out the book begins "ONE" and then a speech, before he gets to what either of us quoted starting on page 3, as I indicated. ;)

You left out "Yet I do not define God as a supernatural being", and so on.
Because you had already written it. I was filling in some of the blanks for the context.



He defines himself? What God? What Jesus? What Lord? What belief in Christian Scripture? If one redefines Scripture according to personal experience and modern revisionism, to the point of discarding most if not all of what defines it as Christianity, is it still Christianity?And this is the questions isn't it. How much change do literalists tolerate before they stop calling someone a non-christian. Based on various discussion with Jono over several years, my understanding is that that amount is very, very little.



On celebatheists.com wiki (run by rationalresponders.com), there is an entry for Spong (http://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong): "Mr. Spong may be an odd choice to add to your website because he still calls himself a Christian and still claims to believe in God. However, when you read Why Christianity Must Change or Die and A New Christianity For A New World, he really is an atheist." So it is only bigotry if Christians say he isn't following Christianity? :whistle:
Never heard of that site sorry, I don't intend to defend it.



I linked the article, and the other is a book (I'm not typing the bloody thing out for you :P). You'd have to look here (http://books.google.com/books?id=N0prKo_wtksC&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+New+Christianity+for+a+New+World:+Why+Traditi onal+Faith+Is+Dying+and+How+a+New+Faith+Is+Being+B orn&source=bl&ots=JcoQuB68H8&sig=ulaRuAgMD2VkBo1sjeQFJgEp5eg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jGP_T8ueDebU2AWL-6itBA&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=A%20New%20Christianity%20for%20a%20New%20World%3 A%20Why%20Traditional%20Faith%20Is%20Dying%20and%2 0How%20a%20New%20Faith%20Is%20Being%20Born&f=false) or elsewhere, for the context. Again, the book used for these references is A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born. Unfortunately, the Google Books is limited to what you can preview, so without the book in front of you, you would probably have to rely on searching around Google, or obtain a copy of the book. Alternatively, keyword searches on the Google Books page for the book might help with a bit of context. Try "supernatural" first; you can sort by relevance or page order. Some other pages not available there are on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/New-Christianity-World-Traditional-Faith/dp/0060670843) look inside (particularly the early pages where he summarises his beliefs). Yes I did look at that, some pages are missing, as you note.



Errrrrrtt #brakes. You missed "which he rejects", didn't you? :eh:No I didn't miss that you said that.


If you will forgive any typos, I'll type this one part out for you to read, in context (as much as I'm willing to type; see Amazon look inside for more if you need it, page 32):

I suggest that these observable behaviors, from the mundane addiction to caffeine to the terrifying reality of ethnic cleansing, are significantly related. More specifically, I suggest that they are nothing less than emotional manifestations of the death of the theistic God. I intend to buttress this assertion with the additional suggestion, which I shall document in the next chapter, that theism was itself originally born as a way of dealing with the trama of self-consciousness; it was devised as a tool that enabled human beings to keep their hysteria, a by-product of self-consciousness, at bay.

Page 73

Page 144.

As above, I can only suggest you use the Amazon and Google Books keyword(s) search. I didn't see 144 on Amazon, but I think 73 was there, IIRC.Thanks I will check those out later.


Except his writings, including denials of the supernatural, make the "something" airy-fairy.So what if he struggles with understanding things that exist outside of the physical universe; who doesn't?


This book in particular reads more like a handbook for Atheism, as long as the blurb read, "For the discerning Atheist who would like his cake and eat it, now you too can refer to yourself as Christian, without compromising your Atheism." :doh:

Some things are just mutually exclusive.I take it this was one of your jokes.

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 01:04 PM
Have a nap and read it again.
Didn't help. Can you please clarify what you were on about?



Isn't this fun.
Wheeeeee.


I understand that that is your claim but in all cases the distinctions were unnecessary and therefore I content their inclusion was to draw attention to those aspects. A rhetorical device akin to jingoism.
Feel free to contend it. You are mistaken.


Yes the teachings of Jesus Christ are central to someone identifying as Christian. However I would caution you that many people have different interpretations of the import of those teachings and to give your own and similarly aligned interpretations primacy is exactly the intolerance of other opinions which leads to the charge of bigotry.
I think I've exhausted answering this point in my previous posts to you and RR. It's not the misalignment of doctrinal issues, it's a redefining to the point of making it unrecognizable as being even distantly-related to the original definition.


Although is seems to me you pull out the humour when the discussion become too heavy for you.
It's called comic relief, which is better than losing my temper. #Thumper


You have simply be caught out trying to pass your definition of Christian off as Russell's and you don't want to admit your mistake.
Nonsense, Quixote.


Anywhere where you added "in the Christian sense" to your first reply were were basically making a circular argument.

You are really trying to stretch this out, aren't you? See how Wikipedia's immortality article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality) has a section for many different viewpoints regarding the topic? See that the Christianity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality#Christianity) section and the Islam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality#Islam) section are separated? See where Wikipedia doesn't just combine the two sections, or reference one under the other's header?

:hand:


Along the following lines.
1. A Christian must believe in the immortality, in the Christian sense
2. (tacit) In the Christian sense I mean as I believe in immorality
ergo
Those who don't believe in the same sort of immortality as me are not Christians

Fail. See the references to the two different sections on Wikipedia. See where the essay speaks of both Christians and Muslims. See where I indicated I was speaking about one (Christians), not the other, and not both.

Nothing in there had anything to do with believing as I believe, tacit or otherwise.

You are burning straw men.


I hope that clarifies my objection.

No, it simply appears to overlook the irony that these continuing accusations of bigotry, in the face of evidence provided to the contrary, is a "stubborn and complete intolerance" for an "opinion that differs from one's own". :whistle:


For the purposes of this discussion I believe it is ok.

In short: Belief in god, immortality and following the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Limited to that, then, what is the lack of belief in god, immortality, and failure to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ?


Am I to assume that anything you post in a reply to anyone might actually be a reply to me without any indication. I find that quite a bizarre MO that would lead to a breakdown of reasonable conversation.

Am I to assume you sit in discussion over a topic, with full "hearing" of the replies, but ignore anything that doesn't begin with calling out your name?


If that is your usual way of operating, can I request that in replies to me you do so in the same manner that I reply to you? i.e. by quoting the post you are replying to so I can at least try to make sense of your posts.


I assume that people will read most, if not all, of the posts, so we don't have to repeat ourselves, and can go back when I tell someone to see above.


As panentheism is some sense a superset including pantheism other writings of Spong which have lead you to that conclusion are probably set in the panentheistic context. In other words, perhaps Spong in those passages are talking about the component of panentheism which is compatible with pantheism in those passages while not denying the "something more".

Since he leans far more toward pantheistic thoughts, with only some inconsistency dabbling in panentheistic thoughts, I think this doesn't seem to be the case.


You are probably just interpreting those passages as the whole of Spong's position while ignoring the clarifying passages which indicate panentheism.

Examples?

How would you interpret them differently?


At present the current usage of atheist denotes those without a belief in gods and that is how I use the term.

So, say someone comes along tomorrow and writes a book, claiming to be an Atheist, free thinker, and skeptic. They point to horrors in the world as avoidable if Atheists would just incorporate singing kumbaya every other day, and presenting burnt toast offerings to the statue in the middle of the CBD.

Is it bigotry to dismiss this writer as a kook, and point out that worshiping statues and making burnt offerings is not Atheism?

As for the rest, you made some bald assertions with no evidence to back any of it up. I'll answer the points when you quote me as saying any of those things. In the meantime, I'll stand over here and admire your straw men.

Capablanca-Fan
13-07-2012, 01:31 PM
But then by flat out refusing to profess the Nicene creed a person is not contradicting scripture.
Something doesn't have to be divinely inspired to be true. Further, the Christian faith is not confined to explicit statements of Scripture, but also to what can be logically deduced from them, such as the propositions of the Nicene Creed.

Mrs Jono
13-07-2012, 02:09 PM
let me say thanks for typing those passages out
You're quite welcome.


If that is also your understanding of what he meant, how is it illogical?

To clarify, I think it's illogically phrased.


I think those two things are not the same.
Which two things? The sentence before being the same as the next paragraph? No. I think the sentence before gives the motivation for what followed.


I'd say it is based on the Christian text because he explicitly points out passages where God is a spirit, God is love and so on and so forth. That is what I meant.

Ok. Do you think Spong's usage is in line with Christianity?


I disagree. You and he can look at the same text and take different things out of it but that doesn't mean that only one of your interpretations can be valid.

Are we talking about interpretations, though? :hmm: I think this has been the mistake you and RW have made, viewing it as differences in doctrine and/or variances in interpretation. I instead see it as completely redefined.


And this is the questions isn't it. How much change do literalists tolerate before they stop calling someone a non-christian.
I am not a literalist, and I think Jono has explained the distinction already.

So, conversely, how much God or gods would you tolerate before you call someone a non-atheist? (I'm not joking here.)


So what if he struggles with understanding things that exist outside of the physical universe; who doesn't?

Ah, but it is not that simple. It's not a matter of a lack of empathy for a struggling man; we all struggle at one time or another. But struggling is saying I don't know or I'm not sure, and perhaps adding but I'm trying to figure it out.

Struggle is not the dogmatic battle cry to change the church's entire basic belief system to his point of view. He writes not as a struggling man, looking to find his way, but rather with asserted notions of what we must do, coupled with the (implied) authority of his collar.

Further, his steering people away from the theistic God is in direct contradiction to the position he was in as an ordained Bishop, to the tenets he agreed to uphold. If he wanted to redefine them, he should have stepped down and written as an average Joe, not behind the authority of the collar.

No, much like teachers, church leaders are held to a much higher level of responsibility in instruction, as they are accountable not only for their own thoughts and actions, but also of those they lead astray.

Desmond
13-07-2012, 03:14 PM
Which two things? The quotation from Spong and your paraphrase of it.

new definition of our experience of God.
and
A new definition? Based on "our experience"?It's a small re-wording but, as is often the case, it changes the meaning.


Ok. Do you think Spong's usage is in line with Christianity?
Spong's usage of "God"? Yes I do. He believes in God, Jesus, and spirits/ the Holy Spirit.


Are we talking about interpretations, though? :hmm: I think this has been the mistake you and RW have made, viewing it as differences in doctrine and/or variances in interpretation. I instead see it as completely redefined.Seems like arguing the toss to me.


I am not a literalist, and I think Jono has explained the distinction already.Fine, let me re-word it for you.

How much change do historical grammatical folk tolerate before they stop calling someone a non-christian?


Ah, but it is not that simple. It's not a matter of a lack of empathy for a struggling man...I was referring to your airy fairy comment.

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 03:17 PM
Didn't help. Can you please clarify what you were on about?

Simply that there is a difference between what the general population see as Christian and what biblical literalists see as Christian and this is due to the assumption that the biblical literlaist is "right" and the ones they call non-Christians are "wrong".


Wheeeeee.

Well simply contradiction is just a waste of time. I give reasons why I think you misinterpreted Russell. He make no distinction between the Islamic and Christian beliefs of immortality that was a something you read into his comment when he was merely using Muslim as an example of people who believe in god and immortality but are not Christian due to the missing third criteria.


Feel free to contend it. You are mistaken.

Thanks I maintain the contention. If anything the lack of any reflection on your behalf only serves to strengthen the claim.


I think I've exhausted answering this point in my previous posts to you and RR. It's not the misalignment of doctrinal issues, it's a redefining to the point of making it unrecognizable as being even distantly-related to the original definition.

I thought you proposed the Russellian definition. If we are both happy to work with that for now all we need to determine is

1. Belief in God
2. Belief in immortality
3. Belief in, if not the divinity of Jesus Christ, then that he was the wisest of all men

I believe Spong checks all three for the reasons already discussed.

So is your contention that this definition is insufficient - the reason for you adding "in the Christian sense" to the first two criteria. Or that the definition is fine but you still cling to the idea that Spong doesn't believe in one of those three criteria?


It's called comic relief, which is better than losing my temper. #Thumper

If you lose your temper with people who disagree with you you must be a very angry person.


Nonsense, Quixote.

Not at all. For the reasons already explained "in the Christian sense" is your way of doing exactly that. You can deny it till the cows come home but as Russell didn't say it, where exactly did the words come from?


You are really trying to stretch this out, aren't you? See how Wikipedia's immortality article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality) has a section for many different viewpoints regarding the topic? See that the Christianity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality#Christianity) section and the Islam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality#Islam) section are separated? See where Wikipedia doesn't just combine the two sections, or reference one under the other's header?

I think it is you who are trying to shift goal posts. You asked me if we could use the Russell definition and I expressed some reservation but agreed. As far as I am aware Russell did not reference the Wikipedia entry for immortality.

However since you bring up Wikipedia. The entry for immortality under the heading Christianity includes subheadings of Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and in a general section at the end also mentioned Christian Scientists. I assume therefore you are happy to classify all those belief systems as Christian.


Fail. See the references to the two different sections on Wikipedia.

I'm afraid you are up a certain creek without a means of propulsion. Unless Russell mentions the wikipedia entry on immortality it is largely irrelevant in terms of applying the Russellian definition. And we are simply back at you trying to put words into Bertie's mouth.


No, it simply appears to overlook the irony that these continuing accusations of bigotry, in the face of evidence provided to the contrary, is a "stubborn and complete intolerance" for an "opinion that differs from one's own". :whistle:

I support you in presenting a case to show that your bigotry is actually nothing more than justified snobbery. But I can't be blamed for your patent lack of ability to do so.


Limited to that, then, what is the lack of belief in god, immortality, and failure to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ?

For the purposes of applying Russell's definition, failing to meet any one of these three criteria is sufficient for someone to not be classed as Christian. But note the wording of Russell's third criteria.


Am I to assume you sit in discussion over a topic, with full "hearing" of the replies, but ignore anything that doesn't begin with calling out your name?

I don't ignore it but by the same token I don't often reply to it unless I have a view which I don't think is being represented.

To wave one's hand and say oh I dealt with that in my reply to XYZ is just lazy and in this case inaccurate as the reply to RR dealt with your misunderstanding of Spong's position on the nature of God but not in any substantive way with your confusion with his belief in immortality.


I assume that people will read most, if not all, of the posts, so we don't have to repeat ourselves, and can go back when I tell someone to see above.

Well I hope that in this matter you will try to be more tolerant of the opinions of others.


Since he leans far more toward pantheistic thoughts, with only some inconsistency dabbling in panentheistic thoughts, I think this doesn't seem to be the case.

As already explained, given that panentheism could be joking characterised as a supersized version of pantheism I can see why you have gone wrong here. However why you continue to think that after being provided with a explanation of this point is a little beyond my ken.


Examples?

I believe the famous one which has already be quoted several times in posts is sufficient to counter your pantheism claim. Paraphrasing "Everything there is plus more." A pantheist would baulk at the "plus more".


How would you interpret them differently?

As panentheism which is (incidentally) the same way you did initially.


So, say someone comes along tomorrow and writes a book, claiming to be an Atheist, free thinker, and skeptic. They point to horrors in the world as avoidable if Atheists would just incorporate singing kumbaya every other day, and presenting burnt toast offerings to the statue in the middle of the CBD.

Is it bigotry to dismiss this writer as a kook, and point out that worshiping statues and making burnt offerings is not Atheism?

I would say that something very similar to this hypothetical situation probably has happened as there are a lot of people out there with weird ideas both about the natural world and about the meaning of words. However in this scenario I am confident that the general population both atheist and all manner of theists as well would be able to agree that the position is not an atheist position in the widely understood meaning of the word and so would not refer to writer as such.

This should be contrasted with the position of the wider population being perfectly happy with the classification of the position as atheist and in fact many atheists also being happy and just a subset of atheists becoming very cranky about the whole affair. If that were to happen then a reasonable person would have reason to think that the cranky atheists were intolerant of someone who was earnestly atheist.


As for the rest, you made some bald assertions with no evidence to back any of it up. I'll answer the points when you quote me as saying any of those things. In the meantime, I'll stand over here and admire your straw men.

I'll think you find I supply evidence sufficiently as is required in the context. For example,

(1) Your insertion of the weasel words "in the Christian sense" is a matter of record and easily verified by looking back in the thread and comparing it with Russell's original.

(2) Regarding the Spong's position of god, your naive position has been arrived at by just taking the passages which can be interpreted as pantheism and ignoring the panentheism parts. But as the beliefs of the first are (in some sense) a subset of the second and therefore this is cherry picking.

Kevin Bonham
13-07-2012, 06:10 PM
If Spong was a self-professed Satanist we wouldn't be having this discussion. Many Satanists are atheists, agnostics, panentheists and so on and not all that many are theists. It is much more unusual for a Christian not to be a theist but I'm not convinced it's a deal-breaker. See also my comments on the definition of definition thread.

Goughfather
13-07-2012, 10:38 PM
Just a few necessary correctives:

(1) It is clear that Jono and Mrs. Jono don't think that one is saved by Christ, but rather than one is saved by cognitive assent to the "correct" doctrines. That being the case, Jono and Mrs. Jono regard Jesus as a mascot rather than a Savior. In reality they consider themselves to be their own Saviors, by virtue of how clever they believe they are for believing the correct things.

(2) The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the virgin birth. Rather, it is the Catholic doctrine that Mary was born without being tainted by Original Sin.

(3) Part of the bolded text which Mrs. Jono refers to in post 19 refers to Spong's very orthodox refutation of Docetism, the ancient heresy that denies Christ's essential humanity, which while not admitted to, is the effective belief of many within evangelical Protestantism.

(4) Sadly, Mrs. Jono badly mangles the idea of panentheism in post 28. Panentheism is not pantheism plus (classical) theism. There is a clear difference between saying that "God is all" and "God is in all". The following words of St. Paul are an interesting case in point:

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ - Act 17:24-28 [emphasis added]

The extent to which Spong would concur with verse 24-27 is debatable, but verse 28 corresponds very closely with Spong's panentheistic leanings. In saying that, it seems like Spong's main point of contention is with the tendency in Christendom to treat God in exclusively transcendent terms, even if there is lip service paid to an imminent "ground of being".

(5) It is interesting that Mrs. Jono suggests as a minimum that Christianity be defined as "of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ". I wonder in this respect whether Mrs. Jono is actually a Christian or Paulinist?

(6) It is utterly bizaare that Mrs. Jono chides Spong's rejection of Sola Scriptura, a doctrine which ironically is unbiblical. But what she effectively does in one foul swoop is dismiss the majority of orthodox Christendom, let alone unorthodox belief.

(7) Mrs. Jono's disdain of tradition, reason and experience leaves her with an ahistorical understanding of Christian doctrine and demonstrates that the charges against her and Jono of being literalists are quite justified. Even in historic Anglicanism, Scripture, Tradition and Reason are seen as three legs of the same stool. Outside of the modern heresy of Fundamentalist (literalist) Protestantism, Christianity has never been exclusively "based on the Christian text".

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 11:08 PM
(2) The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the virgin birth. Rather, it is the Catholic doctrine that Mary was born without being tainted by Original Sin.

Who is that correcting?.

Goughfather
14-07-2012, 12:07 AM
Who is that correcting?.

It's a reference to your post 21.

While we mention this, it is probably worth pointing out that Mrs. Jono and Jono are wrong in their insistence that the correct name of the doctrine is the "virginal conception". There is nothing wrong with the phrase "virgin birth" and indeed that phrase is probably more appropriate, given the early and frequent usage of the phrase "born of a virgin" among the pre-Nicene Church Fathers.

Rincewind
14-07-2012, 12:38 AM
It's a reference to your post 21.

OK I thought someone might have mentioned it further that I missed. The immaculate conception isn't the only catholic teaching to present problems with those from other denominations. The perpetual virginity of Mary is another idea which is distinct and I have no idea where the Jono's might fall on this issue. I suspect they don't believe all that jive.

My favourite quote demonstrating the tolerance of Catholicism in American Protestant churches in general is Rev Lovejoy from the Simpsons. When Marge asks Lovejoy if he will conduct last rites for gravely ill Grandpa Simpson he replies, "That’s Catholic, Marge. You might as well ask me to do a voodoo dance."

Goughfather
14-07-2012, 01:03 AM
OK I thought someone might have mentioned it further that I missed. The immaculate conception isn't the only catholic teaching to present problems with those from other denominations. The perpetual virginity of Mary is another idea which is distinct and I have no idea where the Jono's might fall on this issue. I suspect they don't believe all that jive.

I think that is almost as close to a certainty as you could get. The more interesting question would be whether he regards Catholics as "fellow Christians", thus introducing your next paragraph.


My favourite quote demonstrating the tolerance of Catholicism in American Protestant churches in general is Rev Lovejoy from the Simpsons. When Marge asks Lovejoy if he will conduct last rites for gravely ill Grandpa Simpson he replies, "That’s Catholic, Marge. You might as well ask me to do a voodoo dance."

The sad thing is that that's not really an exaggeration of what many literalists of Jono's ilk believe. You may recall that there was something of a controversy over John Hagee's endorsement of McCain, given that Hagee was infamous for his anti-Catholicism (among other things) and his reference to the Catholic Church as "the whore of Babylon".

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 05:30 AM
The quotation from Spong and your paraphrase of it.

Ah. I wasn't trying to paraphrase it, but I can see why you'd see it in that manner. I should have used bold, I guess, and explained myself more clearly that I was IIRC trying to point out that he is both making a new definition (aka redefining) and using experience to dictate the nature of God, rather than the nature of God to guide his experiences. Or something along those lines. That train of thought left the station. One of the few things I hate about getting older.


Spong's usage of "God"? Yes I do. He believes in God, Jesus, and spirits/ the Holy Spirit.

I guess that's really the crux of the issue. This isn't really about questioning whether he believes. It's whether his belief is in something so redefined from the original as to make it nonsensical, or worse, misguiding, as it's being instructed to others who would be mislead, and misguiding is usually more difficult to spot than nonsense. It's the difference between someone pointing to an orange and calling it an apple, or someone pointing to an apple substitute that looks, smells, and tastes like an apple, but has no apple in it.

Spong is redefining the basic nature of the "apple", saying we must accept that redefinition. He does both of these worrisome things I mentioned in the last paragraph. Sometimes he "holds up an orange" and other times he "holds up an apple substitute", and in both, he says they are apples and that he believe in apples! It just fails.

We aren't talking here about someone saying "apple" and meaning variations of an apple. Are apple sauce, apple juice, dried apple rings, and apple compote still apples? Yes, I believe they are. Each retains the basics that make them "apple", even if somethings have been added (water, cinnamon, sultanas) or taken away (water, skin). It retains the apple nature, as it were. This is akin to differences in minor doctrines, where one prefers apple sauce, while another prefers apple compote; both are consuming apple.

But I have unsuccessfully tried to provide various analogies or examples, which are picked apart rather than seen as illustrations of my points. Are you willing to momentarily set aside your position in the discussion, and see if you can come up with an acceptable example of something so drastically altered from an original as to make someone saying they believe in it (or a similar statement) nonsensical? I feel I cannot move forward if we cannot find a way to communicate effectively. (Rincewind, I'm asking this of you as well.)


How much change do historical grammatical folk tolerate before they stop calling someone a non-christian?

I'm going to assume you meant Christian, not "non-christian".

I can't speak for everyone else. Personally? I would very seldom say that a person is "not a Christian" who professes they are one, preferring to consider that God's judgment. Perhaps that's because it is a title. Perhaps it's because I don't have a huge foam finger aimed at the population of the world saying you, and you, and you are not Christians.

The reason for my participation here, and my increasing frustration with the inability to articulate well, is that it's not about titles for me. It's about beliefs, and more importantly about those who instruct those beliefs to others, including the potential for misguidance. So, I use "very seldom" in that statement, because I believe there is the caveat to that: except when it affects others.

Someone who only affects themselves by calling themselves Christians? I might try to talk with them, although I'm not very good at it. I might try to explain how their beliefs are inconsistent with Christianity, but ultimately, if they choose to be continually hardheaded, I would have no other option than to let them go their way.

The difference is in the caveat.

I was responsible for my son's education at home for several years. If he didn't learn certain things under my tutelage, the responsibility lies squarely on my shoulders (if he forgot everything I taught him, it's on his :doh:).

The Pastor on Sunday night just gave a sermon related to this, in relation to the ordination of a church member, where he expressed the enormous responsibility in preaching, and how even after 40 years, he still approaches it with, um, I think he called it a case of butterflies. I might be paraphrasing a bit, but the point remains intact.

Instructing multiple people in the matters of Christianity from a position of authority, as the Bishop did (including wearing his collar on the cover), has an even greater responsibility than having a conversation on this forum. It is my belief that he failed his responsibility, and more so, that the failure was even more heinous in that it reached so many that it misguided, and, as a Christian, I believe it put the souls of the unsaved who read it in jeopardy, and potentially led the saved into following down the same path of misleading others.

It's like people who are stern about what their child learns in public school. The instructor can believe anything they want to wrap their head around on their own time; there are just certain things, for various reasons, that shouldn't creep into the teaching to warp the minds they are filling.

So, to apply a similar question to a manner in which it would be applicable to me, how much would I tolerate before I'd say a person was not writing about/preaching/teaching Christianity any longer? When the apple becomes an orange in redefinition.

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 06:04 AM
Simply that there is a difference between what the general population see as Christian and what biblical literalists see as Christian and this is due to the assumption that the biblical literlaist is "right" and the ones they call non-Christians are "wrong".

I know what meant and what I said because I wrote it. I'm through rehasing it for you. You simply assumed something incorrectly and ran with it, and are continuing to misconstrue what I said, while asserting that the misconstruance is reality.

Our communication problems seem to stem from presuppositions which make no sense as you've never met me AFAIK and have barely interacted with me, as well as malformed conclusions drawn on what you imply I actually intended or from what you mistakenly infer between the lines, and then the transforming of that into some sort of alternate reality, where any defense on my part is either ignored, disputed, or volleyed back as some sort of pseudo-evidence of your faulty assumptions. We all make assumptions, mate, but for goodness' sake, please drop them when someone says you are mistaken, else we find the discussion becomes farcical, where the bloody back and forth takes up more time and space than the topic.


Well simply contradiction is just a waste of time.

No, when all reasonable efforts fail, as simple contradiction both saves time, and halts escalation of the replies to Level: Snarky.

I asked a question of RR, and bolded that I'd like you to answer as well. I am calling your attention to that in the previous reply of mine, so you don't miss it.

I think it will save us all time here, because we seem to be dancing in circles, and aside from what I've just said, I think a clearer understanding of each other's positions in the discussion is warranted.


-----------
ETA the following:

I left this window open for a while, intending to re-read what you wrote to see if I'd need to do any research before replying later, and instead felt convicted in that I may have not given you the benefit of the doubt, that you might just honestly not be getting this. While I still believe what I said above to be true, I am truly hoping this will resolve this issue once and for all. I'd really like to get back to discussing the actual topic with you.

(And as a quick aside, the crack you made about temper? It had nothing to do with any reaction to you disagreeing with me; your disagreement has no real bearing on my well-being. It had to do with a lack of civility and even some contempt, that you showed me in that earlier post, where I'd barely begun even speaking with you, and had shown no bit of incivility toward you. I'd much rather type #Thumper or #ForrestGump, which gives me a small laugh as I picture that cute Bambi character talking about saying something nice or nothing at all, or the simply conciseness of Forrest's reply, for those times when I'm not going to respond to some incivility, rather than risk returning the insults in kind.)

Russell said, "I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian. Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief about Christ. The Mohammedans, for instance, also believe in God and in immortality, and yet they would not call themselves Christians."


In your first reply to me, you condemned me, twice: "[my] bigotry" and I "de-Christianfy those who don't accept [my] flavour of Christianity".


I believe we are now coming to the crux of your bigotry. Russell did not say "in the christian sense". These are just weasel words you have inserted so that you are able to de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity.

Really, RW? Where did you come up with this ulterior motivation? This is what I said about condemning someone for bigotry, while showing utter contempt for their opposing viewpoint, and more importantly, why I wrote what I wrote above. I'd go even further to add that you not only showed contempt toward me, but also unwarranted condemnation of me.

In the above quoted part of Russell's essay, he gives two different criteria that he calls "quite essential", belief in "God and immortality". There is a third criteria mentioned, which is "some kind of belief about Christ". Russell didn't only indicate that Christians and Muslims believe in god and immortality; he gave a third criteria specific to only one of them, ergo a differentiation!

While you might have concluded that this is distinction without a difference, you recognised the distinction as a difference when you said "Muslim as an example of people who believe in god and immortality but are not Christian due to the missing third criteria". If one has a "missing third criteria", it is different than the one that meets the third criteria. Simply put, GIC =\= GI.

Then I can only scratch my head in frustration when you represent this, but then surround it with reasoning that shows you just didn't seem to get it.


I understand that that is your claim but in all cases the distinctions were unnecessary and therefore I content their inclusion was to draw attention to those aspects. A rhetorical device akin to jingoism
I give reasons why I think you misinterpreted Russell. He make no distinction between the Islamic and Christian beliefs of immortality that was a something you read into his comment when he was merely using Muslim as an example of people who believe in god and immortality but are not Christian due to the missing third criteria. (two differents posts, but the same topic)

Nowhere do I say Russell said, or I think Russell actually meant. No, it isn't there; see?



Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense? Spong says "We have come to the dawning realisation that God might not be separate from us but rather deep within us". That's panentheism, much closer to Hinduism, not Christianity where the living God walked among us and was separate from us. That's but one indicator that the answer to the question is no.

Does Spong believe in immortality in the Christian sense? His writings point toward the answer being no, but even if I missed something that disagrees with me here, it isn't enough to simply believe in immortality. The ancient Egyptians believed in immortality with their gods, but by no definition can they be called Christian.

Instead, I used Russell's criteria as a baseline, ALL of Russell's criteria, which includes the third one, in enquiry about Spong. If I'd somehow set out to "de-Christianfy those who don't accept your flavour of Christianity", as you accused, I could have used "in the Muslim sense", perhaps, since "in the Christian sense" includes Christ in the equation!!!!!!1111one1!!!!

But if you need more proof, note that the summary you used of Russell's criteria was less representative than my use of "in the Christian sense". You excluded Christ from Muslim belief, where instead Russell actually included Christ in Christian belief. To pharaphrase, by calling it the "missing third criteria", you removed Christ from the equation in that summary, while Russell said nothing one way or the other about Christ in relation to Muslims.

When I ask you to contrast this, please, with where I included the criteria by saying in the Christian sense which not only did not misrepresent Russell, but also did not "de-Christify[ing]"/remove Christ from anything, this is not the fallacious argument of pointing out what you did was worse. Instead, I am showing you that did not misrepresent him with your summary in any real sense, but that I actually used it closer to the context, within the context of this conversation.

Both of the later replies, although toned down, still serve as reinforcing your original accusations, especially when coupled with your dogged adherence to them after I told you that you were wrong. This is why I felt this was important enough to revisit, and lay out in one last reply, lest someone believe you might have been correct.

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 06:15 AM
If Spong was a self-professed Satanist we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Probably not, unless Spong chose to redefine and change the nature of Satan, and we chose to explore what the meant. :P

It is much more unusual for a Christian not to be a theist but I'm not convinced it's a deal-breaker..
I don't see how it can't be understood that to change the nature of God changes the nature of Christ (which Spong attests), and thereby changes the nature of Christianity. If you change the nature of something to the point it no longer resembles the original, I can't see how it can't be a "deal-breaker" as you say (and before I am misunderstood, see my reply to RR; I am speaking of Christianity, not Spong's proclamation of being a Christian).

immaculate conception
But we weren't discussing the Roman Catholic doctrine of Immaculate Conception, at that time. It's a completely different topic.

We were simply agreeing (I think agreeing) that virgin birth is a misnomer, more accurately named virgin conception, as the act refers to the act of conception, not the event of Christ's birth.

Further, I think the misnomer purports the additional concept, by implication, that she remained a virgin throughout her pregnancy and through the birth of Christ.

Kevin Bonham
14-07-2012, 11:41 AM
Probably not, unless Spong chose to redefine and change the nature of Satan, and we chose to explore what the meant. :P

Satanists redefine and change the nature of Satan pretty much whenever they feel like it. A Satanic equivalent of Spong wouldn't even be a radical.


I don't see how it can't be understood that to change the nature of God changes the nature of Christ (which Spong attests), and thereby changes the nature of Christianity. If you change the nature of something to the point it no longer resembles the original, I can't see how it can't be a "deal-breaker" as you say (and before I am misunderstood, see my reply to RR; I am speaking of Christianity, not Spong's proclamation of being a Christian).

I agree that Spong "changes" it compared to normal understanding and does so quite significantly but I am not convinced it no longer resembles the original.

Russell might have had a different view of how to define "Christian" if Spong had been prominent when he made that definition. Russell gave his definition first in 1927.

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 11:53 AM
Russell gave his definition first in 1927.

Yeah, I knew he was dated. I just hoped to begin to build a bridge by using someone others here might consider an outside observer. Further, if we agree (somehow) that Spong's version of "Christianity" ultimately fails under Russell's definition, for the reasons I think it does, there's really no reason to look into a fellow Christian's definition, with whom someone might claim shared bias, is there?

Rincewind
14-07-2012, 11:58 AM
Nowhere do I say Russell said, or I think Russell actually meant. No, it isn't there; see?

When I said you were putting words in Russell's mouth I did not mean that you said "Russell said the moon is made of green cheese". It is quite clear from following the thread back to when I first brought up this issue and it was in the passages you repeated in the last reply.

Russell said...


I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian. Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief about Christ. The Mohammedans, for instance, also believe in God and in immortality, and yet they would not call themselves Christians. I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men. If you are not going to believe that much about Christ, I do not think you have any right to call yourself a Christian.

This includes what he said about Muslims and why they don't consider themselves Christian. You will note that in in first two criteria Christ is not mentioned and in really only after Christ is added in the third criterion that we start to have some semblance of a useful definition.

Now in your own passages you addressed points one and two by saying

"Does Spong "believe in God" in the Christian sense?" and "Does Spong believe in immortality in the Christian sense?" However there is nothing of the Christian sense sense in Russell's first two criteria. They were added by you in your analysis of Spong's writing so that you could conclude that Spong was not a Christian according to Russell's definition. That is simply putting words into the mouth of Russell. #MrsGump

Desmond
14-07-2012, 02:26 PM
I'm going to avoid the line-by-line-, blow-by-below-, -type response and just respond to you main points as I think they stand. If I miss anything you want addressed, let me know.


Are you willing to momentarily set aside your position in the discussion, and see if you can come up with an acceptable example of something so drastically altered from an original as to make someone saying they believe in it (or a similar statement) nonsensical? I feel I cannot move forward if we cannot find a way to communicate effectively. First let me say that I think your apple analogy is a good one at demonstrating what it is you want to demonstrate. However I think that it is rather beside the point, and in a sense an illustration of how, IMO, you are missing the point.

The apple analogy, and I think your position in general, assumes that there is a correct or pure interpretation. Whether that is an apple as picked from the tree, or the truth of Christianity as you understand it, you are taking the position that there is one starting point and all else is deviant from this point. Some deviate less, some more. With the apple - I agree! With your view of Christianity - I don't. I think that there can be different yet valid interpretations.

... I believe there is the caveat to that: except when it affects others.Your position, as I understand it, is that you wouldn't call such a person a non-Christian, but you would still consider them one. The difference being when and to what degree you become proactive about it. Is that indeed your position?

Capablanca-Fan
14-07-2012, 02:34 PM
Russell might have had a different view of how to define "Christian" if Spong had been prominent when he made that definition. Russell gave his definition first in 1927.
Spong is nothing new. There were churchians just like him in Russell's day. J. Gresham Machen refuted them in his book Christianity and Liberalism back in 1923.

Kevin Bonham
14-07-2012, 02:47 PM
Spong is nothing new. There were churchians just like him in Russell's day.

Did they have the same view of the nature of God as Spong?

Capablanca-Fan
14-07-2012, 03:12 PM
Did they have the same view of the nature of God as Spong?
Yes, there were theological liberals like Tillich, Bultmann, Fosdick.

Spong is hardly distinguishable from you and RW in beliefs, despite the churchian language he uses to sell books.

Kevin Bonham
14-07-2012, 04:26 PM
Yes, there were theological liberals like Tillich, Bultmann, Fosdick.

Tillich had written no books as of 1923 and Bultmann only one; it seems the bulk of both their careers came after Machen's book and indeed Russell's comment. Fosdick's address here (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5070/) was topical at the time of Machen's book and engaged with by him, but I see no evidence of it espousing a view of God specifically as radical as Spong's. Note that by "God specifically" I mean the idea of a super-powerful creating intentional being (rejected by Spong); I am not referring here to views of whether Jesus existed.


Spong is hardly distinguishable from you and RW in beliefs, despite the churchian language he uses to sell books.

I don't have any difficulty distinguishing my views from Spong, in the area of his praise of Christ, his conception of God, or his moral views. All he would have in common with me would be some degree of view that science should trump religious mumbo-jumbo and agreement on some political issues. It seems that Spong is trying to save as much of Christianity as is consistent with science and it turns out that this is not very much and that quite a deal of twisting is required to make it anything at all.

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 06:48 PM
I'm going to avoid the line-by-line-, blow-by-below-, -type response and just respond to you main points as I think they stand.

Thank you. It often becomes cumbersome to go point by point, and it's easy to get lost like I did on that other post to you, but I've run into people who will whinge, if you don't, that you aren't answering them. :doh: BTW, let me begin by saying, for clarity, that I understand that God is Triune, including Christ in Christianity, and therefore all my usage of God in my replies is in this manner, unless indicated otherwise.

It misstates my position to say correct or pure interpretation. Interpretation allows one to make the determination of what and who God is, which is the incorrect approach. Although one can attempt to define reality, one doesn't determine reality. We aren't blind men groping an elephant. And even if we were, the results in that story were how it was described, not how its nature was determined; the elephant was still an elephant. God revealed His nature to us in Scripture. So it becomes a matter of trust, belief, and loyalty, faith for sound reasons, that God's nature is what He says it is. And that is really black and white, God's Word is Truth or we believe in vain (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:14 (http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/15-14.htm): and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain) To throw out or ignore the parts of His word we don't like, using our own experiences to attempt to determine God's nature, is to make a paper doll image of what they want God's nature to be, but that is not reality. That is a form of idolatry, worshiping a formed image instead of God.

I think it also simplifies my position far too much to say that I think all else is deviant. Aside from the nature of God being what He's told us, there are other things that are not as fully described which have left room for discussion and interpretation, which is why we have Armenians and Calvinists, for example. But then there are things which are so far off the rails as to not be a branching, but rather a completely different tree (or a rock, or a stream). Got me?


...wouldn't call such a person a non-Christian, but you would still consider them one. The difference being when and to what degree you become proactive about it

No. I must not have articulated myself well enough. I must try to be discerning and judge the accuracy of that which is related to Christianity, but it is not my place to place the label on or remove the label off a person. It's not a matter of being proactive; it's that I choose not to do that for specific reasons.

Firstly, I can get pretty annoyed when someone tries to pigeonhole me. I've done it to others at times, but I try not attribute something to someone they don't attribute to themselves. I am a Christian not because there is a label stuck on my lapel, but because it's a summary title of my faith in and belief of Christianity. And perhaps because Christianity is so very important, the direction I would take would be to help someone work through erroneous beliefs and warped idea, as much as I am able, and bring them to someone else if I cannot help. Setting my mind toward what they are not, and telling them so, is not going to help, and will most likely stop interaction.

Secondly, people have warped ideas all the time. I've know people who have gone completely and totally off the rails from a certain position, only to come back later with a red face, stating they were wrong. This is just as true for Christians, who after all are humans who make human mistakes. So for me to take the opportunity to kick them while they are down by saying they are not a Christian, is not only unfair, but probably not true. You can be a Christian with wrong ideas, VERY wrong ideas. You can also be a Christian and be inconsistent.

Finally, as above regarding determination, use or not of the label of Christian does not determine the validity of Christianity. If someone has those very wrong ideas, they can, as I said, still be a Christian, but you can't truthfully call those very wrong ideas Christianity, if they are so different in nature, like the orange to the apple.


I think that there can be different yet valid interpretations.
Can you give some examples of those you would think are different yet invalid? I'd like to see where you set that bar.

Capablanca-Fan
14-07-2012, 09:28 PM
Tillich had written no books as of 1923 and Bultmann only one; it seems the bulk of both their careers came after Machen's book and indeed Russell's comment. Fosdick's address here (http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5070/) was topical at the time of Machen's book and engaged with by him, but I see no evidence of it espousing a view of God specifically as radical as Spong's. Note that by "God specifically" I mean the idea of a super-powerful creating intentional being (rejected by Spong); I am not referring here to views of whether Jesus existed.
Hardly anyone doubted that Jesus existed. These above theologians were well known, and not the pioneers of theological liberalism either.


I don't have any difficulty distinguishing my views from Spong, in the area of his praise of Christ, his conception of God, or his moral views.
His praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation. He would have to have some praise of Christ mixed in their, because of his backward collar. There is very little about his conception of God that differs from you; he just uses God language while you don't. Spong shares a lot of your moral views from what I can tell.


All he would have in common with me would be some degree of view that science should trump religious mumbo-jumbo and agreement on some political issues. It seems that Spong is trying to save as much of Christianity as is consistent with science and it turns out that this is not very much and that quite a deal of twisting is required to make it anything at all.
Well, that was always the claim of theological liberals even back in Russell's day, but as Machen's book pointed out before Russell, liberalism was a totally different religion from Christianity.

Capablanca-Fan
14-07-2012, 09:36 PM
While we mention this, it is probably worth pointing out that Mrs. Jono and Jono are wrong in their insistence that the correct name of the doctrine is the "virginal conception". There is nothing wrong with the phrase "virgin birth" and indeed that phrase is probably more appropriate, given the early and frequent usage of the phrase "born of a virgin" among the pre-Nicene Church Fathers.
But there was nothing miraculous about the birth, even though Mary was a virgin at the time of the birth. The Nicene Creed says:

[Jesus] was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man.
This is closer to the Virginal Conception.

Goughfather
14-07-2012, 10:24 PM
But there was nothing miraculous about the birth, even though Mary was a virgin at the time of the birth. The Nicene Creed says:

[Jesus] was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man.
This is closer to the Virginal Conception.

I'm not going to say that your use of the phrase "virginal conception" is wrong, but by the same token there is nothing wrong about the phrase "virgin birth". Furthermore, it seems to be more appropriate, given that a number of Church Fathers, including Irenaeus, Tertullian and Jerome used the specific phrase "born of a virgin". The phrase "virgin birth" does not of itself suggest that the birth itself was miraculous.

I suspect that the use of the phrase "virginal conception" is predominantly an anti-Catholic phenomenon among Fundamentalist Protestants. More than likely, this is because many within this sect are distinctly uncomfortable with Catholic doctrines relating to Mary, but this does not justify departing from the historically recognised name for the doctrine.

Patrick Byrom
14-07-2012, 11:47 PM
Can you give some examples of those you would think are different yet invalid? I'd like to see where you set that bar.
I'd suggest the following:
Jehovah's Witnesses: Definitely Christian;
Mormons: Almost certainly Christian;
Rosicrucians: Definitely non-Christian.

I expect that road runner and Rincewind will agree with me about 1 & 2, but Jono and Mrs Jono won't. I don't expect any argument about 3!

Kevin Bonham
14-07-2012, 11:59 PM
Hardly anyone doubted that Jesus existed. These above theologians were well known, and not the pioneers of theological liberalism either.

So did J. Gresham Machen refute the arguments of Tillich and Bultmann by name in his 1923 book?


His praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation.

Or what you interpret as such? I have not read Spong but the impression I get from secondary accounts and summaries is that he has an idea of what Christ was like that he praises highly. That that version of Christ may be suspiciously Sponglike is beside the point.


Spong shares a lot of your moral views from what I can tell.

It is news to me that I have any! Of course it may be that Spong also adheres to some kind of scepticism towards absolute moral pronouncements, but if so I suspect he takes it to a rather different place in terms of conduct preferences. Obviously he shares my dismissal of the persecution of sexual minorities but I also share that view with, for instance, the Greens, with whom I disagree on many if not most other issues.

I'll also point out that liberalism, like atheism, is not a religion, because it lacks any ritual or worship component.

Mrs Jono
15-07-2012, 03:53 AM
examples of those you would think are different yet invalid
I'd suggest the following ... Rosicrucians: Definitely non-Christian.

You gave one example that fit the purview of my question, shown above.

Why, in your opinion, are they "Definitely non-Christian"?

What set that bar for you?



I have not read Spong

:doh: Oi.

Patrick Byrom
15-07-2012, 01:08 PM
You gave one example that fit the purview of my question, shown above. Why, in your opinion, are they "Definitely non-Christian"? What set that bar for you?
Another example would be the Anthroposophical Society.
One way to summarise my view would be to say that Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons start from Biblical teachings, while the other two groups don't.

So I think Spong is probably a Christian, but I'm not familiar enough with his writings to make a definite statement.

But I don't think anyone can give a definite answer to the general question, because of the Sorites paradox.

Kevin Bonham
15-07-2012, 02:37 PM
I don't think I'd looked at the Sorites paradox in any detail before. I don't think it is actually a sound paradox at all. For instance considering this common formulation of it:

"1 grain of wheat does not make a heap.
If 1 grain of wheat does not make a heap then 2 grains of wheat do not.
If 2 grains of wheat do not make a heap then 3 grains do not.

If 9,999 grains of wheat do not make a heap then 10,000 do not. 10,000 grains of wheat do not make a heap. "

... in my view the problem with this formulation is that whether or not the inductive step seems convincing depends on whether or not the premise and conclusion are both considered true anyway. We tend to accept "If 1 grain of wheat does not make a heap then 2 grains of wheat do not." not because it follows logically in any way at all but because we already know that 1 grain of wheat is definitely not a "heap" and nor is 2. Likewise we tend to accept "If 10,000 grains of wheat make a heap then so do 9999" not because it follows logically but because we already know that 10,000 grains of wheat is a heap and so is 9,999.

But if someone says to me even "If 2 grains of wheat cannot make a heap then 3 grains of wheat do not", I want them to convince me, because even in the case of 3 grains we have the possibility of a grain resting entirely on other grains without touching the ground (actually even with 2 this may be possible but only by fine balancing), and I think three-dimensionality of that sort has something to do with the nature of heaps. I don't think 3 grains is really a heap either, but that's based on considering the possible arrangements of 3 grains, not on the inductive argument. And if someone says "If 6 grains of wheat cannot make a heap then 7 grains of wheat cannot", well it's quite plausible to me that after examining all possible arrangements of 6 grains and all possible arrangements of 7 grains I might accept one of the latter as a mini-heap while accepting none of the former, so I'm not convinced to accept this inductive step at all. Actually I see no merit in the inductive step at any stage of the argument because in no case does it tell me something I don't already know, and the only evidence for its validity is an argument from examples that may not be actually typical.

Philosophers have a great talent for finding puzzles like this to be more perplexing and to need more difficult solutions than is actually the case. Yes there is vagueness and subjectivity in how we would apply a term like "Christian" to a lot of these dubious cases (meaning that either a given person might be unsure how to apply the label or that two different people might apply it in opposite directions based on differing ideas of what the word means), but that doesn't result from a genuine paradox.

Capablanca-Fan
15-07-2012, 03:29 PM
I'm not going to say that your use of the phrase "virginal conception" is wrong, but by the same token there is nothing wrong about the phrase "virgin birth".
Not as such, only with any implication that there was something miraculous about the birth, such that it left Mary's hymen intact (Virginitas in partu).


Furthermore, it seems to be more appropriate, given that a number of Church Fathers, including Irenaeus, Tertullian and Jerome used the specific phrase "born of a virgin".
And this is a correct phrase. But no less correct is the language of the Nicene Creed saying that Jesus was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, or the Latin term Virginitas ante partum. Note that Irenaeus, Tertullian, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr affirmed this doctrine.


The phrase "virgin birth" does not of itself suggest that the birth itself was miraculous.
If that is all that is meant, there is no problem.


I suspect that the use of the phrase "virginal conception" is predominantly an anti-Catholic phenomenon among Fundamentalist Protestants.
Not at all. Catholics who are among the strongest defenders of life from conception should have no problem with the phrase, and they certainly believe that the conception was miraculous.


More than likely, this is because many within this sect are distinctly uncomfortable with Catholic doctrines relating to Mary, but this does not justify departing from the historically recognised name for the doctrine.
Indeed I do reject the perpetual virginity of Mary (Virginitas post partum).

Capablanca-Fan
15-07-2012, 03:38 PM
I'd suggest the following:
Jehovah's Witnesses: Definitely Christian;
Mormons: Almost certainly Christian;
Rosicrucians: Definitely non-Christian.

I expect that road runner and Rincewind will agree with me about 1 & 2, but Jono and Mrs Jono won't.
You are correct.

My own list would be:
Presbyterians, traditional Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, and even Seventh Day Adventists: Definitely Christian;
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptics: Almost certainly Christian;
JWs, Mormons, Christian Science, Rosicrucians, and Oneness groups: Definitely non-Christian.

Rincewind
15-07-2012, 05:41 PM
I'd suggest the following:
3. Rosicrucians: Definitely non-Christian.

I expect that road runner and Rincewind will agree with me about 1 & 2, but Jono and Mrs Jono won't. I don't expect any argument about 3!

I don;t know that much about the beliefs of Rosicrusians. What what I can tell from the internet I suspect some Rosicrucians might be considered Christian but many seem to be definitely not.

Goughfather
15-07-2012, 06:04 PM
You are correct.

My own list would be:
Presbyterians, traditional Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, and even Seventh Day Adventists: Definitely Christian;
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptics: Almost certainly Christian;
JWs, Mormons, Christian Science, Rosicrucians, and Oneness groups: Definitely non-Christian.


One wonders what Jono means by the term "traditional Anglicans". If we were accept these words at face value, he would mean Anglo-Catholics. I suspect, however, that he does not.

It is a little concerning that he considers Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and Coptics as inferior Christians to the literalists in his circles.

Patrick Byrom
15-07-2012, 06:32 PM
I don't think I'd looked at the Sorites paradox in any detail before. I don't think it is actually a sound paradox at all. ...
Philosophers have a great talent for finding puzzles like this to be more perplexing and to need more difficult solutions than is actually the case. Yes there is vagueness and subjectivity in how we would apply a term like "Christian" to a lot of these dubious cases (meaning that either a given person might be unsure how to apply the label or that two different people might apply it in opposite directions based on differing ideas of what the word means), but that doesn't result from a genuine paradox.
I agree that it's not a genuine paradox, but that is what it is normally referred to as.

My intention was to imply that the degree of "Christianness" of a group could be defined by their level of adherence to the Nicene Creed, but that there would be borderline cases such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons where different people would disagree.

However, Jono has wrecked my system by describing Roman Catholics as "almost certainly" Christian - there is no difference between them and Baptists in their adherence to the Nicene Creed!

Rincewind
15-07-2012, 06:45 PM
One wonders what Jono means by the term "traditional Anglicans". If we were accept these words at face value, he would mean Anglo-Catholics. I suspect, however, that he does not.

I would hazard a guess that he means Low Church given their evangelical leanings.

Goughfather
15-07-2012, 07:38 PM
I would hazard a guess that he means Low Church given their evangelical leanings.

Most assuredly you would be correct, I would say.

The sad thing about it is that there is nothing traditional to his literalistic approach to interpreting the Bible and Fundamentalist Protestantism in general. This movement does not date back from the Early Church almost 2,000 years ago, nor even to the Protestant Reformation almost 500 years ago. His obscure form of Christianity while growing in influence is less than 100 years old and was virtually unknown before that. In every sense of the word, Jono belongs to a fringe sect.

Mrs Jono
15-07-2012, 08:24 PM
So, where is the bar is leveled, that minimum line indicating above here, yes and below here, no? While saying that some are Christians and some are non-Christians is basically an answer, I'm looking more for what determines those divisions, what draws that line.

Although I understand where Patrick was going with the Sorites paradox, Kevin pretty much hit the nail on the head for me with his reply, as I pretty much see that same thing in relation to what we've been discussing here. For example, I think we can agree that it would not be representative of Christianity to crank up some CCM and go dancing naked in moonlight (i.e., that could be a means of someone's worship or it could be completely unrelated, but it's not representative of Christianity itself).

So, again, what line in the sand, what goalposts, would you use as a measuring stick?

Additionally, I'd like to address a few things specific to the accusation against my husband related to the so-called bigotry in his paper on Spong. To this purpose, I submit that we limit our discussion of Spong and this accusation of bigotry in the paper to date of the paper as the chronological cutoff, for obvious reasons.

I have a question specific to any who have not read Spong. Do you think you are qualified to make these aforementioned determinations in relation to Spong specifically, and, in addition, to judge Jono (and Michael), who did the research for the paper? I personally can't see how an informed determination can be accurately given in those specific instances. If you disagree, please explain why.

My questions to those who have read Spong's writings, enough in-depth to make informed determinations, do you believe Spong represents Christianity, do you think he misrepresents Christianity (i.e., is inconsistent) and if so, to what degree?

And, further, to everyone, do you agree or disagree with my assertion that making an accusation of bigotry is exhibiting a form of bigotry? Why, or why not? And in relation to Jono (and Michael), please prove your case if you feel he (they) exhibited bigotry in that paper.

Kevin Bonham
15-07-2012, 09:23 PM
I have a question specific to any who have not read Spong. Do you think you are qualified to make these aforementioned determinations in relation to Spong specifically, and, in addition, to judge Jono (and Michael), who did the research for the paper? I personally can't see how an informed determination can be accurately given in those specific instances. If you disagree, please explain why.

Because I'm actually making a provisional determination concerning a comment by Jono based on reading many thousands of his posts and links. This has permitted me to develop a finely-tuned radar for dubious Jono claims!

Actually I, for one, hadn't commented on the article mentioned to this point so I could hardly be said to be judging it. What I do find is that it does not contain any warrant whatsoever for Jono's previous claim here that Spong's "praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation", which in context can only reasonably be read as meaning sharp condemnation of Christ.

Jono made that claim to play down differences between Spong and me, but it really doesn't matter in that context whether Christ is portrayed as a fire-and-brimstone religious zealot or a wishy-washy John Lennon wannabe; I wouldn't rate or praise Christ in either case.

Now it may be that Spong sharply criticises what Jono considers Christ to be, but that is not the same thing as Spong criticising what Spong (rightly or wrongly) considers Christ to have been. And since Jono's account of Spong's comments on that point is so inconsistent with what other secondary sources claim of Spong (including those who agree with some aspects of Jono's critique) I'd be surprised if he was right and they were wrong.


And, further, to everyone, do you agree or disagree with my assertion that making an accusation of bigotry is exhibiting a form of bigotry?

In its generalised form I don't agree. It depends on the degree of justification for the claim. Making unwarranted accusations of bigotry could well be seen as a form of bigotry, but those interested in such a line of thought may care to explore Jono's continual attempts to stereotype opposing movements far too broadly as misotheists, atheopaths, -nazis or -fascists. Those are allegations of a very similar, and in cases worse, nature to casually slinging around the "bigot" card. If it was bigotry to call someone a bigot, it would certainly be bigotry (and worse) to call someone a misotheist, an atheopath, a feminazi or a jonoslatestsillywordendinginfascistfascist.

Patrick Byrom
15-07-2012, 10:38 PM
So, where is the bar is leveled, that minimum line indicating above here, yes and below here, no? While saying that some are Christians and some are non-Christians is basically an answer, I'm looking more for what determines those divisions, what draws that line.
I don't think such a line can be drawn. In my opinion, there will always be a gray area between the two groups, irrespective of where you try to draw the line: for me, it's the Mormons, while for Jono it's the Catholics.

I'd be surprised if anyone can successfully specify a clear dividing line.


I have a question specific to any who have not read Spong. Do you think you are qualified to make these aforementioned determinations in relation to Spong specifically, and, in addition, to judge Jono (and Michael), who did the research for the paper? I personally can't see how an informed determination can be accurately given in those specific instances. If you disagree, please explain why.
I agree, and I haven't made any such determination.


And, further, to everyone, do you agree or disagree with my assertion that making an accusation of bigotry is exhibiting a form of bigotry? Why, or why not? And in relation to Jono (and Michael), please prove your case if you feel he (they) exhibited bigotry in that paper.
I don't agree, but then I'm not suggesting that anyone is bigoted. A well-supported accusation of bigotry is not, in itself, bigotry.

Capablanca-Fan
16-07-2012, 04:19 AM
The sad thing about it is that there is nothing traditional to his literalistic approach to interpreting the Bible and Fundamentalist Protestantism in general. This movement does not date back from the Early Church almost 2,000 years ago, nor even to the Protestant Reformation almost 500 years ago. His obscure form of Christianity while growing in influence is less than 100 years old and was virtually unknown before that. In every sense of the word, Jono belongs to a fringe sect.
GF is talking crap as usual. He measures all things by conformity to the latest fad in political correctness, or roughly the Green/Labor/Democrat platform-du-jour. In reality, most of the Church Fathers including Basil the Great (http://creation.com/genesis-means-what-it-says-basil-ad-329379), medieval theologians like Thomas Aquinas (http://creation.com/church-of-england-apologises-to-charles-darwin#aquinas), and all the Reformers including Luther (http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c027.html)and Calvin (http://creation.com/calvin-said-genesis-means-what-it-says), believed that Genesis taught creation in six normal-length days and a global flood. Even those who allegorized the creation days believed the earth was <6,000 years old at time of writing, such as Augustine (http://creation.com/augustine-young-earth-creationist).

And Basil would be a "literalist" to use GF's typically dishonest caricature:

‘I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own ends. For me grass is grass; plant, fish, wild beast, domestic animal, I take all in the literal sense. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel” [Rom. 1:16].’ (Hexaëmeron 9:1 (http://chesschat.org/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=338119))

Capablanca-Fan
16-07-2012, 04:25 AM
Because I'm actually making a provisional determination concerning a comment by Jono based on reading many thousands of his posts and links. This has permitted me to develop a finely-tuned radar for dubious Jono claims!
That would explain things then, since radars detect speed and distance, not truth claims.


Actually I, for one, hadn't commented on the article mentioned to this point so I could hardly be said to be judging it. What I do find is that it does not contain any warrant whatsoever for Jono's previous claim here that Spong's "praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation", which in context can only reasonably be read as meaning sharp condemnation of Christ.
Spong claims that ‘There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical.’ (Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism p. 21). My old co-authored article (http://creation.com/whats-wrong-with-bishop-spong) documented where Spong said these things.


Jono made that claim to play down differences between Spong and me,
OK, so you're a moral skeptic, while Spong is a moral relativist, even idiotically appealing to Einsteinian relativity. But the conclusions drawn are similar for all practical purposes.

Capablanca-Fan
16-07-2012, 04:28 AM
My intention was to imply that the degree of "Christianness" of a group could be defined by their level of adherence to the Nicene Creed, but that there would be borderline cases such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons where different people would disagree.

However, Jono has wrecked my system by describing Roman Catholics as "almost certainly" Christian - there is no difference between them and Baptists in their adherence to the Nicene Creed!
Baptists officially don't have a creed, although they would agree with the statements. The Nicene Creed is a classic statement of Christian belief, although like the early creeds it concentrated on rebutting the heretical ideas of the day. The major one was Arianism, which is similar to what JWs teach today. If the Nicene Creed were the dividing line, JWs and Mormons are certainly out.

Capablanca-Fan
16-07-2012, 04:32 AM
I would hazard a guess that he means Low Church given their evangelical leanings.
"Low Church" goes back to Cranmer. So they are almost as "traditional" as the high church that back to Henry VIII. Traditional high-churchers are in the boundary between 1 and 2.

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 05:33 AM
I don't think such a line can be drawn. In my opinion, there will always be a gray area between the two groups, irrespective of where you try to draw the line: for me, it's the Mormons, while for Jono it's the Catholics. I'd be surprised if anyone can successfully specify a clear dividing line.

Would it be fair to say you'd agree with me that Islam is not Christianity? Why isn't it; what draws that line? It is bigotry to make that statement? Or is it identification?


A well-supported accusation of bigotry is not, in itself, bigotry.

Ever? What does well-supported mean to you? Is it just a matter of sufficient examples? What if the drawn conclusion is faulty? And is the converse true for the poorly-supported accusation?

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 06:35 AM
Sorry, Kevin, didn't roll up far enough, so this reply is out of order.


This has permitted me to develop a finely-tuned radar for dubious Jono claims!

So do you think the statement prompting the separation into this particular topic, "it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ", is bigotry? Why or why not?

If so, is there any instance where the statement's construction could be considered by you to not be bigotry: "it is absurd for ________ to claim to be _________ if he cannot be sure that he is really following ______"?

What about this similar, yet slightly stronger, statement: "it would be absurd for Muslims to claim to be Christians, since they do not really follow Christ"? Is that stronger statement bigotry? Why or why not?


And, further, to everyone, do you agree or disagree with my assertion that making an accusation of bigotry is exhibiting a form of bigotry?
In its generalised form I don't agree. It depends on the degree of justification for the claim. Making unwarranted accusations of bigotry could well be seen as a form of bigotry, [...]

Pardon me while I interrupt you mid-sentence. What determines whether claims of bigotry are unwarranted, or warranted for that matter? Agreement or disagreement with one's own opinions? With one's peers? With a majority? Wouldn't any of those be a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, regardless?

I've not responded to your other examples at this time, not because I can't (although Jono is better equipped), but because I'd rather not detract from our forward progress by diving into minutia.

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 06:48 AM
were the dividing line

And that basically is the thing, isn't it? If there are no dividing lines, ever, any claim can be considered valid, distinctions are meaningless (since it would mean Christians are Muslims are Buddists are Hindus, etc.), and to oppose any of them would prompt accusations of bigotry.

But dividing lines exist.

Patrick Byrom
16-07-2012, 10:30 AM
Would it be fair to say you'd agree with me that Islam is not Christianity? Why isn't it; what draws that line? It is bigotry to make that statement? Or is it identification?
I didn't say that no dividing line could be drawn; I said that no clear line could be drawn. My criteria would be the degree to which a belief originates in Biblical teaching. Therefore Islam is not Christian, since it ignores most of the New Testament. To say that is not an example of bigotry.


Ever? What does well-supported mean to you? Is it just a matter of sufficient examples? What if the drawn conclusion is faulty? And is the converse true for the poorly-supported accusation?
A well-supported accusation would be one that is supported by several relevant and accurate examples. If the conclusion is faulty, that doesn't make the accusation an example of bigotry. However, a poorly-supported one could be evidence of bigotry.

Patrick Byrom
16-07-2012, 10:55 AM
Pardon me while I interrupt you mid-sentence. What determines whether claims of bigotry are unwarranted, or warranted for that matter? Agreement or disagreement with one's own opinions? With one's peers? With a majority? Wouldn't any of those be a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, regardless?
I believe that Hitler was bigoted against Jews: he had a "stubborn and complete intolerance" of Judaism.

I am certain that this claim would agree with my opinion, that of my peers, and also with a majority of Australians. I would make the stronger claim that it is actually a true claim.

But the claim is not an example of bigotry, as I am not intolerant of other opinions - if someone wants to present an alternative view, I would be interested in hearing it.

Rincewind
16-07-2012, 11:00 AM
"Low Church" goes back to Cranmer. So they are almost as "traditional" as the high church that back to Henry VIII. Traditional high-churchers are in the boundary between 1 and 2.

Not really. If anything they go back to the 39 articles of faith (1563) which were put together in Elizabeth's reign by Matthew Parker. Cranmer authored the 10 articles of faith but was hardly distinguishable from Catholicism.


Articles related to doctrines:

1. That Holy Scriptures and the three Creeds are the basis and summary of a true Christian faith.
2. That baptism conveys remission of sins and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, and is absolutely necessary as well for children as adults.
3. That penance consists of contrition, confession, and reformation, and is necessary to salvation.
4. That the body and blood of Christ are really present in the elements of the eucharist.
5. That justification is remission of sin and reconciliation to God by the merits of Christ; but good works are necessary.


Articles related to ceremonies:

6. That images are useful as remembrancers, but are not objects of worship.
7. That saints are to be honored as examples of life, and as furthering our prayers.
8. That saints may be invoked as intercessors, and their holydays observed.
9. That ceremonies are to be observed for the sake of their mystical signification, and as conducive to devotion.
10. That prayers for the dead are good and useful, but the efficacy of papal pardon, and of soul-masses offered at certain localities, is negatived.

As this was the first declaration of what Anglican faith was then those it should be used as the benchmark of what is "more traditional". However these articles (particularly 8) sound like Catholic-lite.

Kevin Bonham
16-07-2012, 12:16 PM
That would explain things then, since radars detect speed and distance, not truth claims.

It was what is known as a metaphor actually. I have a special kind of radar that detects nonsense and determines how fast it is running away from the Clue Fairy. Clearly in this case it has done its work again.


Spong claims that ‘There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical.’ (Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism p. 21). My old co-authored article (http://creation.com/whats-wrong-with-bishop-spong) documented where Spong said these things.

Even without seeing the context it is completely obvious (from the title of the book alone!) that Spong is saying this not to criticise Christ but to criticise the accuracy of the Gospels (rightly or wrongly). The comment can in fact be seen in context here (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=3R3LyYk47osC&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=There+are+passages+in+the+Gospels+that+portray+ Jesus+of+Nazareth+as+narrow-minded,+vindictive,+and+even+hypocritical&source=bl&ots=Jth4Oj5pMv&sig=zLm48SV5BU7A2Iqmf52rvmBqzgE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WHUDUKbOHsuZiAfQrdD6Bw&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=There%20are%20passages%20in%20the%20Gospels%20th at%20portray%20Jesus%20of%20Nazareth%20as%20narrow-minded%2C%20vindictive%2C%20and%20even%20hypocriti cal&f=false). In the previous passage he directly attacks the position that "the Bible in every literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God" as "foolish" and goes on to abuse anyone who would believe it.

It is not (his own view of) Christ Spong condemns in that passage, but literalism.


OK, so you're a moral skeptic, while Spong is a moral relativist, even idiotically appealing to Einsteinian relativity. But the conclusions drawn are similar for all practical purposes.

Some kinds of moral relativism are absolutely different to moral scepticism in that they maintain that morality is not absolutely subjective, merely context-dependent, and that there are objective requirements arising from this. However the term is also sometimes used in a context equivalent to moral scepticism. Even if Spong was also a moral sceptic that does not matter because it is possible for two different moral sceptics to have radically different subjective views on moral questions. While Spong and I clearly agree on at least one political issue I don't see any evidence that his approach to moral questions is generally similar to mine.

Kevin Bonham
16-07-2012, 01:35 PM
So do you think the statement prompting the separation into this particular topic, "it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ", is bigotry? Why or why not?

I'm not convinced that the statement is automatically bigoted, but then again nobody claimed directly that it was.

I am convinced that the statement is automatically silly, however, since if it is valid then it follows that it is absurd for anyone to claim to be a Christian, including Jono. Nobody can be sure if they are really "following Christ".

Even if somebody thinks that they are sure based on some combination of personal revelation plus scripture, they cannot exclude or even necessarily assess the possibility that that "revelation" was either (i) delusional or (ii) the product of a very powerful deity/force, different to the one they think was revealed, and tricking them.

Even I do not believe that it would be absurd for all Christians to call themselves Christians.


Pardon me while I interrupt you mid-sentence. What determines whether claims of bigotry are unwarranted, or warranted for that matter? Agreement or disagreement with one's own opinions? With one's peers? With a majority?

Nobody is pushing such invalid definitions of bigotry here so I am not sure why you are asking, and suspect you're just tilting at strawpeople there.

Definitions of "bigotry" vary but the usual components include hateful rhetoric (often coupled with political intolerance, in the strong sense of the term) and an obstinate impervience to valid counter-argument. The bigot regards discussion as simply another cue for their pet rants. Obviously, assessment will tend to be subjective. Of course, since the bigot's view of what kind of counter-argument might be valid is itself bigoted, the bigot might think everyone else is bigoted and that they are the normal one.

It's not a word I throw about too casually. In the whole history of this forum there are only two posters, both now banned, who I've even used a derivative of it towards.


Wouldn't any of those be a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, regardless?

I think for them to be so, the accuser would have to continue maintaining their insistence that the target was bigoted after it had been pointed out why this was actually false.


I've not responded to your other examples at this time, not because I can't (although Jono is better equipped)

Actually the debate thus far re whether or not Spong criticised Christ does not suggest he is equipped at all. This one really should be a home game for him and yet he's clearly losing it.

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 04:36 PM
My criteria would be the degree to which a belief originates in Biblical teaching. Therefore Islam is not Christian, since it ignores most of the New Testament.

Precisely, and I agree, although I'd say ignore is not the word I would have chosen. So even if there were Muslims who claimed it was Christianity, you'd agree that telling them (or telling others who might be influenced by them) that they were wrong, that it is not Christianity, would not be bigotry?

Jono and Michael did the same thing in their paper (http://creation.com/whats-wrong-with-bishop-spong). Their statement in some context:


Spong cites (RBF p. 78) a debate opponent (correctly) saying to Spong, ‘I would rather trust Christ than you’, to much applause. Spong dismisses this argument by denying that we know the words of Christ. First, it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ.

So, to paraphrase using the context in which it was written, J&M point out that Spong's belief that Christ's words are not known leads him to "ignore most of the New Testament" (and the Old Testament for that matter). They follow this statement with (using MS Word to count) 515 words of support discussing Biblical inerrancy.

Even if you believe their conclusions to be faulty (which I don't), can you at least agree that it was not poorly-supported, and not bigotry?


To say that is not an example of bigotry.

I agree.


A well-supported accusation would be one that is supported by several relevant and accurate examples. If the conclusion is faulty, that doesn't make the accusation an example of bigotry. However, a poorly-supported one could be evidence of bigotry.

Good reasoning. I'm sorry for asking you so many questions, but I wanted you to outline your reasoning like this, to see why you think the way you do, and to ask you to apply that same reasoning to the both J&M's statement, and to the statement made against what they said.


I believe that Hitler was bigoted against Jews: he had a "stubborn and complete intolerance" of Judaism.

I am certain that this claim would agree with my opinion, that of my peers, and also with a majority of Australians. I would make the stronger claim that it is actually a true claim.

But the claim is not an example of bigotry, as I am not intolerant of other opinions - if someone wants to present an alternative view, I would be interested in hearing it.

You do not believe this statement to be bigotry, as it is well-supported, and further that it is true; plus, your further statement of openness to discussion of the matter adds even another layer of support to that fact.

By this reasoning, then, someone accusing J&M of bigotry in their statement, should prove that their accusation with "several relevant and accurate examples" that would need to show what J&M said is not well-supported. And by this reasoning, since the accuracy is secondary, their disagreement with the statement is not proof that the statement itself is bigotry. Finally, failure to do so would be showing they bigotry, IMO and by this reasoning, as their accusation would then be considered poorly-supported.

Savvy?

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 04:57 PM
That would explain things then, since radars detect speed and distance, not truth claims.
It was what is known as a metaphor actually. I have a special kind of radar [...]
And they call us literalists :rolleyes:

Kevin Bonham
16-07-2012, 05:04 PM
Even if you believe their conclusions to be faulty (which I don't), can you at least agree that it was not poorly-supported, and not bigotry?

Actually the article provides no support at all for the claim "First, it is absurd for Spong to claim to be a Christian if he cannot be sure that he is really following Christ. " It is simply given as an ambit statement and never backed up with directly relevant evidence or consideration of its possible impact on the claim to Christian-status of other "Christians". What follows after it does not support that claim but instead supports, or attempts to support (i) the claim that Christ supported biblical inerrancy (ii) the claim that support for inerrancy has a long tradition.


And they call us literalists :rolleyes:

Your point was?

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 05:35 PM
I'm not convinced that the statement is automatically bigoted, but then again nobody claimed directly that it was.

Your condition of "directly" might make your statement technical correct, but misleading. Rincewind, discussing the statement, claimed (in an Appeal to Clairvoyance) the motivation was bigotry.



The motivation you have in calling him non-Christian is whole because you consider yourself a Christian and you feel that Spong brings down the tone of the neighbourhood. That is simply bigotry as per your definition above.


I am convinced that the statement is automatically silly, however, since if it is valid then it follows that it is absurd for anyone to claim to be a Christian, including Jono. Nobody can be sure if they are really "following Christ".

Not at all. You have moved the goalposts with an appeal to ridicule, rather than maintaining the context from the preceding sentence, "Spong dismisses this argument by denying that we know the words of Christ."


And, further, to everyone, do you agree or disagree with my assertion that making an accusation of bigotry is exhibiting a form of bigotry?

In its generalised form I don't agree. It depends on the degree of justification for the claim. Making unwarranted accusations of bigotry could well be seen as a form of bigotry, [...]
Pardon me while I interrupt you mid-sentence. What determines whether claims of bigotry are unwarranted, or warranted for that matter? Agreement or disagreement with one's own opinions? With one's peers? With a majority? Wouldn't any of those be a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, regardless?
Nobody is pushing such invalid definitions of bigotry here so I am not sure why you are asking, and suspect you're just tilting at strawpeople there.
Context of this part of the discussion above, I have to ask what "invalid definitions" are you talking about? Are you referring to where I am asking you to explain what criteria you use to determine whether a claim is warranted or unwarranted?


It's not a word I throw about too casually. In the whole history of this forum there are only two posters, both now banned, who I've even used a derivative of it towards. Nor I. But did I say you used it?


I think for them to be so, the accuser would have to continue maintaining their insistence that the target was bigoted after it had been pointed out why this was actually false. Yep, that could enforce that they meant it in a bigoted manner.


Actually the debate thus far re whether or not Spong criticised Christ does not suggest he is equipped at all. This one really should be a home game for him and yet he's clearly losing it.

Hardly. Jono made his point in the paper, where criticism against what he said rather than refutation of what he said has been given in most cases.

Where any sort of refutation has been attempted, it is obvious to those familiar with Spong's writings and views that those giving the refutation are not, and some of you admitted as much.


Your point was?

That you appeared to take Jono's joking statement literally, to the point to pointing out what figure of speech you were using and defending it.

Patrick Byrom
16-07-2012, 05:58 PM
...
Even if you believe their conclusions to be faulty (which I don't), can you at least agree that it was not poorly-supported, and not bigotry?
...
I understand your points, but I've never accused Jono of bigotry. So what you've demonstrated is that I don't hold a view that I never claimed to hold :wall:

I don't know enough about Spong's beliefs to decide whether he is/is not a Christian, which is why I haven't made any detailed comment about this. And I can't decide whether Jono's claims are well-supported without reading his paper, and also Spong's work. But I really don't care very much either way...ZZZ...

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 06:03 PM
I understand your points, but I've never accused Jono of bigotry. So what you've demonstrated is that I don't hold a view that I never claimed to hold :wall:

Not at all. I simply demonstrated that your view also leads to the conclusion that the accusation was wrong, not that you made it.


But I really don't care very much either way...ZZZ...

That's fine. Have a good rest. ;)

Patrick Byrom
16-07-2012, 06:19 PM
Not at all. I simply demonstrated that your view also leads to the conclusion that the accusation was wrong, not that you made it.

No it doesn't. It only leads to that conclusion if it is also assumed that:

Jono's view is well-supported; and
Jono is open to consideration of alternative views.

But I've never stated that I hold these assumptions either, so 'my view' doesn't necessarily lead to that conclusion.

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 06:29 PM
No it doesn't.

Okay, it's late here. Cut me some slack. Change that to could lead to the conclusion, instead.

To reply more accurately, in asking "can you at least agree that it was not poorly-supported, and not bigotry", I wanted to know if you could agree with my statement, at minimum. I did not claim you called, thought you implied, or as you said "demonstrated is that I don't hold a view that I never claimed to hold".

Questioning agreement is not accusing.

Patrick Byrom
16-07-2012, 07:25 PM
Okay, it's late here. Cut me some slack. Change that to could lead to the conclusion, instead.
To reply more accurately, in asking "can you at least agree that it was not poorly-supported, and not bigotry", I wanted to know if you could agree with my statement, at minimum. I did not claim you called, thought you implied, or as you said "demonstrated is that I don't hold a view that I never claimed to hold".
Questioning agreement is not accusing.
That's fine with me - now I can go back to sleep ...

Mrs Jono
16-07-2012, 07:27 PM
That's fine with me - now I can go back to sleep ...
I wish I could. :eek: Insomnia sucks.

Kevin Bonham
16-07-2012, 11:21 PM
Your condition of "directly" might make your statement technical correct, but misleading.

I doubt the "misleading" bit very much. It is not even clear to me that Rincewind was discussing that particular statement at all (let alone indirectly or as part of a broader case) when he wrote "your definition above" in #11. There are other statements he could have been referring to.


Not at all. You have moved the goalposts with an appeal to ridicule, rather than maintaining the context from the preceding sentence, "Spong dismisses this argument by denying that we know the words of Christ."

Nonsense. My point was actually that if the conclusion (that it is absurd to call Spong a Christian) applies in that context then it can just as easily apply to other Christians in other contexts. The difference - that Spong supposedly denies that we know the words of Christ, whereas others may claim they know what Christ intended - is immaterial because the others are mistaken anyway.

And given Jono's Spong-exegesis fail when he attempted to pass off "‘There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical" as evidence that Spong condemned Christ, I can't take Jono's summary for granted anyway. I would need to see exactly what Spong denied.


Context of this part of the discussion above, I have to ask what "invalid definitions" are you talking about?

Ones in which bigot status is determined by "agreement or disagreement" "with one's own opinions", "with one's peers" or "with a majority" of course (they were your examples).


Nor I. But did I say you used it?

No, now did I say you said I did? :lol:


Hardly. Jono made his point in the paper, where criticism against what he said rather than refutation of what he said has been given in most cases.

You seem to be struggling here with what was referred to in another recent debate on this site as "following the birdy". It is Jono's claim, made here, that Spong criticised Christ that I am taking issue with, and Jono did not address that point in his "paper".

Indeed in his paper what Jono writes is "Statements such as these appear strangely at odds with the claim that he loves the Bible. " The Bible. Not Christ. (I leave aside whether this is a valid argument anyway, since there are plenty of people who think that the Bible is a wonderful book to read and explore, or at least to scam song lyrics from, even though they also think it is predominantly tosh.)


Where any sort of refutation has been attempted, it is obvious to those familiar with Spong's writings and views that those giving the refutation are not, and some of you admitted as much.

And yet it turns out when the text is examined that Jono's claim to have found an instance of Spong harshly condemning Christ is wrong. Which is exactly what I suspected, and this is because I am so familiar with Jono's writings and views that I know he will sometimes misinterpret opposing positions and then give very unconvincing defences when challenged. In this case he would have been better off just conceding the point and admitting his claim about what Spong condemned was inaccurate.

Furthermore thanks to this thread my direct familiarity with Spong text has now been greatly increased! I may have even read a whole ten pages!


That you appeared to take Jono's joking statement literally, to the point to pointing out what figure of speech you were using and defending it.

Actually it was Jono trying to put down a joke with an overliteral response as if he hasn't even realised a joke was being attempted (not the first time he has done that!) and all I was doing was showing that if he wants to play that game I'm more than happy to beat him at that one too. :lol:

Mrs Jono
17-07-2012, 05:59 AM
I would need to see exactly what Spong denied.Let us know when you do.


Ones in which bigot status is determined by "agreement or disagreement" "with one's own opinions", "with one's peers" or "with a majority" of course (they were your examples). They were my questions to you, not definitions of status; I was asking you what makes the determination of whether it's warranted or unwarranted.


It is Jono's claim, made here, that Spong criticised Christ that I am taking issue with, and Jono did not address that point in his "paper". That was not what I was addressing when I asked you the questions.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 08:17 AM
It was what is known as a metaphor actually. I have a special kind of radar that detects nonsense and determines how fast it is running away from the Clue Fairy. Clearly in this case it has done its work again.
Since radar works by reflection, it's likely from a mirror in your case.


It is not (his own view of) Christ Spong condemns in that passage, but literalism.
Come off it. My quote was perfectly in context. Neither he nor anyone else has any idea what Christ was like apart from what is stated in the Gospels. That is explained further in my article (see Mrs' post above).

It's also not "literalism" that he really hates, since that means taking something as literal that is clearly intended figurative, but taking the gospels as historical in their statements about Christ's character that intended to reflect reality.


Some kinds of moral relativism are absolutely different to moral scepticism in that they maintain that morality is not absolutely subjective, merely context-dependent, and that there are objective requirements arising from this.
Still hardly any practical differences. At least in New Zealand, a leading atheistic personality, Brian Edwards, said to New Zealand's version of Spong, Lloyd Geering, that he was hardly any different for all practical purposes but that Geering wouldn't admit it. Then Geering called himself a "relative atheist" to the bemusement of Edwards and everyone else listening.

Face it: you have exactly the same view about Christ as Spong: both of you deny his divinity, virginal conception, miracles, bodily resurrection from the dead, ascension into heaven, and everything else that makes him distinctive. The only difference is, that at least so far, you haven't pretended to admire Christ.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 08:24 AM
Not really. If anything they go back to the 39 articles of faith (1563) which were put together in Elizabeth's reign by Matthew Parker. Cranmer authored the 10 articles of faith but was hardly distinguishable from Catholicism.
But even your favourite source, Wikipedia, says:

His legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work.

A church history site (http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/doctrine/39a/history/iss_doctrine_39A_history_english.asp) says:

In 1551 Cranmer was commanded to draw up a Book of Articles of Religion. In 1552 he laid before Council a series of 42 Articles, heavily dependent on his own earlier articles, but also, as later became clear, also on the 13 Articles of the joint Lutheran Anglican consultation.

It is these 42 Articles that are the substance of the Thirty-Nine Articles. There are differences amongst historians as to whether the Articles were actually approved by Convocation - that is the gathering of Clergy but the arguments are too complex to enter into here. It does appear that they were ratified in 1553, just seven weeks before the death of Edward.

Mrs Jono
17-07-2012, 08:32 AM
My quote was perfectly in context.

Which is obvious to those who have read Spong. :wall:

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 08:38 AM
I didn't say that no dividing line could be drawn; I said that no clear line could be drawn. My criteria would be the degree to which a belief originates in Biblical teaching.
Excellent.


Therefore Islam is not Christian, since it ignores most of the New Testament. To say that is not an example of bigotry.
I agree. All the same, Islam has more doctrines in common with Christianity than Spong does: Islam believes in a creator God, virginal conception of Christ, and absolute morality, for example. Spong doesn't ignore the NT, but attacks every doctrine it teaches.
Mormons also have more in common with Christianity than Spong.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 09:14 AM
(1) It is clear that Jono and Mrs. Jono don't think that one is saved by Christ, but rather than one is saved by cognitive assent to the "correct" doctrines.
No, the classic statement is from Ephesians 2:8:

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
So it's by grace (of God) through faith (assent to correct doctrine), which is the biblical definition (http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs111m.pdf).


That being the case, Jono and Mrs. Jono regard Jesus as a mascot rather than a Savior.
Rubbish: it is Christ who saves, and that is only possible if he is both fully human and fully divine. A mere human or any sort of created being could not be a saviour. יהוה/YHWH/Jehovah/God Himself said “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11). So calling Jesus ‘Saviour’ is logically calling Him YHWH since YHWH is the only saviour. No wonder that the great Trinitarian Church Father Athanasius (c. 293–373) noted:

“Those who maintain ‘There was a time when the Son was not’ rob God of his Word, like plunderers.”


In reality they consider themselves to be their own Saviors, by virtue of how clever they believe they are for believing the correct things.
No, as continuing from that above passage:

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


(2) The Immaculate Conception does not refer to the virgin birth. Rather, it is the Catholic doctrine that Mary was born without being tainted by Original Sin.
You are correct. Many people confuse virginal conception with immaculate conception, but I don't think anyone on this thread has. My 1994 paper The Virginal Conception of Christ (http://creation.com/the-virginal-conception-of-christ) made sure to define the terms correctly.


(3) Part of the bolded text which Mrs. Jono refers to in post 19 refers to Spong's very orthodox refutation of Docetism, the ancient heresy that denies Christ's essential humanity, which while not admitted to, is the effective belief of many within evangelical Protestantism.
More crap. This teaches that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human, as do I as in articles like The Incarnation: Why did God become Man? (http://creation.com/incarnation-why-god-became-man).

Spong may well refute Docetism, but that is far from the only heresy needing refutation. Spong instead goes wrong in the opposite direction, but even beyond Arianism, which denied the deity of Christ.


(5) It is interesting that Mrs. Jono suggests as a minimum that Christianity be defined as [I]"of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ". I wonder in this respect whether Mrs. Jono is actually a Christian or Paulinist?
For most of church history, Paul's words were treated as God-breathed and thus infallible. Evidently GF loves 19th-century Kraut theologians like Ferdinand Christian Baur who invented a conflict between Paul and "Jewish Christianity". A good book refuting that is The Gospel: Did Paul and Jesus Agree? by the Australian scholar Rev. Dr Peter Barnes (1994) (http://www.christianbook.com/gospel-did-paul-and-jesus-agree/peter-barnes/9780852343258/pd/2343256).


(6) It is utterly bizaare that Mrs. Jono chides Spong's rejection of Sola Scriptura, a doctrine which ironically is unbiblical.
What crap. It is taught by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:15–17:

and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
There is thus nothing that Christians need to believe that is not taught in Scripture, either explicitly or by logical deduction.


But what she effectively does in one foul swoop is dismiss the majority of orthodox Christendom, let alone unorthodox belief.
The correct term is "one fell swoop (http://www.dailywritingtips.com/one-fell-swoop/)". And this is why I put Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox on Line 2 (but not in Line 3, despite what you insinuate above). (Coptics are more problematic because they are monophysites, meaning that Christ has only one nature, instead of the correct teaching that since the Incarnation, He had both a fully human nature and a fully divine nature.)


(7) Mrs. Jono's disdain of tradition, reason and experience leaves her with an ahistorical understanding of Christian doctrine and demonstrates that the charges against her and Jono of being literalists are quite justified.
Of course, we both believe in reason, since the Scriptures presuppose logic. Hence we would regard essential Christianity as not only the explicit propositions of Scripture, but also that which can be logically deduced from them, such as the Trinity (http://creation.com/jesus-christ-our-creator-a-biblical-defence-of-the-trinity). But it would be, as Luther put it, a ministerial rather than a magisterial use of reason, as explained in my paper Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation (http://creation.com/loving-god-with-all-your-mind-logic-and-creation).

Experience must be judged by Scripture. Same with tradition. It's not a matter of ignoring the Church Fathers, for example; indeed, I cite them at length in Refuting Compromise (http://creation.com/store_redirect.php?sku=10-2-575) to show that most taught what you would call a "literal view" of Genesis, including creation in six normal-length days about 6,000 years ago.

Rincewind
17-07-2012, 10:28 AM
It is these 42 Articles that are the substance of the Thirty-Nine Articles. There are differences amongst historians as to whether the Articles were actually approved by Convocation - that is the gathering of Clergy but the arguments are too complex to enter into here. It does appear that they were ratified in 1553, just seven weeks before the death of Edward.

and from the same site...


...in several other respects these Articles [the 39 - RW] were more Protestant than the earlier Forty Two Articles of Thomas Cranmer.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 11:07 AM
and from the same site...


...in several other respects these Articles [the 39 - RW] were more Protestant than the earlier Forty Two Articles of Thomas Cranmer.
That was preceded by "This aside".

Another article on the 42 Articles (https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/dgehring/web/hist361/fortytwoarticles.pdf) said:

The theology of these articles is uncompromisingly Protestant, and even Calvinist in tone. When Cranmer produced the 1553 edition, it was the most advanced systematization of Protestant theology then in existence anywhere.

Kevin Bonham
17-07-2012, 12:09 PM
Let us know when you do.

Well given that Jono has one clear Spong-interpretation fail the onus is on him to substantiate all claims about what Spong said by quoting Spong text. Until he does so I'll just assume them to be unreliable without bothering to read the original.


They were my questions to you, not definitions of status; I was asking you what makes the determination of whether it's warranted or unwarranted.

They were putative methods of establishing who is a "bigot" that you were implying someone might hypothetically hold in order to attack any person who would hold them as a bigot. That you put this argument in rhetorical-question form is irrelevant.


That was not what I was addressing when I asked you the questions.

Well that's another follow-the-birdy fail since that part of our discussion had nothing to do with your "questions", but in fact developed from the statement below them, "I've not responded to your other examples at this time, not because I can't (although Jono is better equipped)", and from me disputing the bit in brackets.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 12:20 PM
Well given that Jono has one clear Spong-interpretation fail
You still defending the indefensible? What, so Spong wasn't really attacking Christ, but just the Christ that the church has always believed in since this has always been what the Gospels portray. But he really loves a christ purely of his own imagination? There was nothing out of context with what I said:

Spong claims that he is ‘a Christian who loves the church’ (RBF p. 10) and even loves the Bible (RBF pp. 11, 14–15, 245, 247). But he claims that the Bible is full of contradictions, errors, objectionable passages and repugnant concepts (RBF pp. 16–23). He even claims that ‘There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical.’ (RBF p. 21) Statements such as these appear strangely at odds with the claim that he loves the Bible.


the onus is on him to substantiate all claims about what Spong said by quoting Spong text.
Already done in article, many years ago. Quite the contrast to one commenting about Spong before even reading a word of him.:wall: :naughty: :oops:


Until he does so I'll just assume them to be unreliable without bothering to read the original.
Assume what you like, but why trust any moral skeptic to be reliable, given that there could be nothing morally wrong with unreliability? What next, you'll be claiming that Spong really is a Christian fundamentalist who believes orthodox Christian doctrines, but for some reason I misrepresented someone who is really a fellow believer?

Rincewind
17-07-2012, 12:24 PM
That was preceded by "This aside".

Even so (and assume we can take all this on face value) it appears the more protestant Anglicans (whom you call Traditional) are not as historically traditional as those who are more closely aligned to the original 10 articles.

It appears plainly obvious that Cramner's idea of Anglicanism evolved over time but Cramner's role in the matter and his overarching vision seems to be exaggerated in that page no doubt in adoration of the notion of Cramner the martyr and founding father of the church.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 12:37 PM
Even so (and assume we can take all this on face value) it appears the more protestant Anglicans (whom you call Traditional) are not as historically traditional as those who are more closely aligned to the original 10 articles.
I said before that the Anglo-Catholicism of Henry VIII was older than the Anglo-Protestantism of (the mature) Cranmer. But the latter clearly has a long history.

Kevin Bonham
17-07-2012, 01:40 PM
Since radar works by reflection, it's likely from a mirror in your case.

Naaah, my radar works by detecting lack of reflection, by opposing posters on the silliness of what they are posting. :lol:


Come off it. My quote was perfectly in context. Neither he nor anyone else has any idea what Christ was like apart from what is stated in the Gospels.

The crucial issue here is that whether or not he (or anyone) actually has any idea what Christ was like (from any source), he thinks he does and that idea differs in many regards from that in the Gospels. He is not criticising Christ as he views Christ. He thinks Christ was so worthy of praise that when he finds something in the Gospels that he thinks casts Christ in a bad light, he declares or attempts to show it to be false.

And furthermore, it does not appear that Spong rejects the Gospel portrayals entirely as a source of information. He seems to regard them as unreliable and embellished rather than totally useless.

As it happens, I don't think much of his approach, but nor do I think much of the approach of refining a conception of goodness to match what a text says instead of just admitting that if Christ existed, he probably had some undesirable qualities.


It's also not "literalism" that he really hates, since that means taking something as literal that is clearly intended figurative

That is not my intended usage of the term here. I could have called what I am referring to "fundamentalism" but that is widely seen as even more derogatory. I'm simply describing the tendency to assume that the Bible is entirely literally true excepting those parts clearly flagged by it as otherwise.


Still hardly any practical differences.

There can be very large practical differences. For instance the version of contextually-objective relativism I referred to frequently maintains that it is morally wrong to interfere with other cultures to protect "human rights" that are considered moral in our culture but not theirs. In contrast, I have no necessary commitment to interfering, but I'm not automatically opposed to it either, and will sometimes support it depending on the issue at stake and how practical it is.

That said I have no knowledge of what kind of "relativist" Spong supposedly is. My more obvious point of departure is that Spong highly praises his ideal of Christ while I do not praise any ideal of Christ that I have ever encountered. That means it is very likely he has moral preferences that differ from mine.


Face it: you have exactly the same view about Christ as Spong: both of you deny his divinity, virginal conception, miracles, bodily resurrection from the dead, ascension into heaven, and everything else that makes him distinctive.

Even with all those things deservedly negated, there still remains the view of Christ within Western society as a paramount figure of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, fairness and general hippiedom - perhaps not unique in nature but certainly in magnitude within this culture. Spong both adheres to the view that Christ was such a figure and admires that figure; I do neither.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Naaah, my radar works by detecting lack of reflection, by opposing posters on the silliness of what they are posting. :lol:
Radars without reflection don't produce any signal. :hmm: My own field involved lasers, which of course symbolizes my pin-point accuracy at destroying leftist fallacies. :cool:


The crucial issue here is that whether or not he (or anyone) actually has any idea what Christ was like (from any source), he thinks he does and that idea differs in many regards from that in the Gospels. He is not criticising Christ as he views Christ. He thinks Christ was so worthy of praise that when he finds something in the Gospels that he thinks casts Christ in a bad light, he declares or attempts to show it to be false.
Oh please. Strip out from the Gospels everything he wants to strip out, and there is hardly anything left by which to make a judgement.


As it happens, I don't think much of his approach, but nor do I think much of the approach of refining a conception of goodness to match what a text says instead of just admitting that if Christ existed, he probably had some undesirable qualities.
But a lot more than Spong would admit, if he accepts the widespread evidence that Jesus claimed divine attributes. Since Spong doesn't believe that Christ was divine, the claiming of such would be a horribly undesirable attribute.

It's notable that the atheism.about.com site (http://atheism.about.com/library/quotes/bl_q_JSSpong.htm)has some Spong quotes with approval, looking like they recognize a fellow traveller:

If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? (San Fransisco: HarperCollins, 1994), p. 238.]


That is not my intended usage of the term here. I could have called what I am referring to "fundamentalism" but that is widely seen as even more derogatory.
The modern meaning may well be, although not the historical one.


I'm simply describing the tendency to assume that the Bible is entirely literally true excepting those parts clearly flagged by it as otherwise.
There is such a hermeneutical method, but it's not "literalism".


There can be very large practical differences. For instance the version of contextually-objective relativism I referred to frequently maintains that it is morally wrong to interfere with other cultures to protect "human rights" that are considered moral in our culture but not theirs.
That does indeed seem to be a common usage, although it looks suspiciously like a moral absolutism, at least with non-interference.


In contrast, I have no necessary commitment to interfering, but I'm not automatically opposed to it either, and will sometimes support it depending on the issue at stake and how practical it is.
Sounds like a more consistent relativist.


Even with all those things deservedly negated, there still remains the view of Christ within Western society as a paramount figure of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, fairness and general hippiedom — perhaps not unique in nature but certainly in magnitude within this culture.
An irrational view, and the Christ portrayed in the Gospels does not give that as a reasonable option.


Spong both adheres to the view that Christ was such a figure and admires that figure; I do neither.
Does he really? From one who not long ago had never read a word of Spong, you seem to have become quite an expert. :uhoh:

Kevin Bonham
17-07-2012, 02:51 PM
You still defending the indefensible?

P.K.B. :hand:


But he really loves a christ purely of his own imagination?

No, he loves a Christ that is a rather selective extraction from the gospel portrayal. His selectiveness is guided partly by the praiseworthy desire to avoid blatant contradictions but probably also partly by the less praiseworthy desire to reaffirm his own views and politics.


There was nothing out of context with what I said:

Spong claims that he is ‘a Christian who loves the church’ (RBF p. 10) and even loves the Bible (RBF pp. 11, 14–15, 245, 247). But he claims that the Bible is full of contradictions, errors, objectionable passages and repugnant concepts (RBF pp. 16–23). He even claims that ‘There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical.’ (RBF p. 21) Statements such as these appear strangely at odds with the claim that he loves the Bible.

Again, "the claim that he loves the Bible". You say nothing in the above quote about whether or not Spong loves Christ. Your comment on this thread "His praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation. He would have to have some praise of Christ mixed in their [sic], because of his backward collar." is very different from the comment above.



the onus is on him to substantiate all claims about what Spong said by quoting Spong text.Already done in article, many years ago.

False. The claim in question in your article was:


Spong cites (RBF p. 78) a debate opponent (correctly) saying to Spong, ‘I would rather trust Christ than you’, to much applause. Spong dismisses this argument by denying that we know the words of Christ.

While your article provided a page number, it did not quote Spong's actual comments that are supposed to amount to "denying that we know the words of Christ".


Quite the contrast to one commenting about Spong before even reading a word of him.:wall: :naughty: :oops:

Your attempt to criticise me for doing so falls over, given that I was right to suspect you were misrepresenting him, and that this has been shown by the text you cited in your own defence failing to substantiate your point.

What you should reflect on here is why you are sometimes so terribly bad at interpreting the work of those you criticise, that it is sometimes apparent even to someone who has not read that work (but only read summaries of it by others) that you are misinterpreting it.

I'll be waiting for the radar bounce of a returning clue when you finally wake up to this and desist from making invalid arguments from experience to deflect attention from the fact that your view that Spong criticises Christ has been shown to be groundless, and that your claim to superior experience through having "read" Spong is void because you did not understand all that you read.


Assume what you like, but why trust any moral skeptic to be reliable, given that there could be nothing morally wrong with unreliability?

Note how Jono here diverts from evidence of his own demonstrated unreliability on issues of fact by questioning whether I have a commitment to factual reliability based on my moral views or lack thereof. So his response to clear evidence that his Spong exegesis (on this thread) was faulty - indeed perhaps even bearing false witness (depending on interpretation) - is to grasp at a straw that I might be equally sloppy.

Actually although I have no objective moral commitment to making factually accurate statements, it should be clear enough that ensuring that what I do say is consistent with the facts (and correcting some of the errors of fact of others) is a big deal to me on a subjective basis for whatever reason. Someone might say there is no guarantee it will remain so and that at some point I will just start lying my head off because the practical benefit of doing so exceeds the credibility damage, but the same applies to any so-called objective moralist too; they may just abandon their views at any point.


What next, you'll be claiming that Spong really is a Christian fundamentalist who believes orthodox Christian doctrines, but for some reason I misrepresented someone who is really a fellow believer?

Your strawman, you knock it over. :lol:

Rincewind
17-07-2012, 03:17 PM
I said before that the Anglo-Catholicism of Henry VIII was older than the Anglo-Protestantism of (the mature) Cranmer. But the latter clearly has a long history.

Fail. The ten articles are probably also compiled by Cranmer. So the authorship of the articles of faith is not the distinguishing feature but rather Anglo-Catholicism is simply older and more traditional.

Kevin Bonham
17-07-2012, 03:57 PM
Radars without reflection don't produce any signal. :hmm:

Ah, but the clueless poster has a static orientation and can only drift helplessly away from the truth. Therefore we fire clues at its previously known position and if the clue fails to return we know the poster has become clueless. When we eventually get a clue-bounce in return the speed of their drift away from reality can be determined; until then it can be assumed it is both infinite and accelerating. :owned:


My own field involved lasers, which of course symbolizes my pin-point accuracy at destroying leftist fallacies. :cool:

One of my physics teachers was also into lasers. An accident involving them damaged his vision to the point that he had issues differentiating two colours; I think that it was red and green. Could be a problem for leftist-laserers there ... or not ...


Oh please. Strip out from the Gospels everything he wants to strip out, and there is hardly anything left by which to make a judgement.

Ah, so all the do-goodery, self-sacrifice and all that stuff is "hardly anything", and if Christ had been sexually conceived, or if he hadn't actually got himself crucified, or if, having been crucified he didn't rise again, or if there was no God anyway, it would have all been for nothing and his message would have been not just partly but overwhelmingly worthless?

Now, I have encountered Christians who do maintain that sort of thing (eg the campus groups who ask if Jesus was liar, lunatic or Lord and are surprised when someone sincerely argues for the middle option) but for many people the other stuff is very important and it is a major source of cultural belief about what it is to behave in a small-c "christian manner". And it's not like Spong completely negates all the clearly unscientific aspects of the Christ story either - he'll cling to some of them if he thinks he can, in some watered-down form or other (eg Christ being raised into the meaning of God)


But a lot more than Spong would admit, if he accepts the widespread evidence that Jesus claimed divine attributes.

And if you were really so familiar with Spong you would be able to state whether he accepts that evidence, and if so how he interprets it, and if he does believe there was a misrepresentation, whether his value system requires him to care in the same way yours or mine would.

I haven't got that far yet. :lol:


That does indeed seem to be a common usage, although it looks suspiciously like a moral absolutism, at least with non-interference.

Which is, in fact, exactly what it is. Contextual relativism is objectivism masquerading as moral subjectivity, and doing so inconsistently and arbitrarily at that. It is actually a far more repressive and rigid morality than many people notice.


Sounds like a more consistent relativist.

I'm not sure there can be a consistent interventionist relativist (even a pragmatic one) unless they are capable of believing that it can be both objectively morally right for someone to do something, and objectively morally right for someone else to stop them.


Does he really? From one who not long ago had never read a word of Spong, you seem to have become quite an expert. :uhoh:

To say that I had "never read a word of Spong" is taking my previous disclaimer a little too literally; I would have come across the odd quote by Spong here and there even before this debate, but I don't think that really counts as "reading" someone (especially not if the quote is mined.)

Some time back on another forum I post on there was a joke about the art of "reviewing a band without hearing them". The idea was that certain styles of bands presented themselves, or were reported by others, in such a predictable way that it was not necessary to actually play their music to know what it would sound like, and indeed it was generally a good idea not to because your suspicions would almost always be confirmed. If someone raved about a band and the band's website displayed certain hallmarks, we would know in advance that the band would be awful.

Generally I strongly encourage people to read primary sources to avoid misinterpretation, especially with things like legal documents or scientific papers where indirect reporting is so often wrong. But in this case I've seen no evidence that I'm missing anything by not having Spong in my library. There seems to be a high level of agreement about what he is banging on about in secondary summaries of his views, both by those who agree with him and those who don't. Except, of course, for a claim about his attitude to Christ that you made on this thread and can't substantiate convincingly.

Goughfather
17-07-2012, 06:51 PM
No, the classic statement is from Ephesians 2:8:

For by grace you have been saved through faith.

I don't need the Sunday School lesson, buddy. I may no longer be an evangelical, but I still have an impeccable evangelical pedigree. I'm aware of the "classical statement" and equally aware of the fact that you pay lip service to its contents.


So it's by grace (of God) through faith (assent to correct doctrine), which is the biblical definition (http://www.arielm.org/dcs/pdf/mbs111m.pdf).

"Assent to correct doctrine" is about as far away from Πίστις as you can get. No wonder all the faith you place is in yourself and your own perceived intellect, rather than Jesus.


Rubbish: it is Christ who saves, and that is only possible if he is both fully human and fully divine.

Except that you believe that you are saved not by Christ, but rather through your cognitive assent to a particular doctrine.


No, as continuing from that above passage:

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

And again, though you may recite these verses as per rote, it does not show that you pay any more than lip service to the ideas behind the words.


More crap. This teaches that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human, as do I as in articles like The Incarnation: Why did God become Man? (http://creation.com/incarnation-why-god-became-man).

Spong may well refute Docetism, but that is far from the only heresy needing refutation. Spong instead goes wrong in the opposite direction, but even beyond Arianism, which denied the deity of Christ.

Even if Spong goes too far in the other direction, he does offer a necessary corrective. And again, while I understand what evangelicals say they believe about Jesus, I also know that in practice Jesus is effectively stripped of his humanity and his divinity is the almost exclusive focus.


For most of church history, Paul's words were treated as God-breathed and thus infallible.

Certainly Paul's words were highly esteemed from fairly early on in the church, but they were certainly not regarded as infallible in the sense that you and your fellow literalists mean.


Evidently GF loves 19th-century Kraut theologians like Ferdinand Christian Baur who invented a conflict between Paul and "Jewish Christianity". A good book refuting that is The Gospel: Did Paul and Jesus Agree? by the Australian scholar Rev. Dr Peter Barnes (1994) (http://www.christianbook.com/gospel-did-paul-and-jesus-agree/peter-barnes/9780852343258/pd/2343256).


Oh, come off it. The conflict between the Council of Jerusalem and the Pauline mission is well documented. The church of Corinth was split between the Cephas faction and the Pauline faction. That said, I am not saying that Paul and Jesus are irrevocably contradictory, but I am saying that the evangelical presentation of the gospel neglects the teachings of Jesus. Ask an evangelical what they believe the gospel is and you can bet your bottom dollar that their first reference will be to a Pauline text rather than one of the gospels.


What crap. It is taught by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:15–17:


and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
There is thus nothing that Christians need to believe that is not taught in Scripture, either explicitly or by logical deduction.

Having engaged in dozens of debates concerning Sola Scriptura and this passage in the past, I don't have too much stomach for having one further argument with a clown. I'd simply refer to the words of Cardinal John Henry Newman (himself previously a Protestant):

"It is quite evident that this passage furnishes no argument whatever that the sacred Scripture, without Tradition, is the sole rule of faith; for, although sacred Scripture is profitable for these four ends, still it is not said to be sufficient. The Apostle [Paul] requires the aid of Tradition (2 Thess. 2:15). Moreover, the Apostle here refers to the scriptures which Timothy was taught in his infancy.

"Now, a good part of the New Testament was not written in his boyhood: Some of the Catholic epistles were not written even when Paul wrote this, and none of the books of the New Testament were then placed on the canon of the Scripture books. He refers, then, to the scriptures of the Old Testament, and, if the argument from this passage proved anything, it would prove too much, viz., that the scriptures of the New Testament were not necessary for a rule of faith."



The correct term is "one fell swoop (http://www.dailywritingtips.com/one-fell-swoop/)". And this is why I put Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox on Line 2 (but not in Line 3, despite what you insinuate above). (Coptics are more problematic because they are monophysites, meaning that Christ has only one nature, instead of the correct teaching that since the Incarnation, He had both a fully human nature and a fully divine nature.)

As I said, it is stunning that you regard inheritors of these traditions as sub-Christian and indeed this just goes to show that you really are a bigot.


Of course, we both believe in reason, since the Scriptures presuppose logic. Hence we would regard essential Christianity as not only the explicit propositions of Scripture, but also that which can be logically deduced from them, such as the Trinity (http://creation.com/jesus-christ-our-creator-a-biblical-defence-of-the-trinity). But it would be, as Luther put it, a ministerial rather than a magisterial use of reason, as explained in my paper Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation[/URL

You deceive yourself in this chicken and egg equation if you think that you read the Bible in a vacuum free from your interpretative framework and your stunted worldview. You choose to read the Bible the way in which you choose to put a spin on it and voila, it also corresponds with your (distorted) reason. Bible reading is for you an exercise in narcissism in which you project your own mind (which you are completely enamoured with) onto the text, rather than the other way around.


Experience must be judged by Scripture. Same with tradition. It's not a matter of ignoring the Church Fathers, for example; indeed, I cite them at length in [URL="http://creation.com/store_redirect.php?sku=10-2-575"]Refuting Compromise (http://creation.com/loving-god-with-all-your-mind-logic-and-creation) to show that most taught what you would call a "literal view" of Genesis, including creation in six normal-length days about 6,000 years ago.

For you, it's a matter of ignoring the Church Fathers who teach things that are inconvenient for you. You pick and choose them, just as you pick and choose everything else.

Kevin Bonham
17-07-2012, 08:12 PM
Poster Garrett has claimed of this thread re me that:

"Dr Sarfati has your stupidity well under control. " (shoutbox)

Since to make such a claim, Garrett must be well enough appraised of the debate to be able to answer the critical question and hence determine who has who under control here, I challenge him to join in and explain (and also explain why, including refuting any counter-points already made) which statement by Bishop Spong justifies Jono responding to my comment:


I don't have any difficulty distinguishing my views from Spong, in the area of his praise of Christ, his conception of God, or his moral views.

with the following:


His praise of Christ is mixed with sharp condemnation. He would have to have some praise of Christ mixed in their [sic], because of his backward collar.

thus clearly stating that Bishop Spong sharply condemns Jesus Christ.

The current disagreement between me and Jono starting from #64 essentially rests on that point. Once Jono concedes that one, which I believe he eventually will since the facts aren't even remotely on its side, there won't be very much left of it.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 11:38 PM
I don't need the Sunday School lesson, buddy. I may no longer be an evangelical, but I still have an impeccable evangelical pedigree. I'm aware of the "classical statement" and equally aware of the fact that you pay lip service to its contents.
Apparently you do need this reminder, since you misrepresented what Mrs and I believe, although our beliefs are standard evangelical.


"Assent to correct doctrine" is about as far away from Πίστις as you can get. No wonder all the faith you place is in yourself and your own perceived intellect, rather than Jesus.
Oh please. You are in no position to argue with me about Greek word meanings, after your fiasco with not even connecting paederastes ()or however you mangled it) with pederasty. In reality, Πίστις is the noun form of πιστεύω, the lemma of the word for "believe", as per the famous John 3:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%203:16&version=ESV), and the many other passages where believing in Christ is the condition for salvation. Another is Romans 10:9–13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom%2010:9-13;&version=ESV;), with another form of πιστεύω, and it implies believing that Jesus is YHWH given the quotation of Joel 2:32 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel%202:32;&version=ESV;), as explained in Defending vital doctrines and the deity of Christ (http://creation.com/defending-vital-doctrines-and-the-deity-of-christ).

In Matthew 7 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%207&version=ESV), we read:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Note that these people were all bragging about their own good works, but never about Christ's finished work for us on the Cross. The actual will of the Father is explained in John 6:40 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%206:40&version=ESV):

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

It's no accident that Luther translated Πίστις and πιστεύω as Glaube and glauben, undisputable German words for "belief" and "believe".


Except that you believe that you are saved not by Christ, but rather through your cognitive assent to a particular doctrine.
Saved by Christ through this assent: to the fact that Jesus, the God-man, died for my sins and rose from the dead.

But the false Christ of you and Spong can't save anyone since he is not divine.


And again, though you may recite these verses as per rote, it does not show that you pay any more than lip service to the ideas behind the words.
Ipse dixit.


Even if Spong goes too far in the other direction, he does offer a necessary corrective. And again, while I understand what evangelicals say they believe about Jesus, I also know that in practice Jesus is effectively stripped of his humanity and his divinity is the almost exclusive focus.
More assertions. It's a big part of my writing and speaking that Jesus is a descendant of Adam, which means He can become our Kinsman-Redeemer, precisely by sharing in our humanity, such as in my Incarnation article (http://creation.com/incarnation-why-god-became-man). Don't project your hatred of your former ignorant professing evangelical self on to real informed evangelicals like Mrs and me.


Certainly Paul's words were highly esteemed from fairly early on in the church, but they were certainly not regarded as infallible in the sense that you and your fellow literalists mean.
They were not ever criticized. The Apostle Peter said some of them were hard to understand, but that they were also Scriptures just like the Old Testament (2 Peter 3:15–16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter%203:15%E2%80%9316&version=ESV)). The Church accepted them as infallible. In the 2nd century, ‘I do not order you, as did Peter and Paul. They were Apostles and I am even until now a slave’ (Letter to the Romans).


Oh, come off it. The conflict between the Council of Jerusalem and the Pauline mission is well documented. The church of Corinth was split between the Cephas faction and the Pauline faction.
And an Apollos faction. Paul wrote a corrective, saying that there should be only a Christ faction, because only Christ can save.


That said, I am not saying that Paul and Jesus are irrevocably contradictory, but I am saying that the evangelical presentation of the gospel neglects the teachings of Jesus. Ask an evangelical what they believe the gospel is and you can bet your bottom dollar that their first reference will be to a Pauline text rather than one of the gospels.
Actually, the first reference will likely be John 3:16. All the same, the Gospels are bioi, while the Epistles lay out Christian doctrine more formally.


Having engaged in dozens of debates concerning Sola Scriptura and this passage in the past, I don't have too much stomach for having one further argument with a clown. I'd simply refer to the words of Cardinal John Henry Newman (himself previously a Protestant):
More likely, a former Anglo-Catholic. He is also mistaken, because by the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy, all Gospels except John had been written. In 1 Timothy 5:18, he cites both Deut. 25:4 and Luke 10:7 as graphē; i.e. both the Old and New Testaments.

Newman also opposed, on purely traditional grounds, making papal infallibility a dogma. But when they went ahead and did it (quietly deleting the section in the Catechism that declared this to be a "Protestant invention"), Newman gave his baffled assent as a good little Catholic.


As I said, it is stunning that you regard inheritors of these traditions as sub-Christian and indeed this just goes to show that you really are a bigot.
Don't be so precious. You (and they) regard Protestants as sub-christian, and also misrepresent us.


You deceive yourself in this chicken and egg equation if you think that you read the Bible in a vacuum free from your interpretative framework and your stunted worldview. You choose to read the Bible the way in which you choose to put a spin on it and voila, it also corresponds with your (distorted) reason. Bible reading is for you an exercise in narcissism in which you project your own mind (which you are completely enamoured with) onto the text, rather than the other way around.
More absurd projection from your former self, not at all refuting the careful exegesis in my writings.


For you, it's a matter of ignoring the Church Fathers who teach things that are inconvenient for you. You pick and choose them, just as you pick and choose everything else.
Look in the mirror, given that you ignore their clear teachings on Creation and the Flood.

Capablanca-Fan
17-07-2012, 11:42 PM
Poster Garrett has claimed of this thread re me that:

"Dr Sarfati has your stupidity well under control. " (shoutbox)
An astute observer :clap: One problem with moving to Georgia is not seeing my Brisbane chess friends any more (nor have I seen organizers of the calibre of Ian Murray and Graeme Gardiner).

It also seems petty to whinge about something in a post that was quickly deleted.


The current disagreement between me and Jono starting from #64 essentially rests on that point. Once Jono concedes that one, which I believe he eventually will since the facts aren't even remotely on its side, there won't be very much left of it.
Not going to happen: the only Christ I recognize is the one portrayed in the Gospels, not one of Spong's imagination, and He sharply condemned the former.

Kevin Bonham
18-07-2012, 01:46 AM
An astute observer :clap:

More likely a sycophant out of his depth and seeking to engage in some cheap aggro trolling.

I don't mind dissing fellow atheists when I think they are using weak arguments, and I really don't think much of what I've seen of Spong's position either. But your position must be in even more pathetic disarray than I realised for you to regard Garrett's cheapos as commendable. If my position is "stupidity" then what does that say of the intelligence of a position it successfully debunks?


One problem with moving to Georgia is not seeing my Brisbane chess friends any more

Ah, so this is about backing up one's mates when they are wrong, or even when they are in a stoush one can't be bothered understanding. Mindless loyalty, a vastly overrated instinct. I should have figured something of the sort. :lol:


It also seems petty to whinge about something in a post that was quickly deleted.

Perhaps so, but I really couldn't care. Just repaying his own coin and hoping I can find out just what is his problem. I've been the target of a some very silly gripes from Garrett in recent months, including one tonight on a chess admin matter in the shoutbox before all this broke out. Shows up, trolls something grumpy and aggro and missing the point, runs away - doesn't ever bother to stay around and attempt to act like a rational being in defence of it. Best not to even hit send in the first place on stuff like that.


Not going to happen: the only Christ I recognize is the one portrayed in the Gospels, not one of Spong's imagination, and He sharply condemned the former.

But Spong's "condemnation" was from a position of belief that your version of Christ is as fictitious as you consider his to be. He is condemning claimed attributes that he believes not to be real. He praises Christ but on the basis of a very different view about what Christ was.

You may consider it misplaced praise because you don't agree with its basis - I may consider it misplaced praise because I don't agree with its basis - but it is praise all the same. Sometimes praise can be so clueless that its very cluelessness can be considered insulting to its subject. Even so, that still doesn't mean the praise is condemnation. Condemnation is disapproval. Clueless approval is not the same thing.

Here's an analogy that might help demonstrate how absurd your position is here. At least, to the gallery anyway. :lol:

On other threads at the moment we have at least one poster calling you a bigot and at least one calling you a racist. By mentioning those views, I don't endorse them. Both claim their position to be well-supported and advance evidence in favour of it, and counter what you say to the contrary. Now, suppose that a new poster under the name of Tterrag, a curiously mild mannered chap from Geelong, was to post something like this:


There are posts on Chesschat that portray Jono as bigoted and racist and pseudoscientific.

Then after that, Tterrag went on to say that while bigotry, racism and pseudoscience were all very bad, the general gist he got of your work was that you were a great scientist who was often a misrepresented subject of myths and tall stories, and therefore those posts on Chesschat must be wrong.

Clearly, Tterrag would be defending you, not criticising you, and to say that he was criticising you would be absurd.

Now suppose another poster came along who was actually a racist pseudoscientific bigot. The racist bigot had read the posts calling you a racist and a bigot, was convinced they were outstanding scholarship, and considered racism and bigotry good. This poster was enraged that Tterrag had called you such a mild-mannered mainstream-scientist good guy and made your doctrine much less interesting and socially risky to espouse. He insisted that by saying you were not a racist and a bigot, Tterrag had insulted you.

When it was pointed out that Tterrag had actually only insulted characteristics claimed to be yours that he did not believe you possessed, and asked to correct himself, the racist bigot said:


Not going to happen: the only Jono I recognize is the one demonstrated as racist and bigoted in the canonical Rincewind and Goughfather posts, not one of Tterrag's politically-correct imagination, and Tterrag sharply condemned the former.

In this example, did Tterrag condemn you? No, of course he didn't. He took a position on matters of dispute about your character, and praised you based on his opinion of those matters. The racist bigot's claim that Tterrag condemned you would just be silly. Your claim that Bishop Spong condemned Jesus is likewise.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, from my position, your version of Jesus is definitely nonsense (the only parts of the Bible version that might be true are the ones that on your view are least important). Spong's version isn't so clearly nonsense, though I might change that view when I read more of it, but I suspect it is inaccurate, assuming Jesus even existed. But at best, the position "Jono's version of Jesus is correct" can have no more truth value than the racist/bigot claims, since it has zero truth value.

So if I am asked to consider the following two claims:

1. To deny that Jesus is Jono's idea of Jesus, and criticise Jono's idea of Jesus, is to condemn Jesus.

and:

2. To deny that Jono is a racist bigot, and criticise racist bigotry, is to condemn Jono.

I can only conclude that if I accepted (1) then I would have to accept (2) as well.

Mrs Jono
18-07-2012, 05:39 AM
Poster Garrett has claimed of this thread

I wondered who he was talking to, as I received an email notice of a post he made, without any context, but the post wasn't here when I checked.

Mrs Jono
18-07-2012, 06:35 AM
He praises Christ but on the basis of a very different view about what Christ was.

Do you not see how that can be illogical? "View" does not determine reality; the Bible tells us who Christ is, and only by throwing out nearly everything out and distorting the rest with externally added nonsense and faulty reasoning to the point of being no longer recognisable as it was written, does he base his "very different view".

If I likewise condemn (strong word needed, as you would see if you'd actually read Spong) the chess board and pieces, replace them with jacks & a bounce ball, and "praise" this as chess, is it still chess? Or did I change the entire nature of the game, and "praise" "a very different view about what" chess is? Apples and oranges, sir; apples and oranges.

I cannot see you, but eventually you and/or I could get on a plane and meet in person somewhere, and I'd be able to find out if my conceptions about you, my image of you, were correct or faulty. In the meantime, I'd have to either trust the things I've read or been told about you, any description of your nature, to be trustworthy, or not. But if, in the meantime, I said that I really had high esteem for you, while "proving" you to be a Conservative Christian woman who is a surgeon at John Hopkins, should my esteem be acceptable? If I represented this malformed description to others from a position of authority, would your loved ones be pleased?


To say that I had "never read a word of Spong" is taking my previous disclaimer a little too literally; I would have come across the odd quote by Spong here and there even before this debate, but I don't think that really counts as "reading" someone (especially not if the quote is mined.)

To point this out is taking Jono a bit too literally, as it was pretty clear in context he meant reading Spong, as he and Michael did (up to the point of the paper's date regarding availability; I'm not sure how much beyond that), rather than reading mined quotes or the odd passage out of context and trying to tell Jono what Spong believes or doesn't believe. Sometimes these debates become really silly because one party, who is uninformed, tries to get the informed party to prove a point that is best proven by answering a version of RTFM.

Capablanca-Fan
18-07-2012, 08:19 AM
More likely a sycophant out of his depth and seeking to engage in some cheap aggro trolling.
I know Garrett having had the pleasure of meeting and playing him at the Logan club, but sycophant hardly fits him.


I don't mind dissing fellow atheists when I think they are using weak arguments,
Garrett is one of your fellow atheists, according to this old poll (http://chesschat.org/poll.php?do=showresults&pollid=267).


and I really don't think much of what I've seen of Spong's position either.
Good.


But your position must be in even more pathetic disarray than I realised for you to regard Garrett's cheapos as commendable. If my position is "stupidity" then what does that say of the intelligence of a position it successfully debunks?
For goodness sake, you're obsessing about a post that was quickly deleted. Must have touched a nerve.

Capablanca-Fan
18-07-2012, 08:28 AM
To point this out is taking Jono a bit too literally, as it was pretty clear in context he meant reading Spong, as he and Michael did (up to the point of the paper's date regarding availability; I'm not sure how much beyond that), rather than reading mined quotes or the odd passage out of context and trying to tell Jono what Spong believes or doesn't believe. Sometimes these debates become really silly because one party, who is uninformed, tries to get the informed party to prove a point that is best proven by answering a version of RTFM.
One thing with that article was that we had no choice but to read Spong's books (although loopaper would be a better use), because this was almost all written in late 1994 before we had ever used the Internet or sent an email.

Kevin Bonham
18-07-2012, 08:40 AM
I know Garrett having had the pleasure of meeting and playing him at the Logan club, but sycophant hardly fits him.

Then his behaviour in this instance is out of character.


For goodness sake, you're obsessing about a post that was quickly deleted. Must have touched a nerve.

The same rubbish was repeated (in the much milder form quoted above) in the shoutbox and not deleted or retracted, to this point.

I'll deal with the rest above (not that there is that much to deal with in your case) when I get home from work tonight.

Capablanca-Fan
18-07-2012, 09:43 AM
Then his behaviour in this instance is out of character.
Begging the question about sycophancy, but indeed sycophancy is out of character for him.


The same rubbish was repeated (in the much milder form quoted above) in the shoutbox and not deleted or retracted, to this point.
But didn't you bring it up first? It seems you are letting an unrelated debate spill over here. By contrast, I try never to let disputes in the non-chess pages spill over into my chess-related comments.


I'll deal with the rest above (not that there is that much to deal with in your case) when I get home from work tonight.
No rush.

Goughfather
18-07-2012, 06:29 PM
Apparently you do need this reminder, since you misrepresented what Mrs and I believe, although our beliefs are standard evangelical.

I'm well aware of the passage and I'm well aware of what evangelical claim to believe. I'm also well aware of the reality.


Oh please. You are in no position to argue with me about Greek word meanings, after your fiasco with not even connecting paederastes ()or however you mangled it) with pederasty. In reality, Πίστις is the noun form of πιστεύω, the lemma of the word for "believe", as per the famous John 3:16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%203:16&version=ESV), and the many other passages where believing in Christ is the condition for salvation. Another is Romans 10:9–13 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rom%2010:9-13;&version=ESV;), with another form of πιστεύω, and it implies believing that Jesus is YHWH given the quotation of Joel 2:32 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel%202:32;&version=ESV;), as explained in Defending vital doctrines and the deity of Christ (http://creation.com/defending-vital-doctrines-and-the-deity-of-christ).

It does mean believe, but just as the different Greek words for love have different connotations, "believe" cannot be equated to mere cognitive assent. The belief spoken about in this context can much more closely related to trust and reliance and is active, rather the passiveness of intellectual assent. Furthermore, this belief is not in a doctrinal belief, but rather in the person of Jesus i.e. "believes in Him", "believe in your heart" etc


In Matthew 7 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%207&version=ESV), we read:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Note that these people were all bragging about their own good works, but never about Christ's finished work for us on the Cross.

If anything, this is a refutation of the concept of mere cognitive assent being salvific. The people in this passage do believe, but their cognitive assent does not drive real faith. You also neglect to follow up with the next section, which relates to those who are doing God's work without being aware that they are doing so. The evidence seems to be that they do not believe in any specific sense. It presents what Catholic theologian Karl Rahner described as the "Anonymous Christian".


Saved by Christ through this assent: to the fact that Jesus, the God-man, died for my sins and rose from the dead.

That idea undercuts one being saved by Christ alone and turns your salvation into a work. In your view, you are saved because of how clever you believe you are to believe the "right" doctrine.


More assertions. It's a big part of my writing and speaking that Jesus is a descendant of Adam, which means He can become our Kinsman-Redeemer, precisely by sharing in our humanity, such as in my Incarnation article (http://creation.com/incarnation-why-god-became-man). Don't project your hatred of your former ignorant professing evangelical self on to real informed evangelicals like Mrs and me.

"Informed evangelicals" should be another phrase to go to the Oxymoron thread.


They were not ever criticized. The Apostle Peter said some of them were hard to understand, but that they were also Scriptures just like the Old Testament (2 Peter 3:15–16 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter%203:15%E2%80%9316&version=ESV)). The Church accepted them as infallible.

There is no evidence of widespread acceptance of this in the Apostolic Church.


And an Apollos faction. Paul wrote a corrective, saying that there should be only a Christ faction, because only Christ can save.

Evidently it's a corrective not learnt by evangelicals of today, who seem to focus exclusively on the Pauline writings.


Actually, the first reference will likely be John 3:16. All the same, the Gospels are bioi, while the Epistles lay out Christian doctrine more formally.

Just because the Gospels are biographical (although this can be overstated, since they do not read like biographies of the era) I am sure you would regard the words in the Gospels as Jesus' teachings. I am also sure that you would accept that Jesus lays our his understanding of his ministry and of his understanding of the Gospel, which centres around the idea of the Kingdom of God.

You raise an important consideration with your reference to John 3:16. I should have clarified to say that when coming to an understanding of the gospel, evangelicals have almost no reference to the Synoptics.


More likely, a former Anglo-Catholic. He is also mistaken, because by the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy, all Gospels except John had been written. In 1 Timothy 5:18, he cites both Deut. 25:4 and Luke 10:7 as graphē; i.e. both the Old and New Testaments.

You understate the significance of John Henry Newman making the transition from Protestantism to Catholicism.

Of course, even if graphē should be construed as meaning canonical scripture, rather than the more generic and appropriate "writings", there is still a lot that chronologically postdates 2 Timothy. If we accepted your reading of that passage, one would still have to conclude that everything that came after that point in time was redundant, since granting the generous assumption that other writings that were completed before this time were in wide circulation, you are promoting a doctrine of Sola "Old Testament plus half of the New Testament".


Newman also opposed, on purely traditional grounds, making papal infallibility a dogma. But when they went ahead and did it (quietly deleting the section in the Catechism that declared this to be a "Protestant invention"), Newman gave his baffled assent as a good little Catholic.

Non-sequitur.


Don't be so precious. You (and they) regard Protestants as sub-christian, and also misrepresent us.

And yet you haven't demonstrated how we have done so.


More absurd projection from your former self, not at all refuting the careful exegesis in my writings.

Self-recommendation is no praise.


Look in the mirror, given that you ignore their clear teachings on Creation and the Flood.

But then again, the grounds upon which I attack you are not my grounds to defend.

Kevin Bonham
18-07-2012, 07:05 PM
But didn't you bring it up first? It seems you are letting an unrelated debate spill over here. By contrast, I try never to let disputes in the non-chess pages spill over into my chess-related comments.

Hmmm, I did include a substantial explanation of the series of events but left it out because I thought it would be unnecessary trivia. The sequence of events was:

1. Garrett has a bit of a go at me in the shoutbox on a chess matter. In isolation I would have ignored it.

2. A few minutes later, Garrett posts a very abusive (but utterly vacuous) blow-in comment in response to something I wrote on this thread, deleting it sometime within an hour or so (at most) after posting it.

3. After reading the comment, I make a comment in the shoutbox about it. I don't name Garrett as the author though I do state that the person concerned has taken over the position of forum grump. Others may decide how big a clue that was.

4. Garrett responds by shouting the comments I quoted above in the shoutbox.

5. As Garrett's shouts clearly relate to this thread, I decide to engage with them here as well as in the shoutbox.

So your assumption that what is spilling over here is an "unrelated debate" is false and your contrast spurious. The only reason I mentioned the chess-related shout above was to respond to your claim of pettiness. If a debate breaks out related to that matter on this thread, it can be moved. As could this whole line of discussion if it became too extensive.

Kevin Bonham
18-07-2012, 08:52 PM
Do you not see how that can be illogical?

That question presumes that it can.


"View" does not determine reality; the Bible tells us who Christ is,

No; the Bible gives the views and claims on the attributes of Christ of its various authors. You may think it tells you who Christ "is" but not everyone agrees. Even the statement "Christ is" in the above is, to put it exceedingly mildly, far from being a matter of consensus.

What we can say concerning who Christ was is that Jesus was probably a person (or some will say, a person-form manifestation) who existed at a certain time in a certain area, about whom various claims including those in the Bible have been made. Except from the viewpoint of those who dispute Jesus' existence at all, it should be possible to say something of that kind that everybody can agree on, and agree that if someone talks about "Jesus Christ" then they are referring to that figure.

That some people imply that that figure had an amazing range of attributes, said particular things, is or was God or some relative thereof, was "resurrected" after dying, still exists, always existed (etc) does not mean that those who disagree with those views (all of them speculative and most of them scientifically nonsensical) are not talking about the same ostensibly historical figure.


and only by throwing out nearly everything out and distorting the rest with externally added nonsense and faulty reasoning to the point of being no longer recognisable as it was written, does he base his "very different view".

With it formulated as indicated above, it should be clear that such Bible stories about Jesus as cannot be verified by reference to evidence from other sources are not discards from probably-known fact, but additional claims that those who hold certain views about the Bible may consider true, but others will often not.


If I likewise condemn (strong word needed, as you would see if you'd actually read Spong) the chess board and pieces, replace them with jacks & a bounce ball, and "praise" this as chess, is it still chess?

This is not "likewise". I mentioned above that there is some kind of minimal description of Christ that pretty much anyone who believes Christ existed will accept. It is possible to tell that the person Jono is making claims about and the person Bishop Spong is making claims about are the same probably-historical figure and that they have some shared identifying beliefs about that figure.

It is very different to if Jono and Bishop Spong actually completely agreed in all views about Jesus Christ, except that Jono maintained the name of Jesus was "Jesus Christ" while the Bishop insisted it was actually "Roger Federer". In this instance Spong could not be said to be really discussing Roger Federer; he would instead be discussing Jesus while being mistaken about Jesus' name.

It is also very different to if Jono and Bishop Spong not only disagreed on all the views about Jesus they currently disagree on, but also Bishop Spong maintained that the "Jesus Christ" both he and Jono referred to was in fact a retired used-car salesman from a South American country, who was born in 1923 and died peacefully with his third wife and five children by his side in 2006. In this instance too, even if that person's name really was Jesus Christ, it could at least be said that Spong was not discussing the same Jesus Christ and was wrong to claim that he was.

Your game example resembles both of these. The attributes of chess are the subject of overwhelming consensus and extensive agreed definition, making it easy to determine that someone who misidentifies chess as not chess or vice versa is simply completely wrong. In contrast, in the case of Jesus the ratio of speculation to even remotely established fact is vast and sincerely held views about Jesus' nature are myriad. If someone talks about that dude who lived around 2000 years ago, got nailed to a cross and had a religion named after him, they are talking about Jesus. If they say nice things about that dude, they are praising him, whatever those nice things may be, and even if those nice things are actually false.

Another example. Suppose a player at my club desperately needs to go somewhere in a hurry and asks me to call him a taxi. I am distracted and forget, but another player overhears the conversation, notices I haven't done it, and calls the taxi instead. The first player's cab arrives, and believing I called it, he says "Thanks so much for calling the taxi. If you hadn't done that for me it would have been a disaster." Clearly the player is referring to me and clearly he is praising me, not condemning me, based on his belief about what I did. That his belief about what I did is actually false, and that my inaction actually warrants the condemnation implied in his later sentence, is irrelevant. He believes I warrant praise and praises me on that basis, he does not believe I warrant condemnation and refrains from condemning on that basis.


But if, in the meantime, I said that I really had high esteem for you, while "proving" you to be a Conservative Christian woman who is a surgeon at John Hopkins, should my esteem be acceptable?

This is more or less identical to my second example above and differs from Spong and Jono talking about Christ for exactly the reasons already stated. I've retained my example as I explained it above (before reading this one) just to indicate (if you believe me) that I'd anticipated that one even before I read it.


To point this out is taking Jono a bit too literally, as it was pretty clear in context he meant reading Spong, as he and Michael did (up to the point of the paper's date regarding availability; I'm not sure how much beyond that), rather than reading mined quotes or the odd passage out of context and trying to tell Jono what Spong believes or doesn't believe.

I have a lot of experience of debates with Jono and on that basis thought it was a good idea to ensure his comment as read literally would not be accepted unrefuted. If his comment wasn't literal and merely an exaggerated figure of speech then that's fine. Given that Jono is currently having difficulty determining the difference between two concepts that are polar opposite (praise and condemnation) it is not for me to be too confident what he might be thinking now about the meaning of any word!

As for telling Jono what Spong believes, despite him having "read" Spong (cynical translation: having gone through Spong with a very slanted view of the text based around a desire to write a hatchet-job) his claim about Spong condemning Jesus is not consistent with the Spong quote he provided to support it. It is also at minimum a novel claim considering the claims made in his far more extensive earlier article, and in my view one that actually contradicts the earlier article.

By Jono's own admission the article in question is "ancient" and perhaps his memory of what he "read" is failing. More likely, he simply doesn't like it that his attempt to dismiss Spong by comparing Spong to me was such an all-round failure.

Indeed, in assessing the failure of that attempt, all the stuff that Jono and I have been arguing about concerning whether Spong condemns Christ is irrelevant; Jono is wrong either way. If as I maintain, Spong does not condemn Christ, then my claim that Spong and I differ in that Spong praises Christ is true. If, as Jono illogically maintains, Spong's praise of Christ occurs alongside sharp condemnation (because Spong's comments attack the "real Jesus"), then Spong and I still differ in that Spong greatly praises his own claimed version of Jesus, which I do not. From what I've read of it, I think Spong's Jesus is at least a tenth as appalling as Jono's.

There is another inconsistency in Jono's comments too. He denies that Spong only praises Christ, because the Christ who Spong unilaterally praises is a stranger to him (Jono). But if that is the case Jono should deny that Spong really praises or comments on Christ at all. Instead, Jono accepts that Spong praises Christ (although Spong is praising Spong's Christ when he does this) while also claiming that Spong condemns Christ (although Spong is condeming Jono's Christ - which he doesn't believe in - when he does this.) It makes no sense to say that Spong both praises and condemns Christ if for the purposes of recognising praise you accept one model and for the purposes of recognising condemnation you use another.


Sometimes these debates become really silly because one party, who is uninformed, tries to get the informed party to prove a point that is best proven by answering a version of RTFM.

And sometimes these debates become really silly because one party applies an inapplicable cliche like the above to a situation in which it has been proven that the supposedly informed party made a clueless comment, which was not only exposed by the supposedly uninformed party using the evidence the supposedly informed party provided, but also was even suspected as such by the "uninformed" party even before getting stuck in. So please desist from these arguments from experience/authority as this is a fine example of how they are often useless.

I was in a court case once where I was an expert witness and there was another expert witness whose professional eminence in the field in question exceeded my own, but whose outdated "research" (a generous label) I had disproven. Having hurridly acquired only a very basic level of understanding of the species at the centre of the court case, none of it through direct experience, my side's lawyer demolished the opposing expert in cross-examination. It was done with such grace and artistry that the opposing expert ended up admitting that he had absolutely no evidence against a single finding in my research, but nonetheless still believed the view that my research had demolished all foundation of, simply because more work needed to be done, or some other lame excuse. We won the case of course.

Often it is possible for me to tell when even real experts in other fields are full of nonsense and demonstrate it. And in this case Jono is not even any kind of authority on Spong; he is just someone who has read a book he doesn't like and attacked it, and hence thinks he understands it.

Kevin Bonham
18-07-2012, 09:13 PM
Oh, and as a little encore after that near-Bereaved-length post, this is my favourite attempt to actually answer the thread question.


- To resume, I shall now relate the real history of Christianity. - The word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding - in reality* there has only been one Christian, and he died on the cross

[bolding mine]

* Sometimes translated as "at bottom" rather than "in reality".

Goughfather
19-07-2012, 12:02 AM
Oh, and as a little encore after that near-Bereaved-length post, this is my favourite attempt to actually answer the thread question.



[bolding mine]

* Sometimes translated as "at bottom" rather than "in reality".

Ahh yes, I remember being rather impressed by that quote when I came across it the first time.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 05:16 AM
And in this case Jono is not even any kind of authority on Spong; he is just someone who has read a book he doesn't like and attacked it, and hence thinks he understands it.

An appeal to authority would be if I said someone should believe one side because of who is arguing that side: because of their employment background or education, or because of the esteem others hold.

I said "one party, who is uninformed, tries to get the informed party to prove a point that is best proven by answering a version of RTFM". It is not an appeal to authority to point out that you (self-admittedly) haven't read the material. It's also not an appeal to authority to point out that some things are more complex than a quote here or there can manage to convey, hence the RTFM.

OTOH, making comments like "I have a lot of experience of debates with Jono" (and others I've seen) are an appeal to authority.

Capablanca-Fan
19-07-2012, 05:53 AM
I'm well aware of the passage and I'm well aware of what evangelical claim to believe. I'm also well aware of the reality.
I.e. you claim that what we really believe is different from what we say or practice. E.g. no matter how many articles I write about the humanity of Christ, e.g. on the Incarnation (/incarnation-why-god-became-man), you will still assert that I am a docetist. Similarly, no matter how many black friends I have, policitians I would vote for, and columnists I admire, you will still libel me as a racist. Liberals never let the facts get in the way.


It does mean believe, but just as the different Greek words for love have different connotations,
They do, although frequently the difference is overdrawn. Way too many sermons have been preached on the supposed huge semantic difference between ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in John 21:15–17 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2021:15-17&version=NIV).


"believe" cannot be equated to mere cognitive assent. The belief spoken about in this context can much more closely related to trust and reliance and is active, rather the passiveness of intellectual assent.
So sayeth you. But the American logician and Protestant Christian apologist Gordon Clark explained the right view in Saving Faith (http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=10).


Furthermore, this belief is not in a doctrinal belief, but rather in the person of Jesus
But which "Jesus"? Again, the false liberal distinction between the person and the attributes of this person. If this person is not fully human and fully divine, it is one of the "false christs" He taught against.


i.e. "believes in Him", "believe in your heart" etc
Except that "heart" in the Bible is usually a metaphor for the mind, as in Proverbs 3:27, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."


If anything, this is a refutation of the concept of mere cognitive assent being salvific. The people in this passage do believe, but their cognitive assent does not drive real faith. You also neglect to follow up with the next section, which relates to those who are doing God's work without being aware that they are doing so.
Yet a person is not doing God's work unless they believe in the Son. Jesus said: “that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:23).” Here again, Jesus is claiming that He is equally worthy of honour as God the Father, which no mere creature could be. Muhammad would have been appalled at any disciple saying “we must honour the Prophet (peace be upon him), just as we honour Allah”: this would be blasphemy. The Bible also tells us that we can be saved only by trusting in the Son (Acts 2:38, 4:12)


That idea undercuts one being saved by Christ alone and turns your salvation into a work. In your view, you are saved because of how clever you believe you are to believe the "right" doctrine.
No it doesn't, since the faith/belief is a gift of God. By contrast, you believe in a crazy works salvation.


"Informed evangelicals" should be another phrase to go to the Oxymoron thread.
Perhaps you were uninformed in your evanjellyfish days, and that hasn't changed, but don't project this on genuinely informed ones. Listen and learn! One of my critics, who teaches biology at a churchian university, had to admit (http://creation.com/refuting-compromising-critic-cmi-seminar):

Positives:

1. Both Jonathan Sarfati and Gary Bates are committed Christians and committed YECs

2. Both know their subject quite well

3. Jonathan is indeed highly intelligent and knows a lot about nearly everything (physics, biol., chem., geol., anthropology, and even the Bible and Hebrew)


There is no evidence of widespread acceptance of this in the Apostolic Church.
Come off it! The Scriptures were the standard not only for the Orthodox, who would cite them to refute the heresies, but the heretics themselves had no choice but to try to appeal to Scripture, albeit twisting it out of recognition. Much later, Pope Leo XIII gave the traditional Roman Catholic view in the Encyclical Providentissimus Deus (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus_en.html)(1893):


Inspiration Incompatible with Error
‘… It is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred. The system of those who restrict inspiration to things of faith and morals cannot be tolerated. All the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.
‘… And the Church holds them as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority; nor only because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author. Hence, because the Holy Ghost employed men as His instruments, we cannot therefore say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write-He was so present to them-that the things which He ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. Otherwise, it could not be said that He was the Author of the entire Scripture. Such has always been the persuasion of the Fathers.’


Evidently it's a corrective not learnt by evangelicals of today, who seem to focus exclusively on the Pauline writings.
Prove it. Or even, exemplify it.


Just because the Gospels are biographical (although this can be overstated, since they do not read like biographies of the era) I am sure you would regard the words in the Gospels as Jesus' teachings. I am also sure that you would accept that Jesus lays our his understanding of his ministry and of his understanding of the Gospel, which centres around the idea of the Kingdom of God.
Certainly.


You raise an important consideration with your reference to John 3:16. I should have clarified to say that when coming to an understanding of the gospel, evangelicals have almost no reference to the Synoptics.
Depends on the situation. Dealing with heretics who deny the deity of Christ, John's gospel would have the strongest ammunition, but it's there in the Synoptics as well. But when defending the Incarnation (http://creation.com/incarnation-why-god-became-man)and Virginal Conception/Birth (http://creation.com/the-virginal-conception-of-christ), I used Matthew and Luke.


Of course, even if graphē should be construed as meaning canonical scripture, rather than the more generic and appropriate "writings",
As it should be in this context. Peter was hardly going to condemn people for distorting the writings of Livy or Sophocles.


there is still a lot that chronologically postdates 2 Timothy.
Very little—probably only the writings of John and maybe 2 Peter and Jude.


If we accepted your reading of that passage, one would still have to conclude that everything that came after that point in time was redundant, since granting the generous assumption that other writings that were completed before this time were in wide circulation, you are promoting a doctrine of Sola "Old Testament plus half of the New Testament".
Not at all. Almost all the NT was widely accepted as Scripture right from the beginning. So Paul's affirmation would apply to everything that was or would be Scripture.


And yet you haven't demonstrated how we have done so.
I have: you have accused us of docetism for example. And you didn't deny that you treated Protestants as second-class, but whinge that I put the RCs, EOs and Coptics on Line 2.


But then again, the grounds upon which I attack you are not my grounds to defend.
Practise what you preach. You are spouting forth about "tradition", but ignore the clear tradition of young-earth belief in the church for the first 1,800 years of its history.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 05:57 AM
Forgive the chunks, but your post was so huge.

ETA: I thought I'd be responding to more below, but really, I'd just wind up repeating myself or attempting to refute your opinions about Jono which lack substance.


Another example. Suppose a player at my club desperately needs to go somewhere in a hurry and asks me to call him a taxi. I am distracted and forget, but another player overhears the conversation, notices I haven't done it, and calls the taxi instead. The first player's cab arrives, and believing I called it, he says "Thanks so much for calling the taxi. If you hadn't done that for me it would have been a disaster." Clearly the player is referring to me and clearly he is praising me, not condemning me, based on his belief about what I did. That his belief about what I did is actually false, and that my inaction actually warrants the condemnation implied in his later sentence, is irrelevant. He believes I warrant praise and praises me on that basis, he does not believe I warrant condemnation and refrains from condemning on that basis.

I can't see how you possibly think this example supports opposition to my position. Here, the reality of the example (the true-untruth :lol:), is that you did not call the taxi. No subsequent attempts to refute the history of this (non-)event could negate that.

Plus, your example is far too mild as an analogy (which you would know if you read the material :P), in that player one only made a mistake by praising you falsely for something you did not do (again, how is this supporting your postion?). It fails in that Spong in the book(s) is far more outspoken against what God could not have done or did not do (supposedly). Spong's No True Scotsman fallacies aside for the moment, your analogy would be more appropriate if it involved the man not praising you for the actions of the second player, but rather an outside observer trying to say it is impossible for the call to have been made at all, despite testimony from witnesses as to the arrival of the taxi.

Capablanca-Fan
19-07-2012, 05:57 AM
Here is a recent article, from the über-left New York Times, about how liberal churchianity is dying, as it deserves to.

Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?
Ross Douthat, NY Times, 14 July 2012


IN 1998, John Shelby Spong, then the reliably controversial Episcopal bishop of Newark, published a book entitled “Why Christianity Must Change or Die.” Spong was a uniquely radical figure — during his career, he dismissed almost every element of traditional Christian faith as so much superstition — but most recent leaders of the Episcopal Church have shared his premise. Thus their church has spent the last several decades changing and then changing some more, from a sedate pillar of the WASP establishment into one of the most self-consciously progressive Christian bodies in the United States.



Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.



But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed. Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance. Within the Catholic Church, too, the most progressive-minded religious orders have often failed to generate the vocations necessary to sustain themselves.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 06:05 AM
Here is a recent article

I thought this part was telling: "Today, by contrast, the leaders of the Episcopal Church and similar bodies often don’t seem to be offering anything you can’t already get from a purely secular liberalism." (Source (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/opinion/sunday/douthat-can-liberal-christianity-be-saved.html?_r=2))


(and this gave me a laugh: "Leaders of liberal churches have alternated between a Monty Python-esque “it’s just a flesh wound!” bravado")

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 06:37 AM
Another article about Spong, from atheist.about.com (http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/09/13/bishop-spong-christian-humanist.htm):


He doesn't believe in the traditional personal God[;] he also disclaims (somewhat unbelievably) the label of atheist.

The article concludes:


Spong has argued that "Christianity must change or die," and that may be true - but if it changes as radically as he wants, what will be left to call "Christian"?

I doubt Cline (http://atheism.about.com/bio/Austin-Cline-5577.htm) can be said to be suffering any evangelical bias.

Desmond
19-07-2012, 06:47 AM
Another article about Spong, from atheist.about.com (http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/09/13/bishop-spong-christian-humanist.htm):Which identifies Spong as a Christian, and points out that he ruffles the feathers of literalists. Recurring themes.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 07:03 AM
Which identifies Spong as a Christian, and points out that he ruffles the feathers of literalists. Recurring themes.

Astute observation, but not the point I was making.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 11:46 AM
An appeal to authority would be if I said someone should believe one side because of who is arguing that side: because of their employment background or education, or because of the esteem others hold.

The expression I used was "arguments from experience/authority". You are technically using an argument from experience - Jono has read Spong directly therefore supposedly knows what he is talking about; I haven't to any great length therefore supposedly don't. The argument from experience and argument from authority are just very slightly different versions of the same logical fallacy.

This thread shows why it is a logical fallacy because in spite of his supposedly far greater Spong-experience, Jono has been caught out making a false claim about what Spong says by someone with far less direct experience of Spong's work.

To continue to press the argument from experience/authority only helps me to continue to draw attention to Jono's failure in what should have been a "home game" for him, and can best be regarded as an own goal by Team Jono.

I also note that your use of the term "uninformed" carries the pejorative and false implication that the only way to become "informed" about the work of others is by reading their work extensively in its original form. It is the ideal way and the most reliable way (for those capable of reliably understanding the work of others, and not just of reading it to look for ways to hatchet it) but that does not mean that extensive primary source reading is always necessary to avoid a charge of being "uninformed". And indeed, no-one on this thread has shown anything I have said about Spong's views to be false.


It is not an appeal to authority to point out that you (self-admittedly) haven't read the material.

Yes it is because you are implying that this matters to whether or not I am able to refute Jono's comments. The thread demonstrates otherwise. If you think the thread is becoming silly, it is not because of how much Spong I have or haven't read. It is because Jono is digging in on a claim that Spong condemns Christ, when what this really means is that Spong condemns a model of Christ that Spong does not believe in, but Jono does, and Jono therefore thinks Spong is hurting his precious (who of course, being only an all-powerful deity is weak, fragile and puny and requires constant protection.)


It's also not an appeal to authority to point out that some things are more complex than a quote here or there can manage to convey, hence the RTFM.

If this one is more complex then you (or Jono) should be able to demonstrate this with evidence. But on the question of whether Spong condemned Christ, there is no dispute between us about the kinds of things Spong actually said about Jesus (eg that he praised a certain model of Jesus while condemning and rejecting various things attributed to Jesus in the Gospels). That is completely common ground in that discussion and no more reading of Spong is needed. Indeed, the debate is really not about the interpretation of Spong anymore, but about the interpretation of Jono's false claim about Spong.

The key point in the "debate" now is a linguistic and philosophical point about what it means to say that someone refers to someone else in a particular way, in cases where there is dispute about the attributes of the subject. Your attempts to invoke RTFM therefore show you haven't been RTFTing closely enough. Or RFTDing for that matter. :lol:


OTOH, making comments like "I have a lot of experience of debates with Jono" (and others I've seen) are an appeal to authority.

They were made only in response to the attempts by the other side to employ arguments by appeal to experience/authority, to make the point that even if your logic is addled enough to consider such arguing tactics valid then you should realise that I do have vast experience relevant to interpreting the works of Jono and having a pretty good idea when he doesn't know what he is talking about. This discussion has been further proof of that.

They may also explain to you the amazing magical mystery of how, despite my deficit in direct Spong-text-experience, I am able to demonstrate a claim by Jono about what Spong said to be wrong.

Capablanca-Fan
19-07-2012, 12:05 PM
The expression I used was "arguments from experience/authority". You are technically using an argument from experience - Jono has read Spong directly therefore supposedly knows what he is talking about; I haven't to any great length therefore supposedly don't. The argument from experience and argument from authority are just very slightly different versions of the same logical fallacy.
I had the great displeasure of having to read hard-copy versions of his trashy books. You have only read a few pages.


This thread shows why it is a logical fallacy because in spite of his supposedly far greater Spong-experience, Jono has been caught out making a false claim about what Spong says by someone with far less direct experience of Spong's work.
Not false at all. The only Christ that I or the Church has historically recognized--and the only one that atheopaths like Bertrand Russell have historically bothered to criticize--is the Christ of the Gospels. Spong criticized the Christ of the Gospels (as my paper made clear), so he criticized Christ. It's irrelevant that he partly praised a "christ" of his own fantasizing. I don't really care that you keep on defending the indefensible; you're just being unreasonable pressing a silly case. Garrett may well have been commenting on the absurdity of this.


They may also explain to you the amazing magical mystery of how, despite my deficit in direct Spong-text-experience, I am able to demonstrate a claim by Jono about what Spong said to be wrong.
Dream on. Yes, I know you want desperately to defend someone so similar to you in basic beliefs.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 01:10 PM
Spong criticized the Christ of the Gospels (as my paper made clear), so he criticized Christ. It's irrelevant that he partly praised a "christ" of his own fantasizing.

Exactly. I thought failure to comprehend these points might be why this isn't getting across to others here, until I found sites run by atheists who understand the points clearly.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 01:17 PM
Forgive the chunks, but your post was so huge.

So sorry, thought it might help with your insomnia.


ETA: I thought I'd be responding to more below, but really, I'd just wind up repeating myself or attempting to refute your opinions about Jono which lack substance.

This claim that my opinions lack substance itself lacks substance.

Jono himself is fond of using the term "ipse dixit". If you haven't got too tired of hearing it from him I might have to use it a bit myself in dealing with empty claims like the above in future. :lol:


I can't see how you possibly think this example supports opposition to my position. Here, the reality of the example (the true-untruth :lol:), is that you did not call the taxi. No subsequent attempts to refute the history of this (non-)event could negate that.

But that reality is not relevant. What is relevant is that the other player praised me on the incorrect assumption that I called the taxi. He expressed approval and that remains the case even though the basis for him doing so was actually invalid. Praise is about expressing approval, condemnation is about expressing disapproval. They are words about the evaluative nature of a comment, not about whether that comment was well justified by the facts.


Plus, your example is far too mild as an analogy (which you would know if you read the material :P), in that player one only made a mistake by praising you falsely for something you did not do (again, how is this supporting your postion?).

Again, I have already explained it above. And here you have conceded the point! In saying "that player one only made a mistake by praising you falsely" you agree that the player was praising me. Praising me falsely, but praising me nonetheless. That is the correct and obvious understanding of what is going on, in contrast to Jono's in which if Spong says nice things about Christ but has his facts about Christ allegedly wrong in many regards important to Jono, then Spong is condemning Christ.

That's all I'm trying to get at here. If Jono just retracted his position that Spong condemns Christ, and instead said something like that Spong praises Christ but does so from a false position regarding what Christ was and did, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. It really ought to be a very minor point to yield on since all it involves is accepting that a comment I made about differences between my views and Spong's is correct - which as I have pointed out would actually be the case with very minor recasting anyway even if Jono was right about Spong condemning Christ. Nothing in the discussion that existed before then is really hanging on that admission. Perhaps Jono is too blighted by pride to admit his error.


It fails in that Spong in the book(s) is far more outspoken against what God could not have done or did not do (supposedly). Spong's No True Scotsman fallacies aside for the moment, your analogy would be more appropriate if it involved the man not praising you for the actions of the second player, but rather an outside observer trying to say it is impossible for the call to have been made at all, despite testimony from witnesses as to the arrival of the taxi.

Irate customers later flooded the taxi company's switchboard with complaints that they had been calling the taxi to come again as it was even more desperately needed now and that despite repeated promises of its imminent arrival from various employees of the taxi company, they were still waiting after thousands of years.

Meanwhile other taxi company employees reported that the time of the taxi's reappearance could never be forecasted accurately and the customers would just have to bloody wait. Other employees said that there might be limited seats in the taxi, while still others disputed this, and some maintained that those not managing to traverse all the arcanities of the taxi company switchboard in order to correctly reserve one would perish in a pile-up on the bridge, while others still said they would only have to walk. Some customers, not surprisingly, doubted whether that company's taxi ever arrived in the first place, or whether that company even had a taxi, and were not surprised when they found that all the witnesses directly reporting the first arrival of the taxi were connected to the taxi company, and that although some claimed to have joined the company after witnessing the arrival of its taxi, none of them recorded its arrival at the time.

My analogy didn't fail, since it caused you to concede the central point. The difference that you mention (that my example involves confusion about who was responsible for an action that definitely occurred, whereas Spong-vs-Jono involves disagreement about whether particular claimed events attributed to Jesus, and claimed sayings by Jesus, occurred at all) is true, but it is irrelevant, because the analogy is simply to establish the possibility of praising someone on the basis of false assumptions, but praising them nonetheless, and it has clearly done its job.

If it is necessary to make the taxi analogy a closer one, I'll point out that the false claim that I called the taxi does not involve attributing any miraculous events to me. Likewise, while Spong's views of Jesus are almost certainly hagiographic, they do not require unscientific miracles.

So in the same situation, remove the other person who called the taxi, and suppose that while waiting for the taxi to arrive (which won't actually happen since I have forgotten to call it), the player thanks me for calling it, unaware that I did not actually do so. An observer overhearing this conversation states that it is a complete insult to me to say that all I did was call a taxi. They state that I in fact called three taxis (which are actually one taxi), despite having no phone, being out of mobile phone range, there being no taxi company and me having been both dead and playing a tournament game at the time I made the call, and they insist that all the taxis I called are already waiting outside (if you don't find them, you must not be looking in the right place or there must be something wrong with you.)

They insist that to merely state that I called one taxi via normal means is to insult my supreme taxi-calling ability as attested by numerous witnesses all of whom reckon I am great and some of whom even got themselves killed to prove the point about how good I was at calling taxis. They also mention that I sacrificed a goat in the process of calling a taxi and say that this was a good and necessary thing to do, because I said so.

The player responds that the observer's account of my taxi-calling prowess is clearly too absurd to be taken seriously and that the idea that I would kill a goat so that he could catch a taxi is actually quite insulting to me, and would be even if it worked. The player says that I am just a helpful ordinary chess organiser who calls taxis for players when required, as in this instance, and that that is a good thing. Clearly the player is praising me even though he has his facts wrong in one detail. Clearly he is not condemning me by rejecting a claim about my attributes that he does not believe and that is absurd anyway.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 02:00 PM
I had the great displeasure of having to read hard-copy versions of his trashy books. You have only read a few pages.

And again, despite that, I have shown that on this thread you misunderstood Spong. So the question of how much we each read is irrelevant, and further, it is likely that your "great displeasure" at reading Spong did not assist you much in understanding him.

Normally you are keen to avoid fallacies of the argument from experience/authority form - they're especially inconvenient for you in debates such as global warming where the overwhelming body of professional opinion seems to be on the other side - so it's a sad sign of the bankruptcy of your position that you stoop to them in this instance. Expect me to remind you of it in future when you attack someone who is much more expert on what they comment on than you are.


Not false at all. The only Christ that I or the Church has historically recognized--and the only one that atheopaths like Bertrand Russell have historically bothered to criticize--is the Christ of the Gospels.

Even assuming all this is true, which I doubt very greatly, it's irrelevant. You and "the Church" do not have a mortgage on the discussion about the nature and attributes of the claimed person Jesus Christ who supposedly existed at a certain time. Indeed, someone who rejects your portrayal of Christ is more likely not to join your Church in the first place. If atheists have tended strongly to focus criticism on that portrayal of Christ that is hardly any surprise given the extent to which self-styled Christians have advocated it and attempted to justify ridiculous things with reference to it.


Spong criticized the Christ of the Gospels (as my paper made clear), so he criticized Christ.

Does not follow for the reasons mentioned above.


It's irrelevant that he partly praised a "christ" of his own fantasizing.

Your position involves far more fantasizing than his, given how scientifically absurd it is. His seems no more than an attempt to airbrush the bad out of those claims about Christ that are not completely silly and thereby salvage something that can be admired from the wreck. My view is the wreck itself is far more admirable. :lol:


I don't really care that you keep on defending the indefensible; you're just being unreasonable pressing a silly case.

If it was silly or unreasonable you could demonstrate it convincingly; you can't. Even Mrs Jono accepts that praising someone on false assumptions is still praising.


Dream on. Yes, I know you want desperately to defend someone so similar to you in basic beliefs.

Delusional rubbish and cheap trolling. You noted that I said that I didn't think much of Spong's position and you said it was a good thing. Now you claim I am desperately trying to defend him. Your characterisations of my position are blatantly contradictory.

In fact although Spong's position is far less obviously scientifically ridiculous than yours it is easy to explain how Spong, you and I embody three completely different responses to the same problem.

The central problem is the apparent paradox that Christ is portrayed as a paragon of virtue and truth, but the Gospels attribute to Christ some words and actions that by normal understanding are not virtuous and cannot be true.

Spong's response consists of accepting that Christ was a paragon of virtue and rejecting those Gospel claims that show Christ to be otherwise.

Your response consists of accepting the Gospel claims and rejecting all understandings of virtue and truth that are inconsistent with them, thus defining the concepts of virtue and truth to force their subservience to gospel however much they need to be twisted away from normal understanding in the process.

My response consists of rejecting the claim that Christ was a paragon of virtue and truth and accepting that if he lived he probably said some zealous and narrowminded things, and probably many false ones. I do not consider Gospel claims about what Christ said to be necessarily reliable, but I also don't think they should be rejected just for portraying Christ in a bad light. I also reject the ideal of virtue that Christ is (probably falsely) supposed to have been a paragon of.

Capablanca-Fan
19-07-2012, 02:39 PM
And again, despite that, I have shown that on this thread you misunderstood Spong.
I did no such thing, as is amply shown by my quote, which included him saying that the Gospels portrayed him a bad light. I understood him perfectly, just don't buy your excuse for him. I just don't accept that any Christ other than the one in the Gospels has any reality, so his position was an attack on Christ. I provided enough of what he said so people could judge for themselves, even if they chose to take your ridiculous position.


So the question of how much we each read is irrelevant, and further, it is likely that your "great displeasure" at reading Spong did not assist you much in understanding him.
Nothing misunderstood; I just reject the excuse.


Normally you are keen to avoid fallacies of the argument from experience/authority form - they're especially inconvenient for you in debates such as global warming where the overwhelming body of professional opinion seems to be on the other side -
Not really; more a political majority than a scientific one.


so it's a sad sign of the bankruptcy of your position that you stoop to them in this instance.
This is just the obvious one that I have read Spong and you haven't.


Expect me to remind you of it in future when you attack someone who is much more expert on what they comment on than you are.
Go for it. Most evolutionists are quite clueless, especially when it comes to chemical evolution.


Your position involves far more fantasizing than his, given how scientifically absurd it is.
More crap of course., just because I don't swallow your blind faith in evolution from goo to you via the zoo. The first step, of non-living chemicals becoming life, is especially absurd, so much so that your mate Martin Line even resorts to an extraterrestrial origin.


You noted that I said that I didn't think much of Spong's position and you said it was a good thing.
It was a good thing that you said that.


Now you claim I am desperately trying to defend him. Your characterisations of my position are blatantly contradictory.
No, even though you said you didn't think much of him, in reality, there is very little difference, which is why you're trying to pretend he didn't attack Christ when he did.


Spong's response consists of accepting that Christ was a paragon of virtue and rejecting those Gospel claims that show Christ to be otherwise.
What particular response did you have in mind? Yet under his essentially materialistic worldview and distrust of the Gospels, if he really thinks that, there is no basis for this. He even said we can't even know the words of Christ. Spong is very dogmatic that there was nothing special about Christ's birth, that he didn't perform miracles, didn't say a lot of what was claimed about him, and didn't survive death.

There might be some case when it comes to the Bible, hence hence his book titled Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, but this is still pretence, and I argued that he really despises the Bible he claims to love. You are arguing, in effect, that Spong is "rescuing Christ from the Gospels."

Capablanca-Fan
19-07-2012, 02:47 PM
So sorry, thought it might help with your [Mrs'] insomnia.
Who said it didn't :P


That's all I'm trying to get at here. If Jono just retracted his position that Spong condemns Christ, and instead said something like that Spong praises Christ but does so from a false position regarding what Christ was and did, then we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Already addressed by analogies and common sense. Also, the debate with Spongesque GF on the difference between the true Christ of the gospels and false christs he warned us to beware of.


Perhaps Jono is too blighted by pride to admit his error.
KB is of course the epitome of humility. :wall: [Exhibit: over-reaction to Garrett, who is probably closer in religion to him than to me.]

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 03:24 PM
I did no such thing, as is amply shown by my quote, which included him saying that the Gospels portrayed him a bad light. I understood him perfectly, just don't buy your excuse for him.

You misunderstand me if you think I am making an excuse. While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him, I do not praise Spong for doing so. In fact I reject Spong's praise and in doing so indicate further why your attempt to compare my position to Spong's is wrong.

Once again - yes Spong said the Gospels portrayed Christ in a bad light, but that does not support your claim that Spong condemned Christ, as he does not believe that Christ posessed those attributes.

And again, it is much like if someone said "Some people claim that Jono is a racist and a bigot, but I do not agree with them". To maintain that such a person is condemning you is absurd, irrespective of whether what they say is right or wrong.


I just don't accept that any Christ other than the one in the Gospels has any reality, so his position was an attack on Christ.

And this doesn't follow because the test for whether Spong was engaged in condemnation is his beliefs about Christ, and not yours.


I provided enough of what he said so people could judge for themselves, even if they chose to take your ridiculous position.

Sorry, but my "ridiculous" position is winning. In any case what people should be able to see for themselves is that Spong praises his ideal of Christ, whatever you may think of it, and I do not praise any ideal of Christ at all.


Nothing misunderstood; I just reject the excuse.

Which "excuse"?


This is just the obvious one that I have read Spong and you haven't.

Ipse dixit, and non sequitur, and already debunked argument from experience. *yawns*


More crap of course., just because I don't swallow your blind faith in evolution from goo to you via the zoo. The first step, of non-living chemicals becoming life, is especially absurd, so much so that your mate Martin Line even resorts to an extraterrestrial origin.

Another non-sequitur. Your response to a point about your position being scientifically absurd is not to defend the charge but to try to maintain that what you believe to be my position (on a rather unrelated matter) is too. Even if you succeeded there (and there are enough other threads that you have failed on so if I see a need to go round that block again I can do it on one of those) you would still be left with a fatal problem - the comparison I made was between the scientific absurdity of your view of Jesus compared to Bishop Spong's view of Jesus. My point that the former is vastly more scientifically problematic than the latter (resurrection from the dead, virgin birth, miracles etc) than the latter.

And it's a bit of a sad sign for you that you cluelessly resort to describing someone as my "mate" when really my only connection with him is that he played chess at a club I was at between c. 1991-1995 and again between c. 2003-6. Haven't seen him since. I believe I have already mentioned he is no longer on the scene.


It was a good thing that you said that.

Even though you don't believe it?


No, even though you said you didn't think much of him, in reality, there is very little difference, which is why you're trying to pretend he didn't attack Christ when he did.

That you think there is very little difference only reflects that your own position is so extreme that it cannot comprehend that two views sharing opposition to it could be so distinct from each other as mine and Bishop Spong's. I explained the reason for this above.


What particular response did you have in mind?

Do you dispute that my summary of Spong's response (to which you were replying to then) was correct? If so why?


Yet under his essentially materialistic worldview and distrust of the Gospels, if he really thinks that, there is no basis for this.

That may very well be true but is irrelevant to the description of his position and how it differs from mine.


He even said we can't even know the words of Christ.

Still waiting for a relevant quote on this to see exactly what he said.


Spong is very dogmatic that there was nothing special about Christ's birth, that he didn't perform miracles, didn't say a lot of what was claimed about him, and didn't survive death.

As he has reason to be in the case of the first, second and fourth. The third may be a different question in terms of which particular quotes he rejects and why.

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 03:50 PM
But that reality is not relevant. What is relevant is that the other player praised me on the incorrect assumption that I called the taxi. He expressed approval and that remains the case even though the basis for him doing so was actually invalid. Praise is about expressing approval, condemnation is about expressing disapproval. They are words about the evaluative nature of a comment, not about whether that comment was well justified by the facts.

Of course it is relevant. Praise and condemnation do not exist in a bubble; there is a direct object for the praise. The praise was for something, namely you making a phone call in your analogy. As you did not make a call, there was no praise for you making a call, but instead, there was praise for a non-reality.

Condemnation and/or praise for a fictional representation of christ is not the same as praise for or condemnation of Christ. At best, it's irrationality; at worst, idolatry, plus it's bearing false witness to all who read it and having responsibility for those misled by his position of authority being used to propagate it.

To put it more simplistically, if I praise the flavour, texture, and decorations on a slice of cake I say I am eating, but it's really a piece of dry wheat toast, I am not praising cake. If I condemn a fantasy image of someone that is not reality, I am not condemning them (strawmen).

And if reality is not relevant, this whole discussion fails anyway, because nothing has to be true.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 04:44 PM
Already addressed by analogies and common sense.

Common sense? Really scraping the barrel with that one. If a view that saying only nice things about someone while disputing nasty and absurd things said about them is condemnation (just because someone thinks the nasty and absurd things are actually true!) counts as common sense, then common sense must be even more moronic and mislabelled than I give it debit for.

As for analogies, my original taxi analogy did its job, Mrs Jono's recasting of my taxi analogy has required its own recasting; my Brazilian Christ, "Roger Federer" and Tterrag-vs-racist-bigot analogies have not been addressed by anyone, and I used them to dispose of Mrs Jono's game/chess analogy and show why her Christian female-surgeon Bonham analogy was inapplicable. There's been quite a few; did I miss any? :lol:


Also, the debate with Spongesque GF on the difference between the true Christ of the gospels and false christs he warned us to beware of.

The gospels claiming to represent the"true Christ" does not make it so. And an admonition from the advertisers to accept no imitations is no proof of the quality of a product.


KB is of course the epitome of humility. :wall:

KB does not believe humility is automatically virtuous, and nor does he follow a religion that maintains that pride is sinful. Therefore yet another attempt by you to refute criticism by attacking the critic without addressing your own deficiencies misses the point. The point is that a Christian should fess up when they are busted in a debate, even if they don't like the position or experience level on an issue of the buster, and even if it is inconvenient for their position to do so.

What is interesting here is the question of why you are so desperate to believe Spong's position and mine are more alike than they are.


[Exhibit: over-reaction to Garrett, who is probably closer in religion to him than to me.]

Actually not an exhibit at all. Even if someone considered my response an over-reaction there are many explanations they could advance for it other than pride.

Furthermore, you haven't read the text. You are trying to evaluate the controversy between me and Garrett without being familiar with the contents of his deleted abusive post that sparked it; all you have seen is my secondary summary. Given your position regarding me not having extensively read Spong, this is hypocritical in the extreme.

Rincewind
19-07-2012, 05:06 PM
The point is that a Christian should fess up when they are busted in a debate, even if they don't like the position or experience level on an issue of the buster, and even if it is inconvenient for their position to do so.

I'm sure Christians want to give this appearance but I'm not sure it is really what many of them believe. I'm convinced that Jono finds it perfectly acceptable to obfuscate until the cows come home on matters of scientific deficiency of the YEC model because he has an a priori belief it must be true and so he is not obfuscated to avoid admitting he has made a mistake but rather he is obfuscating because he believes there is a explanation which affirms his position, but he simply doesn't know what it is at present.

When you get used to doing this for the many and vast deficiencies in the YEC model no doubt it is a habit that is difficult to break, explaining his wide-spread application of the principle to matters beyond sola scriptura.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 05:25 PM
Of course it is relevant. Praise and condemnation do not exist in a bubble; there is a direct object for the praise. The praise was for something, namely you making a phone call in your analogy.

No, the praise was of me on the false assumption that I made the phone call. Someone made a positive comment with me as the subject on account of an action they misattributed to me. "Thank you for making the phone call" praises me (albeit mistakenly). I am the direct object, the claimed action is the pretext and not the direct object. In contrast, an example of a statement that confines its praise to the direct object for the praise and did not praise a person (mistakenly or otherwise) is "Oh, I'm glad someone called the taxi" or "Oh, I'm glad the taxi's here".


Condemnation and/or praise for a fictional representation of christ is not the same as praise for or condemnation of Christ.

Probably all deeply held representations of Christ are fictional to some degree; the Bible's certainly is because of its multiple absurdities. Again, the test of whether a comment is praise or condemnation lies in whether it has a complimentary or critical nature. Excepting cases (like our analogies) where the comment refers to a completely different historical person, it does not lie buried in a massive debate about whose depiction of the factual aspects of the target is most accurate.


At best, it's irrationality; at worst, idolatry, plus it's bearing false witness to all who read it and having responsibility for those misled by his position of authority being used to propagate it.

The bearing of false witness (another of those Christian-religion sins Jono seems to care about only when it suits him) being done here is by Jono against my view by falsely maintaining it resembles Spong's more closely than it does, and by Jono against Spong's view by falsely maintaining that Spong condemns Christ just because Spong doesn't praise Jono's view of Christ.

Until Jono ceases doing this I can only conclude he is either not a Christian or else not a very consistent one.


To put it more simplistically, if I praise the flavour, texture, and decorations on a slice of cake I say I am eating, but it's really a piece of dry wheat toast, I am not praising cake.

This is the same as my "Roger Federer" example - complete misidentification of the subject of praise as something it is indisputably not. (Though Federer fans may disagree with me on this.) It is not the same as a case where the subject of praise is identifiable as a given historical person, but there are disputes about that person's attributes.

A more appropriate analogy would be that you eat a slice of cake sitting on a table, and someone else eats a slice of it too. Both of you say that the cake is delicious. One of you maintains that the cake was made using Home Brand chocolate at Woolworths and says that the cheap things in life are sometimes the best, while the other maintains that it was made using imported premium Swiss chocolate by a master baker and that it has won several awards, and that cheap chocolate is appalling. At least one of you is wrong but neither of you can dispute that what you both ate was a slice of the cake that was sitting on the table, and that both of you praised it.


And if reality is not relevant, this whole discussion fails anyway, because nothing has to be true.

Dr Jono is known to conform (when not committing the sin of pride or bearing false witness, etc) to an axiom that maintains:


By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

Dr Jono holds the view that an independent credible assessment of reality is indeed ultimately not relevant and what is relevant is (his interpretation of) scribble from thousands of years ago. If the Bible says something is true, it doesn't matter if it isn't actually, because it is defined to be! If this is a contradiction, it doesn't matter, because the scriptural axiom says it can't be! Postmodernism never had it so good.

I am unsure whether or not you share this peculiar view, and it would be wrong of me to assume without confirmation that you do.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 05:46 PM
I'm sure Christians want to give this appearance but I'm not sure it is really what many of them believe.

I have similar concerns for the same reasons but I am giving them the benefit of the doubt in case Jono is simply a deficient and unrepresentative example.

Probably a more positive example would be the debates I have had with Christians about whether atheism is a religion, on this site and elsewhere. Of those Christians who advance the cliched and clearly incorrect claim that it is, I find about 80% do so in genuine error because they are uninformed, and that those types of Christians will usually eventually accept that they were wrong. Hardcore propagandists can be a different matter.

Rincewind
19-07-2012, 05:56 PM
Of those Christians who advance the cliched and clearly incorrect claim that it is, I find about 80% do so in genuine error because they are uninformed, and that those types of Christians will usually eventually accept that they were wrong. Hardcore propagandists can be a different matter.

I know one guy who was reasonably hardcore (was at one point street witnessing YEC) who has changed his position on things due to an acceptance that science actually does have a lot of good reasons for thinking that a literal reading of the Bible is not a good idea. His change of heart happened over a number of years while doing his PhD. NB correlation does not imply causation.

Goughfather
19-07-2012, 07:04 PM
I don't plan to respond to everything here, but there are a few mildly interesting dicussion points.


They do, although frequently the difference is overdrawn. Way too many sermons have been preached on the supposed huge semantic difference between ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in John 21:15–17 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2021:15-17&version=NIV).

What about ἔρως? Pretty different type of love, methinks.


But which "Jesus"? Again, the false liberal distinction between the person and the attributes of this person. If this person is not fully human and fully divine, it is one of the "false christs" He taught against.

As I've written before, my Jesus is the Jesus whose favourite pizza topping is Pepperoni. Don't tell me that your Jesus is the Jesus who prefers Supreme, otherwise I'll suggest that you are a heretic and that you are fit only for the fires of hell.

Other than that, I think Kevin is dealing quite well with that objection, so I'll leave things over to him.


Except that "heart" in the Bible is usually a metaphor for the mind, as in Proverbs 3:27, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Both "believe" in Romans 10:9 refers to active commitment and trust rather than intellectual assent and καρδία refers to:


"the affective center of our being" and the capacity of moral preference (volitional desire, choice; see P. Hughs, 2 Cor, 354); "desire-producer that makes us tick" (G. Archer), i.e our "desire-decisions" that establish who we really are.

Indeed, otherwise "believe in your heart" is simply tautological with "confess with your mouth".


No it doesn't, since the faith/belief is a gift of God. By contrast, you believe in a crazy works salvation.

You misunderstand my position - I simply do not believe in nuda fide.


Prove it. Or even, exemplify it.

I will give you one example. How many references from the Synoptics are there in the tract "Four Ways to Live", one of the most well known evangelical presentations of their understanding of the gospel around?


As it should be in this context. Peter was hardly going to condemn people for distorting the writings of Livy or Sophocles.

There is a significant difference between suggesting that one should heed the words of a leader and saying that these words are inerrant. It isn't one extreme or the other.


Not at all. Almost all the NT was widely accepted as Scripture right from the beginning. So Paul's affirmation would apply to everything that was or would be Scripture.

That doesn't logically follow, especially considering that the writer of 2 Timothy was referring to the writings learnt in Timothy's childhood. If 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is saying that the writings in Timothy's childhood were the sole rule of faith, then this leaves the Johannine text very much in the cold because they would by definition be extraneous in these circumstances.


I have: you have accused us of docetism for example. And you didn't deny that you treated Protestants as second-class, but whinge that I put the RCs, EOs and Coptics on Line 2.

A somewhat more honest evangelical than yourself; indeed someone from evangelical royalty in Australia made the same suggestion. And others evangelicals have lamented that trinitarians oscillate between tritheism and modalism. This is not to say that evangelicals are necessarily bad people, it is to say that Christology is very difficult to work through, especially when one tries to understand it within logical parameters.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 09:57 PM
Begging the question about sycophancy

Actually, that's not even formally correct. If you wanted to try to shoot that one down the arrow to go for might have been something from the Popperian unfalsifiable hypothesis stable. Not saying it would have worked, but it would have been a much better try.

I don't really think he's a sycophant, including a Jono-sycophant, in general. I do, however, question his ability to demonstrate independent and careful thought on this particular issue instead of just trolling me to blindly stand by one of his "mates", for no other reason but that and perhaps his online persona seeming to have some deep unarticulated dislike of mine. Hopefully I can prod him into doing better but on past experience I doubt it.

Kevin Bonham
19-07-2012, 10:14 PM
Exactly. I thought failure to comprehend these points might be why this isn't getting across to others here, until I found sites run by atheists who understand the points clearly.

Did you find any sites run by atheists that maintained that Spong criticises the figure who Spong identifies as Jesus?

Mrs Jono
19-07-2012, 11:42 PM
While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him

Evidence please.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 03:09 AM
Evidence please.

There's no point me posting evidence until it is clear that you are actually going to examine it on the terms of, and consistent with the meaning of, the supported claim (which was mine). So, just to make it clear, do you accept (without prejudice to the rest of your already debunked position of course) that in this instance your request for evidence is a request merely for evidence that Spong praises the figure he considers to be Jesus and does not condemn that figure? It doesn't seem anyone else is disputing that claim, after all.

I should note in any case that a negative can't be proved without posting the entire works of Spong and I am not going to do that. At some point the burden of proof falls on anyone who believes otherwise to post an example of him condemning his own Christ-ideal.

Mrs Jono
20-07-2012, 03:19 AM
I should note in any case that a negative can't be proved without posting the entire works of Spong and I am not going to do that. At some point the burden of proof falls on anyone who believes otherwise to post an example of him condemning his own Christ-ideal.

You "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

The burden of proof does not fall on those who believe otherwise; that is Shifting the Burden of Proof fallacy. It falls on the one making that which they "state as fact", namely that "Spong praised Christ and [Spong] did not condemn him".

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 03:33 AM
You "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

I want to know on what criteria you are going to evaluate this evidence - mine or yours. If you are going to evaluate it based on notions of "praise" and "condemn" that I have recently spent several lengthy posts demolishing then there is just no point in me posting it at all since it will make no difference.


The burden of proof does not fall on those who believe otherwise; that is Shifting the Burden of Proof fallacy. It falls on the one making that which they "state as fact".

Given the specific comment of mine to which you posted this in response my concern is that you may be preparing to cling to an impossible proof demand (which, if so, invalidates your fallacy claim). What I am getting that is that, for instance, the statement "There are no tigers that are fifty feet long" is a statement of scientific fact. But if someone said "oh, but just because nobody reports seeing a tiger that is fifty feet long doesn't mean there isn't one out there" then the correct scientific response to that is "If you think there might be one out there, then go find it and bring it to me."

If I post several examples of Spong saying gushing things about his ideal of Christ and defending that ideal of Christ from the idea that he was actually just a naughty little boy, are you then going to cling to the hope that somewhere in some obscure writing of his he might have said "Actually this Jesus I've been praising to the skies and defending from the literalists was actually a bit of a dill" and therefore claim I haven't provided enough evidence?

I just want to get completely clear about what you wish me to do and how you are going to respond to it so I can determine if it is even worth the effort.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 03:45 AM
I add also that "evidence" and "proof" are not the same thing. So it is rather strange to be involved in a hypothetical discussion about evidence, to indicate that after evidence is presented the burden of disproof will fall on the other side, and to then find the poster previously directing the burden of evidence my way now shifting it to the burden of proof.

Incidentally I am still waiting for evidence to support Jono's claim from his article "Spong dismisses this argument by denying that we know the words of Christ."

Mrs Jono
20-07-2012, 03:49 AM
I add also that "evidence" and "proof" are not the same thing. So it is rather strange to be involved in a hypothetical discussion about evidence, to indicate that after evidence is presented the burden of disproof will fall on the other side, and to then find the poster previously directing the burden of evidence my way now shifting it to the burden of proof.

I asked for evidence, not proof.

My discussion of proof was in relation to your comments about proof.

Again, you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

Capablanca-Fan
20-07-2012, 09:55 AM
What about ἔρως? Pretty different type of love, methinks.
Now that I agree with. The Song of Solomon is about that; I don't accept the common allegories that it's really about Christ and the Church, and this really would be confusing ἔρως with ἀγαπάω and φιλέω.


As I've written before, my Jesus is the Jesus whose favourite pizza topping is Pepperoni. Don't tell me that your Jesus is the Jesus who prefers Supreme, otherwise I'll suggest that you are a heretic and that you are fit only for the fires of hell.
Maybe now, but post-Incarnation and pre-Resurrection, He was an observant Jew, so not likely to eat anything containing pork.

Both "believe" in Romans 10:9 refers to active commitment and trust rather than intellectual assent and καρδία refers to:
Believing and trusting are not really that different. The late Dr John Robbins says in The Gospel According to John MacArthur (http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=193):

The Bible knows nothing of a distinction between faith in Christ versus faith about him. The only Biblical contrast—in the very verses MacArthur cites—is between faith and works. Apparently MacArthur has been confused by the prepositions. If I have faith in Christ, I assent to true statements—the Gospel— about him. If I assent to true statements—the Gospel—about him, I have faith in him. If I trust a bank, I assent to certain statements about the bank. Two different prepositions do not indicate two different sorts of faith.

Second, contrary to what MacArthur writes, if I say I believe some promise you have made, I am indeed saying I trust you. If you promise to give me a job and I believe your promise, I do in fact trust you. The contrast here is not between persons and propositions or promises, as MacArthur wishes to maintain, but between different propositions. If I believe the Gospel, I believe that Christ is indeed Lord, for that is part of the Gospel: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” That means, among other things, that Christ is trustworthy in all that he says and does. By believing the Gospel I am trusting in Christ. The acts are identical. There are not two acts—believing and trusting—involved in faith, only one.


Indeed, otherwise "believe in your heart" is simply tautological with "confess with your mouth".
It would not be the only time where points are repeated for emphasis. The Psalms are full of parallelism, and the whole point is that two adjoining lines are almost synonymous.

Gordon Clark went through the way the Bible uses the term "heart" his book Religion, Reason and Revelation. The heart most often is what thinks, wills, and remembers, i.e. what we call the mind, not the seat of emotions (that owes more to pop psych and Hollywood). Some more examples:
Genesis 6:5:

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.

Psalm 14:1:

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.


You misunderstand my position - I simply do not believe in nuda fide.
I don't know of anyone who does. I've explained to someone else (http://creation.com/gay-marriage-genesis-compromise), that following Ephesians 2:8–9 is v. 10 saying

that we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” The good works are not performed to earn salvation (which is impossible), but something saved people should do. Thus there is a place for church discipline for unrepentant repeated sins, and even more for those who flaunt this.


I will give you one example. How many references from the Synoptics are there in the tract "Four Ways to Live", one of the most well known evangelical presentations of their understanding of the gospel around?
I don't know that one. Is this meant to be the "Four Spiritual Laws"? Leaving aside the merits or otherwise, this is surely meant to be a tract for unbelievers, so a very basic presentation. There is time for further meat later, which should certainly include the Synoptics. Many new Christians are advised to start with John's Gospel, although the New Tribes Mission starts its evangelism with Genesis.


There is a significant difference between suggesting that one should heed the words of a leader and saying that these words are inerrant. It isn't one extreme or the other.
The way the Jews talked about their writings was pretty clear. So Peter including Paul's epistles among them was making it clear that Paul's writings were authoritative.


That doesn't logically follow, especially considering that the writer of 2 Timothy was referring to the writings learnt in Timothy's childhood. If 2 Timothy 3:16–17 is saying that the writings in Timothy's childhood were the sole rule of faith, then this leaves the Johannine text very much in the cold because they would by definition be extraneous in these circumstances.
The Old Testament was indeed very important. Jesus talking to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus lectured them on how it pointed to Him in all three sections. The New Testament shows how He fulfilled the OT, and indeed advances progressive revelation of the Messianic Program as Paul recognized. Some of the NT content must have been there for Tim, because Paul said "which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."


A somewhat more honest evangelical than yourself; indeed someone from evangelical royalty in Australia made the same suggestion.
Which suggestion exactly? And it's doubtful that an evangelical in Australia would be more honest than myself :P

The Coptics' monophysite view has serious problems. Without a fully divine nature, Jesus would not be a saviour; without a fully human nature, He could not be our kinsman-redeemer who "shared in our humanity" (Hebrews 2:14). But they would not be the only ones saved through "blessed inconsisency".


And others evangelicals have lamented that trinitarians oscillate between tritheism and modalism.
Are you now criticising Trinitarians, or what? I did see an article (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/08/the-trinity-is-like-3-in-1-shampoo-and-other-stupid-statements/)lamenting that many of the analogies people give for the Trinity are misleading in that they are really closer to tritheism or modalism, and he is right.


This is not to say that evangelicals are necessarily bad people,
How generous.


it is to say that Christology is very difficult to work through, especially when one tries to understand it within logical parameters.
It is good to work through Christology. I wish more churches would teach this. Logic is fine. That's where I disagree with the above article. Gordon Clark, a theologian/logician/apologist I admire, said (http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=76) that Biblical paradox is nothing more than “a charley-horse between the ears that can be eliminated by rational massage.”

Capablanca-Fan
20-07-2012, 10:58 AM
KB does not believe humility is automatically virtuous, and nor does he follow a religion that maintains that pride is sinful.
Explains a few things.


Therefore yet another attempt by you to refute criticism by attacking the critic without addressing your own deficiencies misses the point.
The criticism was so absurd that refutation was superfluous.


The point is that a Christian should fess up when they are busted in a debate, even if they don't like the position or experience level on an issue of the buster, and even if it is inconvenient for their position to do so.
Yes we should. But I am hardly likely simply to take the word of my opponents. Since you brought up the globull warm-mongering "consensus", their political propagandists likewise love to prattle, "the debate is over", but it's hardly convincing.


What is interesting here is the question of why you are so desperate to believe Spong's position and mine are more alike than they are.
Well, Spong disbelieves every major doctrine of Christianity just as you do. The only real difference is that he wears his collar backwards, so has to pretend that he's really praising Christ and the Bible when he is really trashing them.


Actually not an exhibit at all. Even if someone considered my response an over-reaction there are many explanations they could advance for it other than pride.

Furthermore, you haven't read the text. You are trying to evaluate the controversy between me and Garrett without being familiar with the contents of his deleted abusive post that sparked it;
Once again: his deleted post. You were the one bringing it up here.


all you have seen is my secondary summary.
You saying that I can't trust your summary then?

And given your recent foray into the gutter of race-baiting, it hardly leads me to trust that you were lily-white.


Given your position regarding me not having extensively read Spong, this is hypocritical in the extreme.
Nonsense: in a debate about what Spong said, it helps to read him. But here it was a dispute between you and Garrett and here was I trusting your account, and what do I get for it?

Mrs Jono
20-07-2012, 01:36 PM
I want to know on what criteria you are going to evaluate this evidence - mine or yours. If you are going to evaluate it based on notions of "praise" and "condemn" that I have recently spent several lengthy posts demolishing then there is just no point in me posting it at all since it will make no difference.

Do you really want to establish a precedence of outlining conditions by which evidence can or can't be evaluated? And what gives you the right to do so?

You made the statement identified as fact; I ask for evidence, or alternatively, retraction that it is a fact as you identified.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 01:49 PM
Again, you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

And I am still asking for you to accept that when I made that statement my meaning (which I hold to be the clearly correct meaning, of course) was that Spong praised Christ as he believed Christ to have been, and did not condemn Christ as he believed Christ to have been, and to state explicitly that you are asking me for evidence on that basis only.

If your request is based on a false view of what it means to say that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him then there's no point in me jumping through your hoop and you can hire your own research assistant since the discussion about the meaning of the words in question has already been very extensive.

If, on the other hand, you genuinely think that the question of the nature of Spong's comments regarding Christ as understood by him needs exploring, which it hasn't needed so far on this thread, then that's another matter and I'll be happy to post some examples.

At the moment I can't tell whether you're asking me to provide something new or just to recapitulate several posts I have already made.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 01:57 PM
Do you really want to establish a precedence of outlining conditions by which evidence can or can't be evaluated? And what gives you the right to do so?

What gives me the right to do so is that depending on what aspect of the post you need substantiated, I may have already provided the evidence for the aspect of my statement that you are querying at length. If that is so it will be much easier for me to simply refer to my previous posts, or state that I shouldn't even need to do so.

I also have concerns that you may misunderstand the statement you are asking me to provide evidence for. This is a natural concern when I have spent most of the thread arguing with people who believe "praise" means "condemn", and vice versa.

So are you asking me for evidence of:

(1) that Spong praised what Spong believed Jesus to be, and did not condemn what Spong believed Jesus to be?

(2) that if (1) is true then that establishes that "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him"

(3) both of the above?

Mrs Jono
20-07-2012, 02:17 PM
At the moment I can't tell whether you're asking me to provide something new or just to recapitulate several posts I have already made.


I also have concerns that you may misunderstand the statement you are asking me to provide evidence for.

I'm asking you for evidence of the statement that you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I gave no commentary on understanding or misunderstanding it. You said it; I'm asking you to provide evidence.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 02:45 PM
Explains a few things.

KB does however believe that misplaced pride (which on some accounts is a tautology, but I don't agree with those) reflects adversely on the person guilty of it. Rather different, however, to belonging to a religion that maintains it is a sin and then demonstrating it.


The criticism was so absurd that refutation was superfluous.

Keep telling yourself that. :lol:


Yes we should. But I am hardly likely simply to take the word of my opponents.

That would be one thing. The problem in this instance is that you are hardly likely to take their evidence, or the word of the dictionary either.


Since you brought up the globull warm-mongering "consensus", their political propagandists likewise love to prattle, "the debate is over", but it's hardly convincing.

That is a much more difficult and complicated debate than this one. Actually it is several different debates, some of them rather more "over" than others.


Well, Spong disbelieves every major doctrine of Christianity just as you do.

Even if this is true it remains the case that Spong praises Christ (as he perceives Christ) while I believe that his perception of Christ is neither correct nor especially praiseworthy. From my perspective, that's a major difference. It's a bit like the difference between me and Bob Brown. Someone might say I was similar to Brown because we were both unbelievers and both strongly supported gay rights, but it doesn't follow.

Clearly, there's a difference of opinion between spongites and fundies as to what are the most important parts of Christianity. Spong thinks the hippy bit is the bit that matters the most and that it is fundamentalism that pretends to praise Christ but actually trashes him. From my position, Spong-vs-fundies is just another turf war between two blind elephant-touchers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant), with the added bonus that the elephant is both fake and stuffed.


Once again: his deleted post. You were the one bringing it up here.

I've been through this being more complicated than that because there were also undeleted shouts before, but in any case, the above is irrelevant to my comment that "You are trying to evaluate the controversy between me and Garrett without being familiar with the contents of his deleted abusive post that sparked it".


You saying that I can't trust your summary then?

No, I'm, saying that your own faulty argument from experience should lead you to conclude that you cannot trust my summary at all, and that your standards are contradictory. You should trust my summary and abandon the argument from experience.


And given your recent foray into the gutter of race-baiting, it hardly leads me to trust that you were lily-white.

Oh diddums. This is coming from someone who has turned the English language upside down in order to cling to a clueless exaggeration that falsely maligned my position as resembling and defending Bishop Spong's. If you didn't want me in the "gutter" you should not have gone there yourself. You have my assurance as a person of no moral standing whatsoever that when I expressed the view that you had been expressing racist views, I did so honestly, albeit provoked to do so by your poor form over here. Indeed, I remain of the view that your initial statement that all Dems voters are stupid was literally racist by implication. You have since stated it was not intended literally and at least that is some progress in terms of clarifying your earlier outbursts.

My account of the Garrett/me exchange is in fact accurate, but the standards you professed with your failed arguments from experience should have led you to conclude you had inadequate understanding of the Garrett matter and to have stayed out of it.


Nonsense: in a debate about what Spong said, it helps to read him. But here it was a dispute between you and Garrett and here was I trusting your account, and what do I get for it?

You get revealed as inconsistent because if it is acceptable for you to trust my account of what Garrett said, then it is acceptable for me to trust an impression of Spong gained largely from the agreed positions of a range of secondary sources. And indeed in the case of your aberrant claim that Spong condemned Christ, that this is not a question of you actually disagreeing with other Spong exegesis about what Spong said. Rather, it results from your aberrant usage of the concept of condemnation in that context.

Kevin Bonham
20-07-2012, 03:00 PM
I'm asking you for evidence of the statement that you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I gave no commentary on understanding or misunderstanding it. You said it; I'm asking you to provide evidence.

I have explained my concerns about your request and the need for clarification of your understanding of what my statement means before I start. Since you continue to ignore those concerns, I have decided not to ignore your request, but instead to grant it.

You have requested evidence for the statement "While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". The "While" being irrelevant, this can be taken as a request that I substantiate the claim that " I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him".

Evidence for this therefore consists of instances of me stating that Spong praised Christ, and instances of me stating that Spong did not condemn Christ, subject to the proviso that such comments are sufficiently unequivocal that it can be said that I was expressing them as fact and not merely opinion.

Here are but a few such from my posts:

Even without seeing the context it is completely obvious (from the title of the book alone!) that Spong is saying this not to criticise Christ but to criticise the accuracy of the Gospels (rightly or wrongly).

It is Jono's claim, made here, that Spong criticised Christ that I am taking issue with, and Jono did not address that point in his "paper".

He thinks Christ was so worthy of praise that when he finds something in the Gospels that he thinks casts Christ in a bad light, he declares or attempts to show it to be false.

My more obvious point of departure is that Spong highly praises his ideal of Christ while I do not praise any ideal of Christ that I have ever encountered.

Many more could be provided if necessary, and indeed it would be my pleasure. I trust this satisfies your request. :lol:

Mrs Jono
21-07-2012, 02:14 AM
I have explained my concerns about your request and the need for clarification of your understanding of what my statement means before I start. Since you continue to ignore those concerns, I have decided not to ignore your request, but instead to grant it.

You have requested evidence for the statement "While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". The "While" being irrelevant, this can be taken as a request that I substantiate the claim that " I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him".

Evidence for this therefore consists of instances of me stating that Spong praised Christ, and instances of me stating that Spong did not condemn Christ, subject to the proviso that such comments are sufficiently unequivocal that it can be said that I was expressing them as fact and not merely opinion.

Here are but a few such from my posts:

Even without seeing the context it is completely obvious (from the title of the book alone!) that Spong is saying this not to criticise Christ but to criticise the accuracy of the Gospels (rightly or wrongly).

It is Jono's claim, made here, that Spong criticised Christ that I am taking issue with, and Jono did not address that point in his "paper".

He thinks Christ was so worthy of praise that when he finds something in the Gospels that he thinks casts Christ in a bad light, he declares or attempts to show it to be false.

My more obvious point of departure is that Spong highly praises his ideal of Christ while I do not praise any ideal of Christ that I have ever encountered.

Many more could be provided if necessary, and indeed it would be my pleasure. I trust this satisfies your request. :lol:

So, Kevin, first you set a precedence by attempts to establish preconditions by which someone who opposes you can evaluate your evidence, before you post any, to support your "state[ment] as fact", and now you choose wishy-washy wordsmith-ing rather than providing any pertinent evidence to back that which you "state as fact"?

No further comment from me is necessary, as the discerning reader will recognize how you failed to support your position here.

Good day. :cool:

Kevin Bonham
21-07-2012, 03:00 AM
No further comment from me is necessary, as the discerning reader will recognize how you failed to support your position here.


No, the discerning reader will recognise that I supported exactly the statement you asked me to support. You asked me for "evidence" to support the statement "While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". You reiterated this when you said "I'm asking you for evidence of the statement that you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". " My response met both these requests.

It is of course possible, and indeed I am well aware that it is likely, that you were actually asking for something else. But my repeated attempts to get you to clarify what were unsuccessful.

If you are willing to clarify that you understand that I was saying that Bishop Spong admired Christ as Spong believes him to have been, and did not condemn Christ as Spong believes him to have been, and that you genuinely wish that claim to be substantiated accepting that that is what it meant, then I may still be interested despite your disregard for my previous concerns and thankless response to my granting of your initial request.

OTOH, if your request for evidence is premised on a misunderstanding of what I actually said, particularly the one that has been so pervasive through this thread, then there is no reason for me to bother with it.

Mrs Jono
21-07-2012, 06:12 AM
No, the discerning reader will recognise that I supported exactly the statement you asked me to support. You asked me for "evidence" to support the statement "While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". You reiterated this when you said "I'm asking you for evidence of the statement that you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". " My response met both these requests.

Not even close, as you replied originally (#164):


There's no point me posting evidence until it is clear that you are actually going to examine it on the terms of, and consistent with the meaning of, the supported claim (which was mine).

You might twist this, but it fails under the rest of what you said:


I should note in any case that a negative can't be proved without posting the entire works of Spong and I am not going to do that. At some point the burden of proof falls on anyone who believes otherwise to post an example of him condemning his own Christ-ideal.

You can't have been referring to your own posts, as "without posting the entire works of Spong" and "who believes otherwise to post an example of him condemning his own Christ-ideal" would have no meaning in the conversation.

Pardon me while I go scrape this nonsense you are now trying to sell from the bottom of my shoes and hose them down.

Capablanca-Fan
21-07-2012, 07:54 AM
KB does however believe that misplaced pride (which on some accounts is a tautology, but I don't agree with those) reflects adversely on the person guilty of it.
It does. False modesty does too.


Rather different, however, to belonging to a religion that maintains it is a sin and then demonstrating it.
Not proven.


That would be one thing. The problem in this instance is that you are hardly likely to take their evidence, or the word of the dictionary either.
A dictionary won't decide this point.


Clearly, there's a difference of opinion between spongites and fundies as to what are the most important parts of Christianity.
A difference in opinion between Spong and the Gospels, the historic Christian Church, including the branches which are hardly "fundie", since "fundamentalist" was historically a group within American protestantism fighting the Spong equivalents of their day.


You have my assurance as a person of no moral standing whatsoever that when I expressed the view that you had been expressing racist views, I did so honestly, albeit provoked to do so by your poor form over here.
A person of no moral standing whatsoever is unlikely to be convincing by a claim of honesty. No, just crawling in the gutter, just like a few of the other leftards there.


Indeed, I remain of the view that your initial statement that all Dems voters are stupid was literally racist by implication.
Crap. As amply explained, there is no racism involved in a political statement that just happens to affect a majority of a particular race.


You have since stated it was not intended literally and at least that is some progress in terms of clarifying your earlier outbursts.
A single one liner should have given you a clue.


My account of the Garrett/me exchange is in fact accurate, but the standards you professed with your failed arguments from experience should have led you to conclude you had inadequate understanding of the Garrett matter and to have stayed out of it.
I didn't even know about it before you brought it up. But clearly he rightly assessed your recent debating methods.

Kevin Bonham
21-07-2012, 03:23 PM
Not even close, as you replied originally (#164):


There's no point me posting evidence until it is clear that you are actually going to examine it on the terms of, and consistent with the meaning of, the supported claim (which was mine).

You might twist this, but it fails under the rest of what you said:


I should note in any case that a negative can't be proved without posting the entire works of Spong and I am not going to do that. At some point the burden of proof falls on anyone who believes otherwise to post an example of him condemning his own Christ-ideal.

Ah but that was at a time when I was trying to read your mind to work out what alternative to the most absolutely literal version of your request for evidence for my statement you intended.

Given your unhelpful attitude to those requests, I gave up and instead took your request literally.


Pardon me while I go scrape this nonsense you are now trying to sell from the bottom of my shoes and hose them down.

Scrape off your own unhelpful attitude and hose it down while you are there. :hand:

Kevin Bonham
21-07-2012, 04:38 PM
False modesty does too.

I agree.


Not proven.

I agree that it is not proven that you belong to the Christian religion. :lol:


A dictionary won't decide this point.

The point is already decided. You're just remarkably slow recognising this.


A difference in opinion between Spong and the Gospels, the historic Christian Church, including the branches which are hardly "fundie", since "fundamentalist" was historically a group within American protestantism fighting the Spong equivalents of their day.

You might as well have also broadened Spong's side by also adding other self-styled Christians who agree with Spong's position. There can't be any shortage of them since you complain about their ilk so often.


A person of no moral standing whatsoever is unlikely to be convincing by a claim of honesty.

I use that expression sarcastically to indicate that while I am not a moralist, there is no shortage of hypocrites who preach objective morality while actually being less moral on their own professed standards than I am. This amuses me. It's my version of someone swearing a holy oath or an oath upon their honour and it actually means that, improbable as it may seem, what follows can be trusted absolutely. If people choose not to trust it, that's just even funnier. :P


Crap. As amply explained, there is no racism involved in a political statement that just happens to affect a majority of a particular race.

The definition I quoted doesn't support that position, and no-one has contested it. Perhaps you need to see if you can find a definition of "racism" that supports your position and is derived from a reputable source. You will probably find that all quality dictionaries and reliable studies of the meaning of the term must be written by biased academia-infiltrating leftards. Tough game this. :eek:


A single one liner should have given you a clue.

Which (supposedly) single one liner was that?


I didn't even know about it before you brought it up. But clearly he rightly assessed your recent debating methods.

Clearly you are trolling me by claiming so. Zzzzz.

Patrick Byrom
21-07-2012, 05:27 PM
I was hoping to help out Kevin and Mrs Jono by doing some research into Spong myself. Unfortunately I first came across Jono's article on Spong, and was stopped in my tracks by this statement:


"However, Spong fails to understand that science, when commenting on the universe, can only describe things which are observable and repeatable; it cannot prescribe what cannot happen. Scientific laws do not cause or forbid anything any more than the outline of a map causes the shape of the coastline. "

So Jono believes that the laws of thermodynamics do not forbid perpetual motion?

Mrs Jono
21-07-2012, 09:05 PM
Ah but that was at a time when I was trying to read your mind to work out what alternative to the most absolutely literal version of your request for evidence for my statement you intended.

The following shows you understood me perfectly, until you chose to equivocate to avoid the situation.



Kevin (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338421&postcount=153): While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him, I do not praise Spong for doing so.

Me (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338450&postcount=163): (Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham: "While I state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him") Evidence please.

Kevin (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338421&postcount=164): So, just to make it clear, do you accept (without prejudice to the rest of your already debunked position of course) that in this instance your request for evidence is a request merely for evidence that Spong praises the figure he considers to be Jesus and does not condemn that figure?

Me (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338450&postcount=165): You "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

Kevin (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338421&postcount=166):I want to know on what criteria you are going to evaluate this evidence - mine or yours. If you are going to evaluate it based on notions of "praise" and "condemn" that I have recently spent several lengthy posts demolishing then there is just no point in me posting it at all since it will make no difference. ... If I post several examples of Spong saying gushing things about his ideal of Christ ...

Me (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338450&postcount=168): Again, you "state as fact that Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him". I'm asking you for your evidence of this which you "state as fact".

Kevin (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338421&postcount=172):And I am still asking for you to accept that when I made that statement my meaning (which I hold to be the clearly correct meaning, of course) was that Spong praised Christ ...

Kevin (http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=338421&postcount=173):I also have concerns that you may misunderstand the statement you are asking me to provide evidence for. This is a natural concern when I have spent most of the thread arguing with people who believe "praise" means "condemn", and vice versa.

In none of this back and forth was there any misunderstanding between us regarding the evidence you were asked to provide; only how I would deal with it if you chose to provide it. Rather than just confessing that you had no evidence at hand to support your "fact" that "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him", or just refusing to provide any evidence of the same on the basis that I failed to accept your preconditions regarding how I may or may not evaluate said evidence, disappointingly, you chose to mock me and equivocate instead.

That you compounded that equivocation with attempted justification can be seen to have weakened your position even further in the eyes of the observer. Either you have support for your "fact" that "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him", or you did not. Being honest about not having any and retracting the statement (or at least changing it from fact to opinion) would have maintained my respect for your opinion, if not my agreement with it. That you found it humorous to mock me and equivocate what you knew I was asking, as proven above, and then your continuing dishonesty about the equivocation in further conversation, has now ended my participation in it.

Kevin Bonham
21-07-2012, 09:34 PM
The following shows you understood me perfectly,

Yeah, right. My immediate response to your request starts with "So, just to make it clear" and this is supposed to imply that I understood what you were after perfectly. :rolleyes:

At no stage was it clear to me whether you wanted to see evidence that would establish that the comment "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him" was justified based on how I used the words "praised" and "condemn", or evidence that my usage of the words "praised" and "condemn" was justified, or both. I've explained why this was a reasonable thing to have clarified before I started (or not), but you weren't interested.

I was actually halfway through writing a post to say that in view of your refusal to clarify, your request for evidence was likewise refused. Then I decided to look at the original post very carefully just to check exactly what you had asked me to substantiate. Surprisingly I found it wasn't exactly what I thought, though this seems to have been just through repeated sloppiness on your part.

If you thought I was so desperately avoiding providing evidence at any stage all you needed to do was call my supposed bluff by answering my questions.


Rather than just confessing that you had no evidence at hand to support your "fact" that "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him",

Well I can't confess what isn't actually true. I had read quite a deal of Spong material in the course of the thread and could easily have dug some up and posted it as evidence for my claim, based on its actual meaning, had I wanted to.


or just refusing to provide any evidence of the same on the basis that I failed to accept your preconditions regarding how I may or may not evaluate said evidence, disappointingly, you chose to mock me and equivocate instead.

Oh diddums. Once I had sarcastically granted your request in its literal form, in the next post I immediately stated that I was aware it was likely your request had not been intended literally. What there was was not genuine equivocation but just me being so sick of your blatant refusal to answer reasonable requests for clarification that I decided to rub your nose in it. If you behave disappointingly, others may respond by disappointing you.

If being the butt of my joke (which was self-inflicted through your sloppy phrasing of your original request) bothers you then hopefully you will be more cooperative next time I make such a request.


That you compounded that equivocation with attempted justification can be seen to have weakened your position even further in the eyes of the observer.

"Can be seen" = "I am ambit-claiming for the sake of trolling and being silly". Of course if I had not justified my response you could have claimed that I had no excuse for it so of course I spelled out why I felt inclined to respond in that way.


Either you have support for your "fact" that "Spong praised Christ and did not condemn him", or you did not. Being honest about not having any and retracting the statement (or at least changing it from fact to opinion) would have maintained my respect for your opinion, if not my agreement with it.

I do not care if you respect my opinion, especially given that you clearly did not respect my concerns about the ambiguity of your request, which were in turn based on the faultiness of your previous interpretations of key words under discussion.


That you found it humorous to mock me and equivocate what you knew I was asking, as proven above, and then your continuing dishonesty [sic] about the equivocation in further conversation, has now ended my participation in it.

How terrible. Don't let the door ...

Capablanca-Fan
22-07-2012, 02:44 AM
I was hoping to help out Kevin and Mrs Jono by doing some research into Spong myself. Unfortunately I first came across Jono's article on Spong,
Nothing unfortunate about my article having a high search engine ranking.:cool:


and was stopped in my tracks by this statement:


"However, Spong fails to understand that science, when commenting on the universe, can only describe things which are observable and repeatable; it cannot prescribe what cannot happen. Scientific laws do not cause or forbid anything any more than the outline of a map causes the shape of the coastline. "

So Jono believes that the laws of thermodynamics do not forbid perpetual motion?
A misunderstanding of what I was saying. Yes, one could say that "the laws of thermodynamics forbid perpetual motion", but my point was about ontology of the laws. It is more correct to say that perpetual motion has never, ever, been observed, and used that observation to formulate a formal description of this reality , which are the "laws of thermodynamics". I, like any other physical chemist, would use such laws to make prediction, including rejecting a claim of a perpetual motion machine out of hand. But I still think that the laws are descriptive rather than having an underlying causative reality.

Patrick Byrom
22-07-2012, 05:36 PM
A misunderstanding of what I was saying. Yes, one could say that "the laws of thermodynamics forbid perpetual motion", but my point was about ontology of the laws. It is more correct to say that perpetual motion has never, ever, been observed, and used that observation to formulate a formal description of this reality , which are the "laws of thermodynamics". I, like any other physical chemist, would use such laws to make prediction, including rejecting a claim of a perpetual motion machine out of hand. But I still think that the laws are descriptive rather than having an underlying causative reality.
If the laws are descriptive, and don't have an underlying causal reality, then how can they be used to make predictions? A prediction implies a causal relationship.

Also, isn't there a further contradiction between:
Jono (above): "I, like any other physical chemist, would use such laws to make prediction, including rejecting a claim of a perpetual motion machine out of hand." and
Jono (in your Spong article): "To declare carte blanche that these things [Virgin Birth] certainly did not happen, just because one believes they cannot, is hardly consistent with a scientific approach."


Nothing unfortunate about my article having a high search engine ranking.:cool:
I'm not sure that your case against Spong would actually convince one of his followers, so your article being their first stop may not be a good thing :)

Capablanca-Fan
23-07-2012, 05:12 AM
If the laws are descriptive, and don't have an underlying causal reality, then how can they be used to make predictions? A prediction implies a causal relationship.
No, just they are operationally useful, but still they are really descriptions of what usually happens.


Also, isn't there a further contradiction between:
Jono (above): "I, like any other physical chemist, would use such laws to make prediction, including rejecting a claim of a perpetual motion machine out of hand." and
Jono (in your Spong article): "To declare carte blanche that these things [Virgin Birth] certainly did not happen, just because one believes they cannot, is hardly consistent with a scientific approach."
No contradiction at all. All the "laws" prescribe certain boundary conditions. Spong's assumes that the universe is a closed system without any possibility of divine intervention for extraordinary means. Mostly explained in the article, and the miracles question is further developed elsewhere (http://creation.com/miracles-and-science).


I'm not sure that your case against Spong would actually convince one of his followers, so your article being their first stop may not be a good thing :)
It has neutralized a lot of them, showing what a charlatan he is.

Patrick Byrom
23-07-2012, 07:09 PM
No, just they are operationally useful, but still they are really descriptions of what usually happens.
But you are assuming that what usually happens will continue to usually happen - that is a law, not just a description.


No contradiction at all. All the "laws" prescribe certain boundary conditions. Spong's assumes that the universe is a closed system without any possibility of divine intervention for extraordinary means. Mostly explained in the article, and the miracles question is further developed elsewhere (http://creation.com/miracles-and-science).
So how do you know that the perpetual motion machine you've just rejected "out of hand" isn't a miracle? Aren't you ruling out divine intervention by rejecting it?

Capablanca-Fan
24-07-2012, 08:04 AM
But you are assuming that what usually happens will continue to usually happen - that is a law, not just a description.
This goes to the belief, that was hugely responsible for the rise of modern science (http://creation.com/biblical-roots-of-modern-science), that the universe was made by a God of order (http://creation.com/science-biblical-presuppositions), who upholds His creation in a regular, repeatable way.


So how do you know that the perpetual motion machine you've just rejected "out of hand" isn't a miracle? Aren't you ruling out divine intervention by rejecting it?
Already dealt with in the article I cited (http://creation.com/miracles-and-science):

I have dealt with this before by pointing out that we are not just advocating any ‘god’. Christians don't advocate just any ‘god’ who may or may not be capricious. Rather, they identify the Designer with the faithful triune God of the Bible, as stated:


The Bible explains that: we are made in the image of a rational God (Genesis 1:26–27), God is a God of order not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), God gave man dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28), and He commanded honesty (Exodus 20:16).

…We have also cited the succinct thoughts of philosopher and apologist J.P. Moreland:


‘But some will object, “If we allowed appealing to God anytime we don’t understand something, then science itself would be impossible, for science proceeds on the assumption of natural causality.” This argument is a red herring. It is true that science is not compatible with just any form of theism, particularly a theism that holds to a capricious god who intervenes so often that the contrast between primary and secondary causality is unintelligible. But Christian theism holds that secondary causality is God’s usual mode and primary causality is infrequent, comparatively speaking. That is why Christianity, far from hindering the development of science, actually provided the womb for its birth and development.’ [Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 226, 1989.]

Rincewind
24-07-2012, 10:43 AM
This goes to the belief, that was hugely responsible for the rise of modern science (http://creation.com/biblical-roots-of-modern-science), that the universe was made by a God of order (http://creation.com/science-biblical-presuppositions), who upholds His creation in a regular, repeatable way.

Funny! :lol:

Kevin Bonham
24-07-2012, 01:18 PM
God is a God of order not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)

I'm sure many of my fellow taxonomists would think that if that was so She would have done a neater job of things. :lol:

Patrick Byrom
24-07-2012, 08:35 PM
Already dealt with in the article I cited (http://creation.com/miracles-and-science):

I have dealt with this before by pointing out that we are not just advocating any ‘god’. Christians don't advocate just any ‘god’ who may or may not be capricious. Rather, they identify the Designer with the faithful triune God of the Bible, as stated:


The Bible explains that: we are made in the image of a rational God (Genesis 1:26–27), God is a God of order not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), God gave man dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28), and He commanded honesty (Exodus 20:16).

…We have also cited the succinct thoughts of philosopher and apologist J.P. Moreland:


‘But some will object, “If we allowed appealing to God anytime we don’t understand something, then science itself would be impossible, for science proceeds on the assumption of natural causality.” This argument is a red herring. It is true that science is not compatible with just any form of theism, particularly a theism that holds to a capricious god who intervenes so often that the contrast between primary and secondary causality is unintelligible. But Christian theism holds that secondary causality is God’s usual mode and primary causality is infrequent, comparatively speaking. That is why Christianity, far from hindering the development of science, actually provided the womb for its birth and development.’ [Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 226, 1989.]
I assumed this was your position, but where does it rule out God intervening to create a perpetual motion machine?

Capablanca-Fan
24-07-2012, 11:55 PM
I assumed this was your position, but where does it rule out God intervening to create a perpetual motion machine?
I thought I explained: this is a matter of God's character, as opposed to a capricious god doing something totally different from usual.

Patrick Byrom
25-07-2012, 08:08 PM
I thought I explained: this is a matter of God's character, as opposed to a capricious god doing something totally different from usual.
Moreland says: "primary causality is infrequent, comparatively speaking", but he doesn't seem to rule out the possibility of new miracles occurring.

This is the point I'm unclear on. Are you ruling out the possibility of primary causality in the present day, or are you just ruling it out with regard to perpetual motion machines (perhaps these are too trivial for God to bother with)? Your article on "Miracles and Science" doesn't seem to answer this point.

Capablanca-Fan
26-07-2012, 07:22 AM
Moreland says: "primary causality is infrequent, comparatively speaking", but he doesn't seem to rule out the possibility of new miracles occurring.
No, but not capriciously. So the science labs are safe. It would also not fit the outworking of the Messianic Program, which fitted the main biblical occurrences of miraculous acts.


This is the point I'm unclear on. Are you ruling out the possibility of primary causality in the present day, or are you just ruling it out with regard to perpetual motion machines (perhaps these are too trivial for God to bother with)? Your article on "Miracles and Science" doesn't seem to answer this point.
There seems little point in God making a perpetual motion machine. The point was that primary causality is not the usual way God operates, today and indeed in most periods of biblical history.

Patrick Byrom
27-07-2012, 01:47 AM
There seems little point in God making a perpetual motion machine. The point was that primary causality is not the usual way God operates, today and indeed in most periods of biblical history.
So it is possible that what is claimed to be a perpetual motion machine is not actually a fraud, but a miracle created by God? If this is true, the science labs are not entirely safe, as they'd have to examine every proposed perpetual motion machine, just in case. :eek:

Capablanca-Fan
27-07-2012, 04:15 AM
So it is possible that what is claimed to be a perpetual motion machine is not actually a fraud, but a miracle created by God? If this is true, the science labs are not entirely safe, as they'd have to examine every proposed perpetual motion machine, just in case. :eek:
No it's not possible, for the reasons that J.P. Moreland and I stated. Sure, if Zeus and his gang were running things.

Desmond
27-07-2012, 06:21 AM
No it's not possible, for the reasons that J.P. Moreland and I stated. Sure, if Zeus and his gang were running things.This kind of arrogance would be rather striking if it wasn't just more of the same. To have the absolute certainty to know the MO of something that exists beyond the universe and to rule on that thing's motives so absolutely as to call something impossible.

Rincewind
27-07-2012, 08:40 AM
This kind of arrogance would be rather striking if it wasn't just more of the same. To have the absolute certainty to know the MO of something that exists beyond the universe and to rule on that thing's motives so absolutely as to call something impossible.

That's right. God is omnipotent but she can't do anything Jono doesn't want her to do.

Patrick Byrom
27-07-2012, 01:37 PM
No it's not possible, for the reasons that J.P. Moreland and I stated. Sure, if Zeus and his gang were running things.
So God never intervenes in the present day? And God will never answer prayers for a miracle?

Patrick Byrom
28-07-2012, 05:14 PM
So God never intervenes in the present day? And God will never answer prayers for a miracle?
I'm not trying for a 'gotcha' question. It's just that in some of your writings you seem to allow for the possibility of present-day miracles, while here you seem to rule them out completely, which leaves me confused.

If you are ruling out present day miracles completely, your position would be surprisingly hardline, as even the Australian Skeptics don't rule them out a priori.

Capablanca-Fan
29-07-2012, 01:41 AM
I'm not trying for a 'gotcha' question.
Thanks.


It's just that in some of your writings you seem to allow for the possibility of present-day miracles, while here you seem to rule them out completely, which leaves me confused.
There is a big difference between a miracle, say of healing, which does good, and a perpetual motion machine, which would just be capricious.


If you are ruling out present day miracles completely, your position would be surprisingly hardline, as even the Australian Skeptics don't rule them out a priori.
From what I've seen of some of their spokespeople, they really do just that. My view is that they are rare, just as they were in the Bible. I would judge present-day miracle claims on a case-by-case basis. So I wouldn't accept just any miracle claim even if made by a Christian, and nor do I say that it's impossible.

Patrick Byrom
29-07-2012, 04:21 PM
There is a big difference between a miracle, say of healing, which does good, and a perpetual motion machine, which would just be capricious.That is what I thought your position would be.


From what I've seen of some of their spokespeople, they really do just that. My view is that they are rare, just as they were in the Bible. I would judge present-day miracle claims on a case-by-case basis. So I wouldn't accept just any miracle claim even if made by a Christian, and nor do I say that it's impossible.
That position agrees with mine, and also with the Australian Skeptics - although we probably think they are a little rarer than you do. The Skeptics definitely do investigate both miracles and perpetual motion machines, rather than rule them out a priori, but I can't speak for every member, of course.

Capablanca-Fan
30-07-2012, 04:49 AM
That position agrees with mine, and also with the Australian Skeptics - although we probably think they are a little rarer than you do. The Skeptics definitely do investigate both miracles and perpetual motion machines, rather than rule them out a priori, but I can't speak for every member, of course.
Indeed, the Aussie Skeptics don't have a monopoly on skepticism. An article from your American counterparts (Bainbridge and Stark, Superstitions: Old and New, The Skeptical Inquirer, pp. 18–31, Summer 1980) documented that Biblical Christians, as opposed to the liberal churchians of GF's ilk, are the ones most likely to reject ‘occult and pseudo-scientific notions’ and ‘who appear most virtuous according to scientific standards when we examine the cults and pseudo-sciences proliferating in our society today.’

Rincewind
30-07-2012, 10:27 AM
Indeed, the Aussie Skeptics don't have a monopoly on skepticism. An article from your American counterparts (Bainbridge and Stark, Superstitions: Old and New, The Skeptical Inquirer, pp. 18–31, Summer 1980) documented that Biblical Christians, as opposed to the liberal churchians of GF's ilk, are the ones most likely to reject ‘occult and pseudo-scientific notions’ and ‘who appear most virtuous according to scientific standards when we examine the cults and pseudo-sciences proliferating in our society today.’

This is hardly surprising. It seems the minds of some are prone to a certain amount of woo and no more. If you are already full to the brim with 6,000 year old universes that are billions of light years across and world-wide floods with the biodiversity of the planet confined to a single iron age wooden vessel and surviving on a diet of sea air and fodder tortoises then there isn't much room for any more crazy ideas.

Capablanca-Fan
06-08-2012, 03:20 PM
Back to GF's favorite atheologian Bishop Spong, he claimed (http://www.starcourse.org/spong/interview.html)that African Christian leaders opposed homosexual practices because they were too primitive and superstitious to know of the scientific advances in understanding.

Rincewind
06-08-2012, 05:50 PM
Back to GF's favorite atheologian Bishop Spong, he claimed (http://www.starcourse.org/spong/interview.html)that African Christian leaders opposed homosexual practices because they were too primitive and superstitious to know of the scientific advances in understanding.

What has this to do with the definition of Christian?

Goughfather
06-08-2012, 05:56 PM
Back to GF's favorite atheologian Bishop Spong

What a bizarre suggestion. Spong doesn't hold a candle to Paul Tillich, who no doubt Jono would also regard as an atheologian. He is also well short of the league of great theologians such as Karl Rahner and Soren Kierkegaard, who Jono would probably regard at the very least as inferior Christians to those individuals who subscribe to the theology of his obscure sect. Nor is he anywhere near as brilliant as N.T. Wright, who was once regarded as a favourite amongst evangelicals, but fell out of vogue once it became clear that he regarded the pursuit of theological enquiry more seriously than the mundane partisanship of apologetics masquerading as theology.

Capablanca-Fan
09-08-2012, 01:05 PM
What a bizarre suggestion. Spong doesn't hold a candle to Paul Tillich, who no doubt Jono would also regard as an atheologian.
Definitely.


He is also well short of the league of great theologians such as Karl Rahner and Soren Kierkegaard, who Jono would probably regard at the very least as inferior Christians to those individuals who subscribe to the theology of his obscure sect.
Which has the same theology as most Church Fathers and Reformers on creation (http://creation.com/genesis-questions-and-answers#fathers).


Nor is he anywhere near as brilliant as N.T. Wright, who was once regarded as a favourite amongst evangelicals,
Yes, his Resurrection of the Son of God (http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Christian-Origins-Question-Vol/dp/0800626796) is indeed brilliant. His old book Who was Jesus? (http://www.amazon.com/Who-Was-Jesus-N-Wright/dp/0281057419/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344481002&sr=1-1&keywords=Who+was+Jesus%3F) even took on Spong himself, although on the Virginal Conception of Christ. When Spong tried to paint himself as a “persecuted hero…along with John Robinson, David Jenkins and Hans Küng”, Wright riposted, “though he lacks the historical sense of the first, the quicksilver mind of the second, and the enormous learning of the third.”


but fell out of vogue once it became clear that he regarded the pursuit of theological enquiry more seriously
Evidently referring to how Tom Wright fell off the rails with his "New Perspective on Paul" crap (http://www.alliancenet.org/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID307086_CHID560462_CIID1660662,00.html).


than the mundane partisanship of apologetics masquerading as theology.
Ah yes, here GF reveals himself as a fideist, since apologetics (http://creation.com/christian-apologetics-questions-and-answers)is a noble work performed by Christ, His Apostles, many of the Church Fathers, and more recently by G.K. Chesterton (http://creation.com/gk-chesterton-darwinism-is-an-attack-upon-thought-itself), and C.S. Lewis (http://creation.com/c-s-lewis).

Desmond
10-08-2014, 03:01 PM
Father denies children inheritance unless they quit Jehovah's Witnesses and become Catholics (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/father-denies-children-inheritance-unless-they-quit-jehovahs-witnesses-and-become-catholics-20140810-102egl.html)

...
In his will, written in December 2011, four months before he died, Mr Carroll left more than a third of his estate to his four children "dependent upon them becoming baptised into the Catholic Church within a period of three months from the date of my death and such gifts are also subject to and dependent my children attending my funeral."

Mr Carroll's step-daughter and executor of his will, Carolyn Hickin, challenged that condition in court saying those conditions were vague.

But Justice Kunc disagreed, saying the conditions, and in particular the requirement the children become baptised into the Catholic Church were "not uncertain".

He ordered that the children's share of his estate be divided among the other 13 beneficiaries of Mr Carroll's will.

MichaelBaron
13-08-2014, 12:38 AM
Well, it has not been so uncommon for parents to utilize the ''inheritance-related issues'' to get their kids to obey :)

Desmond
13-08-2014, 07:28 AM
Well, it has not been so uncommon for parents to utilize the ''inheritance-related issues'' to get their kids to obey :)Attempt to utilize in this case, since they didn't comply, and lost the challenge in court. Hilarious if you ask me.

antichrist
22-12-2019, 08:35 AM
Why do some Evangelicals when wished happy Christmas say they are not a Jew? Is it antisemitism?