No human has ‘immortal words’, only God has. All these men were deluded and were in utter error in regard to 1844.
immortal in the sense that it revived the movement, but also in that sense: Generally, this phrase refers to a classic quote by someone, living or dead, although it is sometimes used ironically (i.e. for a not-so- immortal quote). Usually it’s used in certain contexts, too - in other words , the quote applies to the situation at hand.
What was the purpose of this article? To sow doubt thru debate? To stimulate thinkers to think? Or to parley with truth as the devil’s advocate?
If Adventism has become laodiceanism, and has rejected Christ’s counsel to buy of Him gold tried in the fire (faith) white raiment (His Righteousness), and eye salve (that it may see) then the blind Laodiceans can only lead the blind Laodiceans until they all fall into the ditch.
Only the Laodiceans that heed Christ’s counsel will see their danger, and avoid the pitfall of the Laodiceans that perpetuate their stubborn assertion that they are rich and in need of nothing. Those self-empowered rich Laodiceans will soon cry for the rocks to hide them from the face of Him that sits upon the clouds in His glory.
“Reset” is not in the vocabulary of dye hard Adventists. What you are trying to do is needed but it will be met with a tremendous resistance for anything that does not translate into the 28 beliefs of the church. I was part of the “family” until I realized that the family is more concerned about the doctrines than it’s members. There is a life outside of Adventism but there is no life if you are not in it. Five years in contact with a tiny congregation and they are still stuck with Doug Batchelor? What is wrong with this picture? Not criticizing but just curious. My brother is a SDA Pastor and has dedicated his whole life to the church. Having a conversation with him outside that spectrum is like talking to my 5 year old granddaughter and not to get frustrated I don’t go there. On the other hand my son a graduate from La Sierra is an open minded young man whom I delight in talking about religion or any spiritual related subject. Truthfully leaving the SDA church was the best decision I made in my spiritual journey. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and I will look forward to more.
“One requirement for success as a sincere Christian,” Valerie Tarico and Marlene Winell have pointed out, “is to find a way to believe that which would be unbelievable under normal rules of evidence and inquiry.”
You are touching upon questions of sufficient evidence for the verification of claims. Or to put it another way in the form of the two most important questions one can ask:
- What do I know? and
- How do I know it?
Another issue for naive belief is to recognize the difference between claims and evidence. Quoting so-called “inspired” sources is not a quest for evidence. The writings of the Bible (and by extension Ellen White) are the claims, not evidence. There are countless claims made, but the claims cannot be at the same time the evidence for those claims. Follow the evolution of the concept of person of Jesus:
In the earliest Christian writings, those of Paul, there is no apparent knowledge of a recently living Jewish man from Galilee, teaching and preaching, working miracles, calling disciples, etc.
In the first gospel, that of Mark, Jesus (now with a biography) is presented as an amazing man with magical powers, an innocent man who was killed unjustly. Before his baptism, at which time he was apparently adopted by Yahweh, his background is virtually ignored. He was special, but still a guy.
Matthew and Luke embellished the story with contradictory, legendary tales of divine conception, virgin birth, and a resurrection, with “godlike” suggestions.
John presents him as barely a man at all; rather he is the pre-existent agent of creation, perhaps Yahweh himself, who came to the world with the purpose of saving those who simply believed in him and rewarding that belief with eternal life.
This progression of Christology bears all the marks of myth and legend. It contains claims which in any other context would be dismissed as “make-believe” but which are accepted uncritically and without evidence. That is only possible by conflating the claims with the evidence necessary to validate them; to believe that which would be unbelievable under normal rules of evidence and inquiry.
I started asking the questions you pose during my doctoral studies at the AU seminary. I know the end point if one makes a commitment to reason as the only proper method of epistemological process.
Brother Bart, you are a rational egotist (no God, no truth), so of course you must believe that Mark thought Jesus was “just a guy” and that they other Gospels “embellished” the story and made Jesus God. Because you are a so called rationalist you are locked in to explaining all things evolutionally
I don’t have to explain ideas as evolving. The evidence for evolving ideas is apparent in the documents if you put them on a timeline and examine the fantastic progression of unlikely understandings. Of course you can propose that they must be in harmony because of “inspiration”, but that doesn’t provide verifiable knowledge does it?
What do you know? How do you know it?
Well, I do not see Mark as viewing Jesus as just a good guy-Mark ends with the empty tomb as the other Gospels do, as you know. Your question of how do we know that we know what we know (I am translating a little) is important and as you perceive, the heart of the matter.
All logical epistemologies must be based theistically, otherwise there is no ontic ground for any rationality that we can trust.
For example, Sam Harris begins his book Free Will by recounting the rape, child sex abuse, robbery, and indiscriminate murder perpetrated by two men. Harris recognizes that our natural reaction to such crimes is to demand justice. These men deserve punishment. But he argues that these criminals in fact had no real choice in the matter. Their actions were “entirely determined by their past experiences and neurological states.”
Harris claims, “The idea that we, as conscious beings, are deeply responsible for the character of our mental lives and subsequent behavior is simply impossible to map onto reality.”
Richard Dawkins is confronted with this dilemma by Justin Brierley.
Brierley: “Richard, when you made a value judgment, don’t you immediately step outside of this evolutionary process and say that the reason this is good is that it’s good? And you don’t have any way to stand on that statement.”
Dawkins: “My value judgment itself could come from my evolutionary past.”
Brierley: “So therefore it’s just as random in a sense as any product of evolution.”
Dawkins: “You could say that . . . Nothing about it makes it more probable that there is anything supernatural.”
Brierley: “Ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six.”
Dawkins: “You could say that, yeah.”
Thinking within the system that they have imposed on themselves, can we disagree with either?
Sam Harris, Free Will (New York: Free Press, 2012), 13.
Daniel Dennett is another great example of secular philosophy destroying the basis of rationality, especially his “Breaking the Spell.”
Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic , pointed out this glaring mistake in his review of Dennett’s book 14 years ago:
“[Dennett’s argument] portrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason , and to nothing else…. Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”
“The Naturalists have been engaged in thinking about Nature. They have not attended to the fact that they were thinking. The moment one attends to this, it is obvious that one’s own thinking cannot be merely a natural event, and that therefore something other than Nature exists.
The Supernatural is not remote and abstruse: it is a matter of daily and hourly experience, as intimate as breathing.” CS lewis
The University of Edinburgh (2009-02-10), Daniel Dennett: Breaking the Spell - Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, retrieved 2018-04-24
Wieseltier’s review, “The God Genome,” appeared in the New York Times, February 19, 2006.
So you suggest that one must begin the process of explanation by reference to the unknowable? I would suggest that a proper epistemology involves the examination of facts, of evidence, of data with a meticulous process of validation and verification. Objective reality and its various existants must be subjected to sufficient evidence, not mysticism.
I completely agree with you bother, but in your system you do not have the tools to do that kind of reasoning; you have to pull that rationality card out from under the table–that’s cheating
Just the opposite Bart. You and I both know that logic and rationality are real. I think you would agree. Based on that knowledge, what does that “fact” tell us? How is that “fact” true? Here, what I “know” points me in the exact opposite of any form of “naturalism.”
Not so. Our ability to reason exists. It is axiomatic; that is, one must implicitly recognize it even in the process of trying to deny it. It stands at the foundation of all knowledge. We can choose whether or not to exercise it to understand reality.
Please explain how, through reason, you can validate such claims as:
A man named Jesus who hailed from Galilee was the pre-existent creator of the universe and who existed into the eternal past.
Mary was impregnated by a spirit instead of the tried and true method.
Jesus, a man who supposedly lived 2000 years ago is still alive in a physical body somewhere in the universe other than this earth.
Jesus has been tinkering around in a heavenly sanctury since Oct 22 1844, hard at work going through the records of each person who ever lived.
This man, after a 2000 year hiatus is going to re-enter earth’s atmosphere to eventually set up the long promised kingdom which he had promised to happen imminently in a failed prophecy.
These are only a few of the improbable claims, but where is the evidence? Please don’t change the subject again. Throwing rocks at reason doesn’t bolster your case. Please just make your case for identifying the evidence for these assertions.
As I said< I totally agree
So please go through an exercise to validate, through sufficient evidence, by reason, any of the 5 claims above.
Don’t change the subject Bart. I am upholding “reason” as having a foundation in ultimate reason-which is reasonable. As to all your other, if God is real then God is more than able to manifest in any way God chooses. There is sufficient evidence as well that God has come into history because of the evidence in Prophecy that has been remarkably fulfilled as in the Prophecy of Christ in Daniel
This is the approach I like to refer to as “If pigs had wings, they could fly.” Your proposition is circular. “If there is an omnipotent and omniscient being, then nothing is impossible.” That might be true if the proposition could be validated. However, the proposition is entirely arbitrary.
“might be true if the proposition could be validated” Yes, exactly. I believe that it has been validated: 1) by the necessary of an ultimate rationality to validate our own. (which you dont want to talk about) 2) by the reality of the overwhelming evidence of engineering and stupefyingly complex digital information at the basis of all life. 3) by the fulfillment of many prophecies in Scripture indicating prior knowledge of history that cannot be explained by luck.
Our rationality, or potential rationality which not everyone exercises carefully, does not in any way require an ultimate rationality, whatever that is. Our rationality is fallible which requires a constant referral to questioning and attempting to more fully validate knowledge.
Complexity, while amazing, does not indicate anything other than that there is complexity. Your “being stupefied” is irrelevant.
#3 is where you actually hang everything, and you are hanging on by your fingernails.
Right on, James. But, as you concluded, ideas do matter. How we think about God and others, our worldview and theology, influences how we act in the world and towards others. Everyone has both.