Know Your Evangelicals:
Francis Schaeffer

Evangelicals — By on September 19, 2004 at 1:14 pm

schaeffer.jpg
Name: Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984)
Why you should know him: Schaeffer was one of the most influential figures in American evangelicalism between the period between World War II and the Reagan-era.
Previous roles: Founder of L’Abri Fellowship International; Lecturer and author of eighteen books.
Education:
B.A., Hampden-Sydney College
B.Div. Faith Theological Seminary
Honorary D.Div., Highland College
Area of expertise/interest: Apologetics, philosophy, Western culture, abortion, neo-Calvinism
Books: The God Who is There (1968); Escape from Reason (1968); Death in the City(1969); The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century(1970); The Mark of a Christian (1970); Pollution and the Death of Man (1970); The Church Before the Watching World(1971); True Spirituality (1971); Back to Freedom and Dignity (1972); Basic Bible Studies(1972); Genesis in Space and Time(1972); He is There and He is Not Silent (1972); The New Super-Spirituality (1972); Art and the Bible (1973); Everybody Can Know (1973); No Little People (1974); Two Contents, Two Realities (1974); Joshua and the Biblical Flow of History (1975); No Final Conflict (1975); How Should We Then Live? (1976); Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (with C. Everett Koop) (1979); A Christian Manifesto (1981); The Great Evangelical Disaster (1983)


Online essays and articles:
Perspectives on Art (11 brief essays)
A Christian Manifesto (A lecture based on the book of the same title.)
Schaeffer on Education
Biography and Assessment: In the late 1940 ‘



  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    BTW, for those of us who aren’t familiar with the specifics, what are the distinctions between an evangelical Christian and an non-evangelical baptist/protestant?

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    BTW, for those of us who aren’t familiar with the specifics, what are the distinctions between an evangelical Christian and an non-evangelical baptist/protestant?

  • http://christnu.org/ Steve Bragg

    Hi Joe,
    I really enjoy this series. Schaeffer is one of my favorites; I’ve even blogged about themes from his books. One of my favorite illustrations of Schaeffer’s is the subject of the blogpost linked above, his “upper story leap” description of the postmodern view of religion.
    Steve Bragg
    DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS

  • http://christnu.org Steve Bragg

    Hi Joe,
    I really enjoy this series. Schaeffer is one of my favorites; I’ve even blogged about themes from his books. One of my favorite illustrations of Schaeffer’s is the subject of the blogpost linked above, his “upper story leap” description of the postmodern view of religion.
    Steve Bragg
    DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/ Patrick

    Francis’s son, Frank Schaeffer, is one of my favorite authors. He describes his upbringing as “strict Calvinist”, although he later converted to Greek Orthodoxy.
    Joe, you might like one of his books, “Keeping Faith“, that he co-wrote with his son Jon. It’s about about when Jon joined the Marine Corps, and is a sort of diary between the father and the son, and what each was thinking, when Jon goes through boot camp. It’s both extremely funny and very moving.
    In the commentary on his website and also on BeliefNet, Frank Schaeffer also has quite a bit to say about “fundamentalists”, that I agree with, namely:

    “I abandoned Protestant Christian fundamentalism many years ago for Greek Orthodoxy. I converted because the Orthodox tradition embraces paradox and mystery. For someone raised in a strict Calvinist home, relief from absolutist certainty was most welcome.”

    I like that. It seems to me that by insisting that everything in the Bible is always absolute inerrant fact, that Evangelical Christians have replaced “Faith in God” with the fear that God does not exist.
    Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.
    Instead Evangelicals have replaced their faith in God with a pseudo-scientific reasoning that “proves”, by claiming that the Bible is a strictly historical document, that God exists.
    Of course sometimes something comes along that isn’t described in the Bible or runs contrary to what it says. In which case it gets categorically denounced as “sinful” or “evil”. Or even that it doesn’t exist in the first place, as Evangelicals do regarding the fact of Evolution. And of course, sometimes they just kill the messenger.
    The more proof that is brought out, the more hysterical and stridently it is condemned. A number of tactics are used to do this. The Bible is constantly re-interpreted to apply to any new threats.
    Evangelicals Christians pick and choose different sections of the Bible and claim them as fact but ignore contradictory or even stupid sections. In spite of the fact that they claim that the Bible in inerrant in it’s entirety. It’s is really noticeable on some issues. For example, Evangelicals dealings with people who are gay or lesbian. They point to passages in Leviticus as “proof” that gay and lesbian people are evil and should be executed. Yet they ignore in that same chapter that it is also a corporal sin, punishable by death, to get your hair cut in a particular way.
    Don’t cut your bangs, you will be stoned to death and go to Hell. This is simply stupid. Yes, I said the Bible is stupid. But guess what, I can think the Bible is stupid and still believe in God. And it’s dishonest for Evangelical Christians to apply only the sections of the Bible that appeal to their particular prejudices at any one time.
    Evangelicals cling with white-knuckled fear to the supposed accuracy of the Bible like a falling man clings to the edge of a cliff. Because if parts of the Bible are wrong, or even simply outdated, then for Evangelicals God does not exist and they are alone in the world, without hope.
    If they let go of the cliff, they do not have faith that God will lift them up. They do not have faith that God exists, regardless of whether the Bible is true or not.
    I would suggest to you that you should not need a book to believe in God. Let go of the cliff.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Francis’s son, Frank Schaeffer, is one of my favorite authors. He describes his upbringing as “strict Calvinist”, although he later converted to Greek Orthodoxy.
    Joe, you might like one of his books, “Keeping Faith“, that he co-wrote with his son Jon. It’s about about when Jon joined the Marine Corps, and is a sort of diary between the father and the son, and what each was thinking, when Jon goes through boot camp. It’s both extremely funny and very moving.
    In the commentary on his website and also on BeliefNet, Frank Schaeffer also has quite a bit to say about “fundamentalists”, that I agree with, namely:

    “I abandoned Protestant Christian fundamentalism many years ago for Greek Orthodoxy. I converted because the Orthodox tradition embraces paradox and mystery. For someone raised in a strict Calvinist home, relief from absolutist certainty was most welcome.”

    I like that. It seems to me that by insisting that everything in the Bible is always absolute inerrant fact, that Evangelical Christians have replaced “Faith in God” with the fear that God does not exist.
    Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.
    Instead Evangelicals have replaced their faith in God with a pseudo-scientific reasoning that “proves”, by claiming that the Bible is a strictly historical document, that God exists.
    Of course sometimes something comes along that isn’t described in the Bible or runs contrary to what it says. In which case it gets categorically denounced as “sinful” or “evil”. Or even that it doesn’t exist in the first place, as Evangelicals do regarding the fact of Evolution. And of course, sometimes they just kill the messenger.
    The more proof that is brought out, the more hysterical and stridently it is condemned. A number of tactics are used to do this. The Bible is constantly re-interpreted to apply to any new threats.
    Evangelicals Christians pick and choose different sections of the Bible and claim them as fact but ignore contradictory or even stupid sections. In spite of the fact that they claim that the Bible in inerrant in it’s entirety. It’s is really noticeable on some issues. For example, Evangelicals dealings with people who are gay or lesbian. They point to passages in Leviticus as “proof” that gay and lesbian people are evil and should be executed. Yet they ignore in that same chapter that it is also a corporal sin, punishable by death, to get your hair cut in a particular way.
    Don’t cut your bangs, you will be stoned to death and go to Hell. This is simply stupid. Yes, I said the Bible is stupid. But guess what, I can think the Bible is stupid and still believe in God. And it’s dishonest for Evangelical Christians to apply only the sections of the Bible that appeal to their particular prejudices at any one time.
    Evangelicals cling with white-knuckled fear to the supposed accuracy of the Bible like a falling man clings to the edge of a cliff. Because if parts of the Bible are wrong, or even simply outdated, then for Evangelicals God does not exist and they are alone in the world, without hope.
    If they let go of the cliff, they do not have faith that God will lift them up. They do not have faith that God exists, regardless of whether the Bible is true or not.
    I would suggest to you that you should not need a book to believe in God. Let go of the cliff.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/2004/09/sometimes_the_b.html Gryphmon

    Sometimes the Bible is stupid

    On the Evangelical Outpost, Joe profiles, oddly enough an evangelist named Francis Schaeffer. Francis’s son Frank Schaeffer, is one of my favorite authors. He describes his upbringing as “strict Calvinist”, although he later converted to Greek Orthodoxy.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/2004/09/sometimes_the_b.html Gryphmon

    Sometimes the Bible is stupid

    On the Evangelical Outpost, Joe profiles, oddly enough an evangelist named Francis Schaeffer. Francis’s son Frank Schaeffer, is one of my favorite authors. He describes his upbringing as “strict Calvinist”, although he later converted to Greek Orthodoxy.

  • http://www.infinitemonkeysblog.com/ RobbL Monkey

    ~DS~,
    Well, “evangelical” is a funny word, but historically “evangelical” is pretty much synonymous with “protestant” – early Reformers started using the phrase “evangelical” to indicate their focus on the true gospel (“evangel” means “gospel”). Currently, “evangelical” can also take on additional baggage, frequently distinguishing more conservative (religiously) protestants from the more liberal “Mainline” protestant denominations.
    Despite the sound of the word, “evangelical” does not mean “focused on evangelism”. From everything I can tell, when Joe uses the term, he means “orthodox (small-’o’) protestant” and not necessarily anything more.
    Hope that helps!
    RobbL

  • http://www.infinitemonkeysblog.com RobbL Monkey

    ~DS~,
    Well, “evangelical” is a funny word, but historically “evangelical” is pretty much synonymous with “protestant” – early Reformers started using the phrase “evangelical” to indicate their focus on the true gospel (“evangel” means “gospel”). Currently, “evangelical” can also take on additional baggage, frequently distinguishing more conservative (religiously) protestants from the more liberal “Mainline” protestant denominations.
    Despite the sound of the word, “evangelical” does not mean “focused on evangelism”. From everything I can tell, when Joe uses the term, he means “orthodox (small-’o’) protestant” and not necessarily anything more.
    Hope that helps!
    RobbL

  • ~DS~

    Yes TY RobbL. It’s hazy to me, because I’ve heard the term evangelical used to refer to what I would think of as pretty mainstream baptists to quite fundementalist Christians. For example, someone once told me, when I asked about Jehovah’s Witnesses, that they were highly ‘evangelical’.
    (We had several JW’s tearing up the boards on EvC a few months ago. They were super polite, but you just could not reason with them. They have this document they refer to called The Blue Book which outlines what they can accept in regards to science, and evolution isn’t allowed.)
    And I’ve had other folks claim that evangelicals accept the rapture and other ideas which many here clearly do not support. Hence the confusion.

  • ~DS~

    Yes TY RobbL. It’s hazy to me, because I’ve heard the term evangelical used to refer to what I would think of as pretty mainstream baptists to quite fundementalist Christians. For example, someone once told me, when I asked about Jehovah’s Witnesses, that they were highly ‘evangelical’.
    (We had several JW’s tearing up the boards on EvC a few months ago. They were super polite, but you just could not reason with them. They have this document they refer to called The Blue Book which outlines what they can accept in regards to science, and evolution isn’t allowed.)
    And I’ve had other folks claim that evangelicals accept the rapture and other ideas which many here clearly do not support. Hence the confusion.

  • Puzzled

    DS, an evangelical protestant believes in the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, and the content of the three ecumenical creeds. They also hold to the description of the atonement in Hebrews as being accurate, and thus might be called Anselmian.
    Non-evangelical Protestants are those who go to denominations that were once evangelical Protestant, but have typically fallen away from Trinitarian orthodoxy.
    I’ve met Franky (and Deb and Susan) and know/knew Mrs. Schaeffer for a number of years. In no way was that home ‘strict Calvinist’ – I graduated from a Calvinist seminary and I know what strict is like. If Dr. Schaeffer weren’t so popular, the strict Calvinists would doubtless accuse him of being semi-Pelagian. . .
    Neo-Calvinist, yes, but definitely not monothelotic.
    Patrick, your bizarre description of evangelicalism doesn’t describe anyone I know.
    DS, the JW’s are not evangelicals. They are Arian heretics.

  • Puzzled

    DS, an evangelical protestant believes in the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, and the content of the three ecumenical creeds. They also hold to the description of the atonement in Hebrews as being accurate, and thus might be called Anselmian.
    Non-evangelical Protestants are those who go to denominations that were once evangelical Protestant, but have typically fallen away from Trinitarian orthodoxy.
    I’ve met Franky (and Deb and Susan) and know/knew Mrs. Schaeffer for a number of years. In no way was that home ‘strict Calvinist’ – I graduated from a Calvinist seminary and I know what strict is like. If Dr. Schaeffer weren’t so popular, the strict Calvinists would doubtless accuse him of being semi-Pelagian. . .
    Neo-Calvinist, yes, but definitely not monothelotic.
    Patrick, your bizarre description of evangelicalism doesn’t describe anyone I know.
    DS, the JW’s are not evangelicals. They are Arian heretics.

  • Puzzled

    Dr. Schaeffer became a Christian in high school, he grew up in an atheist family, and as he searched for a philosophy that fit reality, he believed he had to also read the Bible out of integrity. He became a Christian before he got to the New Testament. His blue-collar father was very against his going to college, even more so as it was for the ministry.
    After seminary, Dr. Schaeffer was a pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church when it was still in inner-city St. Louis, before it moved to West County and gentrified. After that he was sent to Europe as a missionary by this Presbyterian group, mainly to see how the churches were doing after the destruction of WWII, and to provide Sunday School literature for children.
    Dr. Schaeffer did not found L’Abri. It just happened. Mainly after “Catholic” (obviously not good, observant Catholic) authorities in the canon of Vaud which they originally moved to, evicted them for having a ‘religious influence’ in the canton. Priscilla’s high school and college friends would come to visit, and found that Dr. Schaeffer took their genuine questions seriously and would talk with them. God continued to bring more and more people over the years. They do not advertise for students, and they never ask for money. In this they follow Hudson Taylor’s example – Mrs. Schaeffer is the daughter of two of Hudson Taylor’s missionaries with the China Inland Mission, and she was born in pre-Communist mainland China.
    Dr. Schaeffer was one of the first people to use the term “post-modern” in his 1968 book _Escape From Reason_ describing and interacting with that nascent philosophical movement.
    Dr. Schaeffer didn’t “return to the united States” until the late 79′s when he was treated here at Mayo and St. Mary’s for lymphoma. He did travel from time to time to give lecture series.
    Dr. Schaeffer’s knickers weren’t from Switzerland, but they are what he wore growing up in Pennsylvania, and he felt that they were comfortable, and didn’t care what people thought.
    _How Should We Then Live_ focuses on the last 2000 years of western civilization. It is _Whatever Happened to the Human Race_ that deals with the Culture of Death.
    _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ is his deathbed book that he wrote here in Roch. Foresighted as usual, it is even more relevant today than in 1984, when many said that such things could never come to pass.
    He tailored his message terminologies to his audiences. Evangelical scholars that were already beginning to lean towards neo-orthodoxy and neo-theism criticised him for not writing the sorts of technical theological papers that Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig write – but that wasn’t his calling. His calling was to explain the Christian message to people who, by having non-Christian worldviews, couldn’t understand the Christian message given in tradition methods and terms.
    The list of people influenced is somewhat flawed. Mark Noll isn’t an evangelical, and neither, any longer, is Clark Pinnock who is longer within the entire Judaeo-Christian monotheistic tradtion. Ron Sider comes up for considerable criticism in _The Great Evangelical Disaster_. You don’t mention Ronald Reagan, Os Guinnes, Uddo Middleman, numerous L’Abri workers and seminary professors and at least hundreds if not thousands of artists such as Christopher Parkening, and pastors throughout the world.

  • Puzzled

    Dr. Schaeffer became a Christian in high school, he grew up in an atheist family, and as he searched for a philosophy that fit reality, he believed he had to also read the Bible out of integrity. He became a Christian before he got to the New Testament. His blue-collar father was very against his going to college, even more so as it was for the ministry.
    After seminary, Dr. Schaeffer was a pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church when it was still in inner-city St. Louis, before it moved to West County and gentrified. After that he was sent to Europe as a missionary by this Presbyterian group, mainly to see how the churches were doing after the destruction of WWII, and to provide Sunday School literature for children.
    Dr. Schaeffer did not found L’Abri. It just happened. Mainly after “Catholic” (obviously not good, observant Catholic) authorities in the canon of Vaud which they originally moved to, evicted them for having a ‘religious influence’ in the canton. Priscilla’s high school and college friends would come to visit, and found that Dr. Schaeffer took their genuine questions seriously and would talk with them. God continued to bring more and more people over the years. They do not advertise for students, and they never ask for money. In this they follow Hudson Taylor’s example – Mrs. Schaeffer is the daughter of two of Hudson Taylor’s missionaries with the China Inland Mission, and she was born in pre-Communist mainland China.
    Dr. Schaeffer was one of the first people to use the term “post-modern” in his 1968 book _Escape From Reason_ describing and interacting with that nascent philosophical movement.
    Dr. Schaeffer didn’t “return to the united States” until the late 79′s when he was treated here at Mayo and St. Mary’s for lymphoma. He did travel from time to time to give lecture series.
    Dr. Schaeffer’s knickers weren’t from Switzerland, but they are what he wore growing up in Pennsylvania, and he felt that they were comfortable, and didn’t care what people thought.
    _How Should We Then Live_ focuses on the last 2000 years of western civilization. It is _Whatever Happened to the Human Race_ that deals with the Culture of Death.
    _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ is his deathbed book that he wrote here in Roch. Foresighted as usual, it is even more relevant today than in 1984, when many said that such things could never come to pass.
    He tailored his message terminologies to his audiences. Evangelical scholars that were already beginning to lean towards neo-orthodoxy and neo-theism criticised him for not writing the sorts of technical theological papers that Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig write – but that wasn’t his calling. His calling was to explain the Christian message to people who, by having non-Christian worldviews, couldn’t understand the Christian message given in tradition methods and terms.
    The list of people influenced is somewhat flawed. Mark Noll isn’t an evangelical, and neither, any longer, is Clark Pinnock who is longer within the entire Judaeo-Christian monotheistic tradtion. Ron Sider comes up for considerable criticism in _The Great Evangelical Disaster_. You don’t mention Ronald Reagan, Os Guinnes, Uddo Middleman, numerous L’Abri workers and seminary professors and at least hundreds if not thousands of artists such as Christopher Parkening, and pastors throughout the world.

  • ~DS~

    Puzzled,
    You’re using terms I don’t fully understand. I’m hazy to compltely clueless on Calvinist, Trinitarion orthodoxy, monothelotic. Arian (Aryan?) Heretic I think I understand as being undesirable in your opinion, but again I’m not certain.
    I guess I bandy all kinds of biology terms around without thinking about how confusing they might sound, so it’s only fair for me to be left in the dark on this subject. But thanks for the effort.

  • ~DS~

    Puzzled,
    You’re using terms I don’t fully understand. I’m hazy to compltely clueless on Calvinist, Trinitarion orthodoxy, monothelotic. Arian (Aryan?) Heretic I think I understand as being undesirable in your opinion, but again I’m not certain.
    I guess I bandy all kinds of biology terms around without thinking about how confusing they might sound, so it’s only fair for me to be left in the dark on this subject. But thanks for the effort.

  • Puzzled

    Oh, and fundamentalism versus evangelicalism. It depends who you are. If you are a liberal journalist, anyone who doesn’t believe the way you do, is a ‘fundamentalist’. Others would use the term for anyone who holds to the Apostle’s Creed.
    On a cultural level, what separates fundamentalism from evangelicalism is separatism. Fundamentalists believe in keeping themselves from the society around them. Evangelicals believe in being salt and light in the society around them. Fundamentalists typically also have what one college religion prof of mine called “The American Revivalist Culture.”

  • Puzzled

    Oh, and fundamentalism versus evangelicalism. It depends who you are. If you are a liberal journalist, anyone who doesn’t believe the way you do, is a ‘fundamentalist’. Others would use the term for anyone who holds to the Apostle’s Creed.
    On a cultural level, what separates fundamentalism from evangelicalism is separatism. Fundamentalists believe in keeping themselves from the society around them. Evangelicals believe in being salt and light in the society around them. Fundamentalists typically also have what one college religion prof of mine called “The American Revivalist Culture.”

  • Puzzled

    DS, if you are going to pontificate on Christianity, you might want to study up on it so that you won’t continue to sound like an idiot – or you can follow Abe Lincoln’s advice and refrain from posting.

  • Puzzled

    DS, if you are going to pontificate on Christianity, you might want to study up on it so that you won’t continue to sound like an idiot – or you can follow Abe Lincoln’s advice and refrain from posting.

  • ~DS~

    DS, if you are going to pontificate on Christianity, you might want to study up on it so that you won’t continue to sound like an idiot
    You may be confusing me with someone else. Outside of doubting all forms of mythology, I think you’ll find many of my past comments on Christianity on this Blog-outside of Creationism which some people feel is inextricably linked to Christianity-are of a quizzical nature.
    Your suggestion sounds like good advice at first glance Puzzled. But what I’ve found in practice is many Christians disagree withe each other about what various terms mean or on aspects of theology.
    Typically, the Christian I’m interviewing has it all ‘right’ whereas the other Christians are making minor or major errors.
    Outside of the RCC, there’s not too many really large, overarching, authorities on any of this stuff. And the answers I get vary greatly with who I ask. EG: On another thread I was told by a Catholic that Protestants are all ‘missing the boat’ although it ‘wasn’t all their fault’.
    So instead of trying to get an absolute handle, i.e. a one stop shop for Christian Theology, I find it makes more sense to invite the sect or denomination, or whatever the correct term is, to describe themselves in their own words. This seems to work well for other forms of supernaturalism such as Islamic, Judiastic, Hindu, etc. And it’s worked fairly well for me on other venues which attract JW’s and Mormons.

  • ~DS~

    DS, if you are going to pontificate on Christianity, you might want to study up on it so that you won’t continue to sound like an idiot
    You may be confusing me with someone else. Outside of doubting all forms of mythology, I think you’ll find many of my past comments on Christianity on this Blog-outside of Creationism which some people feel is inextricably linked to Christianity-are of a quizzical nature.
    Your suggestion sounds like good advice at first glance Puzzled. But what I’ve found in practice is many Christians disagree withe each other about what various terms mean or on aspects of theology.
    Typically, the Christian I’m interviewing has it all ‘right’ whereas the other Christians are making minor or major errors.
    Outside of the RCC, there’s not too many really large, overarching, authorities on any of this stuff. And the answers I get vary greatly with who I ask. EG: On another thread I was told by a Catholic that Protestants are all ‘missing the boat’ although it ‘wasn’t all their fault’.
    So instead of trying to get an absolute handle, i.e. a one stop shop for Christian Theology, I find it makes more sense to invite the sect or denomination, or whatever the correct term is, to describe themselves in their own words. This seems to work well for other forms of supernaturalism such as Islamic, Judiastic, Hindu, etc. And it’s worked fairly well for me on other venues which attract JW’s and Mormons.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/ Macht

    “Patrick, your bizarre description of evangelicalism doesn’t describe anyone I know.”
    I concur.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com Macht

    “Patrick, your bizarre description of evangelicalism doesn’t describe anyone I know.”
    I concur.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com Macht

    “Oh, and fundamentalism versus evangelicalism. It depends who you are. If you are a liberal journalist, anyone who doesn’t believe the way you do, is a ‘fundamentalist’.”
    Or, as Alvin Plantinga has written,

    “But isn’t all this just endorsing a wholly outmoded and discredited fundamentalism, that condition than which, according to many academics, none lesser can be conceived? I fully realize that the dreaded f-word will be trotted out to stigmatize any model of this kind. Before responding, however, we must first look into the use of this term ‘fundamentalist’. On the most common contemporary academic use of the term, it is a term of abuse or disapprobation, rather like ‘son of a bitch’, more exactly ‘sonovabitch’, or perhaps still more exactly (at least according to those authorities who look to the Old West as normative on matters of pronunciation) ‘sumbitch’. When the term is used in this way, no definition of it is ordinarily given. (If you called someone a sumbitch, would you feel obliged first to define the term?) Still there is a bit more to the meaning of ‘fundamentalist’ (in this widely current use): it isn’t simply a term of abuse. In addition to its emotive force, it does have some cognitive content, and ordinarily denotes relatively conservative theological views. That makes it more like ‘stupid sumbitch’ (or maybe ‘fascist sumbitch’?) than ‘sumbitch’ simpliciter. It isn’t exactly like that term either, however, because its cognitive content can expand and contract on demand; its content seems to depend upon who is using it. In the mouths of certain liberal theologians, for example, it tends to denote any who accept traditional Christianity, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Barth; in the mouths of devout secularists like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, on the other hand, it tends to denote anyone who believes there is such a person as God. The explanation is that the term has a certain indexical element: its cognitive content is given by the phrase “considerably to the right, theologically speaking, of me and my enlightened friends.” The full meaning of the term, therefore (in this use) can be given by something like ‘stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine’.”

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/ Macht

    “Oh, and fundamentalism versus evangelicalism. It depends who you are. If you are a liberal journalist, anyone who doesn’t believe the way you do, is a ‘fundamentalist’.”
    Or, as Alvin Plantinga has written,

    “But isn’t all this just endorsing a wholly outmoded and discredited fundamentalism, that condition than which, according to many academics, none lesser can be conceived? I fully realize that the dreaded f-word will be trotted out to stigmatize any model of this kind. Before responding, however, we must first look into the use of this term ‘fundamentalist’. On the most common contemporary academic use of the term, it is a term of abuse or disapprobation, rather like ‘son of a bitch’, more exactly ‘sonovabitch’, or perhaps still more exactly (at least according to those authorities who look to the Old West as normative on matters of pronunciation) ‘sumbitch’. When the term is used in this way, no definition of it is ordinarily given. (If you called someone a sumbitch, would you feel obliged first to define the term?) Still there is a bit more to the meaning of ‘fundamentalist’ (in this widely current use): it isn’t simply a term of abuse. In addition to its emotive force, it does have some cognitive content, and ordinarily denotes relatively conservative theological views. That makes it more like ‘stupid sumbitch’ (or maybe ‘fascist sumbitch’?) than ‘sumbitch’ simpliciter. It isn’t exactly like that term either, however, because its cognitive content can expand and contract on demand; its content seems to depend upon who is using it. In the mouths of certain liberal theologians, for example, it tends to denote any who accept traditional Christianity, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Barth; in the mouths of devout secularists like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, on the other hand, it tends to denote anyone who believes there is such a person as God. The explanation is that the term has a certain indexical element: its cognitive content is given by the phrase “considerably to the right, theologically speaking, of me and my enlightened friends.” The full meaning of the term, therefore (in this use) can be given by something like ‘stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine’.”

  • http://johnrabe.blogspot.com/ John R.

    Patrick,
    Believing something that isn’t true isn’t noble–it’s tragic and stupid. If God isn’t there, in choosing to believe in him we should be “pitied above all men” as the Apostle Paul said.
    Your view personifies the “escape from reason” that Dr. Shaeffer denounced. Paradox isn’t deep–it’s meaningless nonsense; it’s the sound of one hand clapping, and has no place in Christianity.
    “Faith” is not “irrationality.” Someone who holds “beliefs” that he doesn’t really believe is pitiable.

  • http://johnrabe.blogspot.com John R.

    Patrick,
    Believing something that isn’t true isn’t noble–it’s tragic and stupid. If God isn’t there, in choosing to believe in him we should be “pitied above all men” as the Apostle Paul said.
    Your view personifies the “escape from reason” that Dr. Shaeffer denounced. Paradox isn’t deep–it’s meaningless nonsense; it’s the sound of one hand clapping, and has no place in Christianity.
    “Faith” is not “irrationality.” Someone who holds “beliefs” that he doesn’t really believe is pitiable.

  • http://www.nykola.com/home.html Ambra Nykol

    Francis Schaeffer was ahead of his time. He is one of the few from his “genre” I can not only tolerate, but also gets me very very excited.
    I could read “A Christian Manifesto” 100 times over.

  • http://www.nykola.com/home.html Ambra Nykol

    Francis Schaeffer was ahead of his time. He is one of the few from his “genre” I can not only tolerate, but also gets me very very excited.
    I could read “A Christian Manifesto” 100 times over.

  • David Marcoe

    Patrick, the was a supremely insulting and intellectually lazy statment. There are people here and people that I know who completely contradict every statement in your post. People of great passion who sit in total awe of God. People who are strong Calvinists. But you didn’t pay attention to that.
    And John R. is completely correct. Equating paradox and irrationality with the mystery of God is silly. The glory of God is something greater than that. If you can’t understand that, then you need to back up and examine very hard what you believe. And I suggest that you also move far slower to post next time.

  • David Marcoe

    Patrick, the was a supremely insulting and intellectually lazy statment. There are people here and people that I know who completely contradict every statement in your post. People of great passion who sit in total awe of God. People who are strong Calvinists. But you didn’t pay attention to that.
    And John R. is completely correct. Equating paradox and irrationality with the mystery of God is silly. The glory of God is something greater than that. If you can’t understand that, then you need to back up and examine very hard what you believe. And I suggest that you also move far slower to post next time.

  • ~DS~

    Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick? It seems a legitimate concern…if you apply one set of rules from a set of religious text to modern behavior, shouldn’t you apply them all?
    If the answer is no … who decides what interpretations are valid, and which ones are not, and why should I listen to any one person over another if none of the claims can be cross checked against what the deity actually says?
    It seems to me like if you’re basing your life and behavior on what you think a magical/mythical beings wants you to do or not do, you need some sort of way to separate out false claims from legit ones…otherwise you might find yourself spiking Kool-Aid with cyanide based on what an authority tells you.

  • ~DS~

    Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick? It seems a legitimate concern…if you apply one set of rules from a set of religious text to modern behavior, shouldn’t you apply them all?
    If the answer is no … who decides what interpretations are valid, and which ones are not, and why should I listen to any one person over another if none of the claims can be cross checked against what the deity actually says?
    It seems to me like if you’re basing your life and behavior on what you think a magical/mythical beings wants you to do or not do, you need some sort of way to separate out false claims from legit ones…otherwise you might find yourself spiking Kool-Aid with cyanide based on what an authority tells you.

  • Puzzled

    DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.
    There is this book called the Bible, that all orthodox Christians agree is the Word of God enscribed. This includes the Eastern Orthodox, the Church of the East, the Coptic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelicals (aka orthodox or confessing Protestants) and Fundamentalists (same as Evangelicals except culturally). There are also the three ecumenical creeds that all of the above agree on. That would be the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. (Yes, quiet diplomacy by the Vatican during this papacy has established that the Church of the East does not teach the ‘Nestorian’ heresy, and the Copic Church does not teach the monophysite heresy)
    That book and those three creeds should serve to define what is ‘legit’ and what is not. This is also known as the Vincentian canon.
    An Arian heretic is one who follows the teachings of Arius, who taught against the doctrine of the Trinity, and against Christ’s dual natures. As a result, salvation was by good works. His followers evangelized the Goths before they moved into the Roman empire seeking protection and farmland.
    Since Christianity has been around for nearly 2,000 years, and Judaism another 15 centuries beyond that, your following comments are merely rude and unpleasant. Unfortunately the sort of thing I’ve come to expect of you.

  • Puzzled

    DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.
    There is this book called the Bible, that all orthodox Christians agree is the Word of God enscribed. This includes the Eastern Orthodox, the Church of the East, the Coptic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelicals (aka orthodox or confessing Protestants) and Fundamentalists (same as Evangelicals except culturally). There are also the three ecumenical creeds that all of the above agree on. That would be the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. (Yes, quiet diplomacy by the Vatican during this papacy has established that the Church of the East does not teach the ‘Nestorian’ heresy, and the Copic Church does not teach the monophysite heresy)
    That book and those three creeds should serve to define what is ‘legit’ and what is not. This is also known as the Vincentian canon.
    An Arian heretic is one who follows the teachings of Arius, who taught against the doctrine of the Trinity, and against Christ’s dual natures. As a result, salvation was by good works. His followers evangelized the Goths before they moved into the Roman empire seeking protection and farmland.
    Since Christianity has been around for nearly 2,000 years, and Judaism another 15 centuries beyond that, your following comments are merely rude and unpleasant. Unfortunately the sort of thing I’ve come to expect of you.

  • David Marcoe

    Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick? It seems a legitimate concern…if you apply one set of rules from a set of religious text to modern behavior, shouldn’t you apply them all?
    If the answer is no … who decides what interpretations are valid, and which ones are not, and why should I listen to any one person over another if none of the claims can be cross checked against what the deity actually says?

    DS, that is assuming the meaning of the text itself is vague and that it doesn’t have very specific things to say. And that it can’t be cross-checked.
    Reading the Bible with common sense and in context of the culture it was written is sufficient to understand it. We aren’t talking about esoteric lanuage of Nostradamus’s Quatrains or a Kabala text. Most of the Bible is very plainly spoken. The difficult passages have no effect on core doctrines and teachings of Christianity and are, in fact, intentionally difficult.
    The Bible is also very specific in its statements. If taken at face value, there isn’t much wiggle room.
    Lastly, the Bible is internally consistent and externally verifiable. It makes specific claims about historical events. It teachings about humanity are also externally evident, i.e. natural and moral law and teachings about the human psyche.
    Now, I’m not saying that the Bible says everything about existence, or that there isn’t room for disagreement and interpretation on many issues, but you have to remember that all the branches of Christianity (JWs and Mormons are not among them…that is an entire discussion in and of itself) affirm the Nicene Creed.
    What I just said above is a very simplistic overview. There have been thousands of volumes written on this subject. And the reason why we made those statements to Patrick wasn’t because he raised issues. That is fine. Raise them and then we can constructively discuss them. What he did was to make sweeping pronouncements that were both insulting, factually inaccurate, and displayed a lack of research in to the matter.

  • David Marcoe

    Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick? It seems a legitimate concern…if you apply one set of rules from a set of religious text to modern behavior, shouldn’t you apply them all?
    If the answer is no … who decides what interpretations are valid, and which ones are not, and why should I listen to any one person over another if none of the claims can be cross checked against what the deity actually says?

    DS, that is assuming the meaning of the text itself is vague and that it doesn’t have very specific things to say. And that it can’t be cross-checked.
    Reading the Bible with common sense and in context of the culture it was written is sufficient to understand it. We aren’t talking about esoteric lanuage of Nostradamus’s Quatrains or a Kabala text. Most of the Bible is very plainly spoken. The difficult passages have no effect on core doctrines and teachings of Christianity and are, in fact, intentionally difficult.
    The Bible is also very specific in its statements. If taken at face value, there isn’t much wiggle room.
    Lastly, the Bible is internally consistent and externally verifiable. It makes specific claims about historical events. It teachings about humanity are also externally evident, i.e. natural and moral law and teachings about the human psyche.
    Now, I’m not saying that the Bible says everything about existence, or that there isn’t room for disagreement and interpretation on many issues, but you have to remember that all the branches of Christianity (JWs and Mormons are not among them…that is an entire discussion in and of itself) affirm the Nicene Creed.
    What I just said above is a very simplistic overview. There have been thousands of volumes written on this subject. And the reason why we made those statements to Patrick wasn’t because he raised issues. That is fine. Raise them and then we can constructively discuss them. What he did was to make sweeping pronouncements that were both insulting, factually inaccurate, and displayed a lack of research in to the matter.

  • David Marcoe

    Puzzled, that was very good post.

  • David Marcoe

    Puzzled, that was very good post.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Patick: Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.
    I think you are completely missing out on what the Greek Orthodox mean by

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Patick: Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.
    I think you are completely missing out on what the Greek Orthodox mean by

  • Larry Lord

    One would think from Puzzled’s comments that Puzzled was around for a couple centuries, too. Perhaps Puzzled can help us understand: Is the word ecumenical creed in the Bible? Is that Greek perhaps? Where does the Bible discuss the existence of three ecumenical creeds? Who first came up with those terms? Was that person inspired by God to define the creeds? How do we know that?
    Puzzled also tells us that
    “an evangelical protestant believes in the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible”
    So what do you call the people who allow women to talk in church, in violation of Paul’s inspired and inerrant directive? Lazy screw-offs? Half-assed?

  • Larry Lord

    One would think from Puzzled’s comments that Puzzled was around for a couple centuries, too. Perhaps Puzzled can help us understand: Is the word ecumenical creed in the Bible? Is that Greek perhaps? Where does the Bible discuss the existence of three ecumenical creeds? Who first came up with those terms? Was that person inspired by God to define the creeds? How do we know that?
    Puzzled also tells us that
    “an evangelical protestant believes in the verbal plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible”
    So what do you call the people who allow women to talk in church, in violation of Paul’s inspired and inerrant directive? Lazy screw-offs? Half-assed?

  • Larry Lord

    Marcoe states thusly
    “The difficult passages have no effect on core doctrines and teachings of Christianity and are, in fact, intentionally difficult.”
    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    Where is that verse, David?

  • Larry Lord

    Marcoe states thusly
    “The difficult passages have no effect on core doctrines and teachings of Christianity and are, in fact, intentionally difficult.”
    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    Where is that verse, David?

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/ Patrick

    “Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick?…”
    Considering the angry tone of many of the comments, I’d have to assume they are afraid of something. Absolutists such as Puzzled, etc. cannot accept the slightest questioning of their beliefs. In fact to even suggest that they are beliefs in the first place, instead of facts, is high heresy, and personally extremely threatening to many of them. This is why, over time, I have concluded that they don’t really have very much faith in God at all. By the evidence of the their actions, rather than their words. Otherwise why the fear-based angry responses? It’s because their “faith” as such, is predicated on the Bible being inerrant fact, it is brittle and easily damaged. It’s always subject to the next whim of logic or history that comes around.
    And it’s interesting that they have chosen to attack “my” faith, as being “insulting and intellectually lazy”, even though, if Frank Schaeffer is to be believed, “mystery and paradox”, is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and therefore quite a mainstream point of view.
    John R. says:
    “Believing something that isn’t true isn’t noble–it’s tragic and stupid. If God isn’t there, in choosing to believe in him we should be “pitied above all men” as the Apostle Paul said…
    …”Faith” is not “irrationality.” Someone who holds “beliefs” that he doesn’t really believe is pitiable.”
    Who said anything about believing in something that isn’t true? God exists. I’m simply willing to admit that I can’t prove it to your satisfaction. My belief in God is quite firm and is no longer subject to doubts. Not because I read it somewhere in the Bible, but because I have lived with it on a daily basis for the last 30 years. I believe in God for the best of reasons, simply because it works.
    And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.
    And what am I to make of Puzzled? Day in and day out, I see Puzzled arguing that so-and-so is not using the really correct term for whatever the discussion is about that day. And therefore “so-and-so” can’t possibly be a real Christian.
    Like a metaphorical librarian with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Puzzled has to have every single book in exactly the correct place, but I’m not sure Puzzled ever actually reads and understands any of them. It’s a very desperate, fear-filled, white-knuckled kind of faith. And that’s worthy of real pity.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    “Just out of curiosity…Why jump on Patrick?…”
    Considering the angry tone of many of the comments, I’d have to assume they are afraid of something. Absolutists such as Puzzled, etc. cannot accept the slightest questioning of their beliefs. In fact to even suggest that they are beliefs in the first place, instead of facts, is high heresy, and personally extremely threatening to many of them. This is why, over time, I have concluded that they don’t really have very much faith in God at all. By the evidence of the their actions, rather than their words. Otherwise why the fear-based angry responses? It’s because their “faith” as such, is predicated on the Bible being inerrant fact, it is brittle and easily damaged. It’s always subject to the next whim of logic or history that comes around.
    And it’s interesting that they have chosen to attack “my” faith, as being “insulting and intellectually lazy”, even though, if Frank Schaeffer is to be believed, “mystery and paradox”, is part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and therefore quite a mainstream point of view.
    John R. says:
    “Believing something that isn’t true isn’t noble–it’s tragic and stupid. If God isn’t there, in choosing to believe in him we should be “pitied above all men” as the Apostle Paul said…
    …”Faith” is not “irrationality.” Someone who holds “beliefs” that he doesn’t really believe is pitiable.”
    Who said anything about believing in something that isn’t true? God exists. I’m simply willing to admit that I can’t prove it to your satisfaction. My belief in God is quite firm and is no longer subject to doubts. Not because I read it somewhere in the Bible, but because I have lived with it on a daily basis for the last 30 years. I believe in God for the best of reasons, simply because it works.
    And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.
    And what am I to make of Puzzled? Day in and day out, I see Puzzled arguing that so-and-so is not using the really correct term for whatever the discussion is about that day. And therefore “so-and-so” can’t possibly be a real Christian.
    Like a metaphorical librarian with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Puzzled has to have every single book in exactly the correct place, but I’m not sure Puzzled ever actually reads and understands any of them. It’s a very desperate, fear-filled, white-knuckled kind of faith. And that’s worthy of real pity.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Joe said: Until you can prove that God is mythical you might want to drop that claim. It does nothing but make you look silly.
    That’s obviously not consistent, for it could be applied to your own lack of belief in a horde of deities. Ganesh, Odin, Vishnu, etc, I assume you don’t worship them or accept that they exist? Do you feel that makes you look silly? Do you feel it’s incumbent upon you to prove they do not exist to justify your lack of commitment to those deities?
    Puzzled said: DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.
    There is this book called the Bible, that all orthodox Christians agree is the Word of God enscribed.
    Yes, I’m aware of “a book called the Bible”. But I’m also aware that many people interpret it in many different, and mutually exclusive, ways. I simply asked the basics of evangelism and point out that it’s unclear to me precisely what you guys mean by certain terms therein. I don’t want to put words in your mouth or misunderstand, so I asked…. A few folks responded helpfully, several chose to be rude.
    I know of a concept called the Trinity and I could assume this is what you mean. Or you could tell me yourself. It’s your choice. A few days ago I assumed that all evangelicals believed in the event called the rapture. I was wrong, and I learned not to ‘assume’ about religious beliefs even if I think I have a good handle on those beliefs. Always best to give someone the chance to set the record straight about what they mean or understand a term to mean.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Joe said: Until you can prove that God is mythical you might want to drop that claim. It does nothing but make you look silly.
    That’s obviously not consistent, for it could be applied to your own lack of belief in a horde of deities. Ganesh, Odin, Vishnu, etc, I assume you don’t worship them or accept that they exist? Do you feel that makes you look silly? Do you feel it’s incumbent upon you to prove they do not exist to justify your lack of commitment to those deities?
    Puzzled said: DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.
    There is this book called the Bible, that all orthodox Christians agree is the Word of God enscribed.
    Yes, I’m aware of “a book called the Bible”. But I’m also aware that many people interpret it in many different, and mutually exclusive, ways. I simply asked the basics of evangelism and point out that it’s unclear to me precisely what you guys mean by certain terms therein. I don’t want to put words in your mouth or misunderstand, so I asked…. A few folks responded helpfully, several chose to be rude.
    I know of a concept called the Trinity and I could assume this is what you mean. Or you could tell me yourself. It’s your choice. A few days ago I assumed that all evangelicals believed in the event called the rapture. I was wrong, and I learned not to ‘assume’ about religious beliefs even if I think I have a good handle on those beliefs. Always best to give someone the chance to set the record straight about what they mean or understand a term to mean.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/ Macht

    “I simply asked the basics of evangelism and point out that it’s unclear to me precisely what you guys mean by certain terms therein.”
    I don’t mean to interupt but, no you didn’t simply do that. You went on to talk about “magical” beings and making references to Jim Jones, which, whether you realize it or not is terribly offensive.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com Macht

    “I simply asked the basics of evangelism and point out that it’s unclear to me precisely what you guys mean by certain terms therein.”
    I don’t mean to interupt but, no you didn’t simply do that. You went on to talk about “magical” beings and making references to Jim Jones, which, whether you realize it or not is terribly offensive.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Gryphon: I like that. It seems to me that by insisting that everything in the Bible is always absolute inerrant fact, that Evangelical Christians have replaced “Faith in God” with the fear that God does not exist.
    I must have missed this earlier. I think that you (and possibly Franky) have a misunderstanding about the Eastern Orthodox view of the Bible. As I understand it, they consider the seven ecumenical councils as inerrant. That is far more dogmatic than anything evangelicals claim.
    DS: That’s obviously not consistent, for it could be applied to your own lack of belief in a horde of deities. Ganesh, Odin, Vishnu, etc, I assume you don’t worship them or accept that they exist? Do you feel that makes you look silly? Do you feel it’s incumbent upon you to prove they do not exist to justify your lack of commitment to those deities?
    There is a difference in saying that some

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Gryphon: I like that. It seems to me that by insisting that everything in the Bible is always absolute inerrant fact, that Evangelical Christians have replaced “Faith in God” with the fear that God does not exist.
    I must have missed this earlier. I think that you (and possibly Franky) have a misunderstanding about the Eastern Orthodox view of the Bible. As I understand it, they consider the seven ecumenical councils as inerrant. That is far more dogmatic than anything evangelicals claim.
    DS: That’s obviously not consistent, for it could be applied to your own lack of belief in a horde of deities. Ganesh, Odin, Vishnu, etc, I assume you don’t worship them or accept that they exist? Do you feel that makes you look silly? Do you feel it’s incumbent upon you to prove they do not exist to justify your lack of commitment to those deities?
    There is a difference in saying that some

  • Mark

    ~DS~,
    On a web site titled “Hindi Outpost”, you would be seen as either “silly” to quote Joe or trolling for irate responses if you referred to Vishnu as a mythical/magical creature. Pay attention to your context, you wouldn’t wear pajamas to a wedding or the opera no?
    Also, (if) your polite inquiries would probably get a more reasoned response. In the spirit of honest inquiry this is what you seek, no? If not, well…..

  • Mark

    ~DS~,
    On a web site titled “Hindi Outpost”, you would be seen as either “silly” to quote Joe or trolling for irate responses if you referred to Vishnu as a mythical/magical creature. Pay attention to your context, you wouldn’t wear pajamas to a wedding or the opera no?
    Also, (if) your polite inquiries would probably get a more reasoned response. In the spirit of honest inquiry this is what you seek, no? If not, well…..

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Joe,
    I’ve given my view on supernatural claims in general many times. I don’t single out your supernatural claims for extra-special ridicule. I ridicule them all.
    Yours are the type I encounter the most often. And, to be fair, even the really rude and hostile people here are nicer than the more extreme fundamentalist Muslim bloggers. Whether it’s politics or evolution, fundamentalist Muslims tend to be, [are not always] quite intolerantr about differing viewpoints of any kind.
    And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.
    I’m more concerned with your specific claims about the observable world which I do single out; usually for comment and usually related to evolutionary biology.
    But my comment/query was poorly stated yuo refer to was ill-concieved. What I was trying to convey is how would one distinguish between a fully mythical, nonexistent being, and one which is ‘real’, or based on some real component, if we have no verifiable contact with any deities at all?
    If you have no way to question the deity directly, no way to test it and see if it really is what it says it is, then it seems to me that you would have to apply some common sense and/or observe the natural world to gain insight into which way a deity wants you to behave when facing two contradictory claims by adherents or mutually contradictory claims about what the Bible means on a specific issue.
    I think that’s part of what Patrick was driving at. If you run into a situation where your interpretation of what the Bible says about the physical reality of the universe runs headlong into the empirical evidence, then you are allowed to adjust your interpretation. Indeed, you HAVE to adjust it; Otherwise it would just boil down to who you believe, salesman sizzle with No substance. And buying into a claim which turns out to be comopletely false would definitely make anyone who falls prey to that look silly.
    Look I didn’t mean to start an argument … on this thread anyway. I really wanted to know the difference between an evangelical and a catholic or other non evangelical (I’m assuming Catholics are not evangelical which it appears may not be accurate).
    Your answer at the end is useful. I didn’t realize evangelicalism was so broad. I was thinking it was much narrower. That’s the kind of thing I was trying to understand.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Joe,
    I’ve given my view on supernatural claims in general many times. I don’t single out your supernatural claims for extra-special ridicule. I ridicule them all.
    Yours are the type I encounter the most often. And, to be fair, even the really rude and hostile people here are nicer than the more extreme fundamentalist Muslim bloggers. Whether it’s politics or evolution, fundamentalist Muslims tend to be, [are not always] quite intolerantr about differing viewpoints of any kind.
    And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.
    I’m more concerned with your specific claims about the observable world which I do single out; usually for comment and usually related to evolutionary biology.
    But my comment/query was poorly stated yuo refer to was ill-concieved. What I was trying to convey is how would one distinguish between a fully mythical, nonexistent being, and one which is ‘real’, or based on some real component, if we have no verifiable contact with any deities at all?
    If you have no way to question the deity directly, no way to test it and see if it really is what it says it is, then it seems to me that you would have to apply some common sense and/or observe the natural world to gain insight into which way a deity wants you to behave when facing two contradictory claims by adherents or mutually contradictory claims about what the Bible means on a specific issue.
    I think that’s part of what Patrick was driving at. If you run into a situation where your interpretation of what the Bible says about the physical reality of the universe runs headlong into the empirical evidence, then you are allowed to adjust your interpretation. Indeed, you HAVE to adjust it; Otherwise it would just boil down to who you believe, salesman sizzle with No substance. And buying into a claim which turns out to be comopletely false would definitely make anyone who falls prey to that look silly.
    Look I didn’t mean to start an argument … on this thread anyway. I really wanted to know the difference between an evangelical and a catholic or other non evangelical (I’m assuming Catholics are not evangelical which it appears may not be accurate).
    Your answer at the end is useful. I didn’t realize evangelicalism was so broad. I was thinking it was much narrower. That’s the kind of thing I was trying to understand.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    DS,
    I didn’t realize evangelicalism was so broad. I was thinking it was much narrower. That’s the kind of thing I was trying to understand.
    Like the Republicans, we have a “Big Tent.” ; )
    You might want to check out a couple of posts I wrote on that topic:
    Fundies, Holy Rollers, and Born-agains: Defining Religious Labels
    What is an

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    DS,
    I didn’t realize evangelicalism was so broad. I was thinking it was much narrower. That’s the kind of thing I was trying to understand.
    Like the Republicans, we have a “Big Tent.” ; )
    You might want to check out a couple of posts I wrote on that topic:
    Fundies, Holy Rollers, and Born-agains: Defining Religious Labels
    What is an

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Mark if our hypothetical Hindu Blogger was actively posting examplars of Hindu creationism and ridiculing the scientific establishment and/or repeating what are known distortions of science, then yes; I would wade right in.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Mark if our hypothetical Hindu Blogger was actively posting examplars of Hindu creationism and ridiculing the scientific establishment and/or repeating what are known distortions of science, then yes; I would wade right in.

  • http://www.joshclaybourn.com/blog Joshua Claybourn

    Great post Joe. I’m pretty sure that Schaeffer has influenced me as much as any other modern author.

  • http://www.joshclaybourn.com/blog Joshua Claybourn

    Great post Joe. I’m pretty sure that Schaeffer has influenced me as much as any other modern author.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Dang Joe, I wish you had just pointed me to those in the first place instead of letting me shoot my mouth off ;)
    I can’t believe I missed them in the first place.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Dang Joe, I wish you had just pointed me to those in the first place instead of letting me shoot my mouth off ;)
    I can’t believe I missed them in the first place.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/ Macht

    “And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.”
    Euclid proved thousands of years ago that a highest prime number does not exist.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com Macht

    “And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.”
    Euclid proved thousands of years ago that a highest prime number does not exist.

  • David Marcoe

    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    Where is that verse, David?

    Usually they are framed with a passage to the effect of, “And I recived a vision from the Lord…” There are other difficult passages that deal with issues that aren’t of major doctrine, but they aren’t completely undeciphrable either. Its that the depths of their meaning become exceedingly hard to concieve. In a handful of cases they just aren’t clear enough to resolve the issue any one way. But they don’t say anything earth-shattering or contradictory to the faith.
    And if that isn’t a sufficient explanation, Larry, I don’t know what is. I betting their is a fifty percent chance or better you’re going to pull a quote out of this post, ask another question with a tone designed to be subtlety snide (you aren’t nearly as subtle or clever as you think you are…), and then end it with a phrase that amounts to a facial expression of mock innocence.
    Save us all the trouble of reading another remark and use google. There are plenty of people out there who can give better answers than me.

  • David Marcoe

    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    Where is that verse, David?

    Usually they are framed with a passage to the effect of, “And I recived a vision from the Lord…” There are other difficult passages that deal with issues that aren’t of major doctrine, but they aren’t completely undeciphrable either. Its that the depths of their meaning become exceedingly hard to concieve. In a handful of cases they just aren’t clear enough to resolve the issue any one way. But they don’t say anything earth-shattering or contradictory to the faith.
    And if that isn’t a sufficient explanation, Larry, I don’t know what is. I betting their is a fifty percent chance or better you’re going to pull a quote out of this post, ask another question with a tone designed to be subtlety snide (you aren’t nearly as subtle or clever as you think you are…), and then end it with a phrase that amounts to a facial expression of mock innocence.
    Save us all the trouble of reading another remark and use google. There are plenty of people out there who can give better answers than me.

  • David Marcoe

    Like a metaphorical librarian with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Puzzled has to have every single book in exactly the correct place, but I’m not sure Puzzled ever actually reads and understands any of them. It’s a very desperate, fear-filled, white-knuckled kind of faith. And that’s worthy of real pity.
    Patrick, nothing anyone says here is going to even spark one iota of thought in your mind that deviates from your, ironically, very rigid opinions. And conversely, very few people here find your opinions even mildly thoughtful. So, why do you post?
    I mean, honestly, if you feel like you have something to contribute, then I understand, but everything you have said so far are variations on a theme that is laughable in both how judgemental and smug it is. And now you’re engaging in ad-hominem attacks and dulling out sarcasm. Yeah, real constructive…
    My only explanation is that it inflates your ego. Now, to a certain extent, ego is involved with all of us. We want to be the ones to make the insightful or intellgient comment, but for the most part, we also try actually make constructive comments. I have yet to see that from you in this thread.
    And if you were to meet even my own pastors, I have a feeling you would be very embarrassed by the comments you’ve made here. And heck, I am willing to give you a phone humber or two so you can have a nice long conservation with them. Just ask.

  • David Marcoe

    Like a metaphorical librarian with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Puzzled has to have every single book in exactly the correct place, but I’m not sure Puzzled ever actually reads and understands any of them. It’s a very desperate, fear-filled, white-knuckled kind of faith. And that’s worthy of real pity.
    Patrick, nothing anyone says here is going to even spark one iota of thought in your mind that deviates from your, ironically, very rigid opinions. And conversely, very few people here find your opinions even mildly thoughtful. So, why do you post?
    I mean, honestly, if you feel like you have something to contribute, then I understand, but everything you have said so far are variations on a theme that is laughable in both how judgemental and smug it is. And now you’re engaging in ad-hominem attacks and dulling out sarcasm. Yeah, real constructive…
    My only explanation is that it inflates your ego. Now, to a certain extent, ego is involved with all of us. We want to be the ones to make the insightful or intellgient comment, but for the most part, we also try actually make constructive comments. I have yet to see that from you in this thread.
    And if you were to meet even my own pastors, I have a feeling you would be very embarrassed by the comments you’ve made here. And heck, I am willing to give you a phone humber or two so you can have a nice long conservation with them. Just ask.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Yes I’m aware of that Macht. And I did not say it was impossible to prove anything. I said: And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.
    Lacking a definition, an example, lacking any evidence of any kind, proving the non-existence of any claim as outlined above is considered extra-ordinalry difficult. For example, can you prove the tooth fairy does not exist and show your work?
    I can show that there is no largest prime numner however. I’ll do so and more, I’ll show the set is countably infinite.
    The correct formulation is that the cardinality of the set of real prime nunbers is countably infinite. Thus, this question can be restated as a positive. I.E. Prove the set of prime numbers IS countably infinite. (The anology here to our question would be ‘prove that God DOES exist’ A perfectly reaonable request imo)
    Euclid had a definition to work with; the same one we use in elementary number theory today. A Prime number P is an integer which cannot be written as two integers A and B greater than one such that P = A/B.
    Proof 1: The set of Prime numbers is infinite.
    Suppose there was a largest prime number; call it N. Then there are only finitely many prime numbers, because each has to be between 1 and N. Let’s call those prime numbers a, b, c, …, N. Then consider this number:
    M = a * b * c * … * N + 1
    Is this new number M a prime number? We could check for divisibility:
    M is not divisible by a, because M / a = b * c * … * N + 1 / a
    M is not divisible by b, because M / b = a * c * … * N + 1 / b
    M is not divisible by c, because M / c = a * b * … * N + 1 / c
    …..
    Hence, M is not divisible by a, b, c, …, N. Since these are all possible prime numbers, M is not divisible by any prime number, and therefore M is not divisible by any number. That means that M is also a prime number. But clearly M > N, which is impossible, because N was supposed to be the largest possible prime number. Therefore, our assumption is wrong, and thus there is no largest prime number.
    source: http://www.shu.edu/projects/reals/logic/proofs/euclidth.html
    Proof 2: The set of prime numbers is countable
    Let 1 map to 2, let 2 map to 3, let 3 map to 5 …. let M map to P … let M+1 map tp P [subscript1] …. The map is one to one and onto. source http://people.bath.ac.uk/ma2trac/cardinality.html
    Lastly, the union of a countable set or sets is countable
    source proof available on request
    Do you have a similar or even remotely analytical analogue for deities Macht?

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Yes I’m aware of that Macht. And I did not say it was impossible to prove anything. I said: And you know better than to try and challenge someone with the burden of proving a negative.
    Lacking a definition, an example, lacking any evidence of any kind, proving the non-existence of any claim as outlined above is considered extra-ordinalry difficult. For example, can you prove the tooth fairy does not exist and show your work?
    I can show that there is no largest prime numner however. I’ll do so and more, I’ll show the set is countably infinite.
    The correct formulation is that the cardinality of the set of real prime nunbers is countably infinite. Thus, this question can be restated as a positive. I.E. Prove the set of prime numbers IS countably infinite. (The anology here to our question would be ‘prove that God DOES exist’ A perfectly reaonable request imo)
    Euclid had a definition to work with; the same one we use in elementary number theory today. A Prime number P is an integer which cannot be written as two integers A and B greater than one such that P = A/B.
    Proof 1: The set of Prime numbers is infinite.
    Suppose there was a largest prime number; call it N. Then there are only finitely many prime numbers, because each has to be between 1 and N. Let’s call those prime numbers a, b, c, …, N. Then consider this number:
    M = a * b * c * … * N + 1
    Is this new number M a prime number? We could check for divisibility:
    M is not divisible by a, because M / a = b * c * … * N + 1 / a
    M is not divisible by b, because M / b = a * c * … * N + 1 / b
    M is not divisible by c, because M / c = a * b * … * N + 1 / c
    …..
    Hence, M is not divisible by a, b, c, …, N. Since these are all possible prime numbers, M is not divisible by any prime number, and therefore M is not divisible by any number. That means that M is also a prime number. But clearly M > N, which is impossible, because N was supposed to be the largest possible prime number. Therefore, our assumption is wrong, and thus there is no largest prime number.
    source: http://www.shu.edu/projects/reals/logic/proofs/euclidth.html
    Proof 2: The set of prime numbers is countable
    Let 1 map to 2, let 2 map to 3, let 3 map to 5 …. let M map to P … let M+1 map tp P [subscript1] …. The map is one to one and onto. source http://people.bath.ac.uk/ma2trac/cardinality.html
    Lastly, the union of a countable set or sets is countable
    source proof available on request
    Do you have a similar or even remotely analytical analogue for deities Macht?

  • Mark

    Larry,
    You wrote:
    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    I’ll take a stab at a response. Saint Paul wrote, 1st Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
    Nobody reads the bible in a vacuum. When we start, we are guided by parents, teachers, and elders to hear/study the verses that are fundamental and *are* major doctrine. As we grow in understanding we read more and confront the more difficult passages. Origin (an influential 3rd century christian thinker) felt that the difficult passages were put there on purpose for us to stumble over, puzzle and work at it and by doing so grow in our understanding.
    So I guess, the answer for you is that perhaps you should be reading a bible with a good commentary attached, so that *it* could point out the difficult passages and possible resolutions for you … Or you could join a bible study. The bible, like so many things in life didn’t come equipped with a instruction manual written at the 4th grade level.

  • Mark

    Larry,
    You wrote:
    Really? I missed that verse in the Bible that says, “This next part is difficult and that is intentional on the Lord’s part. Thus sayeth the Lord.”
    I’ll take a stab at a response. Saint Paul wrote, 1st Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
    Nobody reads the bible in a vacuum. When we start, we are guided by parents, teachers, and elders to hear/study the verses that are fundamental and *are* major doctrine. As we grow in understanding we read more and confront the more difficult passages. Origin (an influential 3rd century christian thinker) felt that the difficult passages were put there on purpose for us to stumble over, puzzle and work at it and by doing so grow in our understanding.
    So I guess, the answer for you is that perhaps you should be reading a bible with a good commentary attached, so that *it* could point out the difficult passages and possible resolutions for you … Or you could join a bible study. The bible, like so many things in life didn’t come equipped with a instruction manual written at the 4th grade level.

  • Mark
  • Mark
  • Mark

    ~DS~,
    It also just occurred to me that mathematical proofs are one thing. But, take a look at how “well” Logical Positivism fared. Heck, philosophers have difficulty deciding if you or I exist.
    Kant required postulating God in order to establish his metaphysics. Modern science has a peculiar set of blinders with respect to it’s own foundations.

  • Mark

    ~DS~,
    It also just occurred to me that mathematical proofs are one thing. But, take a look at how “well” Logical Positivism fared. Heck, philosophers have difficulty deciding if you or I exist.
    Kant required postulating God in order to establish his metaphysics. Modern science has a peculiar set of blinders with respect to it’s own foundations.

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Marcoe
    You totally side-stepped my question. You said the passages were “intentionally difficult”. I’m asking you how do you KNOW as a matter of Biblical fact, that God intended the passages to be difficult. Perhaps you can also tell me why God made them difficult and how you know that. Did God make the passages difficult for everybody or just you?
    Mark wrote
    “Origin (an influential 3rd century christian thinker) felt that the difficult passages were put there on purpose for us to stumble over, puzzle and work at it and by doing so grow in our understanding.”
    Um, okay. So this guy in the 3rd century “felt” that “the difficult passages” were put there “on purpose”. I assume Origin meant that God put them there “on purpose.” Which passages did “Origin” find were difficult? Did Origin have some religious “experience” that led him to this conclusion, or did he just have a reading comprehension problem?
    Just out of curiosity, is Origin famous for any religious sayings or something? I couldn’t find much info on the guy online except a few sites where some pointy-head types were debating whether some books in the Bible were important or not (i.e., should Origin be taken seriously).

  • Larry Lord

    Mr. Marcoe
    You totally side-stepped my question. You said the passages were “intentionally difficult”. I’m asking you how do you KNOW as a matter of Biblical fact, that God intended the passages to be difficult. Perhaps you can also tell me why God made them difficult and how you know that. Did God make the passages difficult for everybody or just you?
    Mark wrote
    “Origin (an influential 3rd century christian thinker) felt that the difficult passages were put there on purpose for us to stumble over, puzzle and work at it and by doing so grow in our understanding.”
    Um, okay. So this guy in the 3rd century “felt” that “the difficult passages” were put there “on purpose”. I assume Origin meant that God put them there “on purpose.” Which passages did “Origin” find were difficult? Did Origin have some religious “experience” that led him to this conclusion, or did he just have a reading comprehension problem?
    Just out of curiosity, is Origin famous for any religious sayings or something? I couldn’t find much info on the guy online except a few sites where some pointy-head types were debating whether some books in the Bible were important or not (i.e., should Origin be taken seriously).

  • Larry Lord

    Ah, it’s “Origen,” not Origin.
    http://www.ctlibrary.com/ch/2003/80/2.18.html
    This passage is interesting:
    “Origen does provide us with an object lesson in the pitfalls of accommodation

  • Larry Lord

    Ah, it’s “Origen,” not Origin.
    http://www.ctlibrary.com/ch/2003/80/2.18.html
    This passage is interesting:
    “Origen does provide us with an object lesson in the pitfalls of accommodation

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/ Macht

    DS,
    I was just pointing out that there’s nothing wrong with putting that burden on someone if that person is making the assertion.
    And, as you point out, any “negative” assertion can be formulated in to a “positive” one.
    Prove that god doesn’t exist ==> Prove that this is a godless universe
    What if I claimed “A perpetual motion machine doesn’t exist?” I couldn’t come close to providing an “analytic analogue” comparable to the proof above but I’m sure I could convince you beyond all reasonable doubt (not that you need convincing). Aside from mathematical proof it’s about as close to proof you will get.
    So I don’t really see why Joe should know better.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com Macht

    DS,
    I was just pointing out that there’s nothing wrong with putting that burden on someone if that person is making the assertion.
    And, as you point out, any “negative” assertion can be formulated in to a “positive” one.
    Prove that god doesn’t exist ==> Prove that this is a godless universe
    What if I claimed “A perpetual motion machine doesn’t exist?” I couldn’t come close to providing an “analytic analogue” comparable to the proof above but I’m sure I could convince you beyond all reasonable doubt (not that you need convincing). Aside from mathematical proof it’s about as close to proof you will get.
    So I don’t really see why Joe should know better.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I agree Mark. You’re dead right.
    Math is very different from science in that respect. I suppose I could have tried to make that point without the mathematical underpinning, but I am a mathematician, at least that’s what I spent my time doing in grad school. So I like talking about math.
    And anything I say on this Blog has to be backed up with a very concrete example. If you, as a theist reg state that math and science are very different and that proof doesn’t really apply to science in the formal sense in the same way it applies to math, then that will likely be accepted. Those of who have training will know you’re right, and those who are likely to not have scientific/analytical training are usually the more religiously inclined and will not challenge you.
    If I say the same thing, I’m likely to get a couple of snide remarks, a few friendly challenges, maybe a gentle or not so gentle line by line treatise on exactly why I’m wrong with every word highlighted … anyway that’s what it feels like. I don’t want to create even more work for myself, so I try to preemptively think of any objection ahead of time with every post. It can get tiring, but it’s voluntary and I sort of enjoy it…mostly ;)

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    I agree Mark. You’re dead right.
    Math is very different from science in that respect. I suppose I could have tried to make that point without the mathematical underpinning, but I am a mathematician, at least that’s what I spent my time doing in grad school. So I like talking about math.
    And anything I say on this Blog has to be backed up with a very concrete example. If you, as a theist reg state that math and science are very different and that proof doesn’t really apply to science in the formal sense in the same way it applies to math, then that will likely be accepted. Those of who have training will know you’re right, and those who are likely to not have scientific/analytical training are usually the more religiously inclined and will not challenge you.
    If I say the same thing, I’m likely to get a couple of snide remarks, a few friendly challenges, maybe a gentle or not so gentle line by line treatise on exactly why I’m wrong with every word highlighted … anyway that’s what it feels like. I don’t want to create even more work for myself, so I try to preemptively think of any objection ahead of time with every post. It can get tiring, but it’s voluntary and I sort of enjoy it…mostly ;)

  • David Marcoe

    You totally side-stepped my question. You said the passages were “intentionally difficult”. I’m asking you how do you KNOW as a matter of Biblical fact, that God intended the passages to be difficult. Perhaps you can also tell me why God made them difficult and how you know that. Did God make the passages difficult for everybody or just you?
    Trademark snide remark. At least we can say you’re consistent…
    Thank you for clarifying, but FYI, I didn’t sidestep. I was too wrapped up in what I was writing and I missed that part of your previous statement. The difficult passages in question, particualrly sections involving visions, are universally acknowledged by everyone to be difficult passages. It is a bit like asking if the sky is blue (of course if you want to get really technical, it is just blue wavelength of the visible spectrum scattering through the atmosphere), or if gravity exists. It is self-evident to anyone who reads them.

  • David Marcoe

    You totally side-stepped my question. You said the passages were “intentionally difficult”. I’m asking you how do you KNOW as a matter of Biblical fact, that God intended the passages to be difficult. Perhaps you can also tell me why God made them difficult and how you know that. Did God make the passages difficult for everybody or just you?
    Trademark snide remark. At least we can say you’re consistent…
    Thank you for clarifying, but FYI, I didn’t sidestep. I was too wrapped up in what I was writing and I missed that part of your previous statement. The difficult passages in question, particualrly sections involving visions, are universally acknowledged by everyone to be difficult passages. It is a bit like asking if the sky is blue (of course if you want to get really technical, it is just blue wavelength of the visible spectrum scattering through the atmosphere), or if gravity exists. It is self-evident to anyone who reads them.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/ Patrick

    David Marcoe says:
    “Patrick, nothing anyone says here is going to even spark one iota of thought in your mind that deviates from your, ironically, very rigid opinions. And conversely, very few people here find your opinions even mildly thoughtful. So, why do you post?”
    I suppose I could call this the next phase of denial that I described in my original post, where the fearful cliff-dweller attempts to kill the messenger or otherwise shut them up. Fortunately, I don’t actually have a real martyr complex so it makes no difference to me.
    The reason I post is that like anyone else, I get the urge to express an idea that has crept into my head in response to something I have read. I wasn’t aware there is some kind of stupidity test that I have to pass in order to post here. And you are quite incorrect in thinking that I don’t re-evaluate my beliefs in response to what I read here and in other places. This is a constant process. I simply haven’t found anything yet that has convinced me to change my fundamental views in any significant way. Have you?
    I’ll admit I do enjoy tweaking noses. Especially when the majority of posts continuously seem to smugly congratulate each other on their cleverness. It’s often a closed-loop method of discussion. One person says something, then the next person agrees with it, and the next, etc. until everyone agrees that it is the “truth”. But just because everyone agrees that the world is flat, it does not make it so.
    And lest you think I’m persecuting “Evangelicals” personally, I will say it’s a fault of just about any blog or message board. It’s just human nature. This could just as easily be a blog about cats, and the same thing would happen. It’s probably the same group-think that occurred at CBS to create Rathergate.
    So you might say the reason I post is simply to remind you that not everyone on the planet agrees with you, and that they are not necessarily raving lunatics for doing so. I’m sorry if my posts aren’t intelligent enough or contain enough big words with many syllables to satisfy your lofty standards, but you are free to disregard them if you wish.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    David Marcoe says:
    “Patrick, nothing anyone says here is going to even spark one iota of thought in your mind that deviates from your, ironically, very rigid opinions. And conversely, very few people here find your opinions even mildly thoughtful. So, why do you post?”
    I suppose I could call this the next phase of denial that I described in my original post, where the fearful cliff-dweller attempts to kill the messenger or otherwise shut them up. Fortunately, I don’t actually have a real martyr complex so it makes no difference to me.
    The reason I post is that like anyone else, I get the urge to express an idea that has crept into my head in response to something I have read. I wasn’t aware there is some kind of stupidity test that I have to pass in order to post here. And you are quite incorrect in thinking that I don’t re-evaluate my beliefs in response to what I read here and in other places. This is a constant process. I simply haven’t found anything yet that has convinced me to change my fundamental views in any significant way. Have you?
    I’ll admit I do enjoy tweaking noses. Especially when the majority of posts continuously seem to smugly congratulate each other on their cleverness. It’s often a closed-loop method of discussion. One person says something, then the next person agrees with it, and the next, etc. until everyone agrees that it is the “truth”. But just because everyone agrees that the world is flat, it does not make it so.
    And lest you think I’m persecuting “Evangelicals” personally, I will say it’s a fault of just about any blog or message board. It’s just human nature. This could just as easily be a blog about cats, and the same thing would happen. It’s probably the same group-think that occurred at CBS to create Rathergate.
    So you might say the reason I post is simply to remind you that not everyone on the planet agrees with you, and that they are not necessarily raving lunatics for doing so. I’m sorry if my posts aren’t intelligent enough or contain enough big words with many syllables to satisfy your lofty standards, but you are free to disregard them if you wish.

  • Larry Lord

    Marcoe sez
    “It is self-evident to anyone who reads them.”
    Goodness googoo, David, is that really your answer? You can’t just admit that you might have stepped across the line by three or four feet with your “intentionally difficult” comment? Sure you don’t want to just say that this “intentional” obfuscation on the part of the divinely inspired scribes way back when isn’t just something someone told you once and it sounded pretty good so you though you’d roll with it?
    Once again: I attempt to focus your attention on the word “intentional”. I’ll grant you (without asking for evidence) that some passages are “difficult” for “anyone” and “universally acknowledged” as such. But I am asking what your evidence is that God made parts of the Bible *intentionally* difficult to understand. And why would God do that? Do you buy this theory of Origen’s or do you believe that Origen’s theory is more than a theory because Origen, too, was divinely inspired and inerrant (at least sometimes)?

  • Larry Lord

    Marcoe sez
    “It is self-evident to anyone who reads them.”
    Goodness googoo, David, is that really your answer? You can’t just admit that you might have stepped across the line by three or four feet with your “intentionally difficult” comment? Sure you don’t want to just say that this “intentional” obfuscation on the part of the divinely inspired scribes way back when isn’t just something someone told you once and it sounded pretty good so you though you’d roll with it?
    Once again: I attempt to focus your attention on the word “intentional”. I’ll grant you (without asking for evidence) that some passages are “difficult” for “anyone” and “universally acknowledged” as such. But I am asking what your evidence is that God made parts of the Bible *intentionally* difficult to understand. And why would God do that? Do you buy this theory of Origen’s or do you believe that Origen’s theory is more than a theory because Origen, too, was divinely inspired and inerrant (at least sometimes)?

  • Kent

    Larry:
    Evangelical Christians believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the Divine Inspiration of Scripture, and the infallibility of God. Asking if the difficult passages are “intentional” is a bit like asking if Derek Jeter really meant to field that ground ball.
    Why does God include those difficult passages? I don’t know … I think Origen is on to something. I return to the Scriptures because I find something fresh there every time. If it were a more “pragmatic” book of do’s and don’ts, I doubt if there would be the same fascination.

  • Kent

    Larry:
    Evangelical Christians believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the Divine Inspiration of Scripture, and the infallibility of God. Asking if the difficult passages are “intentional” is a bit like asking if Derek Jeter really meant to field that ground ball.
    Why does God include those difficult passages? I don’t know … I think Origen is on to something. I return to the Scriptures because I find something fresh there every time. If it were a more “pragmatic” book of do’s and don’ts, I doubt if there would be the same fascination.

  • David Marcoe

    Goodness googoo, David, is that really your answer? You can’t just admit that you might have stepped across the line by three or four feet with your “intentionally difficult” comment? Sure you don’t want to just say that this “intentional” obfuscation on the part of the divinely inspired scribes way back when isn’t just something someone told you once and it sounded pretty good so you though you’d roll with it?
    Larry, I read and study the Bible for myself, so starting with the whole “I heard something from someone else” presumption is stupid. My statement is in reference to the vision passages of Daniel and the book of Revelation, where the visions themselves are not plainly spoken; large stretches of the passages are metaphors with out further elaboration.
    When compounded with Christ’s statements about his second coming, like these passages:
    Matthew 24:42-44
    Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
    Matthew 24:36-37
    No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
    So, now, we have Christ’s statements, but passages and an entire book concerning the end that contain heavy use of metaphor and are elaborated on, opposite of the majority of Scripture, where descriptive language either has a clear context or is simile, where like or as connects the reader to an immediate explanation of the description. It is a safe bet that this stuff intentionally veiled. Why? Who knows. It may make sense to a later group of people. That is the most logical explanation available.

  • David Marcoe

    Goodness googoo, David, is that really your answer? You can’t just admit that you might have stepped across the line by three or four feet with your “intentionally difficult” comment? Sure you don’t want to just say that this “intentional” obfuscation on the part of the divinely inspired scribes way back when isn’t just something someone told you once and it sounded pretty good so you though you’d roll with it?
    Larry, I read and study the Bible for myself, so starting with the whole “I heard something from someone else” presumption is stupid. My statement is in reference to the vision passages of Daniel and the book of Revelation, where the visions themselves are not plainly spoken; large stretches of the passages are metaphors with out further elaboration.
    When compounded with Christ’s statements about his second coming, like these passages:
    Matthew 24:42-44
    Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
    Matthew 24:36-37
    No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
    So, now, we have Christ’s statements, but passages and an entire book concerning the end that contain heavy use of metaphor and are elaborated on, opposite of the majority of Scripture, where descriptive language either has a clear context or is simile, where like or as connects the reader to an immediate explanation of the description. It is a safe bet that this stuff intentionally veiled. Why? Who knows. It may make sense to a later group of people. That is the most logical explanation available.

  • David Marcoe

    Edit: “…and are not elaborated on.”

  • David Marcoe

    Edit: “…and are not elaborated on.”

  • http://johnrabe.blogspot.com/ John R.

    Patrick says: “Who said anything about believing in something that isn’t true? God exists. I’m simply willing to admit that I can’t prove it to your satisfaction. My belief in God is quite firm and is no longer subject to doubts. Not because I read it somewhere in the Bible, but because I have lived with it on a daily basis for the last 30 years. I believe in God for the best of reasons, simply because it works.
    Ah, pragmatism as a test for what’s true! And, of course, if atheism works for another guy, that’s true, and Hinduism is true for whom it works, etc. I have to respect someone who’s so boldly willing to hurl himself into an epistemelogical quagmire. “The best of reasons” indeed. And here I’m just naieve enough to think that “the best of reasons” for believing something is that it’s actually TRUE.
    And, since you asked, YOU said something about believing in something that doesn’t exist. Your exact words were “Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway.” Now you’re changing your story to say you simply can’t demonstrate His existence. Well that’s another argument, but it’s not what you originally asserted.
    Regarding your original statement “”Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway,” I again maintain that that’s not “real faith,”–it’s pitiable credulity. Choosing to believe in something that you really think might not exist is rational suicide. If God doesn’t exist but we choose to believe in him anyway, we are to be pitied above all men.
    Patrick says: “And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.” I’m sure He’ll let you know too. Quite sure.

  • http://johnrabe.blogspot.com John R.

    Patrick says: “Who said anything about believing in something that isn’t true? God exists. I’m simply willing to admit that I can’t prove it to your satisfaction. My belief in God is quite firm and is no longer subject to doubts. Not because I read it somewhere in the Bible, but because I have lived with it on a daily basis for the last 30 years. I believe in God for the best of reasons, simply because it works.
    Ah, pragmatism as a test for what’s true! And, of course, if atheism works for another guy, that’s true, and Hinduism is true for whom it works, etc. I have to respect someone who’s so boldly willing to hurl himself into an epistemelogical quagmire. “The best of reasons” indeed. And here I’m just naieve enough to think that “the best of reasons” for believing something is that it’s actually TRUE.
    And, since you asked, YOU said something about believing in something that doesn’t exist. Your exact words were “Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway.” Now you’re changing your story to say you simply can’t demonstrate His existence. Well that’s another argument, but it’s not what you originally asserted.
    Regarding your original statement “”Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway,” I again maintain that that’s not “real faith,”–it’s pitiable credulity. Choosing to believe in something that you really think might not exist is rational suicide. If God doesn’t exist but we choose to believe in him anyway, we are to be pitied above all men.
    Patrick says: “And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.” I’m sure He’ll let you know too. Quite sure.

  • Puzzled

    Joe, the reason you call Noll an evangelical is because you use a definition for evangelical that no evangelical would use. I’m sure the web designers who killed themselves to go to the imaginary starship on the other side of comet Hale-Bopp thought that they were starchildren, but that didn’t make it so.
    I heard about the knickers either from Jock MacGregor this spring, or else possibly, but less likely from Jerram at the most recent conference here.
    Try -reading- _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ instead of just looking at the index. Of course, I’ve also heard a lot of verbal criticism of his errors from L’Abri workers that aren’t in print.
    Pinnock has denied the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God. Those aren’t merely Reformed doctrines (I’m not a Calvinist) those are also the beliefs of Judaism, all of Christianity, Islam, and if I’m not mistaken, also of Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Ba’hai. Pinnock and the other henotheists are further from evangelicalism than any of those non-Christian religions.
    As to Reagan, he was indeed an evangelical and a fan of the Schaeffers. Furthermore he wrote and delivered and eriudite paper on Wolfhart von Pannenburg in Europe after his presidency. You’ve got to stop believing the hate propaganda of the Left.
    Mark, several of the non-Christian regulars here are just the equivalent of Jew-baiters. Their recreation is to insult Christians. On the internet, we call them trolls. Mostly I ignore them, as I also encourage you to do, but occasionaly it is possible that one of them might have an honest question, and such are worth answering.
    DS, Joe makes up ‘evangelical’ as he goes. Jesus said something about ‘wolves’ and ‘false shepherds’. Evangelicalism is defined by the Lausanne Covenant and the two encyclicals from the ecumenical council of Chicago. Neither Joe nor anyone else who rejects the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures is an evangelical. Or Catholic, or Orthodox, or Copt, etc.

  • Puzzled

    Joe, the reason you call Noll an evangelical is because you use a definition for evangelical that no evangelical would use. I’m sure the web designers who killed themselves to go to the imaginary starship on the other side of comet Hale-Bopp thought that they were starchildren, but that didn’t make it so.
    I heard about the knickers either from Jock MacGregor this spring, or else possibly, but less likely from Jerram at the most recent conference here.
    Try -reading- _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ instead of just looking at the index. Of course, I’ve also heard a lot of verbal criticism of his errors from L’Abri workers that aren’t in print.
    Pinnock has denied the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God. Those aren’t merely Reformed doctrines (I’m not a Calvinist) those are also the beliefs of Judaism, all of Christianity, Islam, and if I’m not mistaken, also of Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Ba’hai. Pinnock and the other henotheists are further from evangelicalism than any of those non-Christian religions.
    As to Reagan, he was indeed an evangelical and a fan of the Schaeffers. Furthermore he wrote and delivered and eriudite paper on Wolfhart von Pannenburg in Europe after his presidency. You’ve got to stop believing the hate propaganda of the Left.
    Mark, several of the non-Christian regulars here are just the equivalent of Jew-baiters. Their recreation is to insult Christians. On the internet, we call them trolls. Mostly I ignore them, as I also encourage you to do, but occasionaly it is possible that one of them might have an honest question, and such are worth answering.
    DS, Joe makes up ‘evangelical’ as he goes. Jesus said something about ‘wolves’ and ‘false shepherds’. Evangelicalism is defined by the Lausanne Covenant and the two encyclicals from the ecumenical council of Chicago. Neither Joe nor anyone else who rejects the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures is an evangelical. Or Catholic, or Orthodox, or Copt, etc.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Puzzled,
    Joe, the reason you call Noll an evangelical is because you use a definition
    for evangelical that no evangelical would use.

    Yes, and no true Scotsmen put sugar on their porridge, do they?
    Try -reading- _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ instead of just looking at the
    index.

    I did. There is no mention of Sider. Perhaps you should be more careful about making such claims.
    Pinnock has denied the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God.
    That

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Puzzled,
    Joe, the reason you call Noll an evangelical is because you use a definition
    for evangelical that no evangelical would use.

    Yes, and no true Scotsmen put sugar on their porridge, do they?
    Try -reading- _The Great Evangelical Disaster_ instead of just looking at the
    index.

    I did. There is no mention of Sider. Perhaps you should be more careful about making such claims.
    Pinnock has denied the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God.
    That

  • Rob Ryan

    “Patrick says: “And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.” I’m sure He’ll let you know too. Quite sure.”
    Ah, yes; the ever-popular hell card, played with the usual air of smug self-satisfaction.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Patrick says: “And if God feels insulted by my saying that parts of the Bible are stupid, I’m sure he will let me know.” I’m sure He’ll let you know too. Quite sure.”
    Ah, yes; the ever-popular hell card, played with the usual air of smug self-satisfaction.

  • David Marcoe

    Ah, yes; the ever-popular hell card, played with the usual air of smug self-satisfaction.
    Take a look in the mirror…
    Just because you point out something, doesn’t make you perceptive. If anything, it makes you look like a smug jackass fifty percent of the time. Take a piece of advice that for me was hard won by experience: Don’t open you’re mouth if it doesn’t add something to the conversation.

  • David Marcoe

    Ah, yes; the ever-popular hell card, played with the usual air of smug self-satisfaction.
    Take a look in the mirror…
    Just because you point out something, doesn’t make you perceptive. If anything, it makes you look like a smug jackass fifty percent of the time. Take a piece of advice that for me was hard won by experience: Don’t open you’re mouth if it doesn’t add something to the conversation.

  • Rob Ryan

    I’d much rather look in my mirror than yours; you’d do well to take your own advice.

  • Rob Ryan

    I’d much rather look in my mirror than yours; you’d do well to take your own advice.

  • http://honortruth.blogspot.com/ Little Wildflower

    Joe/Patrick/all:
    In response to:
    “Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.”
    As an Eastern Orthodox Christian I respect Patricks opinion and support his effort to seek a fuller understanding of his faith and I truly hope it leads him to a deeper knowledge of the Truth.
    However, I could not say that the above quote would be true for myself. Everyday I see evidence of Gods existence in His creation and in the miracles I see in my life and in the lives of others. To me it is an absolute truth that God exists. But I know that there were times in my life when I did question His existence. Until we each come to terms with God, in our own way, we cannot fully embrace our faith.
    When Franky S. said he “abandoned” Protestantism because “Orthodox tradition embraces paradox and mystery”, he was comparing this mystery to what he experienced as a strict upbringing that apparently made him feel he had been trapped by the ‘absolutist certainty’ he found there.
    To me, this is coming to the realization that God is all knowing, not man. That there are many things for which we do not have the answers.
    As a convert to the Eastern Orthodox faith from the Methodist chruch I was drawn to the rich tradition of the Church as much as by the beauty and mystery I find there. But I am not clear as to what Mr. S was referring to as ‘paradox’, at least not any that only the Orthodox could claim. I would like to hear from him on that.
    Well, I am new to posting and find I am frustrated by the intellectual debate I find here, in regard to faith. To me, certainly, my intellect is stimulated by what I find in my faith, but faith is also an experience of community and love….and developing an understanding of God…and prayer.. God Bless you!
    I wish you well,

  • http://honortruth.blogspot.com Little Wildflower

    Joe/Patrick/all:
    In response to:
    “Real faith is accepting the possibility that God may not exist, but choosing to believe in Him anyway. You accept the “paradox and mystery” of God.”
    As an Eastern Orthodox Christian I respect Patricks opinion and support his effort to seek a fuller understanding of his faith and I truly hope it leads him to a deeper knowledge of the Truth.
    However, I could not say that the above quote would be true for myself. Everyday I see evidence of Gods existence in His creation and in the miracles I see in my life and in the lives of others. To me it is an absolute truth that God exists. But I know that there were times in my life when I did question His existence. Until we each come to terms with God, in our own way, we cannot fully embrace our faith.
    When Franky S. said he “abandoned” Protestantism because “Orthodox tradition embraces paradox and mystery”, he was comparing this mystery to what he experienced as a strict upbringing that apparently made him feel he had been trapped by the ‘absolutist certainty’ he found there.
    To me, this is coming to the realization that God is all knowing, not man. That there are many things for which we do not have the answers.
    As a convert to the Eastern Orthodox faith from the Methodist chruch I was drawn to the rich tradition of the Church as much as by the beauty and mystery I find there. But I am not clear as to what Mr. S was referring to as ‘paradox’, at least not any that only the Orthodox could claim. I would like to hear from him on that.
    Well, I am new to posting and find I am frustrated by the intellectual debate I find here, in regard to faith. To me, certainly, my intellect is stimulated by what I find in my faith, but faith is also an experience of community and love….and developing an understanding of God…and prayer.. God Bless you!
    I wish you well,

  • http://www.gryphmon.com/ Patrick

    Just to be clear, I was not claiming that my beliefs were in any way an accurate description of Eastern Orthodoxy. I was referring to Franky’s comments only. However I agree with what Little Wildflower said.
    David, Rob, I’m going to have to start referring to you two boys as Fred & Ethel if you keep up the bickering. Those can be your “drag queen” names if you like. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is Ethel. Now Chill.

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick

    Just to be clear, I was not claiming that my beliefs were in any way an accurate description of Eastern Orthodoxy. I was referring to Franky’s comments only. However I agree with what Little Wildflower said.
    David, Rob, I’m going to have to start referring to you two boys as Fred & Ethel if you keep up the bickering. Those can be your “drag queen” names if you like. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is Ethel. Now Chill.

  • David Marcoe

    I’d much rather look in my mirror than yours; you’d do well to take your own advice.
    Again, doesn’t add anything to the conversation, though I do apologize the begining of my previous post. However, please get the point I was making. You didn’t sound clever. And you still aren’t.
    David, Rob, I’m going to have to start referring to you two boys as Fred & Ethel if you keep up the bickering. Those can be your “drag queen” names if you like. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is Ethel. Now Chill.
    Patrick, it is people like Rob Ryan and Larry Lord who take some very cheap shots, make some very insulting remarks, and refuse to stick to actual debate. They aren’t trolls, but they rarely add much to the threads on GO.

  • David Marcoe

    I’d much rather look in my mirror than yours; you’d do well to take your own advice.
    Again, doesn’t add anything to the conversation, though I do apologize the begining of my previous post. However, please get the point I was making. You didn’t sound clever. And you still aren’t.
    David, Rob, I’m going to have to start referring to you two boys as Fred & Ethel if you keep up the bickering. Those can be your “drag queen” names if you like. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is Ethel. Now Chill.
    Patrick, it is people like Rob Ryan and Larry Lord who take some very cheap shots, make some very insulting remarks, and refuse to stick to actual debate. They aren’t trolls, but they rarely add much to the threads on GO.

  • B. Taylor

    I’ll take a stab at answering the question of why some people don’t (won’t would be a better descriptor) understand the Word of God:
    2 Corinthians 4
    “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
    And as an evangelical myself, those who like to mock the “hell card” need be reminded that Jesus himself warned more of hell than he spoke of heaven. But by all means, believe as you must…
    As for myself, I have no doubt Jesus was as he claimed – God on earth. The older I get, the more I’m sure.
    As for the web designer, nice website. I’m always inspired by evangelicals who use their talents to spread the good news. Thanks.

  • B. Taylor

    I’ll take a stab at answering the question of why some people don’t (won’t would be a better descriptor) understand the Word of God:
    2 Corinthians 4
    “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
    And as an evangelical myself, those who like to mock the “hell card” need be reminded that Jesus himself warned more of hell than he spoke of heaven. But by all means, believe as you must…
    As for myself, I have no doubt Jesus was as he claimed – God on earth. The older I get, the more I’m sure.
    As for the web designer, nice website. I’m always inspired by evangelicals who use their talents to spread the good news. Thanks.

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/ Jon Rowe

    “DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.”
    I’m with Thomas Jefferson on the concept of the Trinity: He referred to it as an “insane” concept.
    John Adams too explicitly rejected the Trinity. It’s not exactly known whether Washington or Madison believed in it, simply because both of those guys were so silent about their true beliefs (and it’s usually folks who hold unorthodox beliefs who are the “silent ones,” especially men of great prudence like Washington or Madison). But the evidence of their Trinitarianism is sorely lacking.

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    “DS, if you don’t know what Trinitarianism is, you basically know as much about Christianity as a member of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.”
    I’m with Thomas Jefferson on the concept of the Trinity: He referred to it as an “insane” concept.
    John Adams too explicitly rejected the Trinity. It’s not exactly known whether Washington or Madison believed in it, simply because both of those guys were so silent about their true beliefs (and it’s usually folks who hold unorthodox beliefs who are the “silent ones,” especially men of great prudence like Washington or Madison). But the evidence of their Trinitarianism is sorely lacking.

  • David Marcoe

    I’m with Thomas Jefferson on the concept of the Trinity: He referred to it as an “insane” concept.
    John Adams too explicitly rejected the Trinity. It’s not exactly known whether Washington or Madison believed in it, simply because both of those guys were so silent about their true beliefs (and it’s usually folks who hold unorthodox beliefs who are the “silent ones,” especially men of great prudence like Washington or Madison). But the evidence of their Trinitarianism is sorely lacking.
    Jefferson went farther than that: he denied the deity of Christ. And while I respect all those men, I don’t look to them for my opinion of a Triune God. I look to Scripture, which probably had a greater impact on the Founders thinking than any other single document.

  • David Marcoe

    I’m with Thomas Jefferson on the concept of the Trinity: He referred to it as an “insane” concept.
    John Adams too explicitly rejected the Trinity. It’s not exactly known whether Washington or Madison believed in it, simply because both of those guys were so silent about their true beliefs (and it’s usually folks who hold unorthodox beliefs who are the “silent ones,” especially men of great prudence like Washington or Madison). But the evidence of their Trinitarianism is sorely lacking.
    Jefferson went farther than that: he denied the deity of Christ. And while I respect all those men, I don’t look to them for my opinion of a Triune God. I look to Scripture, which probably had a greater impact on the Founders thinking than any other single document.

  • Rob Ryan

    “And as an evangelical myself, those who like to mock the “hell card” need be reminded that Jesus himself warned more of hell than he spoke of heaven.”
    One of the reasons I’m not a Christian.
    “As for myself, I have no doubt Jesus was as he claimed – God on earth. The older I get, the more I’m sure.”
    That’s usually the way it works.
    David, we disagree, but I think we can attempt to be civil and make Patrick proud of us.
    Patrick, I’ll be Ethel, if David doesn’t mind. The way Fred wears his pants makes me uneasy.

  • Rob Ryan

    “And as an evangelical myself, those who like to mock the “hell card” need be reminded that Jesus himself warned more of hell than he spoke of heaven.”
    One of the reasons I’m not a Christian.
    “As for myself, I have no doubt Jesus was as he claimed – God on earth. The older I get, the more I’m sure.”
    That’s usually the way it works.
    David, we disagree, but I think we can attempt to be civil and make Patrick proud of us.
    Patrick, I’ll be Ethel, if David doesn’t mind. The way Fred wears his pants makes me uneasy.

  • David Marcoe

    Agreed Rob. We may not see eye to eye, but I’m always up for a good discussion :-)

  • David Marcoe

    Agreed Rob. We may not see eye to eye, but I’m always up for a good discussion :-)

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/ Jon Rowe

    “I look to Scripture, which probably had a greater impact on the Founders thinking than any other single document.”
    This is highly contentious. The Federalists papers hardly ever cites scripture — they mainly cite the work of political philosophers. And such political philosophy general had its origins in our Greco-Roman, not Judeo-Christian, tradition.
    It’s doubtful that any of the first 4 presidents believed in the deity of Jesus, and Jefferson & Adams certainly did not.
    Although most of the founders did belong to Christian churches and had at least nominal roles in them, rationalism and religious skepticism, not orthodoxy, permeated their personal beliefs.
    Of course, most of them thought religion to be very necessary for the masses.

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    “I look to Scripture, which probably had a greater impact on the Founders thinking than any other single document.”
    This is highly contentious. The Federalists papers hardly ever cites scripture — they mainly cite the work of political philosophers. And such political philosophy general had its origins in our Greco-Roman, not Judeo-Christian, tradition.
    It’s doubtful that any of the first 4 presidents believed in the deity of Jesus, and Jefferson & Adams certainly did not.
    Although most of the founders did belong to Christian churches and had at least nominal roles in them, rationalism and religious skepticism, not orthodoxy, permeated their personal beliefs.
    Of course, most of them thought religion to be very necessary for the masses.

  • David Marcoe

    I am going to quote some of the Founders, including the first six Presidents of the US. Sources are taken from journal entries, letters, and speeches. Now, asserting that all the Founders were Christians is a bit like trying to find a virgin in a whore house. Jefferson was largley a Deist and John Quincy Aadams was Unitarian. But even those who were not Christians had a profound respect for it and believed it to be the moral basis of the republic. Of people who influenced them: Locke was a theist, Rutherford was a Purtian minister (Lex Rex), and Grotius, whose “jurisprudence was considered authoritative by the Founders,” was a devout Christian. So, now, I am going to let the quotes speak for themselves.
    Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention, rose before the assembly, speaking in comment of the deep divisions during the conference:
    In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle have observed frequent instances of superintending Providence in our favor…. And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or, do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
    I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without
    His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his Aid?

    We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we shall become a reproach and a byword to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing
    government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.

    I therefore beg to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and it’s blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.
    An entry from George Washington’s prayer journal:
    Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life.
    Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.
    The beginnings of his Inaugural Speech on April 30, 1779:
    Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be particularly improper to omit, in his first official act, my fervent supplications to the Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and who’s providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benedictation may consecrate to the liberties and happiness to the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes; and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, in the function allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts affairs of men more than the people of the United States.
    Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
    In an address on May 10, 1789 George Washington said:
    If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religions rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it

  • David Marcoe

    I am going to quote some of the Founders, including the first six Presidents of the US. Sources are taken from journal entries, letters, and speeches. Now, asserting that all the Founders were Christians is a bit like trying to find a virgin in a whore house. Jefferson was largley a Deist and John Quincy Aadams was Unitarian. But even those who were not Christians had a profound respect for it and believed it to be the moral basis of the republic. Of people who influenced them: Locke was a theist, Rutherford was a Purtian minister (Lex Rex), and Grotius, whose “jurisprudence was considered authoritative by the Founders,” was a devout Christian. So, now, I am going to let the quotes speak for themselves.
    Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention, rose before the assembly, speaking in comment of the deep divisions during the conference:
    In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle have observed frequent instances of superintending Providence in our favor…. And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or, do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
    I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without
    His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his Aid?

    We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we shall become a reproach and a byword to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing
    government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.

    I therefore beg to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and it’s blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.
    An entry from George Washington’s prayer journal:
    Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life.
    Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments. Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends & kindred unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.
    The beginnings of his Inaugural Speech on April 30, 1779:
    Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be particularly improper to omit, in his first official act, my fervent supplications to the Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and who’s providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benedictation may consecrate to the liberties and happiness to the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes; and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, in the function allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts affairs of men more than the people of the United States.
    Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
    In an address on May 10, 1789 George Washington said:
    If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religions rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/ Jon Rowe

    The interesting thing about most of those quotes is what they do and do not say. Undoubtedly, the founders — even the most religiously skeptical — believed in a God and had no problem publicly invoking him. But most of those above quotes invoke a generic God: “Providence,” “Great Parent and Sovereign of the Universe,” “that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations.” This is consistent with (small d) deism, of what I have called “deistic-unitarian” philosophy that so greatly influenced so many of our most important framers.
    Many prominent founders that you mentioned never publicly mentioned Christ or the Bible. And we certainly didn’t appeal to any God that was readily identifiable as the Trinitarian one.
    The founders were a varied bunch, so it is hard to speak for them as a whole. But the most important ones, like the first 4 or 5 presidents and Ben Franklin & Thomas Paine were either capital D deist (like Franklik & Paine) or deistic-unitarians (Jefferson, Adams, Washington) which accepts more of a possibility of an interventionist God and some Christian doctrine that Deists reject — but still rejects much important dogma that it can’t be categorized as any kind of serious orthodoxy (again, I think whether or not they accepted the Trinity is a good place to draw the line at orthodoxy).
    Washington is an interesting case. He almost never publicly invoked Christ or the Bible, instead spoke often in terms like “Providence.” In order to get explicitly Christian language out of Washington, you have to dig up some prayer book of his. Even if he was privately a Christian, as a man of great prudence, he didn’t think it appropriate to dress up his public language by appealing to an orthodox Christian God. This is probably because he knew and respected Jews, Deists, and non-Trinitarians, and knew that this nation was just as much theirs as it belonged to the Trinitarian Christians.
    Also, if you want to dig deeper into Washington’s personal convictions, orthodox Christians are bound to find some very important disappointments. From what I understand, even though he was a nominal Anglican, he refused to take the Lord’s Supper. Washington’s “truth” was much more likely to have been found within his Masonic lodge — which he revered — than his Christian Church.
    Adams & Jefferson were strongly influenced by the Bible. But it was their “understanding” of the Bible. And their understanding clearly wasn’t orthodox (just as you would agree that Gene Robinson’s or liberation theology’s understanding of the Bible isn’t orthodox).
    Both Jefferson & Adams were Enlightenment rationalists, and they only believed in the Bible to the extent that it comported with their rationalism. As such they thought many important moral messages could be derived from it.
    For instance in those 1813 letters where Adams was speaking about those “general principles of Christianity” that unite us: Those principles didn’t include the Trinity, which Adams explicitly rejects in those same letters. Nor did Adams believe in Hell and other important orthodox doctrines.
    Jefferson was absolutely hostile, in his personal beliefs, to Francis Schaeffer’s type of Christianity. In those letters Jefferson refers to Calvinistic Christianity as “Daemonism.” I don’t think Adams would have gone this far, but, based on reading those letters, he wasn’t too far off from Jefferson in his religious beliefs.

  • http://jonrowe.blogspot.com Jon Rowe

    The interesting thing about most of those quotes is what they do and do not say. Undoubtedly, the founders — even the most religiously skeptical — believed in a God and had no problem publicly invoking him. But most of those above quotes invoke a generic God: “Providence,” “Great Parent and Sovereign of the Universe,” “that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations.” This is consistent with (small d) deism, of what I have called “deistic-unitarian” philosophy that so greatly influenced so many of our most important framers.
    Many prominent founders that you mentioned never publicly mentioned Christ or the Bible. And we certainly didn’t appeal to any God that was readily identifiable as the Trinitarian one.
    The founders were a varied bunch, so it is hard to speak for them as a whole. But the most important ones, like the first 4 or 5 presidents and Ben Franklin & Thomas Paine were either capital D deist (like Franklik & Paine) or deistic-unitarians (Jefferson, Adams, Washington) which accepts more of a possibility of an interventionist God and some Christian doctrine that Deists reject — but still rejects much important dogma that it can’t be categorized as any kind of serious orthodoxy (again, I think whether or not they accepted the Trinity is a good place to draw the line at orthodoxy).
    Washington is an interesting case. He almost never publicly invoked Christ or the Bible, instead spoke often in terms like “Providence.” In order to get explicitly Christian language out of Washington, you have to dig up some prayer book of his. Even if he was privately a Christian, as a man of great prudence, he didn’t think it appropriate to dress up his public language by appealing to an orthodox Christian God. This is probably because he knew and respected Jews, Deists, and non-Trinitarians, and knew that this nation was just as much theirs as it belonged to the Trinitarian Christians.
    Also, if you want to dig deeper into Washington’s personal convictions, orthodox Christians are bound to find some very important disappointments. From what I understand, even though he was a nominal Anglican, he refused to take the Lord’s Supper. Washington’s “truth” was much more likely to have been found within his Masonic lodge — which he revered — than his Christian Church.
    Adams & Jefferson were strongly influenced by the Bible. But it was their “understanding” of the Bible. And their understanding clearly wasn’t orthodox (just as you would agree that Gene Robinson’s or liberation theology’s understanding of the Bible isn’t orthodox).
    Both Jefferson & Adams were Enlightenment rationalists, and they only believed in the Bible to the extent that it comported with their rationalism. As such they thought many important moral messages could be derived from it.
    For instance in those 1813 letters where Adams was speaking about those “general principles of Christianity” that unite us: Those principles didn’t include the Trinity, which Adams explicitly rejects in those same letters. Nor did Adams believe in Hell and other important orthodox doctrines.
    Jefferson was absolutely hostile, in his personal beliefs, to Francis Schaeffer’s type of Christianity. In those letters Jefferson refers to Calvinistic Christianity as “Daemonism.” I don’t think Adams would have gone this far, but, based on reading those letters, he wasn’t too far off from Jefferson in his religious beliefs.

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  • David Marcoe

    Jon, I think you and I are probably closer on our opinions than we previously thought. I can’t see anything I disagree with outright.

  • David Marcoe

    Jon, I think you and I are probably closer on our opinions than we previously thought. I can’t see anything I disagree with outright.

  • David Marcoe

    Edit: Though I would take issue with saying that any of the Founders were strict Enlightenment rationalists. Their opinions varied, but they rejected several key political tennets of the philosophy.
    Many Christians would try and characterize the Founders as something akin to canonized saints. A lot of militant atheists try and pass them off “free thinkers.” In truth they were normal human beings with a variety of opinions, like you said.

  • David Marcoe

    Edit: Though I would take issue with saying that any of the Founders were strict Enlightenment rationalists. Their opinions varied, but they rejected several key political tennets of the philosophy.
    Many Christians would try and characterize the Founders as something akin to canonized saints. A lot of militant atheists try and pass them off “free thinkers.” In truth they were normal human beings with a variety of opinions, like you said.

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