I wrote:
<<<Since you are a Christian, I would not expect you to accept lordbyron's characterization above. But no Christian I've ever met has been able to prove to me that the collection of primitive writings known as "the Bible" has any relevance to my life.>>>
Peter wrote:
"I guess that would depend on what you think is relevant."
Oh, of course. No guessing needed here.
Peter asked:
"Are you in America?"
At the moment I am.
Peter asked:
"Do you live under the Constitution?"
You bet I do. Specifically, the US Constitution (what little is left of it).
Peter wrote:
"Christians had a large part in that (sure, there were other deists too (like Jefferson), but the vast majority of the Founding Fathers were Christian...and how many atheists were there???)."
Founding intellectuals, like Thomas Paine? Ever read his book The Age of Reason? Ever hear of Ethan Allan? Allen, in his book Reason: The Only Oracle of Man (Bennington: 1784) wrote: "While we are under the tyranny of priests, it ever will be in their interest, to invalidate the law of nature and reason, in order to establish systems incompatible therewith" (p. 457).
Ever hear of Elihu Palmer? Palmer, himself a former Presbyterian pastor, wrote that the Christian God "is supposed to be a fierce, revengeful tyrant, delighting in cruelty, punishing his creatures for the very sins which he causes them to commit; and creating numberless millions of immortal souls, that could never have offended him, for the express purpose of tormenting them for eternity… the grand object of all civil and religious tyrants… has been to suppress all the elevated operations of the mind, to kill the energy of thought, and through this channel to subjugate the whole earth for their own special emolument… It has hitherto been deemed a crime to think." [The Examiners Examined: Being a Defense of the Age of Reason, (New York: 1794), pp. 9-10.]
Today's Christians who seek to hijack the success of the American Experiment and credit it to their god-beliefs routinely fail to take into account the fact that, during the time that the principles which provided the foundations of the new nation's ideals, religion was on the retreat. If one wants to credit Christianity for the rise of the American constitution, why didn't America come into existence until the late 18th century, some 1700 years after Christ???? Why didn't a nation like America, a nation founded (in principle) on the idea that the individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - an idea that is nowhere found in the Bible - come into being when Christianity was the prevailing philosophical force in the west from the fall of Rome to the Enlightenment (a period of history affectionately known as the Dark Ages)?
Peter wrote:
"But I suppose that doesn't have any "relevance" to you."
The number of theists as opposed to deists and atheists during the American Revolution is of course irrelevant to me. The uniqueness of the American ideals cannot be reduced to a numbers racket. Instead, what is important - and what is crucially relevant in this context - are the ideas and principles which formed those ideals. What were those ideas and principles, and what made those ideas and principles possible? Certainly not faith in resurrected zombies! What made them possible was one thing: Reason. And indeed, another term for the Age of Enlightenment is the Age of Reason, per Paine's own hand.
What was the one principle which formed the cornerstone of the new nation's constitution? That principle is the idea that the individual has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Is this a "Christian idea"? No, it is not at all. The Bible nowhere identifies the concept of individual rights or develops a theory of man's rights anywhere in its pages. Indeed, the anti-abolitionists appealed to the Bible as their chief defense of slavery and the slave trade. Where does Jesus anywhere speak against the immorality of slavery? Where does Paul speak anywhere against the immorality of slavery? Indeed, not a peep from those two! Indeed, they explicitly condoned the heinous practice, and that's why the anti-abolitionists appealed to the Bible in their defense of slavery.
Peter wrote:
"If you refer to your morals that you hold to and say you can hold them without the Bible, then again it doesn't really matter"
I do refer to my morals and I do affirm that I hold them without the Bible or the underpinnings supposedly provided by belief in any gods, Christian or otherwise. And while it may not matter to you, it does matter to me.
Peter wrote:
"--you have to know why you believe what you believe and such for yourself"
Agreed. And I have repeatedly identified the means by which I know these things. It is called reason.
Peter wrote:
"(I simply question why you would,"
And I have addressed this question in numerous posts, and you have not interacted with them. Instead, you simply come out with new issues. Clearly, you're constantly on the run here.
Peter wrote:
"and also point out that you have no reason to hold me to your morals so you cannot question anything I do)."
You have not established this at all, indeed, you haven't even attempted to. But so what? I suppose you want to evade the judgment of others, just as Jesus taught in Matt. 7:1. Clearly, the Christian believer fears the judgments of others, and he clearly fears practicing moral judgment on his own behalf as well. You simply want to dance between the raindrops so you don't get yourself wet.
Peter wrote:
"And if you're wrong, you might discover the relevance of Scripture later..."
I've never been more right in my life, and I think you know it. That's why you are constantly on the run here.
I wrote (quoting Peter):
<<<You yourself wrote to the Rev: "Philosophical arguments are much more important than any 'evidential' argument because, absent of actual first hand knowledge, no one can say anything difinitively about what historically happened in any time--philosophy, on the other hand, does not need history in order to be right."
This just tells me that one needs philosophy, not the Bible. And I agree wholeheartedly. Besides, why read the Bible when you could read Atlas Shrugged?>>>
Peter responded:
"While philosophy can prove that there is a God of some kind,"
Only by relying on an invalid philosophy built on stolen concepts, frozen abstractions, package-deals, post hoc schemes and non sequiturs can one pretend to "prove" that a god exists. We've already seen numerous attempts by yourself fail repeatedly, and for the same principal reasons. You've not been able to salvage one of the arguments which you've paraded before this forum.
Peter wrote:
"it cannot demonstrate which God exists."
That's because there is no god. All god-belief is simply a fantasy mistaken for reality. You claim there is a god because you want there to be a god. But reality does not conform to your desires, Peter. That's just the way it is, and your attempts have ironically only reaffirmed my position. Go back and read them.
Peter wrote:
"Since Rand didn't agree with this first statement,"
Why would she agree with the claim that "philosophy can prove that there is a God of some kind" when this claim is clearly false, and she saw right through it?
Peter wrote:
"then she already disagrees with my perspective,"
Boo hoo.
Peter wrote:
"thereby necessitating the reading of the Bible at some point."
How does disagreement with your perspective necessitate the reading of the Bible at some point?
Peter wrote:
"I don't really want to get off on a side-trail here until after we hammer down the philosophical issues first though."
The philosophical issues have already been "hammered down" repeatedly. Again, as I've stated, you reject reason, so it is no surprise that you still insist on your god-beliefs here. Indeed, you have to reject reason in order to make room for your faith. I'm aware of this, and I think others are too. They're simply sitting back and grinning each time you secrete another poorly reasoned post to the Theism vs. Atheism Web. You've been checkmated but you still think the game is in progress and that you have a chance to win. But reality doesn't allow the arbitrary to prevail over reason, Peter. Don't you recognize that yet?
I wrote:
<<<I have to intervene on this matter again. There is no such thing as "the atheist worldview," Peter.>>>
Peter wrote:
"The fundamental assumption that all atheists have is that there is no god (or, at the very least, we don't know if there is a god or not)."
Peter not only nowhere establishes this claim, he fails to consider the points I have made in anticipation of this claim. I am an atheist, but my fundamental assumption is not that there is no god. Anyone who has been reading my posts carefully knows very well that my fundamental assumption is the fact that existence exists and that existence exists independent of consciousness. This fundamental assumption is not the same as what you are claiming above. However, it is true that this fundamental assumption constitutes the only principle needed for a fully valid repudiation of any and all god-beliefs. It is unassailable, and your failed efforts to challenge it only support this assessment.
Peter wrote:
"Because of that, every philosophy that an atheist comes up with is going to be based on the assumption of no god/no proveable god."
Again false, and Peter nowhere establishes this. It is just another unsupported claim, and it is another instance of context-dropping, and therefore another example of, at best, sloppy reasoning. Objectivism is a non-theistic philosophy, but nowhere in the Objectivist literature will you find any statement suggesting that it is "based on the assumtion of no god/no proveable god." You misrepresent opposing views, Peter. This is dishonest.
Can you not establish your views without being dishonest at least once, Peter???