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jason78

Who Is God?

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Who is God? What is he like? God seems to be different things to different people. Who is God to you?

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Hi Jason78,

 

Can I ask you a question, that may feel like I'm putting you on the spot, but it's really important? How do you approach truth? What is truth and how can it be known?

 

This can get personal, and it can get uncomfortable because it will cut to the core of how you look at the world around you. Are you willing to take a detour so I can grill your thinking a little?

 

I promise I won't make fun, if you're willing to let us take a look at what truth is to you and if it's knowable. However, this could get awkward because you're being asked to expose your methods for looking at the world, your worldview, and it may get scrutinized. I’m being blunt because I don’t want to sneak up on you. I want to judge your methods. I want you to judge them too. This may not sound like a great offer but I think it will unpack a Christian perspective on the post-modern relativistic norm that is prevalent in today’s culture, even among many professing Christians.

 

If you are really interested in asking why people come to so many different conclusions I would be glad to give you one of the best seminars I’ve ever listened to that comprehensively looks at modern culture and what scriptural inherency is to the biblical Christian in general. It’s over four hours long but Don Carson is a really good speaker in this arena and it’s broken into four comprehensive sections.

 

Interested?

 

If not, I’ll do my best but you’ll have to consider cooperating when the going gets tough. I’ll return the favor by plainly saying that I don’t know something, or that perplexes me too, just to maintain some open candor.

 

What do you think?

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This a long talk but anyone who listens to it won't be disappointed, I promise, Christian or otherwise. Download it and stick it in an MP3 player and listen to it in the car or whenever.

 

Don Carson gives a very fair look at shifting between different frames of thought and how it affects our overview of the world.

 

Part 1 - From Modernism to Postmodernism

 

Part 2 - Foundations of Knowing

 

Part 3 - The Talking God

 

Part 4 - Tough Talk

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Hi Jason78,

 

Can I ask you a question, that may feel like I'm putting you on the spot, but it's really important? How do you approach truth? What is truth and how can it be known?

 

This can get personal, and it can get uncomfortable because it will cut to the core of how you look at the world around you. Are you willing to take a detour so I can grill your thinking a little?

21958[/snapback]

I'm not afraid to try new things, and it's a subject that does interest me.

 

I think that truth is something that conforms to fact or reality. Something that is correct.

 

Get as personal as you like. If I get uncomfortable, I'll let you know.

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This a long talk but anyone who listens to it won't be disappointed, I promise, Christian or otherwise. Download it and stick it in an MP3 player and listen to it in the car or whenever.

 

Don Carson gives a very fair look at shifting between different frames of thought and how it affects our overview of the world.

 

Part 1 - From Modernism to Postmodernism

 

Part 2 - Foundations of Knowing

 

Part 3 - The Talking God

 

Part 4 - Tough Talk

21959[/snapback]

7 hours! This might take a while, I'll let you know when I'm done.

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I'm not afraid to try new things, and it's a subject that does interest me.

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The subject of being and existence and what this whole convoluted life is all about is the most interesting subject we can talk about. I don't know how someone can even enjoy talking about sports, cars or whatever, after even semi-successfully scraping the surface of philosophy and epistemology but that's just me. :)

I think that truth is something that conforms to fact or reality.  Something that is correct.

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I totally agree. Do you mind if I ratchet that definition down with a quote from Ravi Zacharias when he was asked by 'Focus on the Family’s' TheTruthProject by Del Tackett, what truth is?

“So to answer the question; what is truth? I would say it is this; truth is that which affirms propositionally the nature of reality as it is”

I have personally never heard such a concise definition for truth. He leaves no wiggle room, does he? B)

 

Later after Ravi's statement, R.C. Sproul puts it this way:

“Truth is defined as that which corresponds to reality as perceived by God because God’s perception of reality is never distorted. It is a perfect perception of reality.”

There is a couple of big assumptions in this quote isn’t there? The question we must answer is this; are these good assumptions? Is it internally coherent, rational, and reasonable to say what R.C. Sproul said if indeed God exists?

Get as personal as you like.  If I get uncomfortable, I'll let you know.

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I won't be looking for dirt or anything. :D

 

I would like to know something, though; if I could demonstrate that an idea or a system of approach (when examined objectively, after boiling it down into its component parts) is internally incoherent, would you be willing to reject it as an approach to claims?

 

The only possible part of this conversation that will get uncomfortable is a demonstration of self-defeating and internally incoherent concepts that are in personal use. BTW, I’m not claiming that I’ve overcome this problem. I know that I have bad ideas lurking in my epistemology, that’s the wonderful part of growing and learning, yanking those inconsistent ideas and thoughts out of one’s head and allowing the truth to affect one’s life. It can be tough, we sometimes build entire doctrines around ideas that later we discover must be rejected at their core and as a whole.

 

I believe when people get saved they not only accept Christ but they hand their old worldview over for another. There’s nothing more foundational then that. It was the scariest and most freeing day of my life but in some areas, I’m still in transition, old habits die hard sometime. B) As much as I come down on the atheistic belief system, I believe our selfish drive is rooted in an inherited atheism or the desire to do it our way apart from God and without a need for Him or truth. You don’t have to agree with this, Jason, I’m just sharing who I am and what I think as it may be relevant to the conversation.

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7 hours! This might take a while, I'll let you know when I'm done.

21965[/snapback]

I think it's closer to 5 hours B)

 

At first, I thought Don Carson wasn't a very good speaker but I've listened to that series probably about a dozen times because it flows so well.

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I think it's closer to 5 hours  :rolleyes:

 

At first, I thought Don Carson wasn't a very good speaker but I've listened to that series probably about a dozen times because it flows so well.

21977[/snapback]

Yeah, you're right. I managed to get through the whole lot in a day.

 

He isn't the best public speaker in the world, but it was an interesting lecture. (He does say "Do you see" a lot doesn't he? :) )

 

I'm not comfortable with the area of presuppositional apologetics, but I will discuss it with you.

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Yeah, you're right.  I managed to get through the whole lot in a day.

 

He isn't the best public speaker in the world, but it was an interesting lecture. (He does say "Do you see" a lot doesn't he? :) )

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He stutters a lot as well, doesn't he? :rolleyes: With all that said, he has an excellent grasp on his topic and from what I can tell, he is a well respected scholar.

 

 

I'm not comfortable with the area of presuppositional apologetics, but I will discuss it with you.

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Do you mind expanding on this a bit? Is it just a general discomfort with the seemingly "abstractness" of it or is it simply an area that you haven't looked at exhaustively?

 

I'll be plain, from my perspective. This is the hardest gap to discuss when trying to talk with someone who does not share a Christian worldview but to me it seems necessary if intellectual bridges are desired and not just an attitude of debate and whit.

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Do you mind expanding on this a bit? Is it just a general discomfort with the seemingly "abstractness" of it or is it simply an area that you haven't looked at exhaustively?

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Well for a start it relies on the concept of an absolute truth. The argument also forces you to accept God as a given to start with. Which renders it useless.

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Well for a start it relies on the concept of an absolute truth.

22080[/snapback]

What's wrong with relying on the concept of absolutes? Give me the downfall to this assumption and is their evidence or methods that make this unreasonable.

 

The argument also forces you to accept God as a given to start with.  Which renders it useless.

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We all have presuppositions that shape and color how we look at things. I live my life with the presupposition that truth is available for examination because of the presumed truth that the God who revealed Himself in scripture is the posit and author of absolute truth.

 

Edit: This presupposition doesn't shut my search for understanding things off, instead it gives me a foundation and a foundation that works for examining and interpreting the facts and evidences of the world. It even gives the capacity to honestly examine presuppositions which doesn't render it useless, as you stated above. Far from closing your eyes. Your eyes are opened. Isn't that desirable? This is just the practical end and not the personal end.

 

I admittedly don't see things perfectly, only God has that, but it does make the puzzle pieces of life easier to put in the right place because I have a functional framework, thanks to Jesus and His Word.

 

What I want to do is see if your foundation is coherent enough to lead to truth if truth is indeed to be found anywhere or if truth is even desired. I assume you desire to learn or you wouldn't be here hashing it out but if your philosophy kept you from putting puzzle pieces where they belong even if you recognize the right location because this would invoke a feeling of narrow mindedness. Would you have a desire to get past this if you could?

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Jason,

 

Here is a short article that will hopefully challenge your thinking on truth:

 

http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5662

 

It's this quote from one our newest members here that made me find this article:

 

"If we want to be intellectually honest skeptics, we must be as skeptical about our skepticism as we are about our knowledge."

de_skudd, says it's G.K. Chesterton, the article says it was Dallas Willard but it's probably Dallas repeating the words of G.K.

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Jason,

 

Here is a short article that will hopefully challenge your thinking on truth:

 

http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5662

 

It's this quote from one our newest members here that made me find this article:

de_skudd, says it's G.K. Chesterton, the article says it was Dallas Willard but it's probably Dallas repeating the words of G.K.

22100[/snapback]

It's ok, I'm quite happy with the concept of truth :)

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What's wrong with relying on the concept of absolutes? Give me the downfall to this assumption and is their evidence or methods that make this unreasonable.

We all have presuppositions that shape and color how we look at things. I live my life with the presupposition that truth is available for examination because of the presumed truth that the God who revealed Himself in scripture is the posit and author of absolute truth.

 

Edit: This presupposition doesn't shut my search for understanding things off, instead it gives me a foundation and a foundation that works for examining and interpreting the facts and evidences of the world. It even gives the capacity to honestly examine presuppositions which doesn't render it useless, as you stated above. Far from closing your eyes. Your eyes are opened. Isn't that desirable? This is just the practical end and not the personal end.

 

I admittedly don't see things perfectly, only God has that, but it does make the puzzle pieces of life easier to put in the right place because I have a functional framework, thanks to Jesus and His Word.

 

What I want to do is see if your foundation is coherent enough to lead to truth if truth is indeed to be found anywhere or if truth is even desired. I assume you desire to learn or you wouldn't be here hashing it out but if your philosophy kept you from putting puzzle pieces where they belong even if you recognize the right location because this would invoke a feeling of narrow mindedness. Would you have a desire to get past this if you could?

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Ok, lets take something like the following statement; The internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees.

 

Is that statement true? or absolutely true? What does adding the word absolutely add to our definition of truth?

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Ok, lets take something like the following statement; The internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Is that statement true? or absolutely true?

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Mathematics is the hardest most steadfast science that we can demonstrate. With our perspective in a three dimensional space and our ability to confirm. I would say this is absolutely true in the most objective sense. :)

 

 

What does adding the word absolutely add to our definition of truth?

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How can we have an objective claim to a knowledge of any kind of truth without presuming that absolute truth exists?

 

Emanuel Kant's agnosticism and David Hume's skepticism, which permeate our culture, are dead ends for epistemology because systems that start unrealistically are doomed to finish unrealistically.

 

unrealistic = deception/falsehood/lie

 

If life was a mathematical equation would you expect correct results when your constants are wrong? Or let's back track one more step. What if you refused to plug in constants because accepting constants requires assumptions and reliance on absolutes (aka being narrow minded). How would you then expect to solve the equation?

 

The question isn't whether we can obtain absolute or omniscient truth. The question is; do we have the ability to obtain objective truth that transcends us? If so, what are the presuppositions involved?

 

Which statement best fits reality?

 

There is no absolute truth. :)

 

There is absolute truth. :)

 

These statements are mutually exclusive and there are no other options. One of these statements is internally incoherent and the other one is reasonable.

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Mathematics is the hardest most steadfast science that we can demonstrate. With our perspective in a three dimensional space and our ability to confirm. I would say this is absolutely true in the most objective sense. :)

How can we have an objective claim to a knowledge of any kind of truth without presuming that absolute truth exists?

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We can show things are true without the definition of an absolute truth. The reason I picked a triangle as a demonstration is because the statement "The internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees." is only true for certain geometries, such as a flat euclidean plane.

 

Emanuel Kant's agnosticism and David Hume's skepticism, which permeate our culture, are dead ends for epistemology because systems that start unrealistically are doomed to finish unrealistically.

 

unrealistic = deception/falsehood/lie

 

If life was a mathematical equation would you expect correct results when your constants are wrong? Or let's back track one more step. What if you refused to plug in constants because accepting constants requires assumptions and reliance on absolutes (aka being narrow minded). How would you then expect to solve the equation?

22131[/snapback]

I wouldn't expect correct results if one of the axioms of my system were wrong.

 

The question isn't whether we can obtain absolute or omniscient truth. The question is; do we have the ability to obtain objective truth that transcends us? If so, what are the presuppositions involved?

 

Which statement best fits reality?

 

There is no absolute truth. :D

 

There is absolute truth. ;)

 

These statements are mutually exclusive and there are no other options. One of these statements is internally incoherent and the other one is reasonable.

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Why add the word absolute? There are things that are true. I think I can safely say we can agree on that. What promotes something from being true to absolutely true?

 

You also have the problem here that both of the statements "There is absolute truth." and "There is no absolute truth." can both be false.

 

I think that the best statement that fits reality is "There are things that are true".

 

EDIT:

As for the question "Do we have the ability to obtain objective truth that transcends us?"

 

Yes we do. We earlier defined truth as something that is something that conforms to fact or reality. Reality is never false. Therefore is we form a statement about reality and then check that it conforms to what we observe about reality then we can determine the truth or falsehood about that particular statement.

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You also have the problem here that both of the statements "There is absolute truth." and "There is no absolute truth." can both be false.

22182[/snapback]

Demonstrate it.

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Why add the word absolute?  There are things that are true.  I think I can safely say we can agree on that.  What promotes something from being true to absolutely true?

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The word absolute carries some weight doesn't it? I firmly believe that people who grow broadly and exhibit humility the best, recognize that truth does not flow from their inner personal being but instead truth is a foundation on which to build one's life.

 

For now, I'll just claim this as my opinion. :D

 

Foundations that shift and move aren't very good foundations.

 

Posted Image

 

What's the rational hang-up here, anyway? ;)

 

Is it a rational/logical problem or do the implications of truths that transcend us absolutely simply point in an undesired direction?

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Hey Jason,

 

I've posted this video in many places and I have never heard an effective rebuttal of Ravi's presentation. I've heard plenty of attempts to circumvent what he says but never an effective rebuttal.

 

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=28...=ravi+zacharias

 

I'm not trying to swamp you with info. We can continue this discussion with or without this presentation. I just figure a scholar has more weight in this matter and no sense reinventing the wheel. Besides, I think you would enjoy it.

 

Watch the first ten minutes and if he doesn't draw you in to his seminar, I'll understand. ;)

 

Either way, I'm enjoying this discussion. Epistemology is one of my favorite topics.

 

I think the subject of truth is foundational, especially when two people seem to come to an impasse about an issue and the two hold contradictory views. Jesus thought so too:

 

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"

 

Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 

 

38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them,"I find no fault in Him at all."

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Demonstrate it.

22186[/snapback]

Things can either be true or false.

 

The following statement is true:

1+1=2

 

It's not absolutely true, and it isn't mostly true. It just is a true statement.

 

The following statement is false:

1+1=3

 

It isn't a little bit false, it's false. Not just a little bit false. Just false.

 

Therefore, "This statement is absolutely true.", is false.

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Things can either be true or false.

 

The following statement is true:

1+1=2

 

It's not absolutely true, and it isn't mostly true.  It just is a true statement.

 

The following statement is false:

1+1=3

 

It isn't a little bit false, it's false.  Not just a little bit false.  Just false.

 

Therefore, "This statement is absolutely true.", is false.

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Alright Jason,

 

You're starting to go down a goofy road of semantics that goes nowhere.

 

Absolute:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

 

What is your problem with this word?

 

If there is no absolute truth then the statement itself is self-contradicting. How do you meaningfully deny absolute truth while making an absolute negation?

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Alright Jason,

 

You're starting to go down a goofy road of semantics that goes nowhere.

 

Absolute:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

 

What is your problem with this word?

 

If there is no absolute truth then the statement itself is self-contradicting. How do you meaningfully deny absolute truth while making an absolute negation?

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Ok, this might help. Here's how I've got things in my head:

 

F-----T

Things can either be true or false.

 

 

Here's how I think you've got things in your head

 

A                 A
F-----F-----T-----T

Things can be absolutely false, false, true, or absolutely true, like on a sliding scale? Have I got this wrong?

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Ok, this might help.  Here's how I've got things in my head:

F-----T
Things can either be true or false.

Here's how I think you've got things in your head

A                 A
F-----F-----T-----T
Things can be absolutely false, false, true, or absolutely true, like on a sliding scale?  Have I got this wrong?

22338[/snapback]

No mine looks just like yours. Even the Bible says you're either in light or you're in darkness. There's no in between:

 

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light ; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness .

 

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness .

 

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light , having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light , as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

Here is my stipulation:

 

The only reason you and I can examine the question is because transcendent truth does in fact exist.

 

Is this statement true or false?

 

You still haven't answered what your problem is with recognizing absolute truth. Do you understand and believe the law of non-contradiction?

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Hi Jason,

 

I was fishing around and I would like you to check a couple of things out. This truth issue needs to be recognized.

 

de_skudd, offered a story frequently mentioned through people that use Ravi Zacharias' ministries. The reason it is so popular is because it demonstrates a point perfectly. The person who fights the law of non-contradiction will render themselves irrational.

 

http://www.evolutionfairytale.com/forum/in...348entry22348

 

Also, at the beginning of the thread, CTD, uses a model to show the relevance of a certain Law of Logic:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Excluded_Middle

 

This addresses an issue. If I say:

 

There is absolute truth

 

You can't say that this statement can be true and false at the same time or neither because it's structure forbids it.

 

Either there is absolute truth or there isn't, there is no middle ground.

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