Classical Theism, Philosophy, and Religion Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login?



8/08/2018 8:20 am  #71


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Dave wrote:

[G-d] isn't complicit because He isn't the one working the miracle. The false prophet has to find his own power for that bit.

How does a human summon evil miraculous powers? If my theology had to be encapsulated in a mantra it might be ein od milvado. There is none but HaShem (Deut 4:35). The Christian notion of HaSatan as some autonomous rebel at war with G-d is wrong. He’s an angel doing his many jobs: accusing people before G-d, the angel of death, the evil inclination, and the angel of Edom. Angels do jobs. They don’t rebel, either because they lack free will or it’s perfectly attuned to G-d. The Chirstian "satan" as an evil counterpart doesn’t exist. G-d has no counterparts of any kind – evil, internal, or otherwise. Consequently, the evil prophet of Deut 13 can’t be a self-made man. Nor was Balaam.

(For those curious about Christianity’s un-Biblical, pagan concoction of “Satan.” Isaiah 14:12-15 are not addressed to HaSatan but to Nevuchadnettzar the King of Babylon. He thought he was approximately omnipotent. He wore a robe that would have made Hugh Heffner blush. That’s why he was addressed as "Heylel ben Shachar" (translated in the KJV as "Lucifer son of the morning"). This is the planet Venus. Nevuchadnettzar is being mocked. The planet Venus is the only "lucifer" there ever was. "I saw Satan fall like lightning from the sky" is one of many misinterpretations imposed on Isaiah. There is no “god of this world” other than HaShem.)

Dave wrote:

 [G-d] isn't complicit … it's impious because it asserts that Ha'Shem would actively assist a false prophet in misleading and harming His beloved people.

Deut 13 is making a definitive statement about the nature of “evidence” qua evidence. It explicitly precludes an entire genus of what should, by any intuitive inductive standards, constitute heavy-duty “evidence.” G-d is setting the epistemic parameters. It applies in other places too. This chapter makes the only “rational” case for young earth creationism (a subject for another thread.) I bring it up because it demonstrates how important, how meta-epistemic this chapter is.

There is a form of exegetical logic known as qal vachomer or 'al 'achat kammah vekhammah: if X obtains in a heavy case it obtains in a light case. If G-d will perform miracles attributed to false deities as tests, then we should ignore natural evidence that conflicts with Torah as well. If you’re commanded to ignore miracles, then ignoring funny-looking skulls and question-begging extrapolations is petty by comparison. The same passage that commands Israel to ignore Jesus, Mohammed, Sabbatai Tzvi, Guru Nanak, and John Smith can be interpreted to put the kibosh on Darwin. The Torah is considered a self-authenticating legal document between two parties. It contains a whole chapter on one specific genus of conditions that could change It or Israel’s conception of HaShem. It explicitly denies that supernatural conditions have this status. Some of the Sages apply this foundational statement on the definition of “evidence” in other places as well.  “It just doesn’t seem like G-d would do such a thing based on the rest of the Bible or my general sense of godliness” isn’t an argument.   

 

Dave wrote:

In what way is doing something that only the Creator can do in attestation of a false messenger not a lie?

Message from G-d via Moses: at time T you will receive a test consisting of supernatural evidence in favor of gods other than Me and rules not in My Torah. To pass the test follow Torah and cleave to Me.
 
Time T obtains, exactly as promised. Where’s the lie? Show me the lie. At the end of this sentence is a link that will derail your concentration and possibly blow your mind. Don’t click it! Where’s the lie? I warned you to ignore that infernal foolishness and if you didn’t you weren’t paying attention. No lie!

Most mitzvoth are tests in one sense or other. Why did G-d give us a sweet-tooth for lobster and bacon and deny them to some? Could it be … a test, a means of creating a perpetual state of mindfulness, and maybe other reasons we can’t comprehend? Why send miracle-workers who try to lead Israel astray? Because it’s a test. That’s what it says. Word for word. Where’s the lie?

Dave wrote:

The evidence for my reading is simple - the fact of the matter is that, from Genesis to II Chronicles, not once do we find Ha'Shem opposing His Own Truth with His Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm.

Because in none of those passages does G-d say He’s going to do any such thing. In Deut 13 it says Israel will be tested by a false prophet performing signs and wonders. What do other verses where G-d doesn’t say this have to do with the one where He does?

Dave wrote:

So you tell me, where's the evidence that G-d Himself ever did anything more than allow His people to be deceived by lesser forces? Where's the evidence that the Finger of G-d ever pointed away from the truth?

We’re debating THE passage that says He might test Israel in precisely such a fashion. Of course it’s not the general pattern. That’s a strange, irrelevant point. “The Exodus couldn’t have happened because you never see G-d doing this anywhere else. Look, it ain’t the kind of thing He does. If it were you’d see it everywhere. Therefore, this lone instance where it clearly says He did is negated. Incidentally, my theology necessitates this torturous hand-waving limbo dance.”

Dave wrote:

But in all seriousness, piety is simply a proper respect for G-d. That, in my opinion, would include not accusing Him of actively misleading His people.

The foundation of foundations of Judaism is ol malchoot shamayim, the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven. A mitzvah is EXACTLY that. A COMMANDMENT. Not an approved thing; not a thing that was mulled over, considered, and then agreed to, but a commandment from the Almighty. Do! Don't! Regardless of your approval or disapproval. To smash the ego and harness it and limit it and bend it to the will of G-d.”

The Commandment in question is to ignore supernatural evidence contrary to Torah. Your approval or opinion or sense of fair play is not an argument.

Dave wrote:

 Your explanation relies on an interpretation of Deuteronomy that has intrinsic problems (G-d miraculously helping along rebellion against Himself then punishing people for falling for it) and suffers from a complete lack of evidence, both in the Torah itself (remember Pharaoh's magicians!), and in the Tanakh as a whole.

The “evidence” is the passage in question. “Only Deut 13 says X, therefore not X” is no interpretation at all. My explanation contains no more “intrinsic problems” than G-d commanding us not to kill and commanding the extermination of 8 nations. There’s no contradictions to either of these positions. None.

Dave wrote:

 I claim that my explanation is better, because it manages to be "good" with respect to the entirety of the Bible AND with respect to God's character.

The character in the Bible is always giving tests. That’s one way He relates to us. That’s a description of His character. There’s no default position on what tests G-d would or wouldn’t perform. None of the arguments for G-d’s existence establish any such thing. That understanding could only be learned from a Revelation. There’s an entire chapter about miracle-working prophets trying to deceive Israel because HaShem “is testing” them. Defining G-d as “the Being too nice to do such a cruel test” is question-begging.  

Dave wrote:

 Why He permits such things is, indeed, beyond our ken.

BECAUSE HASHEM YOUR G-D IS TESTING YOU applies all over the place. There’s no need for new agey foo-foo theodicies when there are explicit statements to the contrary. Job was being TESTED by G-d through HaSatan, who has no free will of his own. He passed the test because he never cursed G-d. (And his friends were called out on their BS theodicies.) And the Jews who rejected Jesus (or Mohammed or Marshal Applewhite) passed other tests, to their everlasting credit.

Dave wrote:

 Of course, I've pointed out that G-d Himself manifestly did not cause harm to Job directly, but rather permitted Satan to do so.

As I’ve stated, the Christian conception of Satan as an autonomous rebel using his free will in defiance of G-d is wrong. That’s part of your conclusion, not a premise. Consequently, this reading of Job is wrong, and irrelevant to the parameters of what G-d would or wouldn’t do with false prophets. Why on earth would I accept an argument based on an ontology I reject?  

Dave wrote:

But there's a tremendous difference between allowing a creaturely power to do something unjust or deceptive on the one hand, and acting miraculously to establish injustice or a lie on the other.

According to (most) strains of Christianity, the theology of which is at issue. You can’t assume this distinction stands on its own. Judaism denies HaSatan has free will. Where will the false prophet get his power? Where did Balaam? He couldn’t curse Israel BECAUSE HaShem wouldn’t let him. The prophet described in Deut 13 will have a different resume with different powers. No dualism is necessary or permitted.

Dave wrote:

Either the 244 commandments concerning the temple are still in effect, or else they are not. If they are still in effect, then G-d is holding His people to a logically impossible standard, and you have to find a way to square this with His justice, steadfast love, and promises of loyalty to His people.

WWKDD? What would he do if he couldn’t bring offerings? He didn’t mention any “logically impossible standard” negating G-d’s loyalty. He didn’t conclude that he was unable to worship G-d. O L-rd, open my lips, and let my mouth declare Your praise. You do not want me to bring sacrifices; You do not desire burnt offerings; True sacrifice to G-d is a contrite spirit; G-d, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart. (Ps. 51:17-19)

At the dedication of the First Temple, King Solomon addresses the same subject:

When they sin against You—for there is no man who does not sin—and You are angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and their captors carry them off to an enemy land, near or far; and then they take it to heart in the land to which they have been carried off, and they repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying: ‘We have sinned, we have acted perversely, we have acted wickedly,’ and they turn back to You with all their heart and soul, in the land of the enemies who have carried them off, and they pray to You in the direction of their land which You gave to their fathers, of the city which You have chosen, and of the House which I have built to Your name— oh, give heed in Your heavenly abode to their prayer and supplication, uphold their cause, and pardon Your people who have sinned against You for all the transgressions that they have committed against You. (1 Kings 8:46-50)

In Babylon, they turned toward Jerusalem and prayed. They didn't conclude that someone who died during the time of the First Temple was an ultimate sacrifice. They prayed facing Jerusalem, awaiting a time of restoration. If they hadn’t done so there wouldn’t have been a Second Temple! The Hebrew Bible NEVER says there will be a human sacrifice to end all sacrifices. This is pagan to the core.

Dave wrote:

If they are not still in effect, then it becomes reasonable to ask whether or not any of the remaining 369 commandments have also been annulled, as well as whether or not any new commandments have taken their places. You have yet to make it clear which horn of the dilemma you intend to take. And

I denied it’s a dilemma and gave a counterexample based on a local law that remains in place. King David and Solomon denied the dilemma too.

Dave wrote:

 It is, therefore, not unreasonable to suspect that G-d Himself is somehow the exemplar of the differentiated, that the interplay of sameness and difference is somehow part of what it means to be. And, if such an idea be granted, it would be tempting to speculate that this differentiation in G-d is triadic in nature

My position is that G-d is a unique genus of ontology and these speculations, however interesting and noble their pedigree, don’t approach “solid evidence” that should add even a footnote to the ultimacy of Deut 6:4.  Christianity has turned these Platonist and gnostic speculations into dogmatic assertions, Absolute Truths about the nature of G-d, a nature He neglected to share with Moses. There are Jews who avoid Kabbalah because they think it leads from the pure Oneness of HaShem.

Last edited by 119 (8/08/2018 8:23 am)

 

8/08/2018 5:23 pm  #72


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

It may be useful at this point to state the two postulates on which 119's position is based, which I posted on the previous page and repeat below, since it may help focus the discussion. I call this position Sola Torah, from the Protestant Sola Scriptura..

Jewish Paradigm, Sola Torah (Torah alone)

JP.ST.P1, Torah completeness: The Torah contains, explicitely or implicitely, all truths about God and his design, so that any proposition about God or his design which is not in the Torah and cannot be deduced from it is necessarily false and points to a false god.

JP.P2: The signs or portents supporting the claims of the false prophet predicted in Deut 13:1-5 can include any miracle that only God can perform.

From these two postulates plus the evident fact that the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Incarnation are not in the Torah and cannot be deduced from it, it follows that these doctrines are false and point to a false god, irrespective of God's performance of any miracle in at the request of Jesus, including the resurrection of Jesus himself to a glorious state

Against this position, an argument for Christianity can proceed in either of two ways:

A. Argue that JP.ST.P1 is false (starting by noting that it is not in the Torah itself, just as Protestant Sola Scriptura is not in the Bible itself), then argue that the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Incarnation are consistent with the Torah, and then argue for the historicity of Jesus' resurrection.

B. Argue that JP.P2 is false, and then argue for the historicity of Jesus' resurrection. Successful completion of this path implies as corollary that JP.ST.P1 is false, which is strictly necessary for the Christian case.

Clearly, as long as someone keeps holding both JP.ST.P1 and JP.P2, there's no point in further discussion (neither for Christianity nor for an old earth, as 119 made clear, for which I thank him).

Clearly too, neither JP.ST.P1 nor JP.P2 follow directly or indirectly from the text of the Torah (just as Protestant Sola Scriptura does not follow from the text of the Bible). They are just arbitrary presuppositions.

Addendum: I've just noted that, for the theological system to be decidable, both postulates must be held or negated together. To see why, let's assume one negates Torah completeness. Then the Nicene doctrine of a consubstantial Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the Incarnation of a divine Person are compatible with the Torah and therefore CAN be actual case. But even if a divine Trinity is the actual case, the claim by a concrete individual that he is the incarnated Son of God CAN be true or not, so that in the latter case he would be an impostor and a false prophet. But if one holds JP.P2, a miracle of any kind can be interpreted either as validating a true prophet or as supporting the claim of a false prophet. Therefore it is impossible to decide whether an individual claming to be the incarnated Son of God is really so or an impostor.

Last edited by Johannes (8/11/2018 10:13 pm)

 

8/08/2018 6:38 pm  #73


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Dave wrote:

[G-d] isn't complicit because He isn't the one working the miracle. The false prophet has to find his own power for that bit.

How does a human summon evil miraculous powers? If my theology had to be encapsulated in a mantra it might be ein od milvado. There is none but HaShem (Deut 4:35).

An angel, i.e. a purely spiritual creature, either good or evil, has a natural power to affect the material world within some intrinsic limitations, which he can exert to the extent that God allows him to. That power is natural for the angel, not supernatural. Just as the power of a man's spiritual soul to affect a restricted domain of the material world, his brain (and through it the rest of the body), is natural, not supernatural.

Job ch 1 gives two examples of what an angel can do by his own power if allowed by God (irrespective of whether the angel is good or evil):

The author of the book of Job wrote:

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you." (Job 1:16)

and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you." (Job 1:19)

This notion of the angelic natural power to affect the material world is obviously compatible with the basic truths that nothing happens outside of God's permissive will and that any operation of any creature requires God physical cooperation [1]: just as He sustains the being of all creatures, He also sustains their operation, no matter whether that operation, in the case of free creatures, is in accordance or in opposition to his positive will. This applies both to an evil angel causing "fire out of heaven to come down to the earth" (Rev 13:13) and to a Gestapo or Cheka official killing a prisoner. Both are exercising their natural power to the extent that God allows them and with God's physical cooperation.

119 wrote:

As I’ve stated, the Christian conception of Satan as an autonomous rebel using his free will in defiance of G-d is wrong.

The free will of an angel and his natural power to affect the material world are two completely different things.

Any angel, good or evil, has a natural power to affect the material world within some intrinsic limitations, which he can exert to the extent that God allows him to.

Any angel, good or evil, has a free will that he exercised at the beginning of his existence and which became fixated at that point, in the good angels towards God, in the evil angels against God.

Applying now the above two notions in conjuction:

Good angels will exert their natural power to affect the material world in loving obedience to God and to the extent that God tells them to.

Evil angels will exert their natural power to affect the material world in hatred of God and to the extent that God allows them to.

Now, no angel has the natural power to bring a human being back to life. The resurrection of a human being is an act which God performs directly as its only cause, not as its primary cause cooperating with a natural secondary cause, whether material or angelic.

And the assumption that God would perform works of the kind that can be done only directly by Him in support of the claims of the false prophet of Deut 13:1-5 is just that, an assumption, which, a priori, is just as legitimate as the assumption that God would not perform such works in support of the claims of the false prophet.

In order to discern which of the two assumptions is right, I will not appeal to "my general sense of godliness" but look at other OT passages that are relevant on this topic, starting by recalling that the OT expression for the divine power is "God's arm". The passages are in the book of Deutero-Isaiah, which BTW contains a passage which is relevant for assessing the postulate of Torah completeness:

Deutero-Isaiah wrote:

I proclaim to you new things from this time, even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now and not long ago; and before today you have not heard them, so that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’ (Is 48:6b-7)

Back to the issue under discussion, the prophet starts by asking the arm of the LORD to wake up:

Deutero-Isaiah wrote:

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, Who pierced the dragon? Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; Who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over? (Is 51:9-10)

The prophet does not seem to be asking the arm of the LORD to awake in order to do wonders at the service of falsehood and evil, does he? Because he is asking the arm to awake "as in the days of old", when the Lord did wonders to lead his chosen ones to truth and good. The answer to the prophet's request is in the next chapter:

Deutero-Isaiah wrote:

The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Is 52:10)

Clearly, that "the LORD has bared his holy arm" means that He has performed a work that only He can perform. And the purpose of that work is that "all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God", not to support the claims of a false prophet.

The specifics of that work are detailed in the next chapter, beginning with another mention of God's arm:

Deutero-Isaiah wrote:

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (Is 53:1)

Which begins the fourth song of the Servant of YHWH, Who "was cut off out of the land of the living" (53:8), "was assigned a grave with the wicked, but was with a rich man in his death" (53:9), and yet "if He would render his soul as an offering for guilt, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days" (53:10), "out of the anguish of his soul he shall see light and be satisfied" (53:11). This prophecy about "the Righteous One", the Servant of the LORD, being executed, buried and risen from the dead is the revelation of what specifically the LORD would do when He "bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations".


[1] https://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/papers/conserv.htm
 

Last edited by Johannes (8/08/2018 9:17 pm)

 

8/08/2018 10:43 pm  #74


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Finally, let us examine whether Jesus fits the description of the false prophet of Deut 13:1-5.

The author of Deuteronomy wrote:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known ) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut 13:1-3)

If one holds the Nicene doctrine of a consubstantial Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the Incarnation, then it is clear that Jesus did not entice people to "go after other gods". Since the three divine Persons are consubstantial and act inseparably as one efficient cause, the worship, praise, thanksgiving, love, etc. addressed to any One of Them goes at the same time to the other Two. That's why the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the heavenly liturgy of Revelation ch. 5, which is addressed only to God the Father and to the Son.

The author of Deuteronomy wrote:

You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. (Deut 13:4)

Again, if Jesus is the consubstantial Son of God Who assumed a human nature, following Jesus is following the LORD, Jesus' commandments are the LORD's commandments, listening to Jesus is listening to the LORD, serving Jesus is serving the LORD, etc.

The author of Deuteronomy wrote:

But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. (Deut 13:5)

There are two ways in which "to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk" can be understood.

a. "The way to walk" refers to the most important commandment, "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul". Clearly not even the LORD Himself can change that, and Jesus certainly did not.

b. "The way to walk" refers to specific commandments such as divorce, ritual purity laws, food laws, etc. Clearly the LORD Himself can improve the way in which He commands his people to walk by adding, changing and/or abrogating those specific commandments. And that was the case if Jesus is the consubstantial Son of God Who assumed a human nature.
 

Last edited by Johannes (8/11/2018 10:14 pm)

 

8/09/2018 1:38 am  #75


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Johannes wrote:

 Any angel, good or evil, has a free will that he exercised at the beginning of his existence and which became fixated at that point, in the good angels towards God, in the evil angels against God.

Where do we see this in TaNaKH? Repeating the claims of Christian theology isn’t evidence for them.

Deutero-Isaiah?! Has the “Eternal Church” always accepted the Documentary Hypothesis? Which part of Isaiah contained actual prophecies from G-d? How do you know? Which “Isaiah” wrote this:

"You are My witnesses," says the Lord, "and My servant whom I chose," in order that you know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be. 

I’m astounded at the positions on this thread. The Exodus and Revelation at Sinai could be myths, “Isaiah” was written by a team, yet the “prophecies” from these fallible sources prove Christianity.

Johannes wrote:

  If one holds the Nicean doctrine of a consubstantial Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the Incarnation, then it is clear that Jesus did not entice people to "go after other gods".

The Nicean and Chalcedonian doctrines are the points in question. If these doctrines weren’t known to Israel then they were being enticed to pursue “other gods.”

Johannes wrote:

  "The way to walk" refers to the most important commandment, "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul". Clearly not even the LORD Himself can change that, and Jesus certainly did not.

Trinitarian doctrines change the definition of “G-d.” It took several centuries of pagan philosophy and church councils to establish them, voting on key terms, tweaking key concepts. How was Israel supposed to figure this out in real time? They’d have to measure Jesus’ claims against what G-d told their forefathers. That elaborate mystery theologies need to be constructed to “prove” G-d was always like this doesn’t establish it was a god their forefathers knew. It proves it wasn’t.
 

 

8/09/2018 2:32 pm  #76


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

 Any angel, good or evil, has a free will that he exercised at the beginning of his existence and which became fixated at that point, in the good angels towards God, in the evil angels against God.

Where do we see this in TaNaKH? Repeating the claims of Christian theology isn’t evidence for them.

Your statement is based on an assumption of TaNaKH completeness, meaning that there cannot be a further divine revelation after the closure of the TaNaKH, so that if a proposition is not in the TaNaKH and cannot be deduced from it, it is necessarily false. The assumption of TaNaKH completeness does not follow directly or indirectly from the text of the TaNaKH.

119 wrote:

Deutero-Isaiah?! Has the “Eternal Church” always accepted the Documentary Hypothesis? Which part of Isaiah contained actual prophecies from G-d? How do you know? Which “Isaiah” wrote this:

"You are My witnesses," says the Lord, "and My servant whom I chose," in order that you know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me no god was formed and after Me none shall be.

Whether different parts of the book of Isaiah were written by different authors has nothing to do with the fact that all of those parts contain actual prophecies from God.

119 wrote:

I’m astounded at the positions on this thread. The Exodus and Revelation at Sinai could be myths, “Isaiah” was written by a team, yet the “prophecies” from these fallible sources prove Christianity.

Actually, I'm astounded at the position that a single human authorship of the whole book of Isaiah is a necessary prerequisite for the prophecies in the book to be divinely inspired.

BTW, if you hold that the historicity of the Exodus and the Revelation at Sinai is a necessary prerequisite for the text of the Pentateuch to be divinely inspired, you should probably want to avoid scholarly articles such as this, or this, or this. Most probably, you should probably want to avoid this site altogether, which will spare you from reading this recent article on a topic central to this thread.

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

  If one holds the Nicean doctrine of a consubstantial Trinity and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the Incarnation, then it is clear that Jesus did not entice people to "go after other gods".

The Nicean and Chalcedonian doctrines are the points in question. If these doctrines weren’t known to Israel then they were being enticed to pursue “other gods.”

Again, your position is based on an assumption of Torah (or at least TaNaKH) completeness, which does not follow directly or indirectly from the text of the Torah/TaNaKH.

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

  "The way to walk" refers to the most important commandment, "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul". Clearly not even the LORD Himself can change that, and Jesus certainly did not.

Trinitarian doctrines change the definition of “G-d.” It took several centuries of pagan philosophy and church councils to establish them, voting on key terms, tweaking key concepts. How was Israel supposed to figure this out in real time? They’d have to measure Jesus’ claims against what G-d told their forefathers. That elaborate mystery theologies need to be constructed to “prove” G-d was always like this doesn’t establish it was a god their forefathers knew. It proves it wasn’t.

There are two senses in which "God was always like this" can be understood, ontic and epistemic. Since your statement just does not make sense if understood in an ontic way, as Christianity has always held divine immutability and thus no "elaborate mystery theology" is needed to hold that God is the same from eternity, I assume you mean it in an epistemic sense. But then it does not make sense either, since Christianity definitely holds that trinitarian doctrine cannot be deduced from the Old Testament.

This has nothing to do with believing in "a different god". You move to a new home and soon learn that an old man lives next door. Several years later you learn that the old man has a son. The old man is still the same man you knew from the beginning, only that now you know more about him.
 

 

8/09/2018 5:27 pm  #77


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Dave wrote:

In what way is doing something that only the Creator can do in attestation of a false messenger not a lie?

Message from G-d via Moses: at time T you will receive a test consisting of supernatural evidence in favor of gods other than Me and rules not in My Torah. To pass the test follow Torah and cleave to Me.
 
Time T obtains, exactly as promised. Where’s the lie? Show me the lie.
[...]
Why send miracle-workers who try to lead Israel astray? Because it’s a test. That’s what it says. Word for word. Where’s the lie?

Your position depends on the assumption that the sign or wonder supporting the claims of the false prophet predicted in Deut 13:1-5 can include any miracle that only God can perform.

Let's examine the validity of that assumption in the context of Deuteronomy. Noting that the expression "signs and wonders" is used in several passages to refer to the work performed by God to free the Israelites from Egypt, let's examine the first of those passages:

Moses in Deuteronomy wrote:

Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. (Deut 4:34-35)

If the signs and wonders performed by YHWH to free Israel from Egypt are the evidence on the basis of which Israel may know that YHWH is God, the only God, it can be most reasonably inferred that the sign or wonder that YHWH will provide to support the claims of the false prophet of Deut 13:1-5 will NOT involve a greater degree of exercise of divine power than the degree involved at the signs and wonders performed at the Exodus. It is most illogical to think that YHWH will provide MORE apologetic evidence for Israel to believe in a false god than the apologetic evidence He provided for Israel to believe in Himself!

From the above, and from the fact that the signs and wonders performed at the Exodus - the plagues, including the death of all Egyptian firstborns, the parting of the waters, the fire, smoke, lightning and thunder at mount Sinai, - are all events that can be produced by an angel, good or evil, out of his own natural power if allowed to do so by God, it follows that the sign or wonder that YHWH will provide to support the claims of a prophet enticing Israel to go after other gods will be restricted to that kind of events and will not include any miracle which only YHWH can perform.

Since the glory of YHWH is displayed in his works, this conclusion is in line with this passage:

Deutero Isaiah wrote:

I am YHWH, that is my Name; I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven images. (Is 42:8)

 

 

8/10/2018 12:31 am  #78


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Johannes wrote:

Your statement is based on an assumption of TaNaKH completeness, meaning that there cannot be a further divine revelation after the closure of the TaNaKH, so that if a proposition is not in the TaNaKH and cannot be deduced from it, it is necessarily false. The assumption of TaNaKH completeness does not follow directly or indirectly from the text of the TaNaKH.

I’m not “assuming” anything. Here's Maimonides:

1) It is clear and explicit in the Torah that it is [G-d's] commandment, remaining forever without change, addition, or diminishment, as [Deuteronomy 13:1] states: "All these matters which I command to you, you shall be careful to perform. You may not add to it or diminish from it," and [Deuteronomy 29:28] states: "What is revealed is for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of this Torah." This teaches that we are commanded to fulfill all the Torah's directives forever.

It is also said: "It is an everlasting statute for all your generations," and [Deuteronomy 30:12] states: "It is not in the heavens." This teaches that a prophet can no longer add a new precept [to the Torah].
Therefore, if a person will arise, whether Jew or gentile, and perform a sign or wonder and say that G-d sent him to:

a) add a mitzvah,
b) withdraw a mitzvah
c) explain a mitzvah in a manner which differs from the tradition received from Moses,
or
d) if he says that the mitzvot commanded to the Jews are not forever, but rather were given for a limited time, he is a false prophet. He comes to deny the prophecy of Moses and should be executed by strangulation, because he dared to make statements in G-d's name which G-d never made.

G-d, blessed be His name, commanded Moses that this commandment is for us and our children forever, and, G-d is not man that He speak falsely.

2) If so, what is meant by the Torah's statement [Deuteronomy 18:18]: "I will appoint a prophet from among their brethren like you, and I will place My words in his mouth and he will speak..."? He is not coming to establish a [new] faith, but rather to command the people [to fulfill] the precepts of the Torah and to warn against its transgression, as evidenced by the final prophet [Malachi], who proclaimed [3:22], "Remember the Torah of Moses, My servant."

Also, a prophet may command us to do something which [is neither permitted nor forbidden by Torah law] - for example, "Go to such and such a place," "Do not go there," "Wage war today," or "Do not do so," "Build a wall," or "Do not build it."

Johannes wrote:

BTW, if you hold that the historicity of the Exodus and the Revelation at Sinai is a necessary prerequisite for the text of the Pentateuch to be divinely inspired, you should probably want to avoid scholarly articles

I do. I try to avoid all blasphemy against G-d. The Eternal Catholic Church should try it sometime. They’ve always accepted the Documentary Hypothesis, right?

“It is thus possible for a Catholic to hold a number of positions, from full Mosaic authorship, to the documentary hypothesis, to intermediate positions, depending on how one sees the evidence.” 

Catholics can believe X and not-X about Torah! So edgy and post-modern! So rational. The Eternal Church has always taught this, right? “Scholarly articles” take precedence over the Word of A-mighty G-d.  Try this: “I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after him.” Feels good, man.

Johannes wrote:

You move to a new home and soon learn that an old man lives next door. Several years later you learn that the old man has a son. The old man is still the same man you knew from the beginning, only that now you know more about him. 

Almost a perfect analogy, except the old man’s self-consciousness generates a perfect clone (who isn’t really a perfect clone) who may or may not be a distinct unit of consciousness, who consists of the same substance as the old man. My knowledge of the father was imperfect to the point that I didn’t know him at all. This is like something from a John Carpenter movie.

Johannes wrote:

it can be most reasonably inferred that the sign or wonder that YHWH will provide to support the claims of the false prophet of Deut 13:1-5 will NOT involve a greater degree of exercise of divine power than the degree involved at the signs and wonders performed at the Exodus. It is most illogical to think that YHWH will provide MORE apologetic evidence for Israel to believe in a false god than the apologetic evidence He provided for Israel to believe in Himself!

A direct Prophetic experience from G-d to every single member of a Nation (“face to face”) is the greatest evidence in the history of Time. G-d thought it was such killer evidence it would work “forever.” The Israelites will believe in Moses FOREVER because of it.  According to G-d’s criterion of evidence, National Revelation is top-tier. You don’t get to define “evidence” according to Christian standards. “A man rising from the dead is the greatest evidence possible” is not true a priori. Neither Elisha nor Elijah are considered greater than Moses, yet both raised the dead.

Thus, we do not believe in any prophet who arises after Moses, our teacher, because of the wonder [he performs] alone, as if to say: If he performs a wonder we will listen to everything he says. Rather, [we believe him] because it is a mitzvah which we were commanded by Moses who said: If he performs a wonder, listen to him.

Just as we are commanded to render a [legal] judgment based on the testimony of two witnesses, even though we do not know if they are testifying truthfully or falsely, similarly, it is a mitzvah to listen to this prophet even though we do not know whether the wonder is true or performed by magic or sorcery.
Therefore, if a prophet arises and attempts to dispute Moses' prophecy by performing great signs and wonders, we should not listen to him. We know with certainty that he performed those signs through magic or sorcery. [This conclusion is reached] because the prophecy of Moses, our teacher, is not dependent on wonders, so that we could compare these wonders, one against the other. Rather we saw and heard with our own eyes and ears as he did.

To what can this be compared? To witnesses who gave testimony concerning a matter to a man who had observed the situation with his own eyes. He will never listen to them and will know for certain that they are false witnesses.

Therefore, the Torah states (Deuteronomy 13:3-4) that "[Even] if [such] a sign or wonder will come, you should not listen to the words of that prophet." He comes to you with signs and wonders to deny what you saw with your own eyes. We believe in a wonder [as evidence of a prophet's reliability] only because of the mitzvah which Moses commanded us. Therefore, how can a wonder [cause us to] accept this [person] who comes to deny the prophecy of Moses which we saw and heard?

 

8/10/2018 6:37 pm  #79


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Dave wrote:

[G-d] isn't complicit because He isn't the one working the miracle. The false prophet has to find his own power for that bit.

How does a human summon evil miraculous powers? If my theology had to be encapsulated in a mantra it might be ein od milvado. There is none but HaShem (Deut 4:35). The Christian notion of HaSatan as some autonomous rebel at war with G-d is wrong. He’s an angel doing his many jobs: accusing people before G-d, the angel of death, the evil inclination, and the angel of Edom. Angels do jobs. They don’t rebel, either because they lack free will or it’s perfectly attuned to G-d. The Chirstian "satan" as an evil counterpart doesn’t exist. G-d has no counterparts of any kind – evil, internal, or otherwise. Consequently, the evil prophet of Deut 13 can’t be a self-made man. Nor was Balaam.

Look, the question right now is whether or not G-d Himself ever acts miraculously - which is to say, by His primary causality - to establish falsehood. Now, I suggest that false signs are always caused by creatures, in an attempt to draw us away from G-d. That I personally happen to believe that the creatures in question do this as an act of rebellion against the Creator is of secondary importance. Even if they're on His payroll, the point remains the same - there is no evidence that G-d Himself ever gets His hands dirty.

This simple fact tells us that your interpretation of Deuteronomy 13 is questionable at best. What you need to do is give us a reason to think that the "signs and wonders" mentioned there ever come without the mediation of secondary causes ordered to the testing of Israel's faith. Without that, your argument for the dismissal of the Resurrection - something G-d alone could have accomplished - falls flat on its face.

Dave wrote:

 [G-d] isn't complicit … it's impious because it asserts that Ha'Shem would actively assist a false prophet in misleading and harming His beloved people.

Deut 13 is making a definitive statement about the nature of “evidence” qua evidence.

That's your interpretation. For all you've shown, it's nothing more than that - your interpretation. 

“It just doesn’t seem like G-d would do such a thing based on the rest of the Bible or my general sense of godliness” isn’t an argument.

We don't differ about the validity of Deuteronomy 13, we differ about interpretation. And considerations from the subsequent history of Israel are very much relevant to the interpretation of a passage that ostensibly refers to that history.

Dave wrote:

In what way is doing something that only the Creator can do in attestation of a false messenger not a lie?

Message from G-d via Moses: at time T you will receive a test consisting of supernatural evidence in favor of gods other than Me and rules not in My Torah. To pass the test follow Torah and cleave to Me.

Close, but not quite.

Message from G-d via Moses: you've seen My Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm, so listen to what I'm saying through this prophet: at time T, you will see My Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm once more - it will undeniably be Me at work - but that prophet will be a false one who you shouldn't listen to.

The only reason we have to take Moses seriously is the miraculous attestation G-d gave to his message and ministry. If G-d Himself admits that His direct action isn't a sure guide to the truth of a prophet's message, then how do we know that the Torah itself isn't the test and Moses the false prophet? If what He Himself does is no sure guide to the truth, why should we trust His Torah?

One and the same epistemological standard must be applied to all prophets.

It's interesting to note that the one who bragged that he could justify his beliefs without faith now flirts with fideism - "G-d said it, I believe it, that settles it."
 

Time T obtains, exactly as promised. Where’s the lie? Show me the lie. At the end of this sentence is a link that will derail your concentration and possibly blow your mind. Don’t click it! Where’s the lie? I warned you to ignore that infernal foolishness and if you didn’t you weren’t paying attention. No lie!

So if I warn you that I'm going to lie, it means that my future lie isn't actually a lie? That's not how lies work.

Dave wrote:

The evidence for my reading is simple - the fact of the matter is that, from Genesis to II Chronicles, not once do we find Ha'Shem opposing His Own Truth with His Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm.

Because in none of those passages does G-d say He’s going to do any such thing. In Deut 13 it says Israel will be tested by a false prophet performing signs and wonders. What do other verses where G-d doesn’t say this have to do with the one where He does?

Remember that this isn't so much an argument about Deuteronomy 13 as it is an argument about the proper interpretation of the passage.

You're also confusing the question of what [you think] G-d said with what He actually did.

You say that the "signs and wonders" mentioned in vs 1&2 quantify over all possible signs and wonders - including those that can only be worked by directly by the Finger of G-d.

When we look at the actual history of Israel, we find that it doesn't even cover summoning insects.

See the problem?

If the Reusrrection of Christ really was a test from G-d, it was absolutely unique, unlike any that came before - because it's the only time that a false prophet ever did anything interesting.

Dave wrote:

So you tell me, where's the evidence that G-d Himself ever did anything more than allow His people to be deceived by lesser forces? Where's the evidence that the Finger of G-d ever pointed away from the truth?

We’re debating THE passage that says He might test Israel in precisely such a fashion.

Whether or not it actually says that is precisely the point of contention. The only justification you've offered is that nothing in the verse itself excludes signs directly from G-d - which is to say, the only argument you have for your interpretation is that it isn't flatly contradicted by the text!

Can I not say the same thing of my own interpretation? And can I not also say that my interpretation manages to explain the fact that no false prophet mentioned in the Tanakh ever did anything interesting?

For all you've shown, the law was solely intended to keep people from getting confused when some charlatan got his hands on Babylonian astronomical tablets, and managed to predict an eclipse.

Of course it’s not the general pattern.

G-d never once offers miraculous attestation to a false prophet in the entirety of the recorded history of Israel - and yet you expect me to believe that Deuteronomy 13 was a warning that He would do precisely that?

That’s a strange, irrelevant point. “The Exodus couldn’t have happened because you never see G-d doing this anywhere else. Look, it ain’t the kind of thing He does. If it were you’d see it everywhere. Therefore, this lone instance where it clearly says He did is negated.

There is no "lone instance" of G-d misleading His people. His miracles, for all the Tanakh has to say on the matter, universally attested to truth.

You're asking me to set aside the unanimous testimony of the entirety of the Tanakh in favor of a questionable interpretation of a single passage!

Incidentally, my theology necessitates this torturous hand-waving limbo dance.”

There's nothing torturous or hand-waving about insisting that a passage about Israel's history be interpreted in light of Israel's history.

The Commandment in question is to ignore supernatural evidence contrary to Torah.

So you keep saying - but where's the evidence for that interpretation?

Dave wrote:

 Your explanation relies on an interpretation of Deuteronomy that has intrinsic problems (G-d miraculously helping along rebellion against Himself then punishing people for falling for it) and suffers from a complete lack of evidence, both in the Torah itself (remember Pharaoh's magicians!), and in the Tanakh as a whole.

The “evidence” is the passage in question. “Only Deut 13 says X, therefore not X” is no interpretation at all.

But the passage doesn't say X, it says Y, and there isn't the slightest shred of evidence in the entirety of the Tanakh that Y entails X.

Give me one example - just one - of G-d Himself giving miraculous attestation to a false message.

That's what it would take for your interpretation of Deuteronomy 13 to be viable.

My explanation contains no more “intrinsic problems” than G-d commanding us not to kill

He doesn't command us not to kill. He only tells us not to murder.

and commanding the extermination of 8 nations.

That just tells us that collective punishment isn't always unjust.

There’s no contradictions to either of these positions. None.

There's no contradiction in the punishment of the nations.

Regarding G-d Himself giving miraculous attestation to a false message? That's less clear.

Dave wrote:

 I claim that my explanation is better, because it manages to be "good" with respect to the entirety of the Bible AND with respect to God's character.

The character in the Bible is always giving tests. That’s one way He relates to us. That’s a description of His character.

And for all that, you've yet to produce a shred of evidence that His tests have ever involved Him providing miraculous attestation to a false message.

There’s an entire chapter about miracle-working prophets trying to deceive Israel because HaShem “is testing” them.

No, there's an entire chapter about killing idolaters, of which the first five verses are devoted to the false prophet.

And let's not forget that fifth verse!

But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against Ha'Shem your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which Ha'Shem your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

In other words, the point of the test is to be loyal to the G-d who acted in the lives of their fathers. G-d's miracles trump whatever the false prophet will be able to scrape together. Certainly there's no reason given here to think that the "signs and wonders" offered by the false prophet will ever even approach the works of Ha'Shem. 

Job was being TESTED by G-d through HaSatan,

It's that "through" bit that torpedoes your interpretation. G-d administers these tests through secondary causes - which precludes a bona fide resurrection being part of a test.

Dave wrote:

 Of course, I've pointed out that G-d Himself manifestly did not cause harm to Job directly, but rather permitted Satan to do so.

As I’ve stated, the Christian conception of Satan as an autonomous rebel using his free will in defiance of G-d is wrong.

Even if Satan's on G-d's payroll, my point remains the same: G-d Himself manifestly did not cause harm to Job directly, but rather permitted Satan to do so.

this reading of Job is wrong, and irrelevant to the parameters of what G-d would or wouldn’t do with false prophets.

Job is one of the few places where the "politics" behind a test get addressed explicitly, and is thus very relevant to the question on the table.

Why on earth would I accept an argument based on an ontology I reject?

It isn't based on an ontology you reject.

Dave wrote:

But there's a tremendous difference between allowing a creaturely power to do something unjust or deceptive on the one hand, and acting miraculously to establish injustice or a lie on the other.

According to (most) strains of Christianity, the theology of which is at issue.

This has nothing to do with Christian theology. Mamoinides himself took pains to establish that the evil in the world is due to secondary causality, not the work of G-d.

You can’t assume this distinction stands on its own.

Why not? It's basically equivalent to "primary causality is differently related to evil than secondary causality," which, given the differences between Creator and creature, is on all fours with Moliere's joke - not quite tautological, but damn close.

Judaism denies HaSatan has free will.

Irrelevant. So long as he is not G-d, my point stands: G-d has never given miraculous attestation to a false message.

Where will the false prophet get his power?

I heard from a friend that Ha'Shem has a guy on payroll that runs the whole "enticing people away from G-d" department. Maybe this "Ha-Satan" fella accepts applications? Not sure what he's looking for in a resume, though.

Where did Balaam? He couldn’t curse Israel BECAUSE HaShem wouldn’t let him. The prophet described in Deut 13 will have a different resume with different powers.

"A wicked prophet was unable to pronounce a curse on G-d's people. Therefore, G-d sometimes provides miraculous attestation to false messages."

lolwat?

No dualism is necessary or permitted.

In what sense is the Christian doctrine of Satan "dualistic?"

Dave wrote:

Either the 244 commandments concerning the temple are still in effect, or else they are not. If they are still in effect, then G-d is holding His people to a logically impossible standard, and you have to find a way to square this with His justice, steadfast love, and promises of loyalty to His people.

WWKDD? What would he do if he couldn’t bring offerings?

When was he unable to bring offerings?

He didn’t mention any “logically impossible standard” negating G-d’s loyalty. He didn’t conclude that he was unable to worship G-d. O L-rd, open my lips, and let my mouth declare Your praise. You do not want me to bring sacrifices; You do not desire burnt offerings; True sacrifice to G-d is a contrite spirit; G-d, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart. (Ps. 51:17-19)

I note you left out vs 21.

In any case, isn't this sort of "Spirit of the Law trumps letter of the Law" attitude precisely what Christianity espouses with respect to, say, bacon? I thought this sort of fuzzy, cavalier, intuition-y approach towards the 613 mitzvot was the problem with Christianity. Now suddenly it's A-OK?

At the dedication of the First Temple, King Solomon addresses the same subject:

When they sin against You—for there is no man who does not sin—and You are angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and their captors carry them off to an enemy land, near or far; and then they take it to heart in the land to which they have been carried off, and they repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying: ‘We have sinned, we have acted perversely, we have acted wickedly,’ and they turn back to You with all their heart and soul, in the land of the enemies who have carried them off, and they pray to You in the direction of their land which You gave to their fathers, of the city which You have chosen, and of the House which I have built to Your name— oh, give heed in Your heavenly abode to their prayer and supplication, uphold their cause, and pardon Your people who have sinned against You for all the transgressions that they have committed against You. (1 Kings 8:46-50)

In Babylon, they turned toward Jerusalem and prayed.

Riddle me this, Noahide: Who gave Solomon the authority to institute prayer as a replacement for the 244 commandments?

If it was G-d, then why shouldn't He have the ability to replace other commandments?

If it was not G-d, then why should we take this prayer towards Jerusalem as anything other than inordinately sentimental garbage with no ability to fill in for real Mitzvot?

They didn't conclude that someone who died during the time of the First Temple was an ultimate sacrifice.

You're the one bringing Christianity into the picture, not me. You're suffering from farsightedness, attacking what you think I want to say rather than attending to the issues I bring up.

Your eagerness to cut off my potential future lines of advance speaks volumes about your confidence that you can win the battle at hand.

They prayed facing Jerusalem, awaiting a time of restoration.

While obviously the appropriate reaction to the loss of the temple, it doesn't answer the legal question regarding the status of the 244 Mitzvot.

There's no explicit statement in the Torah that such signs of contrition are an adequate replacement for the 244, and that's the standard you've set for establishing this sort of thing.

Dave wrote:

If they are not still in effect, then it becomes reasonable to ask whether or not any of the remaining 369 commandments have also been annulled, as well as whether or not any new commandments have taken their places. You have yet to make it clear which horn of the dilemma you intend to take. And

I denied it’s a dilemma

"The 244 commandments are still in effect."

"The 244 commandments are not still in effect."

What, exactly, is the third option supposed to be?

and gave a counterexample based on a local law that remains in place.

...which was fatally disanalogous to the present case.

Let's review your "counterexample," shall we?

There is a law on the books in my city prohibiting open intoxicants in public. It’s flouted often. In some places (parks and the lake) it’s not even enforced. You don’t have to obey it. This doesn’t change its status as a law. Its lawfulness endures, unobserved and unenforced and unknown to many.

What we have here is a law that can be obeyed, but is routinely flouted on such a large scale that enforcing it would be hilariously impractical.

In the 244 Mitzvot, we find laws that can't be obeyed, and thus aren't obeyed, and we can only speculate as to whether and how they are being enforced.

A law that's impossible to enforce is not the same thing as a law that's impossible to obey.


King David and Solomon denied the dilemma too.

You set the terms before I even joined the forum: we need "[a]n explicit statement in the original Revelation that [annulment/fulfillment of the old] will occur."

Since you seem to endorse this whole "genuine contrition/prayer towards Jerusalem" schema, I can only conclude that there's an "explicit statement" in the Torah that sanctions such practices as an acceptable alternative to the 244 commandments should temple and tabernacle become unavailable.

I challenge you to cite that explicit statement. Chapter and verse, please.

That's the gauntlet you threw down. It's only fair that you be willing to pick it up.

Dave wrote:

 It is, therefore, not unreasonable to suspect that G-d Himself is somehow the exemplar of the differentiated, that the interplay of sameness and difference is somehow part of what it means to be. And, if such an idea be granted, it would be tempting to speculate that this differentiation in G-d is triadic in nature

My position is that G-d is a unique genus of ontology and these speculations, however interesting and noble their pedigree, don’t approach “solid evidence” that should add even a footnote to the ultimacy of Deut 6:4.

That G-d stands alone does not entail that He is an undifferentiated lump.

Why should we attribute the unity characteristic of a photon - which doesn't even have enough reality for a proper synchronic identity - to He Who is Higher than the seraphim?

 Christianity has turned these Platonist and gnostic spexulations

These speculations belong to Philo of Alexandria, Jewish Sapiential literature, and the emanations of the Kabbala.

If any one of those remains within the pale of Jewish orthodoxy, then so does the Trinity. How many faithful Jews are you prepared to denounce as idolaters?

into dogmatic assertions, Absolute Truths about the nature of G-d, a nature He neglected to share with Moses.

Why should He have to tell Moses everything?

There are Jews who avoid Kabbalah because they think it leads from the pure Oneness of HaShem.

Sure, but so what? Those who don't avoid Kabbala have a better knowledge of Kabbala, which is how they know that they aren't idolaters.

How much of historical and modern Judaism are you willing to write off as collateral damage? How desperate are you to condemn the Trinity?

Last edited by Dave (8/10/2018 6:52 pm)

 

8/11/2018 5:11 am  #80


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Dave wrote:

Look, the question right now is whether or not G-d Himself ever acts miraculously - which is to say, by His primary causality - to establish falsehood. Now, I suggest that false signs are always caused by creatures, in an attempt to draw us away from G-d. That I personally happen to believe that the creatures in question do this as an act of rebellion against the Creator is of secondary importance. Even if they're on His payroll, the point remains the same - there is no evidence that G-d Himself ever gets His hands dirty. This simple fact tells us that your interpretation of Deuteronomy 13 is questionable at best.

You look, if it’s such a “simple fact,” demarcate primary causation from secondary causation when none of the secondary layers have an autonomous free will. HaSatan is just a messenger doing his job. How does giving a command to a being that has no free will absolve G-d of responsibility? I look forward to seeing the primary-secondary causation flowchart, and the moral theory where all responsibility vanishes in the secondary cause. Your position requires this.

Dave wrote:

Even if Satan's on G-d's payroll, my point remains the same: G-d Himself manifestly did not cause harm to Job directly, but rather permitted Satan to do so.

If you "permit" someone else to molest your children is there any “dirt” on your hands? Discuss.

Dave wrote:

If G-d Himself admits that His direct action isn't a sure guide to the truth of a prophet's message, then how do we know that the Torah itself isn't the test and Moses the false prophet? If what He Himself does is no sure guide to the truth, why should we trust His Torah? 

From which standpoint would this be true? Which prior revelation said any such thing? Deut. 13 isn’t referring to Moses. The Israelites will believe in “My servant Moses” because of a direct Prophetic experience (“face to face”). The Sinai revelation was a unique genus of evidence altogether. This Singularity of Evidence then sets an epistemic standard. A prophet who performs miracles attributed to false deities doesn’t count as evidence at all. Deut. 13 is a statement precluding subsequent evidence from the standpoint of a direct Revelation from A-mighty G-d.   

Dave wrote:

One and the same epistemological standard must be applied to all prophets.

Not according to your Bible. Where are you getting this? Prove it. Moses was not just another prophet. He was THE Prophet.

Dave wrote:

It's interesting to note that the one who bragged that he could justify his beliefs without faith now flirts with fideism - "G-d said it, I believe it, that settles it."

What’s interesting are the cheapshots you’re using. I said this in the context of Theism and the Kuzari Principle. Then I mentioned a few references about the Torah being "everlasting," "eternal," "forever," "for all your generations." I suppose it doesn’t mean that either. Me and my fideism.

Dave wrote:

So if I warn you that I'm going to lie, it means that my future lie isn't actually a lie? That's not how lies work.

If you receive a test, the parameters of which are specified, and you have the opportunity to fail the test, this necessarily involves a “lie”? How do lies work? Was this a lie:

And He said, “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.”

G-d tests people in ways that could most charitably be described as brutal. He told Abraham to slaughter his boy (but didn’t really mean it)! That was a test. He told Israel that miracle-working prophets that urge disloyalty are a test too. HaShem your G-d IS TESTING YOU in both instances. According to what standard is Abraham’s test a nice one from a nice Teacher but using false prophets is too mean cuz it’s wong to lie? According to Rashbam:

"This prophet makes his pronouncements with the full force of enormous authority. He has performed wonders; he has seen into the future. By virtue of his stature, he is regarded as a sacred religious figure. His direction to engage in idolatrous practices carries with it his full authority. Immense courage, confidence in one’s convictions, and clarity are required to resist and oppose such an imposing figure. Mounting this resistance and denouncing this established religious icon as a charlatan can only occur through a process of painful soul-searching, value clarification and an iron-willed commitment to Torah-true ideals even in the face of certain condemnation from an established religious leader. However, one who passes through the gauntlet of this challenge will emerge a giant."

Just like Abraham! The nasty test made him greater. Thank you HaShem!

Dave wrote:

You say that the "signs and wonders" mentioned in vs 1&2 quantify over all possible signs and wonders - including those that can only be worked by directly by the Finger of G-d. When we look at the actual history of Israel, we find that it doesn't even cover summoning insects.  

Show me any restrictions involving “Not to include signs and wonders from G-d’s finger but only His elbow hitting something else and kinda indirectly maybe secondarily causing it to happen in such a fashion as to leave G-d’s hands clean from all moral responsibility.” I must have skipped that qualification. Which insect-summoning are you alluding to?

Dave wrote:

Can I not say the same thing of my own interpretation? And can I not also say that my interpretation manages to explain the fact that no false prophet mentioned in the Tanakh ever did anything interesting?

What “interpretation”? You don’t have an interpretation. You have an eisegesis, some a priori standard the passage must, of absolute necessity, meet. Where are you deriving the “interesting” requirement? Where are you deriving the insistence that it’s only true if the TaNaKH is teeming with “interesting” false prophets? It doesn’t say anything about doing a survey of Israel’s history. It doesn’t quantify the interesting-ness of false prophets. You’re pulling this out of thin air and pretending it’s essential. Did Abraham do a survey of Israel’s history to see if G-d meant what He said?

Dave wrote:

 Give me one example - just one - of G-d Himself giving miraculous attestation to a false message. That's what it would take for your interpretation of Deuteronomy 13 to be viable.

I deny the a priori Requirement of Viability, but what about this:

And now, behold the L-rd has placed a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, whereas the L-rd spoke evil concerning you. (1 Kings 22:23) G-d put a “lying spirit” into the mouths of prophets. Does prophecy occur via the natural process of photosynthesis? No. Then how did it happen? G-d did it!

From your wing of the building:

This is why G-d will send them an influence that will mislead them so that they will believe the lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11)

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)

I know, I know, it’s that blasted “secondary causation”! G-d has to stop bumping into stuff and secondarily “causing” it to happen.

Dave wrote:

“In what sense is the Christian doctrine of Satan "dualistic?"”

Please. Phone call from Zoroaster.

Dave wrote:

Your eagerness to cut off my potential future lines of advance speaks volumes about your confidence that you can win the battle at hand.

Win the battle at hand? Who are you?

Dave wrote:

There's no explicit statement in the Torah that such signs of contrition are an adequate replacement for the 244, and that's the standard you've set for establishing this sort of thing.

To clarify, was the Torah annulled with the destruction of the First Temple? Suppose you’re thrown into the Gulag. You’re going to miss Sunday mass for the foreseeable future. Therefore … the New Testament has been canceled?

Dave wrote:

That G-d stands alone does not entail that He is an undifferentiated lump. Why should we attribute the unity characteristic of a photon - which doesn't even have enough reality for a proper synchronic identity - to He Who is Higher than the seraphim?

That’s right, I’ve been defending the “undifferentiated lump” position. I’ve clearly maintained that G-d is just like a photon. One day me think pretty. Are you even reading my posts? G-d isn’t “like” anything at all. Sorry for the fideism again, but G-d describes Himself as One.

Dave wrote:

 How many faithful Jews are you prepared to denounce as idolaters?

Don’t you dare put words in my mouth. That’s unsanitary. I posted this:

“My position is that G-d is a unique genus of ontology and these speculations, however interesting and noble their pedigree, don’t approach “solid evidence” that should add even a footnote to the ultimacy of Deut 6:4.  Christianity has turned these Platonist and gnostic speculations into dogmatic assertions, Absolute Truths about the nature of G-d, a nature He neglected to share with Moses. There are Jews who avoid Kabbalah because they think it leads from the pure Oneness of HaShem.”

Where have I “denounced” anyone? This is a debate within Orthodoxy. I spoke the truth with no accusations whatsoever. (Gentiles aren’t supposed to study Kabbalah.) My point was that Oneness is very important and I cited evidence. Anyone who defends a book oozing with this evil filth can shut his damn mouth about denouncing “faithful Jews.”
 

Last edited by 119 (8/11/2018 6:02 am)

 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum