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9/17/2018 10:32 pm  #41


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Just a point here (I know I shouldn't just interject in the middle of a debate, but I can't resist):
The 'epistemic exclusivity' Johannes is postulating for the traditional Jewish position and then rejecting is a straw man because that exclusivity doesn't pertain to all the Torah or even most of the Torah - it pertains only to God's oneness, which is of course what the Torah says it with regards to. In other words, our understanding of all of the Torah can be modified by future prophets (barring their complete negation), except that which pertains to God's radical unity. So if you ask whether God has any mechanism by which he can modify our understanding of the Torah, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, there is a mechanism for most of the Torah; no, there is no mechanism for God to modify our rejection of idolatry. Sinai was enough for that.


Noli turbare circulos meos.
 

9/18/2018 12:50 am  #42


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

Viewing any prophecy as having been fulfilled or not depends on your interpretation thereof. The point is: do you allow God any way to correct your interpretation of the TaNaKH? 

Your conception of "absolute epistemic insulation" presupposes unsupportable views on the Oral Torah and who is given the authority to interpret Torah Law.

My statement that holding the postulates of Torah completeness and of "no limit on the miracles supporting a false prophet" puts you in a state of absolute epistemic insulation is not related at all to a view on the Oral Torah, which is most evident since the statement can apply to a Karaite too. The only difference between your case and that of a Karaite is that for you Torah = Written + Oral, while for a Karaite Torah = Written.

 

9/18/2018 1:40 am  #43


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Etzelnik, the notion of epistemic insulation is far from a straw man, since it was evident in the previous discussion with 119 and is evident in the writings of 119's favorite author, e.g. these quotes from one of 119's reddit posts (emphasis added):

The Zionist Conspirator wrote:

the simple fact is that if the Torah does not authorize the rise of chrstianity, then chrstianity simply cannot be true, regardless of how many miracles it claims--even when they are witnessed publicly.
[...]
Do any of you out there even understand what I'm saying? That the Torah either explicitly declares itself a temporary "preparation" for the coming demigod messiah or else this claim is groundless and based on nothing but its own assumptions?
[...]
The Torah would have had to explicitly declare itself to be temporary and preparatory from day one for chrstianity to even be possible, and this is most assuredly not what happened.

It is clear in these passages that the ZC holds the postulates of Torah completeness and of no limit on the miracles supporting the claims of a false prophet, from which a state of absolute epistemic insulation is an unavoidable consequence.

It is also clear that, if you do not hold those postulates, then you are not in such state.

Now, Christians definitely hold God's unity (and uniqueness and simplicity and immutability) and reject idolatry. The point is understanding that the doctrines of consubstantial Trinity and of Incarnation without change in the divine nature are compatible with the above tenets.

Note that, once you understand that, you will see that even if God does not actually generate eternally a consubstantial Son, Christians would not be idolaters because the reason why we worship the Son is because of his consubstantiality with God the Father, which implies one divine intellect, one divine will, and one divine power, where "one" is meant in the sense of numerical identity, not in the sense of "in complete agreement". Nicene Christians do not believe in "two powers in heaven".

This point is worth emphasizing: when Nicene Christians say "of the same substance" (homoousios), we mean "same" in a numerical identity sense (as opposed to qualitative identity), and we mean "substance" in a particular sense (as opposed to a universal sense). Using those meanings, two horses are not consubstantial (homoousios) but equisubstantial (isoousios).

That explains why orthodox Christians spent the IV century battling Arianism and semiarianism, in a dispute which was mocked by Edward Gibbon by saying that it was about just one iota (homoousios meaning "same substance" versus homoiousios meaning "similar substance"). Because "similar substance" precludes numerical identity, and without numerical identity of substance Christianity would be divinely-mandated idolatry, given the Father's will "that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father" (Jn 5:22-23).

Last edited by Johannes (9/18/2018 10:57 am)

 

9/18/2018 11:11 am  #44


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Regarding the original question: considerations like this make it difficult for me to consider questions of religion outside the framework of Traditionalism.  Every traditional religion provides some level of historical/empirical evidence to confirm themselves.   None of them seem to do it a whole lot better than others as far as I can tell.  For example, the purely historical evidence for some of the events in the Mahabharata seems about as strong as the purely historical evidence for certain events in the Bible or the Iliad.  Surely there has to be a better way for inquiring into religion.

As for Valicella's paper, looking for logical inconsistencies in theology doesn't seem like a good method.  Every religion, like Jeremy stated, offers a path towards transformation/transcendence.  Conceptualizing that process is necessarily to speak about Mystery.  Granted, there has to be a certain level of coherence, but I'm not sure the coherence needed is the same sort sought after by analytic philosophers.  I'm also not sure I could explicate what sort of coherence I'm talking about.  My point is that I think any approach towards religion that doesn't accept and embrace Mystery will lead to either liberal theology or fundamentalism, both degenerate forms of religion in my opinion.

 

9/18/2018 11:55 am  #45


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Regarding Reddit: in addition to The Quotable Zionist Conspirator check out The Essential ShamanSTK. The latter is a Classical Theist's Theist. I don't really know these guys. I admired their posts and went into Boswell mode. Gentiles for Moses started (less than a year ago) as a repository for bookmarks. My laptops commit suicide often. Why not back everything up publicly. Reddit has its moments: I couldn't post this on the religion forum yesterday because of its excessive length.

EDIT: Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge: Spiritual Knowledge and Faith for the Noahide Movement and All Righteous Gentiles is inspired by Maimonides' Book of Knowledge. I should let my first impressions mellow before saying it's trandsforming my understanding of "spirituality," and that it's THE book on the foundations of the Noachide position.    

Last edited by 119 (9/20/2018 5:24 am)

 

9/21/2018 10:05 am  #46


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Etzelnik wrote:

Jason: that is not the topic of this thread, nor is it a topic which I have the time to get to involved in at the moment. Suffice it to say that this thread is predicated on the assumption that Christianity is based on an absurdity, as the opening post will show.
But my point stands regardless. Just substitute 'Catholic Mass' for 'Sufi Ecstasy' or some other beautiful ritual or edifice belonging to a religion you see as false - I'm sure you can find such a thing if you try hard enough.

You are right it is not the topic of the thread, I agree. I was just honestly curious to know. I am a Catholic so I do think however that there is some beauty in every religion and hence there is some truth there (but of course the full truth is revealed in Jesus). 
 

 

9/22/2018 10:05 pm  #47


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Brian wrote:

As for Valicella's paper, looking for logical inconsistencies in theology doesn't seem like a good method.  Every religion, like Jeremy stated, offers a path towards transformation/transcendence.  Conceptualizing that process is necessarily to speak about Mystery.  Granted, there has to be a certain level of coherence, but I'm not sure the coherence needed is the same sort sought after by analytic philosophers.  I'm also not sure I could explicate what sort of coherence I'm talking about.  My point is that I think any approach towards religion that doesn't accept and embrace Mystery will lead to either liberal theology or fundamentalism, both degenerate forms of religion in my opinion.

It sounds like you think that all religion necessarily involves some mysterianism, and that it was a mistake for me to start the thread by suggesting that Christianity does whereas (as far as I can tell) Judaism and Islam don't. (I'm setting aside my skepticism about theism and atheism for the purposes of this thread.)

     Thread Starter
 

9/22/2018 10:15 pm  #48


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Of course, there is a sense in which I'm being a little unfair. Christianity is the default religion of the West. Muslims, Jews, and Noahides are going to know all sorts of things about it simply by having grown up here that Christians typically aren't going to be able to match with equal knowledge about their religions. (Muslim, Jewish, and Noahide apologists are typically going to be able to run circles around Christian ones for this reason.) So it could just be that there are equivalent problems with Islam and Judaism that I don't know about. (Finding out whether there are is one of my reasons for starting this thread.)

     Thread Starter
 

9/22/2018 10:19 pm  #49


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

Johannes wrote:

Which applies also to "why not Islam"

The Qur'an denies that there was ever even a guy, Jesus, that was crucified in the first place (4: 157). Muslim scholars reply to the (rather obvious) charge that this disagrees with historical scholarship by proposing that God just made it look like Jesus was crucified when he actually wasn't.

Anyway, I mention it only to say that you may be giving yourself more work than you need to with Islam.

     Thread Starter
 

9/22/2018 10:48 pm  #50


Re: Why or why not Islam? Why or why not Judaism?

To give some context to my question about beauty: I'm very “impressed” by Christianity and Islam, but they have problems.* Judaism doesn't seem to have any problems, but I'm not as impressed by it. (Perhaps, seeing as Jews have been persecuted for most of their history, this is a little unfair.)

*I'm more impressed by Christianity than Islam (which has to compete with no less than Da Vinci and Rembrandt, Shakespeare and Goethe, Bach and Beethoven), but its problems are also (as far as I can tell right now) greater than Islam's.

     Thread Starter
 

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