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1  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Today at 11:50 AM
2. The new birth is due to divine initiative, not human decision.
So one cannot choose to be a believer and enter the fold?
2  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Today at 11:48 AM
Wouldn't we need to actually define what something is before we say what it's requirements are?

For example, we know aspects of living things, but we do not know what actually makes something alive. Is it chemical reactions that are driving it? We observe they are happening, yes. But we recreate those reactions on their own, and they do not make life or bring something back to life.

That seems more like a 100,000 foot guess based in philosophy as much as detail to say how these things work, and what is required. 
Living organisms, and the science that deals with them, biology, are the most complex things humans have ever looked at.  Yeah, I'd have to agree, or current state of the art in biology is a 100,000 foot view or even further out than that.  We are at moon orbit with opera glasses.

Life has had 3 billion years to evolve, we've only really been looking closely at it for 400 or 500 years.  I'd say we have a bit of catching up to do.
3  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Today at 06:32 AM
Interesting speculations, but this doesn't look to me to be on the same level as what here seems to count for empirical evidence.  I guess if you're a naturalist, everything needs to be explained by chemical reactions.  I guess I'm glad that me love for my wife isn't just an interesting chemical reaction from my POV. :)
Well I'm not a biologist by any means.  Too complicated a subject for me - I'll just stick to physics, math and digital electronics.  However its up to you how you want to think about it John, but the human body is driven by chemical reactions.  Whether those chemical reactions are responding to your religious beliefs, the voice of your soul, your love for your wife, or a well played concerto.  There is nothing else in there as a mechanism for these things to play themselves out on.

One way you could look at it is that there may indeed be things that transcend the biology of the body - love, soul, appreciation - but they require the biology to be realized.  A simple example might be a DVD player.  A movie played on the DVD player transcends the player but requires it to be realized.

So whether you like it or not, the love you feel for your wife or God is realized though the biology of your body.
4  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Today at 06:05 AM
But are they empirically verifiable explanations-- the only ones that some claim are really worthwhile.  Evil
Here is one discussion on the subject

"Answer #1: the biology of attachment. We know that a suite of hormones and neurotransmitters (including oxytocin, vasopressin, prolactin, testosterone, dopamine, etc…) are involved in developing and maintaining physiological bonds between mothers and infants and fathers and infants. This system also functions in the same way between adults.  The system is triggered by physical touch, spending intense social time in contact or near one another, and positive social interactions. Humans have evolved a system that uses social and physical interactions, hormones, and the brain, to prime the body to feel closer and more attached to another individual.  In the most basic sense this is the same system common across mammals.  The anthropologist Walter Goldschmidt called this “affect hunger”  and suggested that the basic system that acts to bond mammalian mothers to their infants has been expanded and co-opted in the human species to act as a social and physiological bonding system between individuals of all ages and sexes.  This drive of affect hunger enables humans to form and experience types of social bonds across a wider range of individuals and with more intensity than in other animals, even than other primates.  Many researchers argue that it is these bonds which have enabled humans to do better than almost any other organism on the plane."
5  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Today at 05:02 AM
Sorry, I'm a little slow these days.  More too busy, but slwo on my following here.

I just want to back up to John 1 for a question or two.  This passage:

11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1) Is this talking about how Jesus' teachings were not widely accepted by the Jews?

2) What is meant by "...become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of human flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."?  Is this talking about a living rebirth in spirituality or the acceptance of the soul into everlasting life?
6  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Yesterday at 12:56 PM
That's a problem with more than data... The same could be said for something as simple and common as love. Or what makes life, well, life as opposed to dynamic chemical systems??
Maybe, but there are explanations out there for what love is.  You may not accept them, but they are there. 
7  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Yesterday at 12:53 PM
Bill you seem to be confusing partial information available through revelation and complete information.  We indeed do know what has been revealed, but what has not been revealed is not for us to know.  That's classic Christian orthodoxy.
No confusion at all John.  That's exactly what I'm talking about.

That's your favorite way of thinking about me so I'll let it go, but in reality it may be that you're 'presupposing' too much about my words rather than just reading them.

So, to your point and assuming that some of what is in the bible is actually divine revelation. We may know what has been revealed to us, but out of context of the entire plan, it remains inexplicable.  We are not allowed to 'dig in' to things we may have further question about.  Like why was Jesus brought into the world through a virgin birth?  Why has Christ not yet returned?  Why does a loving God allow innocent children to be raped and murdered?

From a religious perspective we can never get any answers to these questions and about 1.398 x 10239 others.

Well, there is always 'god moves in mysterious ways'.  There, that should satisfy us and quench our thirst for knowledge.
8  Practice Break / Religion / Re: Religion Matters: Take 3 on: Yesterday at 11:16 AM
You missed my point. It looks to me that you only consider natural data and explanations.
The issue with supernatural data is that there is no explanation.  It cannot be quantified, measured, questioned or uncovered by investigation.

How many times in these religion pages have wee been told that Go'd plan is not for us to know.  That we just have to have faith in it (that would be blind faith, would int not?) and accept without question what data he provides.

That is not only top down, there is no down.
9  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: Trying to identify old microphones on: Jan 21, 2018, 12:31PM
\\

Yeah, I saw those.  The switch is different and the top of the capsule on mine is a solid disk with holes around the perimeter, not mesh.  If the JT-17 and a JT-8 had a love child, that would be what I have!
I wouldn't take the lack of mesh on your capsules to seriously.  That could be because they were discarded, or due to small changes over the production life to the microphone.  Same goes for the switch.  That tulip shaped barrel seems to have been an Astatic 'thing' whenever they made cylindrical hand-held (bullet?) microphones.  Like the CTM-33, the 966, the CTM-44.  Even this one, but it is a departure form the others.
10  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 21, 2018, 08:49AM
How do they get to principles without violating the is/ought fallacy?
It’s not that tough to avoid.  The is/ought process is actually useful if applied provisionally.  It can be used to apply know principles to reduce the effort in finding new ones.

Here’s a simple example.  In wiring up a lightbulb one might find themselves in the situation that they have hooked it up correctly, according to known principles but it does not work.  They then might think or say “There is the correct voltage on that bulb, it ought to be lighting” and in doing so fall prey to the fallacy.

However, the bottom-upper, the ones that understand principles are derived from facts, will realize that there may be other undiscovered facts at hand and would instead think/say “There is the correct voltage on that bulb, provided nothing else is amiss it ought to be lighting.”  Then proceed to find what else is amiss.
11  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 21, 2018, 08:09AM
However, I, with Martin, would challenge the "just the facts, Ma'am,"--couldn't resist that old
American pop culture reference-- approach that some claim.  I think Bill's continued insistence that Paul MUST be the source of the idea that Jesus was divine and therefore Paul must somehow be behind John's gospel is a good example of just such a paradigm 1st, facts 2nd approach from a professed "down under" sort of guy. :)
BTW, I need you to know I have nothing invested in Paul being the engineer of Christianity.  The approach I have taken so far is very much bottom up.  I’ve read some things that don’t add up - that almost amount to a discontinuity in the development of the religion.  I have not found the smoking gun yet, but the circumstances so far seem to place it in Paul’s hands.  Personally, it matters nothing to me if through further investigation it turns out to be someone else or no one at all.

Why would you even think my saying I think it’s Paul would be wishful thinking on my part?  Almost sounds like you might be in possession of evidence I have yet missed. Don't know
12  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 21, 2018, 07:32AM
I'm used to hearing those arguments in relationship to Paul being the writer of Hebrews.  I've never thought of him writing John.

Again, writing John, or having it written is only one possibility.  You and John seem to cling to that one though.  I guess it seems somewhat repugnant but I don't know why.  Anyway, I'm good with shutting up about it for now.
13  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 21, 2018, 07:28AM
Yes, Christian thinkers have had their share of sticking with paradigms that should have been discarded for far too long.  The Reformation correction of the medieval theological synthesis is a good example, in my opinion.  

However, I, with Martin, would challenge the "just the facts, Ma'am,"--couldn't resist that old
American pop culture reference-- approach that some claim.  I think Bill's continued insistence that Paul MUST be the source of the idea that Jesus was divine and therefore Paul must somehow be behind John's gospel is a good example of just such a paradigm 1st, facts 2nd approach from a professed "down under" sort of guy. :)
Your point is taken.  Yet I keep insisting this is just a hunch of mine.  But John, I don't know where you get MUST from.  Yes I think Paul was the source of the changes in the religion that brought forth Christianity and a major (if not the most important) one of those changes was the deity of Jesus.  MUST that be true?  Hmmm, no - not until I have irrefutable proof.  So let's leave it at that for now.  I agree 100% that all I have is mere circumstance and speculation to go on.  Not much to argue with so I'll cease and desist at least until more evidence pops up.
14  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 20, 2018, 04:20PM
Bill, here's a quote from an earlier post of yours that I was basing my claims about your beliefs about the deity of Christ in the gospels.--see page 177 for the source of this quote

"As for John (the gospel), I am sure you would not like my theories about that.  It plays too much into Paul's take on the development of the religion to be a mere coincidence.  I think Paul either influenced the writing of John or wrote a large part of it himself as a record of the gospel he taught verbally.  Then it was completed by another party after Paul's death and 'published'.  After all, he claims that his gospel was not from man (Gal 1:11-12) but rather a revelation directly from Jesus.  John does seem to be the only gospel that comes out strongly supporting Paul's assertion that Jesus was divine.  It fits Pauline theology better than the synoptic gospels.  Anyway, I'm sure you'll beg to differ on that."
I don't deny what I said there.  You seem to have missed the 'strongly' qualifier.

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I don't disagree that Paul influenced Luke.  My claim was that if the Pauline influence is the source of the idea of Jesus being divine, then this ought to be shown the strongest in Luke.

I believe that Luke, like the other 2 Synoptic gospels, does point to the deity of Christ,  but not in any way significantly different than the more understated ways that the other 2 Synoptics did.  Your thesis just doesn't fit the evidence and seems more like wishful thinking than based on any serious evidence.  You seem convinced that Paul MUST be the source of that doctrine, so hence your claim.
Yet It's Luke that gives the most detailed account of the virgin birth - an event some claim shows the deity of Jesus.  As well the later addition of the most detailed gospel account of the ascension - again an event that some claim shows the deity of Jesus.  However, we can add to that he writings in Acts.

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The style and language differences between John and Paul are so great that no serious New Testament scholar has ever claimed that Paul had any serious influence on the writing of John, BTW.  To make such a claim goes against any type of scholarly NT studies that I'm aware of: liberal, conservative, orthodox,  heterodox, you name it. :)
Still I stand by my claim about Paul.  IF he wrote John, he would naturally change the style of the writing or get someone else to express his ideas.  If he influenced the writer of John, then that writer's style and language use would show through.  Writing styles, languages and interpretations of the gospels aside, the real 'action' with respect to Jesus being God starts with Paul.  Paul created, or maybe a better word is nurtured, Christianity from the teachings of Jesus and I feel he did it to appeal to a larger audience.  For that he needed a bigger impact for Jesus.  Just being a good rabbi would not cut it outside Judea.  Jesus needed to be a god - the God.
15  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 20, 2018, 01:55PM
Bill, if Paul had so much influence over Luke, then why have you continued to stress that the deity of Christ is only found in the gospel of John not the synpotics?  One would assume, given your assumptions, that the gospel of Luke would have even more allusions than John to the deity of Christ.

All of this calls into question  your line of thinking, from my POV.
Did I say it was only found in John?  I know I did say that Jesus never claimed deity in the synoptics.

There really is not much WRT claiming the deity of Jesus found in the synoptics and it really takes some (dare I say) presuppositions to see any events in those gospels as signs of deity, such as the virgin birth and the ascension.  For all the ink given to the ascension in the original gospels it can safely be ignored.  As to the virgin birth, well there can be many interpretations, especially for a non-believer.  Even if Mary did get pregnant without coitus, it does not necessarily follow her child would be a god.

In any case, I identified that post as my speculation.  You are indeed in your right to call into question my thinking on it, otherwise we'd not have much to discuss.  Anyway, let be refine my thinking for you somewhat.  Paul and Luke supposedly worked fairly closely together, did they not?  It is my experience that people who work closely together, especially by choice, generally share ways of thinking about things and do tend to influence each other.  I honestly don't think my proposal that Paul had an influence on Luke is such a stretch.

As to exactly how far he influenced him, I simply don't know the actual extent, only that such influence should be considered.  Maybe Luke was unusual and could not be influenced by the people he worked closely with, but I doubt it.
16  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 20, 2018, 09:53AM
There have always been those who believe Jesus was born divine (they insist on a virgin birth), and other schools of thought that put his divinity at the moment of resurrection or the moment of ascension. 
Both the virgin birth and the ascension are given the most attention by Luke.

Again, these are just my observations.  Luke was not known to Jesus but was well known to Paul.  The divinity of Jesus seems to me to begin with Paul.  Paul may have had considerable influence over Luke.  If there is any weight of fact to those observations they might explain Luke's special attention to the divine in writing about Jesus.
17  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 20, 2018, 09:45AM
The to-and-fro over what eyewitness accounts mean stems quite neatly and quickly from the basic disconnect between two commonly-seen ways of thinking when these kinds of questions are asked. In fact, this whole thread has been a learning experience (I hope for everyone) regarding the same.

Someone like me says: Eyewitness accounts are great. A great deal better than hearsay or fantasy, the other two options. But let us not forget the limitations of human reportage. One eyewitness is not equal to another in terms of reliability or detail. We seek to learn from the bottom up - we learn from what we are told, and we evaluate what we are told for reliability and detail.

Someone like John says: All the same things! Except... and this is the important thing: We seek to learn from the top down. They already know the conclusion they want to get to, and so the point is to decide how the account supports it.

How does a top-downer regard a bottom-upper? Well, it's a little hard to place myself into such a topsy-turvy way of thinking! I imagine that words like "arrogance" and "hubris" are among the adjectives that spring to mind? Particularly when a bottom-upper uses a less-than-respectful term such as "topsy-turvy"...
And how does a bottom-upper regard a top-downer? This is easier for me. Top-downing means the insertion of a major distortion into one's process of knowledge accumulation, which elsewhere proceeds bottom-up, there being no other way for it to proceed. Inconvenient facts are bent around it to fit. Away from the distortion, reasoning is likely to be fine - indeed, the mental gymnastics required to reconcile inconvenient facts may well lead to the top-downer developing an impressive reasoning faculty. But in the shadow of the distortion, conclusions turn upside-down and reason is given a holiday. It is sad to watch, and, just as Christians pray for the spiritual growth of those such as me who don't believe, I offer them my earnest good wishes in finally seeing the distortion for what it is.

Don't mistake Bill or I pointing out the limitations of eyewitness accounts as a symptom of having a closed mind. We may or may not have closed minds on the subject (*), but discussing the mechanisms of how a text came to be talks only about the level of trust one can expect to be able to place in it. If it is axiomatic for you ("presuppositional", if you prefer) that the text must be trusted absolutely, then that is going to be a confronting idea.
Well put Dave.

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(*) Fwiw, I keep mine aware of the apparent likelihoods of options, and place more and less weight on more and less sensible looking outcomes.
Me as well.  I'm always eager to read additional ideas on and about the texts from both sides.

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That the gospels are throughout literal truth is not a hypothesis that anyone has demonstrated anywhere near plausible to me - and the existing demonstrations show little more than that these books have existed as they are for a very long time, are placed in a known historical setting, and may narrate real events featuring real people - though in notably garbled form - so questions like "How and why did they come to distort what happened"? come to be of more interest than "What actually happened?", the answer to which seems hopelessly obscure) (*)
Again, well said.
18  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 19, 2018, 03:36PM
Cricket!  What's that? :)

A small dark coloured insect resembling  a grasshopper and capable of producing a fairly high frequency chirping sound. 
19  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 19, 2018, 09:56AM
It sort of looks like a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of scenario.
That's exactly how it is.  Unfortunately.

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Methinks perhaps presuppositions play some role here. :)
Undoubtedly.
20  Practice Break / Religion / Re: TTF "Read Da Book": The Christian Bible on: Jan 19, 2018, 09:51AM
Bill, your 1st rather snarky remark really doesn't deserve an answer, but here's one that you may have overlooked.  Most scholars believe that there were proto copies of the gospels that circulated before the actual canonical gospels were written down.  They likely would have been in Aramaic.
My bad for not explaining.  My 2nd statement was more about the disciples.  This first one was about some of the other groups around at the time that did do a lot of writing.   One example would be the Dead Sea Scroll folks.  They seemed to have completely missed the whole Jesus phenomenon.  But here again I'm making an assumption that all of the cache of Dead Sea scrolls made the light of day.  Perhaps some were held back or were never found.

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You make a lot of assumptions about writing things down that assume that the disciples were all writers. This is a big assumption.
Well, now that you point it out my first inclination was to write that the disciples were possibly illiterate, but I thought that would have been less well received.  Although I personally think it very likely.  I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that schooling was not a big thing back then.


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The ascension was an important event, but witnessed by a rather small group.  Luke clearly says that he contacted eyewitnesses.
In your other (later) comment about how some of us view eyewitness accounts, I'd like to point out that I usually can take actual eyewitness accounts but with a grain of salt.  People 'know' what they saw - it might be in error, but they remember they saw something and can relate what they remember.  I'll accept them at that - they are what one remembers what one saw.

It is the 2nd hand or n-th hand recounts of eyewitness reports that I feel I must discount. With these you are dealing with someone's interpretation of what someone thought they saw.  It gets kind of sketchy.

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Your argument from silence really isn't that significant since it's Luke who extends the account into the early history of the post-resurrection church where the Ascension logically fits as an event in salvation history.
First, I'm not really making an argument I'm just stating that I find it odd.  Second, that the Ascension logically fits as an event in salvation history is not in argument, and neither does it make the account accurate or true - just that it fits theologically.

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Paul attests to it as well as John in the book of Revelation-- in the opening part before the apocalyptic visions appear-- as well as the book of Hebrews.
I have serious doubts about Paul as you know.  He was also not a witness to any of the events in the gospels, and it seems both James and Peter had some trouble with his interpretations of things.  I have no doubt that Paul played a huge hand in developing what Christianity is today, I'm just not convinced it is very much like what Jesus taught.  If there is both fact and fabrication in the canon, much of the fabrication, IMO, comes from Paul and his followers and compatriots.
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