Monday, March 3, 2008

Mission Statement

This particular post is an amalgamation of questions that I have fielded from my previous post “What If…”. It is also a compilation of replies and hopefully answers to the post and subsequent threads of “Well, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. So what?” from Larry “The Barefoot Bum” Hamelin’s blog. I know, I know, Larry, that was not the title of your post, I am paraphrasing and quoting simultaneously, and at the same time too. ; )

Larry asked me what were the intentions of my project, so let's take a look at that and answer some other questions along the way as well.


Mission Statement: To use a quote from the Blues Brothers “We’re on a mission from God”. To make that statement it takes faith and that in and of itself is a choice. So, if faith is a choice and one decides it to be an absolute in their “mission statement”, then yes it could be said that no logical possible alternative answer could change one's faith. Admittedly not one of us can absolutely prove the many facets of our beliefs nor do we have, what we deem to be, “overwhelming evidentiary support” for our viewpoints. We take it all “on faith”.

Now some viewpoints would propose that anyone who leans towards belief in a creator has made a foolish decision for believing in such things and/or is inflexible in said beliefs. Let me say this, if it foolishness then I am indeed a fool. (see links below)


1 Corinthians 1:21 (Amplified Bible)

1 Corinthians 1:21 (The Message)

The last statement I made about inflexibility is not entirely true. My core belief, that is the acceptance of and faith in the fact that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, is not going to change. Anything outside of that is up for discussion. At times I will already have formed a strong opinion on a particular topic but again, anything is up for intelligent discussion.

What I intend to accomplish first and foremost is to reach out to secularists that are seeking to have a relationship with God, get “traditional” theists to look into and learn more about why they believe what they believe, and to show atheists that there are theists like myself in society that are willing to have intelligent and rational conversations about their beliefs as well as listen with patience, respect, and love not prejudice, condemnation, and distain.

One thing that I have noticed, and I am not condemning anyone for it, was a tendency to jump on something that I have posted as being an opinion I subscribe to, and often, contradicting what I have said. I have apologized for the perceived duality of my responses. I am sure we can all appreciate that emotion, inflection, and many other components of speech and thought are “lost in translation” on the internet. What I was trying to “get across” in my replies was to say I believe in concept “A” however anyone reading a post or reply could delve deeper into or expand on that concept with supposition “B”. I hope that clears things up for some readers.

I wanted to respond to John Morales question about “what possible rationale there might be for a deity to bother to create a universe in which event and outcome therein from its genesis to its end is known. This seems odd given the attributed benevolence of said deity, for without such a creation no souls need be sent for eternal torture.”, but since I have “gone long” in this post, I will be “saved” I mean save that for another day.


And now, for something totally different....

12 comments:

The Barefoot Bum said...

Admittedly not one of us can absolutely prove the many facets of our beliefs nor do we have, what we deem to be, “overwhelming evidentiary support” for our viewpoints. We take it all “on faith”.

This is not correct. It's a form of an equivocation fallacy: even if two concepts are alike in some respects, it does not therefore follow that they are alike in all respects.

Faith and reason name two different belief-formation mechanisms. There is a substantive difference between believing something for potentially unreliable reasons and believing something for no reason at all, merely choosing it.

I'll cut you some slack because you're new, but you really need to educate yourself about atheist and rationalist philosophy before you make such sweeping (and incorrect) generalizations. Hint: If you're unsure of your subject matter, it's always more polite to ask questions than make assertions.

The Barefoot Bum said...

To summarize my response:

I intend ... to reach out to secularists that are seeking to have a relationship with God...

What do you mean by "secularists"? Why reach out specifically to secularists? Are you yourself not a secularist?

...get “traditional” theists to look into and learn more about why they believe what they believe...

You just told us everything we need to know about why you believe what you believe: You choose to believe it. It's a free country, you can choose to believe anything you want. What more needs to be said?

...to show atheists that there are theists like myself in society that are willing to have intelligent and rational conversations about their beliefs...

But your beliefs are choices; there's no need to have — and no way of having — any rational conversation about your choices, especially those choices that are unambiguously and unreservedly socially permissible.

...as well as listen with patience, respect, and love not prejudice, condemnation, and distain.

You can listen any way you please. ;-) I assume you mean that you'll respond with patience, etc. and without prejudice, etc.

But discourse about choice is necessarily moral, not rational. There are only two approaches: "Choose as you will," in which case there's nothing to discuss, or "I disapprove (or approve) of your choices," in which case we're in the domain of condemnation and disdain.

Jake & Elwood Blues said...

What makes evidentiary support of one particular viewpoint better than another?

Isn't almost every belief merely someone's opinion or (hopefully) well educated guess?

Speaking of education, I will further educate myself on rationalist philosophy and ask questions / revisit that particular topic at a (much) later date. Thank you Barefoot Bum for the slack that has been cut for me.

In my haste to post here and on my blog, as well as replies to you and your reader's posts, I admittedly take some "shortcuts". One of those is to "lump" people into 3 groups. In my sphere of influence the term secular has been used for mainstream society. It may be erroneously used in this way, but that is how some Christians refer to the nontheistic portion of society. And even that reference may not be the correct terminology either. Anyone have a better idea on how to categorize 3 groups of society better? (especially since I like the number 3 ; )

BB "You just told us everything we need to know about why you believe what you believe: You choose to believe it. It's a free country, you can choose to believe anything you want. What more needs to be said?"

Plenty! Partial assumption follows: Just like you would want “your group” to be ready answer questions from both internal (like thinking) and external (differing thinking) groups, so I too would want “my group” to be prepared. In fact I am commanded by His word to be ready1 Peter 3:15

BB “This is why I don't debate with theists: There's nothing intellectual to discuss. It's about choices, and choices are moral questions, not rational questions, which means the discussion — if there is any discussion at all — has to be judgmental."

IMHO, and as I have stated from the beginning, there is a difference between being close minded and being unreceptive to new ideas, hence the “grey area” references. Since you adhere to personal choice = no room for discussion then is that not in and of itself judgmental from the lexis you used? As a result of that train of thought is the “door for rational discussion” summarily closed from your side and not from mine?

I believe that it would be fitting to place this reply on The Barefoot Bum's blog Famulus Deus and Rob's rants

John Morales said...

A nicely written post.

I do find it a touch contradictory:
My core belief, that is the acceptance of and faith in the fact that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, is not going to change.

there is a difference between being close minded and being unreceptive to new ideas

Is not the first quote essentially saying "I'm closed-minded"?

I fail to see how it's admirable to categorically assert that you'll not change an unsupported belief regardless of future evidence or life experience.

I consider it admirable, rather, to be open-minded.

Baal's Bum said...

Over on The Barefoot Bum's Blog( No Relation) you asked me a question.
To fdqpink/Baal's Bum, and other bloggers here, why is it a waste of a real life hoping for an imaginary next life? What do you think I am I wasting? (time posting here ; ) No seriously, I would be interested to hear your views on this. Something besides just saying believing in God is "lame" dude. Something else besides the obvious all to "well known" answers. (wasting time, energy, money, etc.)
I did give a brief reply but due to time constraints ( I had to leave for work) and expected at least an acknowledgement to my response. My mistake to believe you had any manners I suppose.
But as a continuance I discovered this news report the other day
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/15576902/detail.html

How many lives wasted there ?
How long since the last one?
How long till the next?
I look forward to no response and not to see this posted on your blog.

Jake & Elwood Blues said...

What story were you trying to show me? Link does not work. (unless you wanted me to see the severity of the snow storms ; )

Baal's Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baal's Bum said...

some how the page address is corrupting on posting, perhaps god is fucking with me. I don't think. The link is working fine from my question of the week, any way its the story of Matthew Murray a young man who truly believed in god and jesus and could not understand why all round him he saw people receiving "the gift of the spirit " when he felt nothing. He asked for time and again for help from the church and his imaginary friends and got bugger all so he took a gun shot others and got shot himself.
That to me is a waste we could have all done without and a waste caused by his delusions that he had been rejected by his imaginary friend.
After all if your imaginary best friend don't love you no more, what you gonna do?
www.thedenverchannel.com/news/15576902/detail.html

Jake & Elwood Blues said...

In response to baal's bum:

My mistake not to turn on comment moderation and riposte.
http://www.factnet.org/discus/messages/3/21416.html

Baal's Bum said...

So you don't believe in free speech after all ?I gather from you response you will not answer my question.
How about this question ?
What has the posted link got to do with our discussion ?
If you think your link was relevent how about this one
http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2002/10/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by.php

Jake & Elwood Blues said...

Baal's bum,

I asked in an earlier post to keep the responses clean as this is a family blog. You also inferred that since I did not respond to your question that I was lacking manners. Due to your comments I have decided to turn on comment moderation. As far as relevance for the link I pasted I was trying to prove a point. Your link was as irrelevant as mine. I too have other commitments and I have even posted here and on Barefoot's blog that I am going to "chill" for a while on the discussion, let things marinate. So, go back, read all the posts, replies, etc. here and on Barefoot's site and I will be "in touch' with you later.

Baal's Bum said...

You do have a point your gaff your rules
so a temporary truce.
May I just pass on the blessings of Oestre Wishing you and yours fertility, friendship and love for the forthcoming spring, as we celebrate her festival this weekend marking the third full moon following the winter solstice.