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Is God a Moral Monster?


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#41 Richard

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:25 AM

Oh my giddy aunt. I thought this was strange. I totally thought Ken Gilmour was Ken Gilmore!

#42 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:06 AM

She is not a credible academic. She is certainly not a quotable authority.


Unsubstantiated claim - Give me six references from reputable sources to prove it :)


I don't need to, because you're not comparing like with like. This is not equivalent to my request for sources to support your theory about Horus, Mithra and Krishna. It's an entirely different issue, of an entirely different type.

But I will give you more than one source to substantiate my claim. Let's start here:

According to her website, Acharya received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College, after which, she completed her postgraduate studies at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece.


(Source).

This tells us that Acharya claims to have a bachelor degree, and has completed some form of postgraduate study. Unfortunately her degree is not a professional one, is only tangentially related to her field of study by the slimmest of threads, and does not qualify her as an authority on mythology or religious studies.

Acharya's own website says:

As a result of these experiences, the first day of college I already had my major in mind, as my first class was about ancient Greek art and architecture. I approached the professor after that class and asked what was his major, to which he replied that it was "Classics, Greek Civilization." And that became what I majored in, receiving a BA from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


(Source).

Thus we see that Acharya is not qualified as an authority in her field of study.

Amusingly, Acharya spends a great deal of time leading up to the account of her education by telling us that formal qualifications are not important, and don't really mean much. She then spends the rest of her time insisting that her formal qualification is important, and means a great deal. This reeks of insecurity, which is not surprising since Acharya knows she is not taken seriously by genuine academic professionals (and rightly so).

I'm currently studying a Bachelor of Theology (major in Christian history) and by the time I've finished, I'll be better qualified to discuss her own field of study than she is.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#43 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:08 AM

Acharya's postgraduate studies are even more disappointing. This is how they are described at her website:

The following is an excerpt from the description at the ASCSA site regarding regular membership:

The Regular Program of the American School offers an intensive introduction to and survey of the sites, monuments, history, and archaeology of Greece, from prehistoric times to the present, with a focus on sites dating from the Bronze Age through the Roman period.

The program consists of three terms and runs from September to June. The fall term is chiefly devoted to a series of trips, usually four in number, of ten to twelve days' duration to sites and museums outside Attica. The sequence and itineraries of these trips may vary from year to year, but they normally include Central Greece, Northern Greece, and the Peloponnese, with special attention to Delphi, Olympia, and Corinth.

Participants in the regular program--Regular Members--are required to participate in each of these trips. Trips are led by one or more members of the School staff, and each Regular Member delivers an on-site, seminar-style report on each trip.


A few items stand out:

  • The program does not confer a professional postgraduate qualification (e.g. MA, PhD, etc.)
  • It does not confer a formal qualification of any kind (e.g. Diploma, Certificate, etc.)
  • It comprises an introduction to archaeological sitework
  • It runs for less than a year

So Acharya spent 9 months on a visit to Greece which included a bit of antiquarian fieldwork. That's very nice, but it does not qualify her as an authority on her field of study. The bottom line: Acharya's qualifications are inadequate. They add little or nothing to her credibility on the subjects of mythology and religion.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#44 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:08 AM

Another problem for Acharya is her lack of professional recognition. Unlike genuine academic authorities, Acharya has not completed even a single page of peer reviewed work in her field of study. "But what about her books?" I hear you cry. Good question, I'm glad you asked.

Acharya has written a total of 7 books. Two of these are reasonably solid, at 430 & 592 pages respectively. At least three others are less than 100 pages long (39, 46 & 49 pages respectively). None of them are endorsed by experts in Acharya's field of study. Her books are published by Stellar House. You can be forgiven for never having heard of Stellar House before, because it didn't exist until Acharya created it in 2005:

About Stellar House Publishing

Stellar House Publishing is a company dedicated to bringing to the public lost and hidden information regarding the world's religions, mythologies and spiritual traditions. SHP books attain to the highest standards of scholarship while being accessible to the public. Stellar House Publishing was founded in 2005 by author Acharya S, also known by her real name of D.M. Murdock.


(Source).

Surprise! Acharya is entirely self-published! (Did we see that coming, folks? Yes, I think we did).
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#45 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:09 AM

Even atheists find Acharya rather tiresome, because her entire argument is based upon a muddled version of the hopelessly outdated and frequently refuted "Christ myth" hypothesis.

For a few examples of why it doesn't work, click here. For a comprehensive beatdown of Kersey Graves' The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors (originally published in 1875, but recently re-published by Acharya S; presumably the copyright has expired, so Acharya can make a few bucks out of a book she didn't even write) click here. Please note that this review was written by Richard Carrier, a well known American atheist historian.

Tim O'Neill (an atheist amateur historian) provides a handy checklist for discerning genuine scholars from amateur hacks:

Scholars – Hold teaching or research positions at accredited universities.
Amateurs/kooks – Don’t.

Scholars – Hold post-graduate degrees and honours in relevant fields from accredited universities and detail precisely what they hold, where they got them and when in easily accessible public domain sites and publications (eg their personal page on their university or faculty’s website or simply on Wikipedia)
Amateurs/kooks – Either hold no relevant degrees at all or have undergraduate degrees or simply degrees in areas that aren’t relevant (eg “Dr Matt Kooksville has a Phd in Engineering and is one of the leading scholars on Jesus and his links to the Druids”). Alternatively, they make vague references to having degrees in a range of disciplines but never seem to give any details. Or they say the “attended” such and such an institution, trying to give the impression this meant they got some kind of qualification there (see “Acharya S” under Wiki for an example of this one).

Scholars – Have a track record of publishing articles in esteemed peer-reviewed academic journals, delivering papers at leading conferences and forums and having books put out by rigorous academic presses after a process of careful peer review and informed editorial analysis.
Amateurs/kooks – Have never published anything in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal or publication and never will. Tend to publish their books themselves (eg “Stellar House” which published “Acharya S” is her own imprint run from her home office). Otherwise they are published by small presses, ones that cater to the New Age market or ones that like to cash in on the “amazing mysteries revealed! The biggest conspiracy ever!” market aimed at ill-educated gullible morons.

Scholars – Weigh evidence carefully, look at alternative views and take account of them, work from up to date information and current research perspectives.
Amateurs/kooks – Ignore alternative views, use evidence selectively, cast around for anything or everything that supports their thesis while ignoring or rejecting anything that doesn’t, reach back to Nineteenth Century amateur nonsense that no-one accepts anymore if it suits them and dismisses academic rejection as “a big conspiracy”. They also tend to hold more than one kooky view – “Acharya S” is also a big believer not only in Atlantis but also in an ancient civilization of primordial pygmies. And no, I am not kidding.

Getting the picture?

The kooks also often have a small online coterie of mindlessly fanatical acolytes who will leap to their guru’s defence at the first sign of criticism. As virphen has already noticed, criticism of “Acharya S” usually results in some of her minions descending on the thread in question like a shrieking flock of winged monkeys.

If you really want to understand the origins of Christianity try using real scholars like Geza Vermes, Paula Fredriksen and Bart Ehrman. None of them are Christians but all of them are leading academics in the relevant fields.


(Source).

In a more comprehensive reply, O'Neill says:

It isn't too "bold" to dismiss the work of New Age fruitloop Dorothy "Call me Acharya S" Murdock - this is a woman who believes in Atlantis and a primordial race of pygmies, and no I'm not making that up.


(Source).

It's quite long and skewers Acharya's entire argument from every direction, so settle down for a good read.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#46 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:10 AM

Another atheist blogger took aim at Acharya in a lengthy contribution to the Skeptical Inquiry Consortium, under the general heading: "Herding Cats: How And Why Conspiracy Theorists Are Wrong About Experts and Academicians." The first part is particularly relevant to this thread, since it explains how academia works, and why conspiracy theorists like Acharya are not taken seriously by qualified academics. I strongly suggest you read it.

The second part is so good, I'll quote it in full:

2. Acharya S./D.M. Murdock: Pseudohistorian.

“Acharya S.” is the pen name of one D.M. Murdock, an author from Seattle whose claim to fame is the advancement of the “Christ myth theory:” basically the idea that Jesus never existed and Christianity is a hoax constructed by ancient political and religious leaders from various pagan practices, especially sun worship. Murdock first advanced her theory in a 1999 self-published book The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, which she has followed up with numerous books since then which all harp on the same theory.

Murdock/Acharya is well known to conspiracy theorists. Her views on the supposed nonexistence of Christ were a cornerstone of Peter Joseph Merola’s 2007 conspiracy theorist film Zeitgeist: The Movie, which itself spawned the Zeitgeist Movement, a movement whose main (but not officially acknowledged) goal is the dissemination of conspiracy theories.

Murdock is not really an academic in the classic sense. She holds no advanced degrees. She has a bachelor’s degree in classics from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and attended for a year an archaeological institute in Greece. (cite)

As she passionately espouses on her website, she believes these credentials are sufficient to qualify her to rewrite the history of Judeo-Christian civilization. (In fact, at the start of her passionate defense of her own credentials, she charges that any attempt to question her work based on her lack of them is an “ad hominem attack.” Conspiracy theorists love the words ad hominem).

Murdock believes Christ never existed and that evil power-hungry political and religious leaders thought him up, cribbing from Egyptian sun myths, the life of Buddha and other sources. She gets there, as all pseudohistorians do, by cherry-picking sources and drawing very strained interpretations of ancient history and astronomy. Her books are not peer-reviewed. They are self-published through her own press, Stellar House Publishing.

So far as I can tell, Stellar House Publishing publishes no other authors other than Murdock. Searching on JSTOR and other academic databases at my university, I couldn’t even find a review of any of Murdock’s books—not even to denounce them. The legitimate academic community doesn’t even care enough about Murdock to waste a page in some journal refuting her.

Yet, there are thousands of historians, archaeologists and researchers out there with advanced degrees in classics, ancient history, archaeology, and religious studies—degrees that Murdock does not have—and each and every one of them would love to have something new, cutting-edge and revolutionary to write about. Strangely, not one of them is writing about what Murdock is writing about. No dissertations or research theses are being churned out of the Notre Dame or Berkeley history departments that even remotely comport with Murdock’s theories.

With as desperate as academics are for cutting-edge stuff, you’d think that one of them would have found her by now, or would at least be nibbling at the edges of the body of work she claims to have interpreted correctly. But they aren’t. Why? Because to advance the “Christ conspiracy” theory is academic malpractice. Why is it malpractice? Because it isn’t true.

Murdock and the Zeitgeist conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the reason legitimate academia pays no attention to her is because her theories are “too radical” and violate the orthodoxy of academic study in ancient history, or because it’s somehow “taboo” to claim that Christ never existed or isn’t holy. One need not remind Murdock and the Zeitgeisters that there are more than just Christians researching ancient history.

Learned universities in the Islamic world and in Asia employ historians, archaeologists and researchers every bit as competent as the ones in the West. Strangely those people—who, being Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintos or atheists, certainly have no personal or professional attachment to the idea of Christ—haven’t picked up on Murdock’s theories either.

So the idea of Christ not existing is so taboo that the devout Muslim head of the history department at the University of Cairo is quaking in his boots to take on the topic? Who’s not going to publish him for taking that stance? Who’s not going to give him a grant for doing that sort of research?

There must, therefore, be another reason why no one in the academic community is talking about Murdock’s ideas. You don’t have to look hard to find it: they’re not talking about her ideas because her ideas have no factual merit. They’re so obviously identifiable as false, the unvetted work of an amateur, that even the devoutly Muslim head of the history department at the University of Cairo wouldn’t touch them. Any academic advancing them would be advancing a falsehood.

If they weren’t false, somebody other than Murdock would be working on them. Just as if colloidal silver cured broken bones, somebody legitimate within the medical science field would be working on it—somebody, somewhere, at some institution.

Because the total academic indifference to Acharya S. cannot be explained by anything other than the notion that her ideas and research are so wrong as to constitute academic malpractice to assert them, it is entirely legitimate and appropriate to dismiss them. Acharya S. isn’t ignored by the academic community because her work violates some “taboo.”

Even if that were the case—and remember I told you that academia doesn’t work that way anyway—ancient historians and archaeologists would be writing article after article dismissing her. Acharya S. is ignored by the academic community because her theories are ridiculous. She’s the classic example of a pseudohistorian.

Acharya S. has a lot of supporters, especially conspiracy theorists in the Zeitgeist Movement. I will probably get hate mail regarding this blog to the effect of, “You haven’t debunked anything! You haven’t disproven a single claim of Acharya S.!” This criticism is asinine and betrays the fundamental misunderstanding by conspiracy theorists such as Zeitgeisters of the academic process.

In academia, someone’s assertions are not judged on a “true unless proven otherwise” standard. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Your assertions are judged to be a tissue of lies until they’ve been thoroughly vetted by the peer-review process. This is why graduate students have to defend their dissertations. You’re judged to be a liar until you prove you are correct.

The question, therefore, is not, what does Acharya S. get wrong, but what does she get right? The burden of proof is on her to show that her theories hold any water. She cannot meet that burden. Until she can, no one is obligated to give her the time of day.


(Source).

Emphasis mine.
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#47 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:35 AM

If you think that sending me an article where someone says that they don't really have "world renowned credentials" will help me to believe she is an idiot then you're wrong. On that basis, Tesla (although he did go to several universities) did not complete any courses or attain any degrees before his major inventions which are a very important part of our daily lives today (e.g. semiconductors) http://en.wikipedia....i/Nikola_Tesla. Thomas Edison had no formal qualifications but was a pioneer in many things http://en.wikipedia..../Thomas_Edison.


This response is pretty much what I expected, but it fails on logical grounds. Once again you are not comparing like with like. Tesla and Edison are not equivalent to Acharya S.

Tesla and Edison did not claim to be qualified academic professional authorities in their respective fields of study and work. Nevertheless, Tesla had studied electrical engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz (source) which doubtless provided him with a good understanding of the subject, even though he did not complete his degree. Thus it is fair to say that Tesla received an education which was relevant to his field of study. It is also fair to say that he was a genius (unlike Acharya S).

The big problem for Acharya is that she is attempting to rewrite and overthrow long established academic positions on a number of subjects in a field for which she is unqualified to speak as an authority. Nobody can expect to achieve this without relevant expertise, and they certainly cannot expect to be taken seriously by anyone who does have relevant expertise. Tesla and Edison did not attempt to overthrow established ideas about electricity and physics; they merely sought to extend them through new research and discoveries via experimentation and invention. In this they were abundantly successful (unlike Acharya S) and the fruits of their achievement are still with us today.

Tesla and Edison could prove their theories with objective evidence, independently and scientifically verifiable by replicable means. Acharya cannot do this. I am not claiming she is an idiot; nobody in this thread is claiming that. But I have demonstrated that she is not adequately qualified, she is not an authority, and she is not even remotely credible.

:book:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#48 Ken Gilmour

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 01:34 PM

Evangelion,

Ok thank you, these are strong arguments about the lack of academic qualifications held by Acharya S that are difficult to refute. I guess I should think twice before using cheap digs in the future :). I generally don't resort to cheap digs and no excuse is acceptable for it, however some of the content from other authors made it difficult for me to maintain control and diplomacy.

I still stand on my original opinion though. Just because someone doesn't have the necessary qualifications doesn't mean that they are wrong, likewise people who are brushed off by academics are not necessarily wrong either e.g. Peter Higgs in 1960 discovered the Higgs mechanism and submitted an article to a European Journal. It was rejected for the cause of "no relevance to physics". He resubmitted the paper to a different Journal (I think it was in the US), it was published shortly thereafter. When CERN in Europe read the article they began to create the worlds largest most expensive project in that particular field, (The Hadron Collider) costing billions of Euro (I think it was estimated to cost around the €2.5bn to €3bn mark).

So here we have examples from both sides. Non-qualified people creating amazing inventions, better than qualified people, and qualified people being rejected by other qualified people and ultimately going on to exceed them (there are other complexities involved here that I don't want to go into right now but I understand your point that the context is different for Acharya, but it's not very different if you try to spot all of the similarities).

The whole topic here has morphed into something completely different to what I originally intended because of cheap digs on completely off-topic subjects and "taking the bait" from both sides.

On that note. I haven't been convinced yet though that God is not a Moral Monster according to current Western ideas of Morality. I still subscribe to Moral Relativism because I think that Morality is relative to the culture that you were born into.

Here's a good explanation about Moral Absolutism from Delos McKown (Disclaimer: I haven't read the book which I have linked to the name, I added the link to identify the author of the below quote as required by BTDF guidelines).

Context: On January 27, 1987 Delos McKown was set up to debate the Rev. Dr. Norman Geisler of Dallas Theological Seminary about "Humanism vs. Christianity." The debate was held in the ballroom at Auburn University.

Geisler had trouble staying on the general topic, focusing rather on abortion, in the most grisly terms. Humanists, he tells, are right in there with the Nazis in disregard of human life. Their despicable deeds are made likely, if not inevitable, by their moral relativism. How much firmer is the ground under Christians, who stand on moral absolutes!

During rebuttal, I said that my favorite moral absolute in scripture was in Luke 6:30 where Jesus is reported to have said, "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." I then turned to the Rev. Dr. Geisler and asked him for his money. Since it was not forthcoming, I knelt on one knee and begged for it, trying to cover all spiritual bases.

With a pale look about his gills, he finally pulled out a dollar bill and waved it wanly at me to which I said, "No, not a dollar; I want all of your money. But I'm not mean; I won't keep your wallet or credit cards." Geisler did not, in fact, comply with the moral absolute in Luke 6:30 (also see Matthew 5:42 and Luke 6:35). If he had given me his money, I would have taken it and kept it. Thus, we would both have been blessed, I with extra cash and he with a clear conscience for having met the challenge of obeying a moral absolute of his lord. I fear his conscience still troubles him over this episode, something I would gladly have spared him by keeping his money.


Just one example of why morality differs by culture. Some people say they live by moral absolutes but they don't, some people think they do but they don't (e.g. once a week Christians), and some people take it to a whole other extreme and will have nothing else.

#49 Mercia2

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 04:49 PM

I still stand on my original opinion though. Just because someone doesn't have the necessary qualifications doesn't mean that they are wrong, likewise people who are brushed off by academics are not necessarily

Study and knowledge will help a lot of course, but what we all need in order to really understand the deep things of God is Gods help, and that means prayer and a readiness to put tradition and presuppositions aside. I did not go down any academic root as such, but it seems I have largely came to the same conclusions as the theists that have. Prayer AND study. Those who study yet cling to inherited ideas and tradition without praying for help and guidance as they study get nowhere, but like loadicea they convince themselves this is not so.

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#50 Mercia2

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 05:04 PM

Just one example of why morality differs by culture.



The western ruling class talk of a humanity, which is an assumption of universal morality in a positive sense. It is not necessarily anti-Christian thinking, a Christian could point to the humanity of Christ and the inhumanity shown against Him, which is of course also humanity in the true sense of the word. So the ruling elites build an assumption into language which can be used to demonstrate (by force of assumption and repetition) the assumption of a common morality that transcends all cultures. Of course we know this is not true, but it is being used by bodies such as the UN/ICC to trump morality that may differ by culture, quite effectivly as well in places like Iran, not so well in Syria right now it appears, but infact without it things would be far worse.

Edited by Mercia2, 24 May 2011 - 05:28 PM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#51 Evangelion

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:04 PM

Evangelion,

Ok thank you, these are strong arguments about the lack of academic qualifications held by Acharya S that are difficult to refute. I guess I should think twice before using cheap digs in the future :). I generally don't resort to cheap digs and no excuse is acceptable for it, however some of the content from other authors made it difficult for me to maintain control and diplomacy.


You're welcome. It was my pleasure.

I still stand on my original opinion though. Just because someone doesn't have the necessary qualifications doesn't mean that they are wrong, likewise people who are brushed off by academics are not necessarily wrong either


Yes, that's true. Nevertheless, they still bear the burden of evidence and must prove their claims in order to be taken seriously. They can't just claim to be right and expect to be vindicated by default.

So here we have examples from both sides. Non-qualified people creating amazing inventions, better than qualified people, and qualified people being rejected by other qualified people and ultimately going on to exceed them (there are other complexities involved here that I don't want to go into right now but I understand your point that the context is different for Acharya, but it's not very different if you try to spot all of the similarities).


It is actually very different, because the other people you've mentioned were successful and managed to prove their theories to such an extent that they were universally accepted by mainstream experts in their chosen field, while Acharya is not successful and her theories have never been accepted by any mainstream experts in her chosen field.

Here's a good explanation about Moral Absolutism from Delos McKown (Disclaimer: I haven't read the book which I have linked to the name, I added the link to identify the author of the below quote as required by BTDF guidelines).


Moral absolutism is an interesting issue. Do you believe that secular humanism contains no moral absolutes whatsoever? I just need to be clear about where you stand on this issue.

Geisler is a reasonably good philosopher but a bad theologian, and he responded poorly to McKown's challenge. I would have refused, and recommended that McKown take a class in Biblical interpretation. Ironically, his misuse of this verse is a classic example of the bungled exegesis for which he mocks Christian fundamentalists. Even if deliberate, it proves nothing and does not advance his case.

:popcorn:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#52 Evangelion

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:07 AM

Tim O'Neill vs. Earl Doherty:


Both quite long, but definitely worth a read.

:book:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#53 Ken Gilmour

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:19 AM

Ok these are my last comments on the matter... I will be otherwise engaged in other things for a while...

So here we have examples from both sides. Non-qualified people creating amazing inventions, better than qualified people, and qualified people being rejected by other qualified people and ultimately going on to exceed them (there are other complexities involved here that I don't want to go into right now but I understand your point that the context is different for Acharya, but it's not very different if you try to spot all of the similarities).


It is actually very different, because the other people you've mentioned were successful and managed to prove their theories to such an extent that they were universally accepted by mainstream experts in their chosen field, while Acharya is not successful and her theories have never been accepted by any mainstream experts in her chosen field.


The similarities:

They were not successful before they had proof;
Their writings were rejected by scholars but they still stood by them;
They made very wild claims that changed the way people had been thinking for a long time beforehand, which causes serious controversy and relentless attack and embarrassment. (Ok Higgs probably wasn't attacked for his claims, but a rejection of such claims can cause embarrassment and people to question your authority on the matter). The act of perseverance even through embarrassment is what eventually gets other people to start re-thinking. You will probably think I am setting a bad example of perseverance by giving up on the topic now :)

Here's a good explanation about Moral Absolutism from Delos McKown (Disclaimer: I haven't read the book which I have linked to the name, I added the link to identify the author of the below quote as required by BTDF guidelines).


Moral absolutism is an interesting issue. Do you believe that secular humanism contains no moral absolutes whatsoever? I just need to be clear about where you stand on this issue.


I'm not sure what the absolutes that you're thinking about are. When I say I subscribe to Moral Relativity I mean I subscribe to relativity in general, being that everything is relative. e.g. Gravity is only relative to certain planets. Other parts of the universe don't have any gravity, even certain places on earth have different amounts of gravity than others (e.g. a moving rocket, or a fast moving machine), but gravity on Earth is effectively absolute.

Morality is the same. Killing is considered morally wrong, but if you're a victim of a rape or attack on your life and must defend yourself, which may require killing the attacker.

I would consider rape and cold-blooded-murder to be morally wrong relative to my emotional maturity and human intelligence, if I was an animal; rape and murder may be required in order for my species to survive. I hope humanity doesn't come to that point - ever.

I'll leave it there. Thanks for the debate. I have no doubt there will be many rebuttals on this afterward but I will not be responding to the thread any more.

#54 Evangelion

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:26 AM

Ok these are my last comments on the matter... I will be otherwise engaged in other things for a while...

So here we have examples from both sides. Non-qualified people creating amazing inventions, better than qualified people, and qualified people being rejected by other qualified people and ultimately going on to exceed them (there are other complexities involved here that I don't want to go into right now but I understand your point that the context is different for Acharya, but it's not very different if you try to spot all of the similarities).


It is actually very different, because the other people you've mentioned were successful and managed to prove their theories to such an extent that they were universally accepted by mainstream experts in their chosen field, while Acharya is not successful and her theories have never been accepted by any mainstream experts in her chosen field.


The similarities:

They were not successful before they had proof;
Their writings were rejected by scholars but they still stood by them;
They made very wild claims that changed the way people had been thinking for a long time beforehand, which causes serious controversy and relentless attack and embarrassment. (Ok Higgs probably wasn't attacked for his claims, but a rejection of such claims can cause embarrassment and people to question your authority on the matter). The act of perseverance even through embarrassment is what eventually gets other people to start re-thinking. You will probably think I am setting a bad example of perseverance by giving up on the topic now :)


I contend your points, which are exaggerated at best, and wrong at worst. But I can see we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

Moral absolutism is an interesting issue. Do you believe that secular humanism contains no moral absolutes whatsoever? I just need to be clear about where you stand on this issue.


I'm not sure what the absolutes that you're thinking about are. When I say I subscribe to Moral Relativity I mean I subscribe to relativity in general, being that everything is relative. e.g. Gravity is only relative to certain planets. Other parts of the universe don't have any gravity, even certain places on earth have different amounts of gravity than others (e.g. a moving rocket, or a fast moving machine), but gravity on Earth is effectively absolute.

Morality is the same. Killing is considered morally wrong, but if you're a victim of a rape or attack on your life and must defend yourself, which may require killing the attacker.

I would consider rape and cold-blooded-murder to be morally wrong relative to my emotional maturity and human intelligence, if I was an animal; rape and murder may be required in order for my species to survive. I hope humanity doesn't come to that point - ever.


Thank you for explaining your view of moral relativism, though I would have preferred it if you'd answered my question.

I'll leave it there. Thanks for the debate. I have no doubt there will be many rebuttals on this afterward but I will not be responding to the thread any more.


No worries, I've enjoyed it.

I'll leave you with this thought: secular humanism does teach moral absolutes, and I can provide a classic example. If you're ever interested in knowing what it is, you know where to find me.

:bye:
'Abba Antony said, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"'

Ward, Benedicta. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (2006), Antony 25, p. 5.

Credo.

#55 Mercia2

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 07:37 AM

I would consider rape and cold-blooded-murder to be morally wrong relative to my emotional maturity and human intelligence, if I was an animal; rape and murder may be required in order for my species to survive. I hope humanity doesn't come to that point - ever.


I believe and sense the law upon my heart, an innate sense of right and wrong at least in the emotional sense, from my earliest memories.It is almost impossible for me to imagine that in another culture/context I could ever interpret pain and suffering on another humans face from rape and/or violence than therefore self evidently wrong. A human only has to be able to interpret others basic emotions from facial expressions to perceive that, so it has to transcend all cultures. The problem is when humans believe inflicting distress on others is morally sanctioned by God or State. Also, can I say what I call 'the law written on my heart' from my earliest memories is not rather a result of the love shown me from my birth? If I had been treated brutally how would this have led me to respond to brutality against others? This is why I think movies like Platoon, Jacobs Ladder etc are really important examples of what the surrounding environment/culture can do to some human beings as micocosm and so cultures and nations as macrocosm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFbD-VNWGYM

... and to find a goodness and meaning in this life.

.

Edited by Mercia2, 25 May 2011 - 07:49 AM.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” = "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" = "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who maketh His angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" Psalms (104:1) = "They saw what seemed to be flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them." Acts 2 - the secret is over, your ministering angel you need to be saved is the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/20950-holy-spirit-mercia/

Mark Of The Beast - his Name is the charachter/image of the medievil popes (now modern man)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/4997-mark-of-the-beast/page__pid__439951__st__120#entry439951

Historicists - Dual Fulfillment (seven thunders = more literal warning)
http://www.btdf.org/forums/topic/14248-historicists-revelation-has-a-dual-fulfillment/

#56 Fortigurn

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 08:09 AM

When I say I subscribe to Moral Relativity I mean I subscribe to relativity in general, being that everything is relative. e.g. Gravity is only relative to certain planets. Other parts of the universe don't have any gravity, even certain places on earth have different amounts of gravity than others (e.g. a moving rocket, or a fast moving machine), but gravity on Earth is effectively absolute.


Gravity is not relative. Gravity is not 'only relative to certain planets'. I have no idea what you mean by 'Other parts of the universe don't have any gravity', and the examples you give of 'even certain places on earth have different amounts of gravity than others' don't make any sense. Gravity is the attractive force exerted by mass. That's it. The force is proportional to the mass, but every mass exerts gravitational force. If there are places in the universe which don't have any gravity, I'd like to see them.




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