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  1. #76
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Clete, ideas are not real. They are (or might be) representations of possibilities for reality. Dreams exist as dreams, sure. But the objects of dreams are not real. Imaginations exist as firings of synapses and electrical states in the brain; but these are only symbols that have no meaning except by agreement. They have a meaning only within the nervous system itself. I think you are falling into your own trap of one and many. Exactly the same principle applies to writing and images. The ink is there on the paper. That is real. But the meaning of the writing is a concept which only arises because of a social convention.
    You miss the point. What is is. Whatever exists exists as it is and that existence is real. Ideas are ideas, dreams are dreams, chairs are chairs, people are people, God is God, etc.

    Thus I ask you again, how is what you are arguing not the same as simply proclaiming that a thing is moral because it exists?

    Even if you want to limit the discussion to things that exists ontologically, which is fine, I don't see how you're not saying that it is a thing's existence that gives it value and is therefore morally relevant.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

  3. #77
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    You miss the point. What is is. Whatever exists exists as it is and that existence is real. Ideas are ideas, dreams are dreams, chairs are chairs, people are people, God is God, etc.

    Thus I ask you again, how is what you are arguing not the same as simply proclaiming that a thing is moral because it exists?
    I don't think I have ever said this. What I have said is that the value of a thing is intrinsic. I also don't think I ever said that things were moral. It is actions that are moral, not things. A thing may have no value at all (although I can't think of too many examples). But if that is so, then it is so because it has no intrinsic value, not because no one else thinks it has value.

    Even if you want to limit the discussion to things that exists ontologically, which is fine, I don't see how you're not saying that it is a thing's existence that gives it value and is therefore morally relevant.
    The value that a thing has is intrinsic. It is not given. The value that a moment has is intrinsic, not calculated or determined. The state the universe is in is determined only by itself, not by anything external. This is why every moment has real value.

    You have to see this in contrast to the Calvinists and other dualists who teach that the universe only has the meaning given it by God. That teaching effectively takes away any intrinsic meaning in things or any true value from history. In the dualist perspective, God, as infinite, is true reality, whilst the (created) universe is only a subordinate kind of reality. What I am saying may seem obvious to you. It may seem so true as to be not worth saying, but to Calvinists and other dualists, it is not obvious at all. The Euthyphro dilemma presupposes dualism. Take away the dualism and the dilemma disappears. For Plato, (who, for those who don't know, coined the Euthyphro dilemma in the first place) the conceptual world was real and the actual world was subordinate. For Calvinists (and other Christian dualists), God is real and the created world is subordinate, i.e. it is not quite as real as God himself. This is why their doctrines are so full of paradoxes, Euthyphro's dilemma being only one of many. They want to tell us that man is responsible for his own sin and therefore God is just to punish most men in eternal unending torture, but at the same time they want to tell us that everything we do, regardless of our own will, is fully predetermined by God.

    And they invent all sorts of contortions to escape from these paradoxes, like saying that God has two wills - I mean, seriously, who are they trying to kid? - but when the rubber hits the road, you can't stop it from burning; it has its own logic and nothing you can do will stop it. Another failed attempt to cover up the paradoxes is to say that what we do, we do only because it is logically inevitable that we do it so as to conform to God's will. That's their way of saying that everything we do complies with God's will, but at the same he isn't responsible for it. Don't you think that takes the biscuit? But if what we do, we do because of some logical rule that we have to comply with God's will, then how is that different from saying that we do it because it was God's will??? Look whichever way, their beliefs are wrong, they don't satisfy truth. And that's without speaking of the myriad distortions of scripture they have to perform to convince themselves they are being biblical. Another laughable way they use to cover up their paradoxes is to tell us that we are not allowed to question them! And this is disguised (badly) as us not being allowed to question God. I tell you, this particular ruse is a sure sign of cultism. The only reason they have escaped the accusation of cultism so far is because they only use this ruse as a last resort.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 19th, 2016 at 09:38 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
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    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
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    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

  5. #78
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I don't think I have ever said this. What I have said is that the value of a thing is intrinsic. I also don't think I ever said that things were moral. It is actions that are moral, not things. A thing may have no value at all (although I can't think of too many examples). But if that is so, then it is so because it has no intrinsic value, not because no one else thinks it has value.
    What is the difference between one thing that has value and another that does not?

    The value that a thing has is intrinsic. It is not given. The value that a moment has is intrinsic, not calculated or determined. The state the universe is in is determined only by itself, not by anything external. This is why every moment has real value.
    I understand that you want to present this as an a priori presupposition to your argument but I, for now, don't buy it. I don't think value has any meaning at all outside of a thinking mind. Value is not a substance that makes up all or part of a thing, it is an idea. Something that has value to me can be perfectly worthless to you and vise-versa.

    I think you're going to have to at least try to establish the veracity of this premise.

    You have to see this in contrast to the Calvinists and other dualists who teach that the universe only has the meaning given it by God.
    I don't see the need to accept the one if the other is rejected. Just because God does not arbitrarily assign value to things, whether they be objects, people or actions, does not necessarily mean that those things have value built into their nature. It's not at all or nothing proposition. A thing is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Whether the payment takes the form of money, devotion or your life's blood, it doesn't matter. Value, at least to some degree, is a matter of opinion.

    The Euthyphro dilemma presupposes dualism. Take away the dualism and the dilemma disappears.
    You've not yet established either of these two points.

    For Plato, (who, for those who don't know, coined the Euthyphro dilemma in the first place) the conceptual world was real and the actual world was subordinate. For Calvinists (and other Christian dualists), God is real and the created world is subordinate, i.e. it is not quite as real as God himself. This is why their doctrines are so full of paradoxes, Euthyphro's dilemma being only one of many. They want to tell us that man is responsible for his own sin and therefore God is just to punish most men in eternal unending torture, but at the same time they want to tell us that everything we do, regardless of our own will, is fully predetermined by God.
    Euthyphro's dilemma asks whether justice and goodness are arbitrary or whether they belong to the necessary and eternal truths about the nature of things. You've answered the latter, that they belong to the necessary truth about the nature of things.

    How have you not simply taken on one horn of the dilemma?

    The very same horn Socrates took, by the way.

    If you want a brilliant solution to Euthyphro's dilemma you need look no further than right here on TOL. Bob Enyart's argument in Battle Royale VII is unassailable so far as I can tell. If you haven't already, you should read it.

    Battle Royale VII Post 39


    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

  7. #79
    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    What is the difference between one thing that has value and another that does not?
    That would simply depend on what those things were

    I understand that you want to present this as an a priori presupposition to your argument but I, for now, don't buy it. I don't think value has any meaning at all outside of a thinking mind. Value is not a substance that makes up all or part of a thing, it is an idea.
    Clete, if there were no thinking minds, we would not be discussing this. Everything that we discuss is an idea. The moment you put pen to paper.

    Something that has value to me can be perfectly worthless to you and vise-versa.
    You already asked this and I already answered it. I can't keep repeating myself. Life is too short. Really.

    I don't see the need to accept the one if the other is rejected. Just because God does not arbitrarily assign value to things, whether they be objects, people or actions, does not necessarily mean that those things have value built into their nature. It's not at all or nothing proposition. A thing is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Whether the payment takes the form of money, devotion or your life's blood, it doesn't matter. Value, at least to some degree, is a matter of opinion.
    It seems you haven't listened to what I wrote before. Honestly, I do not have time to repeat myself.

    Euthyphro's dilemma asks whether justice and goodness are arbitrary or whether they belong to the necessary and eternal truths about the nature of things. You've answered the latter, that they belong to the necessary truth about the nature of things.
    Respectfully, no, I haven't. Again, I don't have time to keep repeating the same things. But one last time: the argument for morality is in two parts: 1) why some actions are judgeable as moral or immoral and 2) (Assuming 1) Where do the rules for making such judgements come from? So far, I am only answering question 1.

    How have you not simply taken on one horn of the dilemma?

    The very same horn Socrates took, by the way.
    The reason why it is a dilemma at all (in its modern form) is because the second horn implies that God is subject to judgement of his actions. This problem did not arise in the original dilemma because in the pantheon, the gods were inconsistent. Indeed, it was easy for Socrates/Plato to choose this second horn because it was assumed that all the gods were different and there was no issue with judging their actions. In my view, the dilemma posed was intended to show up the absurdity of the traditional pantheon. The modern form, has no need for this nuance. For Plato, the first horn automatically implied that morality was arbitrary because the gods within the pantheon were themselves inconsistent, and capricious. For us, it is harder because all of us would say that God was self-consistent. No one would argue otherwise.

    If you want a brilliant solution to Euthyphro's dilemma you need look no further than right here on TOL. Bob Enyart's argument in Battle Royale VII is unassailable so far as I can tell. If you haven't already, you should read it.
    Battle Royale VII Post 39
    I hope you are not just assuming Bob Enyart's 'brilliant' argument. Otherwise we might as well have just begun with 'See BE' and just discuss that. For your information, I have a great deal of respect for BE and I agree that his argument has a lot of good points. But it also has weaknesses.

    So let's recapitulate:
    The value of things derives from their intrinsic nature, not from any external declaration or attribution. I can't say to this chair 'Today you will be a computer for me.' The chair doesn't let me do that. Something within the chair prevents me from doing that, just as it prevents everyone else, including God. This is because the chair is real.

    The state of the universe at each moment of history derives solely from previous such states and is not determined externally, i.e. by some algorithm or coercive force. This is the same premise as the previous one, except that it applies to history (process) while the first applies to objects. Every moment is a moment unto itself. This is why some actions (i.e. acts of conscious beings) can be judged. Indeed, it is logically impossible to describe the totality of the universe either as a process or as a single moment. The universe doesn't let you do this.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 20th, 2016 at 04:49 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

  9. #80
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    DR, I don't like repeating myself any more than you do but I can assure you that of all the people on this website, I am not the one who will waste your time being lazy. I have read every word of your argument more than once and if I ask you a question its because, at least to my mind, it has not been answered.
    My inability to following you however may well be my fault, not yours, so if you like, instead of retyping something you feel answers my question, just copy and paste the portion of what you said that you feel dealt with whatever I'm asking or just tell me the post number if you want. The point is that my questions are real questions and my intention is to understand you, not to waste your time.

    And one more thing...

    No, not everything is an idea. Some things, lots of things exist ontologically, as I know you will agree. Value is not ontological, it is entirely an idea that does not exist outside a thinking mind. Time, distance and Sherlock Holmes are three other things that are not ontological. They do exist but only as thoughts in a thinking mind. The point being that if value is not ontological then how can it be intrinsic to a physical object?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    So let's recapitulate:
    The value of things derives from their intrinsic nature, not from any external declaration or attribution.
    I had something else here originally so this might feel out of sequence but when I was going through fixing typos and rereading it all, something clicked.
    I think you're point here isn't so much that value is intrinsic to an object but that the value of a thing isn't arbitrary, that its value is caused by something within the nature of the object of value.

    If so, then I'm much closer to agreeing with you. Although, as with the example of paper money that I give below, how is it not arbitrary whether the mint prints a 1 or a 20 or a 100 on the piece of paper?

    I can't say to this chair 'Today you will be a computer for me.' The chair doesn't let me do that. Something within the chair prevents me from doing that, just as it prevents everyone else, including God. This is because the chair is real.
    This is the law of identity. A chair is not a computer, its a chair.

    I'm sorry but I have to ask you again...

    What does that have to do with its value?

    It just feels like we aren't talking about the same thing when we talk about value. Say for example I have three nearly identical pieces of paper in my pocket. All three are made of the same kind of paper and all are 2.61 inches wide and 6.14 inches long and each has ink printed on both sides. I can exchange one for 5 times as much as the second and 100 times as much as the third.

    Which of the three has more intrinsic value?

    The state of the universe at each moment of history derives solely from previous such states and is not determined externally, i.e. by some algorithm or coercive force. This is the same premise as the previous one, except that it applies to history (process) while the first applies to objects. Every moment is a moment unto itself.
    This is both the Law of Identity and the Law of Causality wrapped into one. A moment is what it is and it was caused by something following a logical sequence of subsequent events, it not arbitrarily created by something logically unrelated to its natural cause.

    This is why some actions (i.e. acts of conscious beings) can be judged.
    You're saying here that it is because our actions cause certain effects that our actions can be judged, yes?

    If so, the Calvinist will ask you in response... "What causes our actions?"

    Indeed, it is logically impossible to describe the totality of the universe either as a process or as a single moment. The universe doesn't let you do this.
    This is the One and the Many Problem cropping up again. I just don't see how it has anything to do with the value of a thing nor how it relates to morality.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    LIFETIME MEMBER Desert Reign's Avatar
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    Hi Clete.
    I already stated earlier that what is written on a piece of paper was a social convention. You seem wrapped up in social conventions. A dollar bill is worth less than a 10 dollar bill solely because of a social convention. That is not value. Social conventions will pass and will not be remembered but value is what remains. You can discover a denarius in a field in Europe where ancient Romans once ruled. It is worthless in your eyes because you cannot spend it. Where is its spending value now? I don't know what is so hard about this. This is a theology debate, not an economics one. I am not talking about economics. I am not talking about transient social conventions. I am talking about enduring principles. I am talking about ethics, about morality, about cosmology, about God.

    I don't know what you mean by the 'law of causality' but causality is a very slippery fish. That's why I have avoided it. If there were a law such that the state of the universe as a whole could be predicted based on some previous state, then the universe would be predictable as a whole and each moment would not have its own intrinsic value. Each moment would merely be the outworking of a greater principle. (This is analogous to the value of a thing being determined externally.) The fact that no such law exists is a logical consequence of the premises I outlined earlier, namely that God is also real and that 'reality' (the real universe) includes everything that is real.

    The point about actions is that yes, they do have 'things' as their objects. But rather, it is that each action is an irrevocable facet of the continuing history of the universe. Or, each action contributes to the character of the universe in each moment. And because each moment has its own intrinsic value, so actions of sentient beings may be judged in the context of that moment. It is because such actions are real that they may be scrutinised. This principle doesn't arise in a dualistic-Calvinistic universe because the universe in which we live (the created world) is a completely different universe from the one God is in and everything that happens in this universe only has its origin and meaning in the other, supposedly infinite world of God. Therefore, in the dualist way of thinking, each moment of our universe does not have intrinsic value. In that context, actions cannot be judged. Of course Calvinists will deny this (as I suggested before) but they can only do so by creating paradoxes and subterfuges, whilst the basic logic of dualism makes moral values redundant.
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 20th, 2016 at 09:42 AM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

  13. #82
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Hi Clete.
    I already stated earlier that what is written on a piece of paper was a social convention. You seem wrapped up in social conventions. A dollar bill is worth less than a 10 dollar bill solely because of a social convention. That is not value. Social conventions will pass and will not be remembered but value is what remains. You can discover a denarius in a field in Europe where ancient Romans once ruled. It is worthless in your eyes because you cannot spend it. Where is its spending value now? I don't know what is so hard about this. This is a theology debate, not an economics one. I am not talking about economics. I am not talking about transient social conventions. I am talking about enduring principles. I am talking about ethics, about morality, about cosmology, about God.
    I have felt all along like we're talking about two different things but I can't seem to figure it out. Perhaps what is needed is a simple defining of terms. Please define "value" as you are using it and as it relates to the topic of morality.

    I don't know what you mean by the 'law of causality' but causality is a very slippery fish. That's why I have avoided it. If there were a law such that the state of the universe as a whole could be predicted based on some previous state, then the universe would be predictable as a whole and each moment would not have its own intrinsic value. Each moment would merely be the outworking of a greater principle. (This is analogous to the value of a thing being determined externally.) The fact that no such law exists is a logical consequence of the premises I outlined earlier, namely that God is also real and that 'reality' (the real universe) includes everything that is real.
    The Law of Causality is the reason logic works and the reason you can discover anything and the reason that anything at all is predictable in the least. The LoC is the reason rose bushes don't produce plumbs and why our children don't have beaks and compound eyes. The LoC is the reason your car starts when you turn the key and why the brakes don't send extra gasoline to the combustion chamber.
    The LoC is the reason why things are the way they are. It means that things are not arbitrary but that they are "because..."

    As for the predictability of the universe destroying your premise, I don't think you need to worry. Even atheistic modern science posits in major theories that one set of conditions (i.e. causes) can have more than one possible effect, at least on a very small scale. And if you've heard of Chaos Theory you know that very small changes in a system can lead to dramatically different results later on down the line. So it would seem that God has made the universe in such a way that while it is not entirely chaotic by any means, it is also not entirely predictable either.

    The point about actions is that yes, they do have 'things' as their objects. But rather, it is that each action is an irrevocable facet of the continuing history of the universe. Or, each action contributes to the character of the universe in each moment. And because each moment has its own intrinsic value, so actions of sentient beings may be judged in the context of that moment. It is because such actions are real that they may be scrutinised. This principle doesn't arise in a dualistic-Calvinistic universe because the universe in which we live (the created world) is a completely different universe from the one God is in and everything that happens in this universe only has its origin and meaning in the other, supposedly infinite world of God. Therefore, in the dualist way of thinking, each moment of our universe does not have intrinsic value. In that context, actions cannot be judged. Of course Calvinists will deny this (as I suggested before) but they can only do so by creating paradoxes and subterfuges, whilst the basic logic of dualism makes moral values redundant.


    I'm just so frustrated! I must be having a stroke or something because I just cannot for the life of me follow your logic here at all. I'm sorry, I just don't get it.

    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    theophilus (February 27th, 2016)

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    Let's consider the Calvinist position for a moment. I would say that it breaks down where it makes people responsible for their choices and sins when all the while, everything they do was forced. Their choices were only illusions because there never was any possibility that they could choose to do anything other than what they actually did.
    Now I am not the first and certainly not the only to have pointed out this contradiction in Calvinistic belief. It is not only illogical but it is regarded by many, me included, to show God in a poor light. It makes him out to be evil.
    Why am I saying this? I've said it all before many times. There is no point in debating it or arguing about it. Numerous threads have already beaten it to death. I'm saying it because it is something I can say which I think most reading this thread will understand. Even if of course some disagree. I am not assuming the truth of the notion - I am assuming that a lot of people agree with it and that all of them, as well as those who disagree with it, understand the idea.

    Now consider for a moment what we are saying here:
    We are saying that men are not responsible for their actions if their actions are determined externally, i.e., in this case, by God.

    OK? You have to agree with that. No one who has been on TOL for a year or more can tell me that they don't understand this. You can disagree with the statement, but you surely must agree that this is the position a lot of people here take.

    So what does this tell us about our own presuppositions?
    It tells us that our actions are determined by ourselves. Since they are our actions, then anything external just means not us. It means that the origins of our actions are within ourselves. We may be influenced by other things, and indeed we usually are, but this doesn't change the fact that the actual actions originated in our own selves. Even things we do that are simply reactions to other things, we are usually held responsible for. Though there are degrees: we aren't held responsible for absolutely everything. It depends on how old we are, whether we were under coercion, whether we were mentally fit and so on. But as a general rule, we are held responsible for what we do.

    I'm just saying this, ok? This is what you believe, all you who, like me, say that Calvinism is wrong because it makes God out to be unjust since he sends to eternal punishment those who could not have done anything other than what they did do.

    And of course the Calvinists will disagree and protest that all our decisions are our own and arise from within us and we are wretched sinners and how we haven't read the Westminster Confession and stuff like that. But we don't buy it, do we? Because when the Calvinist tells us that everything we do, by force of logic, (or whatever) must comply with God's will, then we see and understand that in Calvinist belief, God's will is the determining factor in what we do.

    And in our view, that should exonerate us.

    OK so far?
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 21st, 2016 at 01:33 PM.
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    (Continuing)
    Of course, there is no such rule of logic. It is just another ruse to cover up the paradoxes in their belief system.
    First they invent the idea that God has two wills to cover up the idea that God wills all the evil that happens in the world.
    Then they say that God doesn't make all these evil things happen at all and they just happen anyway according to his secret will but without him actually making them happen.
    And then, sensing the obvious question arising from that, they have to invent a new ruse, that everything that happens must happen by force of logic in accordance with God's secret will.
    And when that doesn't work, they tell us that we can't look into God's secret will because it is secret.
    Friends, this is gnosticism all over again. They will do anything and everything to avoid having to say that in their belief system God is responsible for or creates evil.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

    But you know all this don't you? That's why you believe, as I said, that the reason why we are responsible for our actions is because the actions are determined solely by ourselves.

    So it doesn't represent a big stretch to go one step further and agree that our actions are moral (i.e. they are capable of being judged as right or wrong) because they are determined by ourselves only.

    Just think about that for a bit. I am convinced that is what you fundamentally believe. Because you are self-determined, your actions have a quality of morality or are capable of being judged as moral or immoral.

    This isn't conclusive at all, but I am trying to come at it from a starting point that I know you cannot disagree with or misunderstand. If you do disagree with this then you would probably be Calvinist - or possibly Arminian - or Catholic or something like that.

    Let's move on. We are responsible for our actions because they affect others. But not only because they affect others but because they affect the whole universe and the universe is unique from moment to moment.

    Obviously, when I say that our actions affect others, I am implying that others have value in themselves, that they are worth something for their own sake and that is why, if I have an effect on them, I can be judged for that.

    Again, it is not as if the only reason for judging our actions is the effect it has on others, as if the action itself was irrelevant. But the very action itself becomes part of the universe's history. This is because (or is another way of saying) our actions are real. If you need an example of this principle in action because my words are a little pithy for you, then try this:
    A man suggests to a woman to have sex with him. The woman is happily married but might well enjoy having sex with another man. They are on a work trip away from home and are both in the same hotel. The woman expresses doubts but the man assuages them by saying 'But no one will ever know'. And it is true that neither he nor she will ever tell about the event. And they are both intelligent and self-disciplined enough to go back to their spouses and act as if nothing had happened. Was their act immoral? If our acts are judged solely by the effect they have on others, then this was not an immoral act. That's why I say that it is the act itself that is judged.

    Again, think about that. Is that what you believe?
    Last edited by Desert Reign; February 21st, 2016 at 02:33 PM.
    Total Misanthropy.
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    Irresistible damnation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    Let's consider the Calvinist position for a moment. I would say that it breaks down where it makes people responsible for their choices and sins when all the while, everything they do was forced. Their choices were only illusions because there never was any possibility that they could choose to do anything other than what they actually did.
    Now I am not the first and certainly not the only to have pointed out this contradiction in Calvinistic belief. It is not only illogical but it is regarded by many, me included, to show God in a poor light. It makes him out to be evil.
    Why am I saying this? I've said it all before many times. There is no point in debating it or arguing about it. Numerous threads have already beaten it to death. I'm saying it because it is something I can say which I think most reading this thread will understand. Even if of course some disagree. I am not assuming the truth of the notion - I am assuming that a lot of people agree with it and that all of them, as well as those who disagree with it, understand the idea.

    Now consider for a moment what we are saying here:
    We are saying that men are not responsible for their actions if their actions are determined externally, i.e., in this case, by God.

    OK? You have to agree with that. No one who has been on TOL for a year or more can tell me that they don't understand this. You can disagree with the statement, but you surely must agree that this is the position a lot of people here take.

    So what does this tell us about our own presuppositions?
    It tells us that our actions are determined by ourselves. Since they are our actions, then anything external just means not us. It means that the origins of our actions are within ourselves. We may be influenced by other things, and indeed we usually are, but this doesn't change the fact that the actual actions originated in our own wills. Even things we do that are simply reactions to other things, we are usually held responsible for. Though there are degrees: we aren't held responsible for absolutely everything. It depends on how old we are, whether we were under coercion, whether we were mentally fit and so on. But as a general rule, we are held responsible for what we do.

    I'm just saying this, ok? This is what you believe, all you who, like me, say that Calvinism is wrong because it makes God out to be unjust since he sends to eternal punishment those who could not have done anything other than what they did do.

    And of course the Calvinists will disagree and protest that all our decisions are our own and arise from within us and we are wretched sinners and how we haven't read the Westminster Confession and stuff like that. But we don't buy it, do we? Because when the Calvinist tells us that everything we do, by force of logic, (or whatever) must comply with God's will, then we see and understand that in Calvinist belief, God's will is the determining factor in what we do.

    And in our view, that should exonerate us.

    OK so far?
    On this point we are in complete agreement.

    In addition to what you said here I would add that it is our will that is the difference between a deterministic worldview (of any sort) vs. a worldview where justice means something. It's a crude analogy but imagine a line of dominoes in the process of falling one domino at a time until it reaches a fork where, if it were actual dominoes, it would branch off in multiple different directions at once. Our will is that which allows us to force the dominoes to fall in only one direction or the another.

    One might ask, what caused you to choose one course over another? The answer is, my mind. Can we explain every detail of just how it all works and answer every question and resolve every conflict that such a position might bring up. Possibly not. But it is not necessary to do so. If we do not have the ability to determine what course we take then we cannot be justly held responsible for what course we do take.

    1. God is just
    2. Therefore I have a will.

    To deny either point is to deny both.

    Defending the Principle of Alternate Possibilities

    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Don't worry, I am not a Calvinist.

    We are not completely free beings. We cannot simply do whatever we want when we want. If we could, then no one could judge us, because effectively, the universe is your playground. Or to put it another way, if anyone did judge us, that judgement would be worthless. You would define what right and wrong is.

    We are under all sorts of restrictions and constraints that prevent us from doing things. This means that we have to make choices between several courses of action. These choices have to be meaningful of course. That is, the effect of choosing one course of action is different to the effect of another course of action.

    This also means that the things or people being affected by the choices you make are also meaningful and valuable.. If world had no value then any choice you make would have no meaning. You cannot judge such a choice to be right or wrong then.

    However, if the world is populated be people such as yourself, who cannot do whatever they like, but can still make choices, then any action concerning them would be meaningful. This means that such actions could be judged as being right or wrong. Similarly, if the world has value, then any action you do concerning the world can be judged as right or wrong. That is why people and objects need to be worth something in order for any actions against them to be judged.

    Are you with me?

    Now, value, if it is given to an object or a person by someone else, once again does not mean much. This object would effectively be worthless to everyone else. (I mean this hypothetically). Say for example, someone else's world that they have complete control over.

    If, in the manner I described above, a building is in a city is worthless to you, then for all the difference it made, you could walk through it as if it were thin air. As far as you are concerned, it does not exist.

    Of course in the real world, value does not work like this. Every object and person has a value (in the sense I described above) to you simply by being there. You may not care whether something is there or not, but this will not change the fact that it is.

    Easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TIPlatypus View Post
    Don't worry, I am not a Calvinist.

    We are not completely free beings. We cannot simply do whatever we want when we want. If we could, then no one could judge us, because effectively, the universe is your playground. Or to put it another way, if anyone did judge us, that judgement would be worthless. You would define what right and wrong is.

    We are under all sorts of restrictions and constraints that prevent us from doing things. This means that we have to make choices between several courses of action. These choices have to be meaningful of course. That is, the effect of choosing one course of action is different to the effect of another course of action.

    This also means that the things or people being affected by the choices you make are also meaningful and valuable.. If world had no value then any choice you make would have no meaning. You cannot judge such a choice to be right or wrong then.

    However, if the world is populated be people such as yourself, who cannot do whatever they like, but can still make choices, then any action concerning them would be meaningful. This means that such actions could be judged as being right or wrong. Similarly, if the world has value, then any action you do concerning the world can be judged as right or wrong. That is why people and objects need to be worth something in order for any actions against them to be judged.

    Are you with me?

    Now, value, if it is given to an object or a person by someone else, once again does not mean much. This object would effectively be worthless to everyone else. (I mean this hypothetically). Say for example, someone else's world that they have complete control over.

    If, in the manner I described above, a building is in a city is worthless to you, then for all the difference it made, you could walk through it as if it were thin air. As far as you are concerned, it does not exist.

    Of course in the real world, value does not work like this. Every object and person has a value (in the sense I described above) to you simply by being there. You may not care whether something is there or not, but this will not change the fact that it is.

    Easy.
    Makes no sense whatsoever.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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    Over 1500 post club Arsenios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Reign View Post
    I am talking about enduring principles.
    I am talking about ethics,
    about morality,
    about cosmology,
    about God.
    OK - So far, this is ONLY 'talking about'...

    I don't know what you mean by the 'law of causality' but causality is a very slippery fish. That's why I have avoided it. If there were a law such that the state of the universe as a whole could be predicted based on some previous state, then the universe would be predictable as a whole and each moment would not have its own intrinsic value. Each moment would merely be the outworking of a greater principle. (This is analogous to the value of a thing being determined externally.) The fact that no such law exists is a logical consequence of the premises I outlined earlier, namely that God is also real and that 'reality' (the real universe) includes everything that is real.
    Then you are reducing God to a datum of the created kosmos...
    Just another "also" of all that is "real"...
    God doesn't "reduce" so easily...

    The point about actions is that yes, they do have 'things' as their objects. But rather, it is that each action is an irrevocable facet of the continuing history of the universe. Or, each action contributes to the character of the universe in each moment. And because each moment has its own intrinsic value, so actions of sentient beings may be judged in the context of that moment. It is because such actions are real that they may be scrutinized.
    IF you see an action as being determined in its value by the contribution it makes TO the kosmos in each moment,
    then you MUST know beforehand what is valuable and what is dis-valuable to the kosmos...
    And some of us can barely know where to find our socks...
    And none of us has a comprehensive grasp of cosmic evaluation...
    And few even a partial glimpse...

    This principle doesn't arise in a dualistic-Calvinistic universe because the universe in which we live (the created world) is a completely different universe from the one God is in and everything that happens in this universe only has its origin and meaning in the other, supposedly infinite world of God. Therefore, in the dualist way of thinking, each moment of our universe does not have intrinsic value. In that context, actions cannot be judged. Of course Calvinists will deny this (as I suggested before) but they can only do so by creating paradoxes and subterfuges, whilst the basic logic of dualism makes moral values redundant.
    There are far better bases for rejecting the Calvinist world view...

    Arsenios
    Arsenios

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    On this point we are in complete agreement.

    In addition to what you said here I would add that it is our will that is the difference between a deterministic worldview (of any sort) vs. a worldview where justice means something. It's a crude analogy but imagine a line of dominoes in the process of falling one domino at a time until it reaches a fork where, if it were actual dominoes, it would branch off in multiple different directions at once. Our will is that which allows us to force the dominoes to fall in only one direction or the another.

    One might ask, what caused you to choose one course over another? The answer is, my mind. Can we explain every detail of just how it all works and answer every question and resolve every conflict that such a position might bring up. Possibly not. But it is not necessary to do so. If we do not have the ability to determine what course we take then we cannot be justly held responsible for what course we do take.

    1. God is just
    2. Therefore I have a will.

    To deny either point is to deny both.

    Defending the Principle of Alternate Possibilities

    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    Thanks Clete.
    I probably agree with you. The only thing I would add is that you need an additional premise relating to the will. I don't require such a premise because I limit my premise to our actions. Whether our actions are the expression of something called a will, I do not know. All I know is that our actions originate from within us and therefore we are responsible for them. If by 'will' you mean simply that, then I am of course fine with it. If you mean that there is some specific psychological or spiritual faculty (e.g. soul, spirit, that kind of thing) that is the part of us that makes decisions, then I am not so sure. It is not that I am averse to this idea, it is just that I want a watertight line of reasoning and this idea seems unnecessary for that purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by TIPlatypus View Post
    Don't worry, I am not a Calvinist.

    We are not completely free beings. We cannot simply do whatever we want when we want. If we could, then no one could judge us, because effectively, the universe is your playground. Or to put it another way, if anyone did judge us, that judgement would be worthless. You would define what right and wrong is.
    I understand completely. Good points.

    We are under all sorts of restrictions and constraints that prevent us from doing things.
    Exactly. That's because the world around us is real. It won't go away just because we want it to. And even though I might name this particular phenomenon a chair, someone else will name it differently, such as a stool or a sofa, or a deck-chair. I have the freedom to name it differently but no one has the freedom to name it a computer, because it is real and reality must be shared. It is not a chair for one person and a computer for another. Clete is of course right about that point. He calls it the law of identity. But for me it is simply reality. Reality is shared. Everything that is real constrains everything else that is real. Reality is therefore, as a whole, self-constraining.

    This means that we have to make choices between several courses of action. These choices have to be meaningful of course. That is, the effect of choosing one course of action is different to the effect of another course of action.
    I understand. We also don't necessarily have to choose between discrete possibilities. This is why I don't agree with Greg Boyd's concept of God being the one who knows all possible futures. There are infinitely many possible choices even we as humans could make. I mean, even animals, to whom we accord a far lesser ability to make decisions, nevertheless have myriad choices in front of them.

    This also means that the things or people being affected by the choices you make are also meaningful and valuable.. If world had no value then any choice you make would have no meaning. You cannot judge such a choice to be right or wrong then.
    I agree. Although see what I wrote in my previous post about actions being intrinsically moral and not merely by virtue of the effects they have.

    However, if the world is populated be people such as yourself, who cannot do whatever they like, but can still make choices, then any action concerning them would be meaningful. This means that such actions could be judged as being right or wrong. Similarly, if the world has value, then any action you do concerning the world can be judged as right or wrong. That is why people and objects need to be worth something in order for any actions against them to be judged.

    Are you with me?
    Yes.

    Now, value, if it is given to an object or a person by someone else, once again does not mean much. This object would effectively be worthless to everyone else. (I mean this hypothetically). Say for example, someone else's world that they have complete control over.
    Clete asked me earlier about objects that are worthless and I said that I couldn't easily think of any examples. The only thing I can actually think of is a black hole.

    If, in the manner I described above, a building is in a city is worthless to you, then for all the difference it made, you could walk through it as if it were thin air. As far as you are concerned, it does not exist.

    Of course in the real world, value does not work like this. Every object and person has a value (in the sense I described above) to you simply by being there. You may not care whether something is there or not, but this will not change the fact that it is.

    Easy.
    Apparently not for some!

    Quote Originally Posted by Clete View Post
    Makes no sense whatsoever.
    Clete, I understood TIP pretty ok. Your comment doesn't seem very constructive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arsenios View Post
    Then you are reducing God to a datum of the created kosmos...
    Just another "also" of all that is "real"...
    God doesn't "reduce" so easily...
    So let me ask...

    God is forgiving, is he not?
    Are you forgiving? I assume so.
    So both you and God are forgiving.
    Ah, but doesn't that reduce God to just another of all that is forgiving?

    Now, are you an intelligent man, Arsenios?
    I assume so. No one would say you are a moron.
    Is God intelligent? Of course he is.
    Ah, but doesn't that reduce God to just another of all that is intelligent?

    I could go on like this with all sorts of examples. Arsenios, you seem to have forgotten what language is for. So let me ask you again:

    In your belief, is God real, yes or no?

    If you can't give me a straight answer to this, then neither can you say that God is intelligent, forgiving, just or anything else.
    In fact, if you cannot give me a straight answer to this, you cannot say anything about God whatsoever.

    So bite the bullet and answer the question: is God real?
    Total Misanthropy.
    Uncertain salvation.
    Luck of the draw.
    Irresistible damnation.
    Persecution of the saints.

    Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.
    (The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

    RevTestament: It doesn't matter to me too much that the "New Testament wasn't written in Hebrew.
    Dialogos: Calvin, as a sinner, probably got some things wrong.
    Brandplucked: I'm shocked that other people disagree with me.

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    Constructive or not, it makes no sense because I can't get anyone to define terms!

    The existence of a thing does not mean it has value! Value is a subjective concept. What is valuable to me can very easily be worthless to you. It makes no difference what the society says about it so its not merely a social convention or construct. I've got a whole box full of things that I wouldn't get rid of for all the tea in china. My wife would throw every bit of it in the garbage tomorrow if I let her. The things in that box are what they are. They do not change in any way whether I cherish them or my wife wants to toss them in the fire.

    And be all that as it may, no one has yet explained to me what any of this has to do with establishing a rational framework for an objective morality. You simple have to make the actual argument!

    Clete
    Last edited by Clete; February 23rd, 2016 at 01:06 PM.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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