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Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?

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Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?

Postby Ibn Taymiyyah » Sat Jul 02, 2005 4:21 am

Question: Can God hear colors?
Answer: Invalid question, colors are not meant to be heard.

Similarly: Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved.

Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, because it is impossible for there to exist a rock which God cannot lift, God's ability is limitless.
Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved ... just like colors are not meant to be heard.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:47 am

Tell that to the Titans.
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Re: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?

Postby Cédric » Sat Jul 02, 2005 9:08 am

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Question: Can God hear colors?
Answer: Invalid question, colors are not meant to be heard.


Really?
Are u sure of this?
Well classical physics clearly showed that both colours and sounds are waves, they can be measured with the same scalle, Hertz. It's not that colours are not meant to be heard it's just that OUR perception system is not good, that ears can get certain frequencies which eyes cant and vice versa

Then for ur next question :

Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, because it is impossible for there to exist a rock which God cannot lift, God's ability is limitless.


What if we consider that looking in (a) God's direction is not the direction to look for an answer? ;)
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Postby Ibn Taymiyyah » Sat Jul 02, 2005 2:00 pm

OK!

Question: Can God smell noise?
Answer: Invalid question, noise is not meant to be smelled.

Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Jul 02, 2005 11:15 pm

if God creates a rock he can't lift, then he must be a pretty pathetic God.
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Postby Democritus » Sun Jul 03, 2005 4:45 am

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Question: Can God smell noise?
Answer: Invalid question, noise is not meant to be smelled.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaesthesia

Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved.


Can God pose questions which cannot be answered?
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Postby mingshey » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:19 am

Emma_85 wrote:if God creates a rock he can't lift, then he must be a pretty pathetic God.


Well I don't know much about God, but I once made a snowball I couln't lift. I had to shovel it up to make the head of the snowman I was up to.

At least God could create engineers who will invent a powerful enough crane to lift the rock, anyway.

Anyway look how he created so great a many heavy souls he couldn't lift into heaven.
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Postby Kasper » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:30 am

Emma_85 wrote:if God creates a rock he can't lift, then he must be a pretty pathetic God.


That's illogical. Suppose God had a secret he never wanted to come out, and place it under a rock not even He could lift. Pretty powerful God.

As for the argument about God creating a rock he cannot lift: if His power is unlimited he can certainly make any rock. So if His power of creating rocks is unlimited, and he created one He cannot lift, that means his power of lifting rocks is limited. Or if His power of lifting rocks is unlimited, and He he cannot make one he cannot lift, his power of creating rocks is certainly limited. Therefore God's power cannot be unlimited.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby mingshey » Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:14 am

Kasper wrote:As for the argument about God creating a rock he cannot lift: if His power is unlimited he can certainly make any rock. So if His power of creating rocks is unlimited, and he created one He cannot lift, that means his power of lifting rocks is limited. Or if His power of lifting rocks is unlimited, and He he cannot make one he cannot lift, his power of creating rocks is certainly limited. Therefore God's power cannot be unlimited.


Uh-oh, in either way his power is somehow limited, isn't it? Anyway that's the point of the original question.

But in the engineering's POV, his power is not diminished, to say, in erasing his most embarrassing secrets for good. He only has to pick a black hole and shred his secret papers in there. Even if the black hole evaporates by Hawking's radiation the information fed into the BH wouldn't be recovered.
Last edited by mingshey on Mon Jul 04, 2005 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ibn Taymiyyah » Mon Jul 04, 2005 2:23 am

Kasper wrote:if His power is unlimited he can certainly make any rock. So if His power of creating rocks is unlimited, and he created one He cannot lift, that means his power of lifting rocks is limited. Or if His power of lifting rocks is unlimited, and He he cannot make one he cannot lift, his power of creating rocks is certainly limited.


This is why this question was problematic. If we answer yes, then God cannot lift everything, if we say no, then God annot create everything.

But my point is that we should not answer this question, because it is invalid.

Rocks which God cannot lift are not meant to be created, because impossibilities are not meant to be achieved.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:27 am

Kasper wrote:
Emma_85 wrote:if God creates a rock he can't lift, then he must be a pretty pathetic God.


That's illogical. Suppose God had a secret he never wanted to come out, and place it under a rock not even He could lift. Pretty powerful God.

As for the argument about God creating a rock he cannot lift: if His power is unlimited he can certainly make any rock. So if His power of creating rocks is unlimited, and he created one He cannot lift, that means his power of lifting rocks is limited. Or if His power of lifting rocks is unlimited, and He he cannot make one he cannot lift, his power of creating rocks is certainly limited. Therefore God's power cannot be unlimited.


I know what you mean... if it is in the definition of this concept 'God' that he is omnipotent, then he can create a really heavy rock - but if he then can't lift that rock then he is not omnipotent - because he can't do that. But if he really is omnipotent he must be able to anything, so he must also be able to create a rock which he cannot lift - but that would again mean he would not be omnipotent. So basically an omnipotent God makes no sense and since all the religious philosophers seem to think a God that is not omnipotent makes little sense - voila, just disproved God :P

A sneaky way out may be to say that God just doesn't ever want to create such a rock ... but how do you know that God doesn't mean to do anything like that? I mean, the whole concept doesn't make sense, unless you want it too. The question is not invalid. God could want to do anything, that he just happens to want to do those things that make sense logically and don't present a paradox is just trying to find a way out. Sort of like: I don't think I want to create a rock I can't move, because if I wanted to do that that would cause me to loose my omnipotence.
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Postby Yhevhe » Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:43 pm

If I understand God as "everything", and the laws that rule this "everything", then I could say that in a determined moment and situation, God could not lift a rock made by itself. If an ant, as part of this everything (thus being God too), tries to lift it, then she would not be able. Of course, being God everything, then of course it can do anything, so it could lift that rock at will (eliminating gravity?). But I don't really consider God as a big bearded guy with strange wishes, it's a more abstract concept to me.
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Postby Kasper » Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:37 pm

I wasn't so much trying to disprove God or anything. I was trying to say that the argument put in the original question contains an assumption of fact, which is not a fact at all. To say something is a fact and then state that the enquiry into that 'fact' is invalid, seems a very dangerous proposition. You can almost hear the Hitler echo: "All Jews are evil. How can a Jew do good? The question is invalid because all Jews are evil and therefore incapable of doing good."
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Re: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?

Postby edonnelly » Tue Jul 05, 2005 10:48 pm

Cédric wrote:Well classical physics clearly showed that both colours and sounds are waves, they can be measured with the same scalle, Hertz. It's not that colours are not meant to be heard it's just that OUR perception system is not good, that ears can get certain frequencies which eyes cant and vice versa

I don't think this statement can go unchallenged. Color is a perception phenomenon related to light waves of different energies (wavelengths) interacting with the retina. Sound is the perception of pressure waves interacting with the cochlea. While it is true that both phenomena involves waves, and, of course, all waves can be represented by Hz (1/sec) it is not possible to "hear" the light waves of color nor is it possible to "see" the pressure waves of sound. Why? Because by definition seeing is the perception of light waves and hearing is perception of pressure waves (two completely different and unrelated physical phenomena).
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Postby primitive » Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:10 am

Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, because it is impossible for there to exist a rock which God cannot lift, God's ability is limitless.
Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved ... just like colors are not meant to be heard.


If you say God's ability is limitless, then of course He can create a rock he cannot lift.

Plus He could bluff...
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Re: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?

Postby travis » Sat Jul 16, 2005 6:48 pm

edonnelly wrote:

I don't think this statement can go unchallenged. Color is a perception phenomenon related to light waves of different energies (wavelengths) interacting with the retina. Sound is the perception of pressure waves interacting with the cochlea. While it is true that both phenomena involves waves, and, of course, all waves can be represented by Hz (1/sec) it is not possible to "hear" the light waves of color nor is it possible to "see" the pressure waves of sound. Why? Because by definition seeing is the perception of light waves and hearing is perception of pressure waves (two completely different and unrelated physical phenomena).[/quote]

edonelly-

There is actually is a condition in which the brain confuses sensory input. It's called synaesthaesia. Here's a bit I was able to get off the web.

Synaesthaesia is the appearance in one sensory modality of activity generated in another. The commonest form of synaesthaesia is colour-hearing. In this form, if a person hears a musical note he will at the same time see a particular and specific colour. In the seventeenth century Kircher spoke of sounds as the 'Ape of Light' saying that everything visible can be made audible, just as everything which the ear perceives can also be perceived by the eye. Synaesthaesia is thought to occur in about 12.00% of the population. Scriabin the composer had this ability and used it in `Prometheus the Poem of Fire', where he devised a special colour scale notation.

Schultze (1912) reports a case of tertiary sensations coupled with music. A man of thirty, since the age of ten reported his colour hearing to be associated with taste. Instrumental music produced an image first of taste, then of colour, as if the stimulus 'went from the ear through the mouth to the eye'. Minor chords had a hard, bitter taste, major chords one that was sweet and pleasurable. After listening to music for any length of time, he would feel `full up'.

There are two explanations for the phenomena of synaesthaesia – the first, with which we need not concern ourselves, says that sound and colour come to be associated by learning. Undoubtedly in a large number of cases this is so, but it is of no real interest as no special explanation of perception results from it. The second idea is crucial to understanding how perception may function. Hayek (1962) gives a good review of the idea that there is a basic perceptional experience which becomes differentiated only as it develops along the channels of the different special senses but it also represents a unity which underpins them all. This second concept fits with the idea that we have been examining that the basic substance of experience is the neural code but that the structure of the brain provides the interpretation of consciousness. Thus it would appear that structure, the actual form of the cerebral cortex, is in part responsible for the particular form that sensations appearing in consciousness take.[/quote]
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Jul 16, 2005 9:18 pm

primitive wrote:
Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, because it is impossible for there to exist a rock which God cannot lift, God's ability is limitless.
Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved ... just like colors are not meant to be heard.


If you say God's ability is limitless, then of course He can create a rock he cannot lift.


but if he then can't lift it - that would be something he couldn't do - ergo he would not be omnipotent.
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Postby Bert » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:44 pm

I wish that this thread would be allowed a well deserved death.
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Postby Democritus » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:51 pm

Bert wrote:I wish that this thread would be allowed a well deserved death.


Sometimes God starts threads that even He can't put a stop to.

It's just a mystery. ;)
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Postby Geoff » Sun Jul 17, 2005 2:33 am

The answer is really quite simple. The inferiority lies within the rock concocted in human minds and not with God.

How big would the rock have to be?
What's bigger than an infinite rock (is it even a rock if its infinite?)?
God's power is infinite so God can create and manage an infinite rock.
God could endow the rock with freewill so that it can choose to reject Him then He can exercise power over it consistent with His will.

Thinking in finite terms to define God creates attributes which are able to be contradictory. However God is non-contradictory in all his attributes. A simple matter of equivocation allows us to define God in human experience using accepted terminology for illogical thinking (Rom. 1:21).
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Postby primitive » Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:02 pm

Emma_85 wrote:
primitive wrote:
Question: Can God create a rock which He cannot lift?
Answer: Invalid question, because it is impossible for there to exist a rock which God cannot lift, God's ability is limitless.
Impossibilities are not meant to be achieved ... just like colors are not meant to be heard.


If you say God's ability is limitless, then of course He can create a rock he cannot lift.


but if he then can't lift it - that would be something he couldn't do - ergo he would not be omnipotent.


quoting Ibn Taymiyyah, it is assumed that his powers are limitless. so with no question, he should be able to create the rock, according to this claim.
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Postby calvinist » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:23 pm

I agree with Geoff. This is an old trick question used to make Christians feel like idiots for their belief in God, but in reality the question is meaningless. The question is contradictory and therefore really incomprehensible when broken down further. If I say, "I exist and I do not exist" I am speaking nonsense... I cannot be understood (of course assuming the word exist is taken in the same sense in both uses). To affirm and deny the exact same proposition is meaningless and is called a contradiction. A proposition that is contradictory cannot reflect reality because reality is rational and noncontradictory. If you want to disagree and say that reality is contradictory, then I would reply by saying that if reality is contradictory then we can affirm and deny the same proposition and still be logical and therefore I could say that "reality is contradictory and reality is not contradictory" and that would be logical.... and we're back where we started. So the law of noncotradiction has now been established. Aristotle discovered this and expounded on it many years ago, even before the Son of God blessed us with his presence here on earth. So let's examine the question: Now the word God isn't simply two voiced stops with a vowel stuck between them, it has meaning. In the Christian conception of God he is omnipotent and so when a christian says "God", and he's speaking in English, he means (among other things) an omnipotent being. Now the poser of the question understands this too since the question under question was engineered to destroy the plausibility of this assumption. Now an omnipotent being can lift any rock ,so in essence this is what the question is asking,"Is there a rock that cannot be lifted by he who can lift any rock?" Of course not, so the answer is "No" God cannot create a rock he cannot lift. Now this does not mean he is not omnipotent, he is. A contradiction as we have said does not really exist, it can be said in words but it does not reflect reality. All of us here at textkit know from our study of classical languages and language in general that just because you say something it does not make it real, even in the indicative mood. The concept of a rock that God could not lift is in itself an inconceivable contradiction..... it is metaphysically unreal.... it is metaphysically impossible. So we are asking if God can create a ............................the blank remains empty and the question is unintelligible because the concept proposed is unreal and cannot be used in a question about reality. Now I will admit that at first the question sounds intelligible and seems to be understood, but under scrutiny it becomes a meaningless bunch of words much like,"I exist and I don't exist" or "I know that I don't know anything (emphasis on anything)" if you don't know ANYTHING how could you even know that you don't know anything? If you want to stand behind statements like this and the rock too heavy for God question then maybe you'd be good in politics. Being able to deceptively contradict yourself comes in handy when the pool of voters contains people on both sides of the issues...... And lastly since it popped in my head, this is why the idea of "tolerance" is illogical. Don't get me wrong i don't believe in harming people because they disagree with you, but the notion that you can agree with everybody is foolish, because if I say Jesus was the Son of God and someone else says he wasn't and then another guy comes by and says he agrees with both of us on the issue (to be politically correct as he's been indoctrinated and brainwashed to do by the schools, media, etc., etc.) then I would say he's not too smart of a person. To affirm two opposing views is to affirm nothing. Those who agree with everyone agree with noone. Sorry this was so long, but this is one of those issues that I have a passion for.
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Postby Democritus » Sat Aug 06, 2005 7:27 am

calvinist wrote:I agree with Geoff. This is an old trick question used to make Christians feel like idiots for their belief in God,


No, that's not true -- it's meant to enlighten people that simplemind beliefs are often wrong.

There are plenty of Christians who are not offended by this at all, and you shoudn't be offended either. Just take the chip off of your shoulder.


calvinist wrote:but in reality the question is meaningless.


Indeed you are right, but a lot of things that pass as "religion" are equally meaningless. The assertion "God is omnipotent" is also meaningless, for precisely the same reason. But God doesn't care about this word, His powers are not lessened by this line of thought. He doesn't care how we define "omnipotence." He is not so vain.

calvinist wrote:the blank remains empty and the question is unintelligible because the concept proposed is unreal and cannot be used in a question about reality.


For you, maybe, but what about for God? God created reality, didn't He? Isn't He the one who decides what's real? Are you saying it is impossible for God? I'm sorry but there is no way out of this logical bind. You cannot escape it. It's right there in a nutshell.

The question is nowhere near as snarky as it sounds. It's a real philosophical problem.


calvinist wrote:And lastly since it popped in my head, this is why the idea of "tolerance" is illogical. Don't get me wrong i don't believe in harming people because they disagree with you, but the notion that you can agree with everybody is foolish,


"Tolerance" does not mean "agreeing with everybody." If you think that "tolerance" means "agreeing with everybody," then you are engaging in sloppy thinking. "Tolerance" means that people can disagree openly about big important things, such as religious faith, and yet live side by side, speak to each other respectfully and avoid getting into violent conflicts or political oppression.

Tolerance is one form of humility. God knows all the answers, but I do not. While I am on this Earth I must respect my neighbors, even if I do not agree with them, or if their habits are strange to me. Tolerance has its limits, but to call tolerance "illogical" is wrongheaded.

The entire New Testament is all about tolerance. Didn't Jesus say "Love your enemy" and "turn the other cheek"? Tolerance doesn't even require you to love your enemy, it just requires you to refrain from killing him or burning his house down. Jesus asked for a lot more than just tolerance.
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Postby Bert » Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:16 am

Alrighty then. I'll reply.

Democritus wrote:
calvinist wrote:I agree with Geoff. This is an old trick question used to make Christians feel like idiots for their belief in God,


No, that's not true -- it's meant to enlighten people that simplemind beliefs are often wrong.

There are plenty of Christians who are not offended by this at all, and you shoudn't be offended either. Just take the chip off of your shoulder.

..... God created reality, didn't He? Isn't He the one who decides what's real? Are you saying it is impossible for God? I'm sorry but there is no way out of this logical bind. You cannot escape it. It's right there in a nutshell.
I admitt that using human language has it's limitations when talking about God, but human language is all we have.
But if the statement "If God cannot create a round square, he is not omnipotent" can determine for you whether God is omnipotent or not, you have some serious problems with reasoning or reality.


Democritus wrote:The entire New Testament is all about tolerance. Didn't Jesus say "Love your enemy" and "turn the other cheek"? Tolerance doesn't even require you to love your enemy, it just requires you to refrain from killing him or burning his house down. Jesus asked for a lot more than just tolerance.

Was Jesus tolerant of Herod? He called him a fox.
Was he tolerant of the Pharasees. He called them whitewashed tombs, snakes and brood of vipers.
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Postby calvinist » Sat Aug 06, 2005 7:48 pm

As Bert rightfully stated, language is all we have to express ideas about God. And furthermore, God gave us language for this purpose. When God commanded Adam to refrain from eating from the tree of knowledge, he didn't expect Adam to reply with some philosophical argument about how words are just sounds and in the end are really meaningless. God expected Adam to understand exactly what he was talking about. Language has difficulties not only in describing God, but anything in reality, because language is merely symbols and so it is limited in that sense. When I said the question is meaningless, I wasn't going into the philosophy of language at all, I meant that it was meaningless because it's contradictory. The statement, "I am and I am not", is meaningless not because of the difficulties inherent in the symbolic nature of language but because it's a contradiction. So I still stand by my statement. God cannot create a rock that he cannot lift because "a rock that God cannot lift" is a contradiction in itself and contradictions are unintelligible. Some reply that he must be able to create one because if he can't he's not omnipotent, but that does not solve the problem because once he creates it then he can't lift it so we still have something that God supposedly can't do. God cannot sin either, and here again we have the same problem really, God sinning would be a contradiction in itself because sin is defined by the Christian (although not necessarily by non-Christians) as that which is against God's will, so how can God will that which is against his will? And I agree with you Democritus that tolerance only means to "tolerate" those whom you disagree with. And I agree with tolerance taken that way. However, and my own personal experience testifies to this, most people today define "tolerance" as agreeing with everyone. That is not the Webster's definition of "tolerance", but what determines the definitions of words, Webster or application? I would say the way the person is using the word determines it's meaning in that particular instance and Webster is more of a guide, but of course there needs to be somewhat of a binding law for the meanings of words to prevent for instance activist judges from misinterpreting the words in the Constitution to suit their own needs (had to throw in some controversy :wink:). That could be a whole discussion for another thread. As Bert said Jesus was very outspoken against his enemies, calling them children of Satan and even saying "those who are not with me are against me", but I understand the point of "tolerating" those you disagree with if you take the verb "tolerate" by it's traditional meaning which I think has been somewhat modified by our modern politically correct world. To sum up, even apart from the difficulties inherent in the symbolic nature of language, the question is still contradictory and therefore meaningless.
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Postby Democritus » Sat Aug 06, 2005 8:14 pm

Bert wrote:I admitt that using human language has it's limitations when talking about God, but human language is all we have.
But if the statement "If God cannot create a round square, he is not omnipotent" can determine for you whether God is omnipotent or not, you have some serious problems with reasoning or reality.


It doesn't tell us anything about God, but it does tell us something about our idea of omnipotence. At the very least, it ought to leave one with a sense of humility, not with indignation. It will only offend you if you walk around thinking that you have God all figured out.


Bert wrote:Was Jesus tolerant of Herod? He called him a fox.
Was he tolerant of the Pharasees. He called them whitewashed tombs, snakes and brood of vipers.


As I said in my post, tolerance has its limits. But all this talk we are hearing from the right, about "tolerance" being a bad thing, is misguided and unwise. Right-wing "Christians" are taking their sense of victimhood to an extreme. I don't see it ending well. Some of the worst crimes in history were committed by people who were thoroughly convinced of their own victimhood. Besides, this attitude clashes head-on with the message in the gospels themselves. If Jesus was not a tolerant person, then I don't know who was.
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Postby Paul » Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:42 pm

Democritus wrote:If Jesus was not a tolerant person, then I don't know who was.


I don't think Jesus is 'tolerant' in the modern sense of the word. He is forgiving. He does not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but does admonish her, "Go and sin no more."

Any attempt to make him an "anything goes" type of guy is just silly.

Cordially,

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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:13 am

Democritus wrote: Right-wing "Christians" are taking their sense of victimhood to an extreme. I don't see it ending well. Some of the worst crimes in history were committed by people who were thoroughly convinced of their own victimhood.

I really don't have any idea what you are talking about here. Victimhood?
Some of the worst crimes in history were committed by people who were thoroughly convinced of their own victimhood? Is that a statistic?
Even if it is, it does not prove anything. Many horrific things have been done in history with faith as the "justification." That does not prove that faith causes violence.
However, this is getting way of topic. (And I sure blew my resolve to not honour the original question with a reply :wink: .)
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Postby Democritus » Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:56 am

Paul wrote:I don't think Jesus is 'tolerant' in the modern sense of the word. He is forgiving. He does not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but does admonish her, "Go and sin no more."

Any attempt to make him an "anything goes" type of guy is just silly.


This is where we disagree. "Tolerance" does not mean "anything goes." It's exactly what I am taking issue with. When someone complains about tolerance, they are complaining about peaceful coexistance, and a willingness to disagree reasonably. "Tolerance" does not mean, "Hey, let's just abandon all scruples." That is not the point. And like I said up front, tolerance has its limits. You cannot tolerate absolutely anything.

It's hard to even talk about this, because we are using the word to mean different things.

But I will stick to my guns on this, I think that too many people are wrongly defining and misusing the word "tolerance." Every time I hear "Christians" condemning "tolerance," I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. "Tolerance" has now become politically incorrect, or I should say, religiously incorrect.

I cannot believe I'm walking around in a world where "tolerance" has become a bad word. It defies belief. I'm wondering what other words will become redefined into something negative.


That does not prove that faith causes violence.


I do not claim that faith causes violence. Every person is capable of violence, faith or no faith.
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Postby Geoff » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:12 am

Let's all define our terms here.

Tolerance -

Are we talking about abstaining from horribly killing or mortally wounding others in sick ways just because they disagree with us? I love that kind of tolerance.

Are we talking about acting as if all ideas are equal? I hate that kind of tolerance (yes I said hate).

If we're talking about the second we still haven't gotten to the bottom of tolerance. Does tolerance abstain from stating that anothers idea is false? Furthermore, does tolerance neglect consequences inherently connected with certain behavior? Christians must sometimes withdraw fellowship to remain faithful. They are intolerant in so doing, yet morally right I Cor 5.

PS. can God be intolerant?
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:26 am

I have always understood tolerance to respect other people's free will, but not necessarily approve of their choices. That does not mean you have to tolerate somebody killing your brother, but it does imply that if a neighbor goes to a temple every week to burn offerings to Zeus you still treat them as you yourself would like to be treated.

I know what you're talking about with the "victimhood" thing, but I think that mostly applies to extremists (i.e. John Birch Society types), and it is something of which left-wing extremists are just as guilty.

Faith is not inherently a cause of violence, but those who (for whatever reason) wish to cause violence can use faith as ... I think neither 'excuse' nor 'support' are the right word, but I can't think of anything better. For example, I do not think Islam itself pushes the terrorists who act in its name, but it is something from which they can take the momentum to do their violence.

I think the "Can God Make a Rock He Cannot Move?" is a demonstration of human language's incapacity to express infinities. Mathematicians are very cautious when they deal with infinity (or infinities) because they know their mathematics skills are very finite. So is our language. It's like the paradox where a frong leaps halfway across a log, then the frog is so tired that he can jump only another fourth of the way, then an eight, then a sixteenth, etc, and the frog can never reach the end of the log.
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Postby Bert » Sun Aug 07, 2005 2:38 am

Democritus wrote:
That does not prove that faith causes violence.


I do not claim that faith causes violence. Every person is capable of violence, faith or no faith.

I realize that. I was just trying to get you to explain this victimhood "statistic."
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Postby Paul » Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:45 pm

Democritus wrote:
Paul wrote:I don't think Jesus is 'tolerant' in the modern sense of the word. He is forgiving. He does not condemn the woman taken in adultery, but does admonish her, "Go and sin no more."

Any attempt to make him an "anything goes" type of guy is just silly.


This is where we disagree. "Tolerance" does not mean "anything goes." It's exactly what I am taking issue with. When someone complains about tolerance, they are complaining about peaceful coexistance, and a willingness to disagree reasonably. "Tolerance" does not mean, "Hey, let's just abandon all scruples." That is not the point. And like I said up front, tolerance has its limits. You cannot tolerate absolutely anything.


I don't think tolerance does or should mean 'anything goes'. Nor do you.

You seem to be asserting that the "Christian right' denigrates even the milder forms of tolerance, e.g., 'reasonable disagreement'. In fine, that such Christians will not respect the freedom of another to live as (s)he sees fit. Am I understanding you on this point?

I would, with Bert, like to know who these "right-wing Christians" are and what they have said or done to lead you to your conclusion?

My own perspective is quite different from yours. Salient in my understanding of faith are:

a. complete respect for human freedom
b. never to judge the final disposition of another's soul
c. vengeance is not mine

Some practical consequences of these tenets are: a) I can tell my friend that he should stop committing adultery, but I am not going to physically prevent him; b) God alone knows the depths of our hearts. No mortal can say that another is going to Hell; c) It's not for me to act as the "hand of God" in matters of retribution; resentment, envy, and the desire for revenge are utter poison to the human spirit.

Frankly, the most egregious examples of intolerance are found on the left side of the political spectrum. One need consider only the 'Talibanization' of the American university to see what I am getting at. Sadly, in the very place where speech should be at its most free, only certain politically correct ideas can even be aired.

Today's tyrants are on the 'humanist' left, not on the "Christian right".

Finally, how does it happen that in an age where all judgments have equal claim to truth, it remains OK to malign Christianity? Why are those who are so willing to bestow legitimacy on all manner of thought and belief so quick to attack religion?

Cordially,

Paul

"Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." - G.K. Chesterton
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:34 pm

Paul wrote:Frankly, the most egregious examples of intolerance are found on the left side of the political spectrum. One need consider only the 'Talibanization' of the American university to see what I am getting at. Sadly, in the very place where speech should be at its most free, only certain politically correct ideas can even be aired.

Today's tyrants are on the 'humanist' left, not on the "Christian right".

Finally, how does it happen that in an age where all judgments have equal claim to truth, it remains OK to malign Christianity? Why are those who are so willing to bestow legitimacy on all manner of thought and belief so quick to attack religion?


(I pay silent homage to the topic from which we have wandered so far)

This is the first I've heard of the "Talibanization" of American universities. Would you care to go into more detail on this phenomenon?

I know a few people who are very left-wing politically and devoutly Christian religiously. The two are not mutually exclusive.
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Postby Paul » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:01 pm

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:This is the first I've heard of the "Talibanization" of American universities. Would you care to go into more detail on this phenomenon?


Don't take the expression literally. It doesn't refer to religious conversion, but to a systemic intolerance routinely practiced at American universities against all ideas that don't conform to the tenets of political correctness.

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:I know a few people who are very left-wing politically and devoutly Christian religiously. The two are not mutually exclusive.


Who said they were?

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby annis » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:16 pm

Paul wrote:
GlottalGreekGeek wrote:This is the first I've heard of the "Talibanization" of American universities. Would you care to go into more detail on this phenomenon?


Don't take the expression literally. It doesn't refer to religious conversion, but to a systemic intolerance routinely practiced at American universities against all ideas that don't conform to the tenets of political correctness.


I work at a university, and indeed this is the case.

Hardly does the week go by that some right-leaning person with an intemperate mouth isn't dragged from the classroom and mauled by a mob; that a young republican isn't killed by hanging and left to dangle in the wind as a warning to others; that an insufficiently uppity woman isn't stoned in the university commons.
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Postby Paul » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:08 pm

annis wrote:I work at a university, and indeed this is the case.

Hardly does the week go by that some right-leaning person with an intemperate mouth isn't dragged from the classroom and mauled by a mob; that a young republican isn't killed by hanging and left to dangle in the wind as a warning to others; that an insufficiently uppity woman isn't stoned in the university commons.


Most amusing - a cute mockery whose violent imagery is perhaps more telling than you know.

What do these people have in common:

Antonin Scalia
Anne Coulter
Bill Kristol
Pat Buchanan
David Horowitz

Yes they all conservatives and within the last year they've all been shouted down or physically assaulted when they tried to speak at these places of 'higher learning':

Arizona University
University of St. Thomas
Earlham College
Western Michigan University
Butler University
New York University

Oh yes, and then there's the delicious contrast between the treatment of Lawrence Summers and that bastion of tolerance and academic freedom, 'professor' Ward Churchill.

Perhaps if the youthful left actually learned to think while in college, they could respond with more than pies, insults, and mockery.

Sorry Will, but I don't think it's funny when what should be havens of intellectual freedom cannot tolerate even hearing an idea they disagree with.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby annis » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:13 pm

Paul wrote:Sorry Will, but I don't think it's funny when what should be havens of intellectual freedom cannot tolerate even hearing an idea they disagree with.


Nor do I, and that wasn't the point I was making. I certainly don't support the speech-code idiocies that pass under the name 'leftism' at universities.

But as far as I'm concerned 'Taliban' is the new 'Nazi'. Everyone's using it to describe the other guy ('Texas Taliban' by the shriller left, etc.). This trivializes the real horrors perpretated by the Taliban. It exaggerates the evil (often, frankly, misguided foolishness) of the other guys. It brings heat, not light, to debate. There's plenty of heat already.
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Postby Paul » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:28 pm

annis wrote:Nor do I, and that wasn't the point I was making. I certainly don't support the speech-code idiocies that pass under the name 'leftism' at universities.

But as far as I'm concerned 'Taliban' is the new 'Nazi'. Everyone's using it to describe the other guy ('Texas Taliban' by the shriller left, etc.). This trivializes the real horrors perpretated by the Taliban. It exaggerates the evil (often, frankly, misguided foolishness) of the other guys. It brings heat, not light, to debate. There's plenty of heat already.


Fair enough. But I used, or at least meant, the term carefully. Before the Taliban began shedding blood, they repressed all free expression. In the Islamist state you simply cannot say certain things. I'm not trying to say that the same order of events will occur on American campuses.

But I do take exception to those who accuse the "Christian right" of intolerance but fail to see the plank in their own eyes.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby annis » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:33 pm

Paul wrote:But I do take exception to those who accuse the "Christian right" of intolerance but fail to see the plank in their own eyes.


Truly, there a planks aplenty.
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