Saturday, March 01, 2014

In Memory of David B – a good and faithful secular-atheist


It is with great sadness that His Grace reports the death of a longtime communicant upon this blog, known to us all over the years as David B. He died on 27 February 2014, and remained cheerfully himself until the end. His Grace would like to send his condolences to David B's family and friends, and on behalf of all here, sincere thanks and appreciation for streams of wisdom and intelligent comment upon a myriad of topics.

David B will have a Humanist funeral as he had requested. These are his final words for this site:
I comment quite frequently at the Conservative Christian Cranmer blog, where I am known as David B. In fact I have mentioned CEMB there more than once already.

There is much in Cranmer's posts that I disagree with, though I can sometimes find agreement between the two of us - as in the same sort of issue where the Christian Institute and the NSS can lobby together on freedom of speech issues.

For all Cranmer's faults, he has the virtue of tolerating dissent in his comment pages, which I respect.

Within the regular commenters, some enjoy posting a little tongue in cheek, but there are a couple of others who also make the case for liberal secularism, and there is quite a large tranche of the thinking sort of Christian, who is thoughtful and fundamentally decent at heart, along with the sort of Christian represented by the worst sort of side of the Daily Mail letters pages.

On the Cranmer pages. with my secular hat on, I have been trying to overcome prejudice against secularism by explaining (over and over) that it is about the state favouring no religion over any other, not favouring religion over no religion, and not favouring no religion over religion.

I do argue against religious privilege, though. Religious freedom I see as a good thing, but not an absolute good. You can't have people following some of the laws of Sharia or Leviticus, whether they believe they should do so on religious grounds or not. One law for all!

With my atheist hat on, though, I argue that though people should be free to worship as they wish, without undue privilege, they are unwise to do so.

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012, and had an operation then, followed by chemo in late 2012 and early 2013. The course was never finished, as my reaction to it deteriorated, and it ceased as doing more harm than good.

In early December last year I was rushed to hospital in terrible pain, and, despite hopes that the problem was not cancer related, scans showed small tumours in all the places one really doesn't want them. Kidney, bowel, lungs, liver...

At the moment treatment options are palliative chemo and no palliative chemo. I have made it clear to the medics that I value quality of live above quantity, and I suppose they and I will have to take things as they progress.
Last month David B emailed His Grace and asked him to publicise his wish that, on his passing, people should support the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB).

He asked that anyone who valued him or cared about him should consider supporting this organisation of courageous people. They have set up a David Bleines Tribute so that they can receive donations in his name.

Goodbye, David, thou good and faithful secular-atheist.

330 Comments:

Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I am much saddened to read of David's passing and send my condolences to his family. You will be missed by everyone in Cranmer's corner of the world.

1 March 2014 at 17:42  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Through coming to know how we differ from others, we come to know who we are. David B thought and said many things I disagreed with, which is why I always valued his contributions. Thank you, David.

1 March 2014 at 18:03  
Blogger Owl said...

I would also like add that David will be missed on this site as his comments always contained a lot of thought. No knee jerk reactions from David.

I'm sure David won't mind that I will say a little prayer for him and his family.

1 March 2014 at 18:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

My impression was that David's atheism was framed by compassion for the suffering in the world. That is the noblest of reasons for atheism.

One never far from the Kingdom.

And perhaps closer than he knew.

1 March 2014 at 18:18  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thank you, Your Grace. This communicant now observes that David B exercised the right to express himself under your Anglican Aegis. I hope I may commend his bravery and thoughtfulness in doing so.

I seldom agreed with his writing; though methought occasionally that he sought truth. Whatever his struggles, one prays that they were to good avail, and hopes that his family can accept condolences for his passing.

1 March 2014 at 18:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Such sad news and enough to move me to tears now, which is a strange reaction for someone I've never met, but hey.

1 March 2014 at 19:11  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Always found him to be committed to fair play. Everything seemed to hinge around that for him, his one prime truth perhaps. He didn’t manage to understand that nobody today plays fair, and probably never did.

Still, one regret’s his passing...


1 March 2014 at 19:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

A very understandable reaction, DanJ0. I think we do know one another on this Blog, through our writing.

I say it as one who wept at the death of Hamlet: who never even existed.

1 March 2014 at 19:19  
Blogger DMB from Secular Café said...

Thank you very much, Your Grace, for your kind notice of his death.

David was a dear friend of mine, always thoughtful and kind and often witty. He is deeply missed.

1 March 2014 at 19:27  
Blogger IanCad said...

A kind tribute to a very consistent communicant YG. Was it just about a year ago that things were looking up for him?
Such is the uncertainty of life.
I will miss him.

1 March 2014 at 20:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

Very sad news, Your Grace. As one of the 'Daily Mail Christians' to whom David B refers in his final letter to you, I must confess with regret to being less than charitable in response to some of his posts. David certainly bore his illness with courage, and when we read of the ailments of other dear communicants, we are reminded that life is too short for anger and bitterness. We have been set a great example which we should follow.

1 March 2014 at 20:20  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, Amen.

Explorer at 18.18 said this

"My impression was that David's atheism was framed by compassion for the suffering in the world. That is the noblest of reasons for atheism.

One never far from the Kingdom.

And perhaps closer than he knew."

My sentiments exactly. I believe those who seek Truth all their lives find it, one side of this live or the other.

1 March 2014 at 20:23  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 March 2014 at 21:11  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Your Grace,

Thank you for this post. It is sad to hear that a communicant has passed away. I never saw eye to eye with David B's views, but always respected his Welsh spirit, hyperbole, passion & robust views. I look forward to the time when I will join him at the Shabbat table in Gan Eden, where we shall doubtless continue our arguments over male circumcision and Kosher slaughter & every thing else . May The ONE Who Was, The ONE Who Is be with his family and friends.

1 March 2014 at 21:11  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

David was in his own way seeking to make this a better world for all of us to live together, despite our different world views.

That is something noble and always worth striving for.

David you will be missed

Phil

1 March 2014 at 21:15  
Blogger Roy said...

For once not only do I find myself in complete agreement with Cranmer, which is not all that unusual, but also in complete agreement with everyone who has posted comments, which makes this sad occasion a unique one.

In his passing David B has united us all.

1 March 2014 at 21:23  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I found myself reminded of the young Calormene, Emeth, at the end of C.S. Lewis's book "The Last Battle" who told Aslan that he had been a servant of Tash all his life and had never know him. And he tells the Kings and Queens that Aslan said this to him.

"'All the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites --I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Beloved,' said the Glorious One, 'unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek'...And since then, O Kings and Ladies, I have been wandering to find him and my happiness is so great that it even weakens me like a wound. And this is the marvel of marvels, that he called me Beloved, me who am but as a dog”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

I believe. I trust, that David B sees his Maker face to face and has discovered Who he truly sought in his search for truth here.

1 March 2014 at 21:52  
Blogger Len said...

Condolences to David B`s family at this sad time.

1 March 2014 at 21:54  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Look, there is no disrespect meant, but think about this for a moment. We are saying goodbye to an atheist. A man who did not believe, a man who did not serve Christ or God, and who would have impeded others trying to do that service. So when Sister Tiberia says “I believe. I trust, that David B sees his Maker face to face and has discovered Who he truly sought in his search for truth here.” it is wrong, plain wrong. Either that or Christianity is wrong and we are all saved, everyone of us, and the church is wasting it’s time.


1 March 2014 at 22:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ernst was sorry to hear of the sad passing of David B /Bleines, as a brother in suffering with tumours.

Ernst has just started his journey and the road along is unknown whereas David's has come to a end.

He was a communicant who gave his secularist opinions forthrightly and held them as firmly and religiously as any christian here.

I was surprised and shocked to find out that he had been a member of a cult? as he had previously only stated his nominal CofE association...It seems he may have been linked with dabbling briefly with TM http://skepdic.com/comments/tmcom.html. if this is him from Britain speaking in 2002.

Somebody disillusioned by life and looking for something to fill the void other than the One who can and does.

It appears he set up the website 'secular cafe' with his sister Cath, who seems also a secularist and Atheist herself, with the site having the desire to trash any religious notions whatsoever and warns the religious of this should they enter.

Ernst could never support anything to do with The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, who are simply a group of atheists of Islamic faith origin, who will probably be as intolerant of others as our western atheists are.

They are as much an enemy to us as our own are!

I hope and pray that David called out on the name of the Lord Jesus in the last moments and found salvation and peace, rather than going bravely into an oblivion that is only a figment of imagination.

"Goodbye, David, thou good and faithful secular-atheist." I truly, deeply, sincerely hope he was NOT at the last breath else what were his visits here all about, the proselyting that he forbid on his own website ? or to hear the words of Cranmer and others and consider his eternal fate?

We can only hope and pray it was the latter.

Psalms 39:4
"LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.

Psalms 102:11
My days are like a lengthened shadow, And I wither away like grass.

Job 9:25
"Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good.

Job 8:9
"For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow.

Psalms 38:10
My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.


E S Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 22:34  
Blogger Roy said...

Will all due respect Inspector General in Ordinary, not all people are searching for the truth. Pontius Pilate did not do so. However you cannot say that no atheist is searching for the truth.

Why did Jesus say that blasphemy against him could be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Holy Ghost? When Samuel first heard God's voice he did not know who was calling him. I think some non-believers, followers of other religions, atheists and agnostics, do hear faint echoes of God's voice and some of them respond without knowing who they are responding to. They will know in the next life.

That is my opinion. I could be wrong but I hope that one day I will know the answer to this and similar questions. Even St Paul looked forward to a time when, in his words, " I shall know even as I am known."

1 March 2014 at 22:36  
Blogger Davidssister said...

This is Cath B from Secular Cafe, David's sister, writing to thank Cranmer for posting the announcement about David's death and also those of you have have sent conments

1 March 2014 at 22:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Look, there is no disrespect meant, but think about this for a moment. We are saying goodbye to an atheist. A man who did not believe, a man who did not serve Christ or God, and who would have impeded others trying to do that service. So when Sister Tiberia says “I believe. I trust, that David B sees his Maker face to face and has discovered Who he truly sought in his search for truth here.” it is wrong, plain wrong. Either that or Christianity is wrong and we are all saved, everyone of us, and the church is wasting it’s time." Truly!!!

This is no better than the vicar/priest at burials or cremations, who gives platitudes about and for those that never cared nor knew Him who died for them.

We do a disservice to Him who endured the unimaginable for them on a cross, who spit in His face for dying for them.

Strange beyond belief.

Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 22:41  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Why did Jesus say that blasphemy against him could be forgiven but not blasphemy against the Holy Ghost?"

This is the unforgivable sin you refer to which is to reject the quickening of the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

To reject the only means of salvation is to condemn oneself to an eternity separated from God because to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.

That is my opinion. I could be wrong but I hope that one day I will know the answer to this and similar questions. Even St Paul looked forward to a time when, in his words, " I shall know even as I am known."

St Paul was an apostle and believer whereas David would have been most proud to state he was neither.

Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 22:53  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Roy. One remembers David's arrival here. He came to put us right. In fact, had he read “A man who did not believe, a man who did not serve Christ or God, and who would have impeded others trying to do that service” he would have said, “Yes, that’s it exactly, that is what I am about”

Give the man some credit for that. He had his own agenda, which he wanted to push through come what may, and it was godless. THAT was David’s truth. He was not our brother in Christ.

It takes steely eyed determination to post this, especially as his sister has now arrived, but posted, by God, it will be...

Greetings Cath B. I’m trying to be true to your brother.


1 March 2014 at 22:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The death of a man is sad, but seventy times seven sadder for those who die without hope. There are no happy endings here, and David B would have despised the suggestion that there was. The living can remember the dead, but he did not know God and was not known by God.

There remains nothing but sadness.

carl

1 March 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger Davidssister said...

E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles, thank you for your message. It might be helpful if I clarify a few points.

Firstly, David was not associated with the CofE, though his, and my, infant school was nominally a CofE school. We bothy attended a Baptist Sunday School as children.

You are right, David was at one time involved in Transendental Meditation and lived for around three years in one or other of heir European centres in he 1970s.

I was not involved in the creation of Secular Cafe though I joined in its early stages. David was one of several founder members.


1 March 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

As another visiting friend of David's I really appreciate your appreciation of him! Thank you.

Just a couple of comments (while I'm here) in response to Inspector General in Ordinary and Blofield:

Inspector GiO said:

Either that or Christianity is wrong and we are all saved, everyone of us, and the church is wasting it’s time.

Even if we were all saved, surely that wouldn't mean the church is wasting its time?

And even if we weren't, didn't Jesus say that it was not "those who call me Lord, Lord" who enter the Kingdom of heaven, but "those who do the will of my father"?

I'm a believer no longer, but if I were going to worship a deity again, I'd be more inclined to worship one whose will it was that we should treat each other as David treated others, than that as may people as possible should sign on the right dotted line.

1 March 2014 at 23:03  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 March 2014 at 23:06  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Davidssister said...

"Firstly, David was not associated with the CofE, though his, and my, infant school was nominally a CofE school. We bothy attended a Baptist Sunday School as children." This is indeed what he stated. Nominal.

"You are right, David was at one time involved in Transendental Meditation and lived for around three years in one or other of heir European centres in he 1970s."

I did wonder if this was the 'Cult' that was mentioned.

"I was not involved in the creation of Secular Cafe though I joined in its early stages. David was one of several founder members."

Dear Cath B.

I am truly sorry for your loss however because of our love for him I restate what all here hopefully felt towards him.

"Goodbye, David, thou good and faithful secular-atheist." I truly, deeply, sincerely hope he was NOT at the last breath else what were his visits here all about, the proselyting that he forbid on his own website ? or to hear the words of Cranmer and others and consider his eternal fate?

We can only hope and pray it was the latter."

E S Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 23:11  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I think OIG that I retain a child like faith in the mercy between the stirrup and the ground. No, of course I don't know. None of us know. We only hope in a God whose love is greater than his justice, and who alone knows what is in a man's heart.

1 March 2014 at 23:13  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

To David’s sister and friends, I reiterate I am not here to disrespect his memory, but to ensure it remains in his death what he was about, at least on this site, in life. He deserves that honesty, and having had a few run ins with him, and got to know him as much as you can do on this medium, I make the bold statement that I’m sure he would approve.


1 March 2014 at 23:16  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Sister T. You have displayed a woman’s compassion, charity, and hope for David. Such is the magnificence of womankind.

1 March 2014 at 23:22  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

It is sad that David died. It is even sadder that he died an atheist.
May God have mercy on him and may he rest in peace.

He was steadfast in never acknowledging a glimmer of doubt that he could be wrong about the existence of God.

It is sadder still when you witness the passing of someone you loved deeply who was an atheist.Witnessing dying without
the presence of God is a devastating experience.

1 March 2014 at 23:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack pays his respects to David B's friends and family.

Carl Inspector and Blowers, Jack believes there are non-believers and atheists who make it to Heaven.

If a person, through no fault of their own, does not know about Jesus or turns away from Him because of some events in their life, they are not without hope of salvation. It depends on their reasons and motivations and what they are seeking.

Jesus redeemed us all and if we live selflessly for others and follow God's commandments, implanted in our hearts, then who's to say he can't be saved? Jack understands this belief is a long standing, orthodox and catholic (lower case) one.

Jack does not know about David B's life or his motives for rejecting Jesus and all religions and wanting to turn others away from religion. And Jack would never donate money to an atheist body.

Jack hopes that David was true to God in his life and through no fault on his part denied Jesus and can make it to Heaven. Or that in his last moments he accepted Him into his heart and was saved.

1 March 2014 at 23:27  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

"Proselytizing" is not forbidden at Secular Cafe. The FAQ says:

Are religious people welcome here?

Certainly! And all members are free to put forward reasons why people should accept their beliefs, religious or otherwise. But be forewarned that any beliefs whatsoever may be subject to critical examination. While we believe in extending respect to people, the same does not necessarily apply to their ideas. Religious members have the same privileges as any other member. Proselytizing, however, will be confined to the Smoking Section.


Not sure of the difference between "put[ting] forward reasons why people should accept their beliefs, religious or otherwise" and "proselytizing", but both are allowed, the only restriction on the latter being that you have to put up with the fug :)

David was an intelligent, gentle, and honest man. He "put forward reasons" to me why I should question my beliefs, but did not "proselytise". I learned a great deal by doing so. He did not so much undermine my faith as to lead me to enlarge my idea of God so greatly that I found faith was no longer required.

Not that he would have called it that!

1 March 2014 at 23:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Blowers @ 22:41

None of us, I think, is advocating universalism.

In my brief interactions with David B on my own blog, I found none of the spirit suggested in your penultimate sentence.

Sister T and I are in the tentative territory of C S Lewis' 'De Futlitate':

"There is something holier about the atheism of a Shelley than about the theism of a Paley. That is the lesson of the Book of Job."

1 March 2014 at 23:33  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"I'm a believer no longer, but if I were going to worship a deity again, I'd be more inclined to worship one whose will it was that we should treat each other as David treated others, than that as may people as possible should sign on the right dotted line."

"I'm a believer no longer,( ut do you even remember this?)

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Further on in the same chapter is the verse “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

The only condition wherein someone would have no forgiveness is if he is not among the “whoever believes in Him,” for it is he who “rejects the Son.”

..."but if I were going to worship a deity again, I'd be more inclined to worship one whose will it was that we should treat each other as David treated others, than that as may people as possible should sign on the right dotted line."

But dear lady..He does not NEED your worship to exist or justify Himself, He came to die so that you might have life and have it more abundantly and if you state "we should treat each other as David treated others," and you have, then this will be your reward here, why bother or care about the hereafter"

You say "And even if we weren't, didn't Jesus say that it was not "those who call me Lord, Lord" who enter the Kingdom of heaven, but "those who do the will of my father"?"

John 6:40, “And this is the will of HIM that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The will of God the Father is to BELIEVE on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the SON of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

There is only one way to Heaven and that is through trusting Jesus Christ. Anyone who acknowledges their guilt of sin and comes to God the Father through God the Son for forgiveness will be saved...

Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”


Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 23:35  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Elizabeth Liddle

David was an intelligent, gentle, and honest man. (Indeed he was)

He "put forward reasons" to me why I should question my beliefs, but did not "proselytise". (You visited a site that hardly hid it's mission as secularist?)

I learned a great deal by doing so. (He/It only confirmed and confounded the doubts of what little faith or understanding you had?))

He did not so much undermine my faith as to lead me to enlarge my idea of God so greatly that I found faith was no longer required (He/It gave you what you desired..He/It Won/You Won).

Not that he would have called it that!(INDEED!!!)

Blofeld

1 March 2014 at 23:44  
Blogger Gnostic said...

A sad loss. I will miss his level-headed observations, fairness and opinions. My condolences to his family and friends.

1 March 2014 at 23:45  
Blogger Nick said...

Sorry to hear of his passing, but it would be utter hypocrisy and a betrayal of my saviour for me to pay tribute to David B's comments on this blog.

I do hope he had a change of heart in his last days.

1 March 2014 at 23:48  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Extrasensory Blofield wrote:

But dear lady..He does not NEED your worship to exist or justify Himself, He came to die so that you might have life and have it more abundantly and if you state "we should treat each other as David treated others," and you have, then this will be your reward here, why bother or care about the hereafter"

I'm not saying He does NEED my worship - if the deity you describe exists, then I'm sure He doesn't NEED my worship - but that was not my point. My point is that if there exists a deity who states as His greatest commandment that we love one another, and that whatever we do to the least of His brothers we do for Him, then there are many who who do not call that deity "Lord, Lord" who nonetheless do His will. And they will be selected to sit on His right hand, if it turns out there is a right hand on which to sit.

And if there isn't, well, kindness and generosity never went amiss.

1 March 2014 at 23:51  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

There you have it. David turned Elizabeth Liddell away from God.

Now, this mawkish thread will be so much dust in the weeks to come, but THAT is the David this man will remember.

There is a song which includes the lines “I know there is no heaven, but I pray there is no hell”. Quite apt for our man, don’t you think...



1 March 2014 at 23:53  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Blofield wrote:

He/It only confirmed and confounded the doubts of what little faith or understanding you had?

Well, no. I mean, I realise that for someone who does believe fervently in God, it might seem like a safe assumption that anyone who comes to question that belief must have had "little faith or understanding" in the first place.

But it's a rather circular argument. And I don't think it fits the facts in my case, nor in the case of many.

1 March 2014 at 23:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Several times when David shared with us news of his condition and his battles I would post a short get-well prayer in Hebrew. Being true to his convictions, and to the credit of his consistency, if not obtuseness, he never acknowledged such stuff. I thought we would be playing this game for years to come; I'm saddened that we won't.

I know David would roll his eyes, shake his head and chuckle as I express my sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to his bereaved family and friends with a prayer that the Heavens may comfort them at this time of sorrow. Nevertheless :

מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם תְּנֻחָמו

1 March 2014 at 23:58  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

No, David did not "turn me away from God" (and the name is Liddle :))

What he did was to understand a question I had and point me to a way of working out an answer. It is a very rare gift, to respond to a question not by telling the questioner what the answer is, but how to set about finding it.

2 March 2014 at 00:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Elizabeth, may Happy Jack ask about the question David helped you set about finding an answer too?

2 March 2014 at 00:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

and Jack meant to ask you Elizabeth, what does this mean: "He did not so much undermine my faith as to lead me to enlarge my idea of God so greatly that I found faith was no longer required."

2 March 2014 at 00:09  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Elizabeth Liddle you were stumbling, and he helped you to your feet. But when got home, you noticed your purse was missing. Now that would be David at his best...

2 March 2014 at 00:10  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Elizabeth Liddle said...
" No, David did not "turn me away from God" (and the name is Liddle :))

What he did was to understand a question I had and point me to a way of working out an answer. It is a very rare gift, to respond to a question not by telling the questioner what the answer is, but how to set about finding it.

" Dear Lady. How very Maharishi Mahesh Yogi-ish..Perhaps he never quite got the stale YOGihurt out of his system?

You state this from a seeker after truth that spent 3 YEARS with TM thinking he could fly. y the power of the flying sutra..No flying spaghetti monsters even but he himself?? FGS!!!

He spent years telling us about this Non God yet we here are hardly Benny Hinn Blag it and Grab it followers nor Toronto Blessings types, hence why his Secularist/Atheist 'message' fell on deaf ears or stony ground.

His Grace is hardly Oral Roberts now is he??

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 00:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Elisabeth

"My point is that if there exists a deity who states as His greatest commandment that we love one another, and that whatever we do to the least of His brothers we do for Him, then there are many who who do not call that deity "Lord, Lord" who nonetheless do His will. And they will be selected to sit on His right hand, if it turns out there is a right hand on which to sit."

But it isn't the greatest, is it?

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.' THIS IS THE GREATEST AND THE FIRST COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)

Your faith that was very poor and feeble? Was it Roman Catholic by any chance.

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 00:24  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Happy Jack:

Yes, certainly. It was about how to account for moral responsibility in a world in which mind was entirely emergent from matter. He wrote, in the manner in which those who knew him will recognise:



Hey, Febble
[my then-and-sometimes-still-internet-username], just on the off chance that I've had a moment of blinding insight, rather than saying something silly on top of several glasses of wine...

It seems to me that the root of your quandary is trying to make sense of morality in a determistic universe, failing, and hence finding yourself obliged to invoke some sort of god - not the really silly sort of conceptions of god we so often see, but some sort of god - to give a reality to morality.

Have you, as a matter of fact, considered the problems (which Dennett addresses) of making sense of morality in an indeterministic universe?

David B

2 March 2014 at 00:27  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Elizabeth Liddle, in case you don’t get it, he robbed you of the most precious thing you had - a belief in God the creator, and you didn’t even realise it. That’s how good he was.

Now, how about an epitaph for the man who came onto this site, uninvited it must be said, to spread his word in, ironically, a most Christ like fashion...

“Sleeping tight in hell tonight”

Once again, he would have approved....


2 March 2014 at 00:30  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Explorer said

""There is something holier about the atheism of a Shelley than about the theism of a Paley. That is the lesson of the Book of Job.""

The Lesson from the Book of Job;

Job was a BELIEVER; he knew that God was on the throne and in total control, although he had no way of knowing why so many terrible tragedies were occurring in his life.

Job never lost his faith in God, even under the most heartbreaking circumstances that tested him to his core.

The book of Job gives us a glimpse behind the veil that separates earthly life from the heavenly.

Perhaps the greatest lesson we learn from the book of Job is that God does not have to answer to anyone for what He does or does not do.

Job’s experience teaches us that we may never know the specific reason for suffering, but we must trust in our sovereign, holy, righteous God. His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30).

Our responsibility to God as BELIEVERS is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not.

When we do, we will find God in the midst of our trials—possibly even because of our trials. We will see more clearly the magnificence of our God, and we will say, with Job, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).

This is something completely foreign to David B and other atheistic secularists, which is sad but the truth!!!.
Ernsty

2 March 2014 at 00:40  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

This 'Cyber' Shiva is developing into quite a bunfight. I bet David B would be relishing the discussion, though...

2 March 2014 at 00:46  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Blofield:

Elisabeth

"My point is that if there exists a deity who states as His greatest commandment that we love one another, and that whatever we do to the least of His brothers we do for Him, then there are many who who do not call that deity "Lord, Lord" who nonetheless do His will. And they will be selected to sit on His right hand, if it turns out there is a right hand on which to sit."

But it isn't the greatest, is it?

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.' THIS IS THE GREATEST AND THE FIRST COMMANDMENT. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)


My emphasis.

Also, note John 13:34.

Your faith that was very poor and feeble? Was it Roman Catholic by any chance.

Blofeld


Heh. Oddly enough, my first profound religious experience was near Tenby, David's home town, on Caldy Island, lying in the sun in the heather near the Cistercian abbey, listening to the bees, the monks chanting and the bell ringing. I was about five (not more). But I was raised in the CoE, and sang in my local church choir (coconut matins every Sunday) until I went to Quaker boarding school at aged 11. I tried to be confirmed at 15, but my parents forbade it, and in fact I joined Quakers at 18. However, once I had gone to college (and was once again singing in a church choir, this time Sung Communion every Sunday) I joined confirmation classes once again, and made it as far as the chrism this time. It was probably those Caldy bells calling - and a few years later, I met my husband, a catholic, and we had a catholic wedding. A year later I joined the catholic church.

And there I stayed for many decades. I don't think my faith was "poor and feeble". I used run the music, teach Sunday School, and I even wrote a book about heaven for children.

2 March 2014 at 00:47  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Well, here we are. What started out as a book of condolence, which would have been taken to the skip in a few weeks time, Lady Diana style, has turned out to be an interesting testament to David B. More than he deserves (...don’t worry, your man would be laughing now...). And what’s more, worth keeping.

Jolly good show, all who took part...

What !


2 March 2014 at 00:48  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Igor

"@1 March 2014 22:16" Ernst agreed with your reasoned argument, then you have to go way overboard.

Ernst is considering reporting you to Vincent Cardinal Nichols for a jolly good biffing behind Westminster Cathedral..and he bloody well will!!


Must the horses start whinnying again??

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 00:50  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Jack wrote:

and Jack meant to ask you Elizabeth, what does this mean: "He did not so much undermine my faith as to lead me to enlarge my idea of God so greatly that I found faith was no longer required."

I found a way of thinking about the world that had as much goodness and wonder about it as I had valued in my faith, but did not depend on the separateness of soul and body.

2 March 2014 at 00:55  
Blogger Corrigan said...

This 'Cyber' Shiva is developing into quite a bunfight. I bet David B would be relishing the discussion, though...

Yes. And I haven't even stuck my oar in yet.

2 March 2014 at 01:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Elizabeth

"And there I stayed for many decades. I don't think my faith was "poor and feeble". I used run the music, teach Sunday School, and I even wrote a book about heaven for children."

He did not so much undermine my faith as to lead me to enlarge my idea of God so greatly that I found faith was no longer required (He/It gave you what you desired..He/It Won/You Won). THIS IS CALLED FEEBLE AND POOR OUTWARD WORKS FAITH!!!

There are indeed hypocrites in the faith but the term comes to us via the Latin hypocrisies meaning “play-acting, pretense.”

Jesus never called His disciples hypocrites. That name was given only to misguided religious zealots.

Rather, He called His own “followers,” “babes,” “sheep,” and His “church.” In addition, there is a warning in the New Testament about the sin of hypocrisy (1 Peter 2:1), which Peter calls “insincerity.”

Also, two blatant examples of hypocrisy are recorded in the church.

In Acts 5:1-10, two disciples are exposed for pretending to be more generous than they were. The consequence was severe.

And, of all people, Peter is charged with leading a group of hypocrites in their treatment of Gentile believers (Galatians 2:13).

We may draw at least two conclusions from the word of Christ.

First, hypocrites do exist among 'professing' Christians. They were present in the beginning, and, according to Jesus’ parable of the tares and wheat, they will certainly exist until the end of the age (Matthew 13:18-30).

In addition, if even an apostle (Whom some say was an infallible Pope) may be guilty of hypocrisy, there is no reason to believe “ordinary” Christians will be free from it.

We must always be on our guard that we do not fall into the very same temptations (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 01:04  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

Where you stick your oar is entirely your business...

Off to bed now, so over to the night shift posters.

2 March 2014 at 01:07  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Still up, David? Gosh, there must be another Israeli outrage that needs justifying. Carry on.

2 March 2014 at 01:18  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Elizabeth, Happy Jack says what on earth made you arrive at the point where you were asking "how to account for moral responsibility in a world in which mind was entirely emergent from matter"?

Jack doesn't know about all that stuff about deterministic and indeterministic universes and fancy philosophers. There is no evidence that Jack is aware of about how the human 'mind' developed at all. And morality is not something arising out of matter - it pre-exists matter.

Why didn't you ask your Catholic priest instead of visiting a secularist and anti-theistic site?

And how did you come to conclude there was a "separateness of soul and body"? These are not Christian conceptions at all. The soul and the body are integrated from a Christian perspective, there is no separateness. The soul, the Divine, unimpaired by sin, integrates the human mind and body and enables it to live in harmony with God's intention for us.

Jack asks respectfully are you an atheist or a confused theist?

2 March 2014 at 01:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This 'Cyber' Shiva is developing into quite a bunfight.

For the benefit of our readers, a shiva is a seven-day period of mourning in Judaism when family and friends visit the mourner in his house. Typically the mood is almost festive, with food and drink, in some ways similar to the Irish wake.

2 March 2014 at 01:24  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

The Irish wake Avi ? Well for sure, that means a good keen over the departed...

2 March 2014 at 01:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi:"Being true to his convictions, and to the credit of his consistency, if not obtuseness, he never acknowledged such stuff."

I suppose it might seem ungracious not to acknowledge it but I would be the same I think. I'd find it hard to separate out in words the underlying wishes from the belief and the passing on of the belief. Perhaps he felt the same.

2 March 2014 at 01:55  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Sad news
"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
Bertrand Russell

2 March 2014 at 01:56  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

May I add my condolences to David's friends and family, and my hopes that the bright Angels came out to meet him, and guide him home, surprised or not. Having seen the other side and come back I cannot do other with any scrap of integrity; that is not meant disputatiously.

Good to see Ernst on fire, and on all cylinders plus tonight. You seem to have the energy of four men mentally today Sir!!

All the best and goodnight.

2 March 2014 at 01:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, the one Irish wake I attended in Toronto many, many years ago was by second generation immigrants and there wasn't much keening happening, with the bereaved still in shock, I suppose. Mind you, no body present, just as at a shivah, Ewing perhaps to our bylaws.

Danjo, I didn't think it ungracious at all. As I said, it would have been inconsistent of David to do so. And it would have been inconsistent of me to exempt him.

2 March 2014 at 02:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Happy Jack

David B died in his sin. There is no more hope for him, and nothing that can be done for him. No prayer. No supplication. No intercession. He is sentient right at this moment. Aware. He comprehends the awful truth.

There is nothing in this but sorrow.

carl

2 March 2014 at 02:27  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Ha...as for Ernstie firing away having the energy of four men today...well it is amazing what a swim in the deep end will do,followed
by an axyphilia moment with a bath robe cord to rejuvenate the system
LOL...silly old bugger

2 March 2014 at 02:35  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack does not know how to respond. Jack is not God but accepts that dreadful outcome is a distinct possibility. But Jack is not convinced that an absence of faith means automatic damnation. Harming the faith of others and stubbornly resisting the Holy Spirit is a whole other matter.

Jack accepts that once dead there is no more to be said or done for a soul as their eternal destination is fixed as they draw their last breath.

2 March 2014 at 02:50  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, ever consider moonlighting as a writer of condolence lines for Carlton Cards?

2 March 2014 at 02:52  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

To lighten the mood I will explain my above response to old Ernst's latest literary contribution to a singed wing'd avian's blog.

Ernst and Cressie were both patients in a Mental Hospital.

One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool Ernst suddenly jumped into the deep end.

He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Cressie promptly jumped in and saved him. She swam to the bottom and pulled old Ernst out.

When the head nurse became aware of Cressie's heroic act, she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Cressie the news she said;

" I have good news and bad news. The good news is you are being discharged since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of another patient. I have concluded your heroic act displayed sound mindedness.

The bad news is Ernst the patient you saved, hung himself with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am so sorry ; he is dead.

Cressie replied,

"He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon did you say I could go home, Nursie!"

2 March 2014 at 03:22  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

No, Avi. Because I have no condolences to offer. Because there are no condolences to offer. People here chase after vain hopes. The truth stares them in the face and they prefer to look away.

This is dreadful. There is nothing more dreadful than to die in unbelief.

carl

2 March 2014 at 04:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi:"Carl, ever consider moonlighting as a writer of condolence lines for Carlton Cards?"

Lol. Thank you, I needed something like that. Perhaps it is a cultural thing but I cannot believe anyone would write that on a tribute page, with close relatives attending The man must be an off-worlder or something. Honestly, we can't be of the same species surely.

2 March 2014 at 06:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I deny mawkishness.

David looked after the mentally disabled. Among points he made I remember:

1. The scar on his arm where he was bitten.

2. Those few with no evident moral awareness.

3. How a brain-damaged baby reflected the love of God.

These re not mawkish issues.

2 March 2014 at 07:25  
Blogger Integrity said...

Your grace,
A very thoughtful tribute. It always troubles me when a person dies and they do not know God. It causes me to double my efforts to bring truth to the lost.

2 March 2014 at 07:35  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Inspector

"Elizabeth Liddle you were stumbling, and he helped you to your feet. But when got home, you noticed your purse was missing. Now that would be David at his best..."

I did not expect a good laugh reading these entries.

Inspector someone like you is needed at everyone's funeral!

Phil

2 March 2014 at 07:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Universalism (that all will be eventually saved) is unbiblical. No one on this thread has suggested it.

Exclusivism and inclusivism both have a sound biblical basis: the difference is one of emphasis.

I'm not sure that this is the time and place, but will consider that difference if others so wish.

2 March 2014 at 07:38  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

I don't think that any atheist who spends time posting here is not actually deep down checking out their arguments and deep down searching or trying to prove to themselves that their worldview is indeed correct.

I like CS Lewis' example that life is like country roads in Wales. Each day you have two turns, one leads away from God and one leads towards God. When you are young and if you are part of a Church you are helped to take the right road. If not you soon find that you are a long way from the right way to God. You cannot find the way to God across country so to speak. The only way is to go back to the start and start again. That means give up on the roads you have traveled and what you believed and go back to the very start and take new roads seeking God at every turn. For the old that have traveled many roads away from God it can be a big ask because of the humbling of self that is required to start over.

Whether David's heart changed (He rejected the road in his life that lead away from God) and he desired God at the end we will not know until Christ returns.

Phil

2 March 2014 at 07:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I once saw a BBC discussion programme in which the Christian viewpoint was represented (solely) by Shelby Spong.

Any seeker after truth who thought Spong thus represented Christianity might be justified in remaining sceptical.

2 March 2014 at 08:36  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Very sad Your Grace.

David was a blind follower of Dennett. Unfortunately it seems that his belief in the power of intellectualism stopped him from following his beliefs to their natural conclusion; the pointlessness of (his) life. Had he done so then his obvious humanity may have helped him reject such nihilism and seek God instead. I hope, in the end, that he did.

2 March 2014 at 08:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

William:"Unfortunately it seems that his belief in the power of intellectualism stopped him from following his beliefs to their natural conclusion; the pointlessness of (his) life."

I doubt it was pointless to him while he lived it, nor to those around him to whose lives he made a difference. I expect it was a life worth living, like most people's I daresay.

2 March 2014 at 09:02  
Blogger The Explorer said...

The point of his life was caring for those rejected by society.

2 March 2014 at 09:10  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Phil @ 7.58

I remember reading that example of C. S. Lewis - a priest quoted it once and then added another analogy. That this life is like a very dangerous jungle, full of false trails and false starts. That the Church has managed to blaze one trail through the jungle and this is undoubtedly the safest route. But that we have never denied that those who attempt to blaze their own trail may through God's mercy find their own way to him. But, he said, if you know of one clear road, would you seriously then advise people to go via the tigers and the snake pits if there was an alternative?

2 March 2014 at 09:18  
Blogger William Lewis said...

"I doubt it was pointless to him while he lived it"

Yes, unfortunately. That was my point.

"The point of his life was caring for those rejected by society."

And, apparently, blocking out the light.

2 March 2014 at 09:19  
Blogger The Explorer said...

William:

Apparently. Gregory Boyd makes the point that some of the bitterest atheists he has known were those most moved by suffering.

One can turn it round. Not why does a loving God allow suffering; but why, given the obvious evidence of suffering, believe in a loving God?

Dennett, undoubtedly. But also the Euthyphro dilemma. David was firmly caught on its horns.

2 March 2014 at 09:29  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I think John Donne captures my thoughts and feelings...

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee."

2 March 2014 at 09:37  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Jack wrote:

Jack doesn't know about all that stuff about deterministic and indeterministic universes and fancy philosophers. There is no evidence that Jack is aware of about how the human 'mind' developed at all. And morality is not something arising out of matter - it pre-exists matter.

Well, I don't agree.


Why didn't you ask your Catholic priest instead of visiting a secularist and anti-theistic site?


You have no idea who I asked. More to the point, I wasn't seeking an argument-from-authority but an argument that made sense.


And how did you come to conclude there was a "separateness of soul and body"? These are not Christian conceptions at all. The soul and the body are integrated from a Christian perspective, there is no separateness. The soul, the Divine, unimpaired by sin, integrates the human mind and body and enables it to live in harmony with God's intention for us.


This doesn't make sense to me. I find a lot of religious "answers" consist of self-contradictory statements wrapped up to look like something deep and mysterious. The Trinity is one (although it contains a truth I still value). Insisting on monism while at the same time asserting a life after death is another.


Jack asks respectfully are you an atheist or a confused theist?


I'm an atheist who discovered (thanks to David B) a way of thinking about the world that made a lot more sense than most versions of theism, lacked none of its humanity or wonder, and did not require believing six impossible things before breakfast.

2 March 2014 at 09:39  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

The Explorer wrote:

But also the Euthyphro dilemma. David was firmly caught on its horns

The Euthyphro dilemma never seemed much of a dilemma to me. We seek God because he is good, not the other way round.

And applying Occam's razor then gives us plain seeking good.

David wasn't caught on its horns - he got the right horn, and sharpened it.

2 March 2014 at 09:42  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth @ 09:39

Can you explain what you understand by 'monism'?

2 March 2014 at 09:44  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Unexpected guest. Off blog for a while.

2 March 2014 at 09:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Your position is your own and is debatable to the say least, Carl, but leaving that aside I wasn't making a religio-philosophical point. Just that I doubt that you would have taken the opportunity for a teaching moment, in such a personal way, at a colleague's funeral with the mourners in the room. For example.

2 March 2014 at 10:04  
Blogger DMB from Secular Café said...

Well, look what happened! I went to bed and awoke to raging argument. I think David might have been delighted. He loved a good scrap, but always remained gentle at heart.

Perhaps some people might care to visit Secular Café and carry on. We chose the name carefully. It isn't Atheist Café, although most of our members are atheists. I hope at least that David managed to get across the difference between atheism and secularism.

I would say that the purpose of the Council of Ex-Muslims is to support secularism rather than atheism. And I am a life-member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). One of our goals is to support human rights, and that includes the rights of religious people suffering persecution for their religion (whatever it might be).

2 March 2014 at 10:20  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

The Explorer wrote:

Can you explain what you understand by 'monism'?

Yes. I was using it to denote the idea that who we (the person we are conscious of being; the agent who is responsible for our moral acts) emerges from our physical composition and has no existence apart from that physical composition, and therefore does not continue after physical decomposition!

As distinguished, from, say, Cartesian dualism.

2 March 2014 at 10:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth:

Thank you.

Pantheistic monism would allow for an afterlife of a sort. Naturalistic monism, of course, would not. Christianity would reject both versions.

Euthyphro. David argued this with me as a conclusive case against God. (Don't ask me to identify the particular thread.)

You say David sharpened Horn 2. (I agree.) But Horn 2 says that good exists independently of God. That's an issue if you accept, like Socrates, the existence of God.

But if God does not exist, then the opinion of what's good becomes arbitrary, and you haven't escaped Horn 1.

This is as good as arguing with David himself!

2 March 2014 at 10:59  
Blogger IanCad said...

Avi @ 02:52

Very funny.
I'm sure David B would have appreciated that.

2 March 2014 at 11:01  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Does the Secular Café serve hobnobs?

2 March 2014 at 11:22  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I was most surprised to to look in this morning and take in, not only notice of the death of *David B but the generosity of *Cranmer for making space to mark his passing.

*Gentlemen, I take my hat off to both of you.

2 March 2014 at 11:32  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

The Explorer wrote:

Pantheistic monism would allow for an afterlife of a sort. Naturalistic monism, of course, would not. Christianity would reject both versions.

Can you explain how you understand "pantheistic monism" and how it would allow for "an afterlife of a sort"? And how it differs from "naturalistic monism"? And I agree that traditional Christianity would reject both.

Euthyphro. David argued this with me as a conclusive case against God. (Don't ask me to identify the particular thread.)

You say David sharpened Horn 2. (I agree.) But Horn 2 says that good exists independently of God. That's an issue if you accept, like Socrates, the existence of God.

But if God does not exist, then the opinion of what's good becomes arbitrary, and you haven't escaped Horn 1.


Well, I don't think it does become "arbitrary" - depending on what you mean by "arbitrary". I think it's perfectly possible to derive a self-consistent and coherent moral philosophy starting from secular premises, as many philosophers have done, based on collective best-interest. And that that approach is actually less arbitrary, than, say, adopting a specific set of commands alleged to emanate from some deity.

This is as good as arguing with David himself!

I couldn't ask for a better tribute to David!

2 March 2014 at 11:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth.

Certainly. Pantheistic monism sees no distinction between God and the Universe. Escape the cycle of existence by absorption into the One. (Afterlife of a sort).

Scientific/naturalistic monism sees all reality as limited to the material world. Once you die, that's it.

By "arbitrary" I mean subjective not objective. Re "collective best interest." What if that involved genocide of a minority within the community?

Re tribute to David. Since he visited my blog, I promised him I would visit Secular Café. I did enrol last month. Busy with a variety of stuff, but will be along again in due course for a more interactive visit.

Speaking of visitors, mine's just back from a walk. Must go.

Regards to you.

2 March 2014 at 11:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ms Little, I get the impression that you are settling down on this site. Good. Have one of Mrs Proudie's wonderful hobnobs and when you are ready for stronger stuff, I'll share my single malt and schmaltz herring with raw onion on crackers with you. No better way to keep David's memory alive here than to carry on the secular/atheist argument and challenge us theists into better understanding and formulating our own faiths and positions. Not that I'm trying to tug at your heartstrings or anything like that. That would be manipulative.

2 March 2014 at 11:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Erratum: Stupid device. It changed Liddle to Little.

2 March 2014 at 12:01  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

The Explorer said:

Certainly. Pantheistic monism sees no distinction between God and the Universe. Escape the cycle of existence by absorption into the One. (Afterlife of a sort).

Scientific/naturalistic monism sees all reality as limited to the material world. Once you die, that's it.


I'm not convinced those don't boil down to the same thing :) Or rather, I think the second is an overly restricted view of "scientific/naturalistic monism" (I know of no scientist who would deny the reality of abstractions such as patterns, or mind, or justice - scientists after all deal with models - and the first is a way of thinking about the relationship between ourselves and the rest of the universe of which we are a part.


By "arbitrary" I mean subjective not objective. Re "collective best interest." What if that involved genocide of a minority within the community?


"Subjective" and "objective" are vulnerable to exactly the same definitional problems. Regarding your question - I didn't say "what is in the best interests of the majority" - I was referring, rather (apologies for not being clearer) to the idea that the just view is the one that would be held by an unbiased judge (unbiased by their own self-interest). There are a whole lot of related concepts of course, some even derived mathematically from game-theory. But I'd also throw the question back at you - what makes a theism-derived moral philosophy immune to such a prescription? The bible, for instance, is full of apparent Divine commands to genocide. I'm not saying this to denigrate theism, simply to point out that even those who nominally derive their morality from belief in a deity apply principles of secular morality to their evaluation of what counts as a divine command.

Re tribute to David. Since he visited my blog, I promised him I would visit Secular Café. I did enrol last month. Busy with a variety of stuff, but will be along again in due course for a more interactive visit.

Speaking of visitors, mine's just back from a walk. Must go.

Regards to you.


And to you. I'm not all that regular a poster at Secular Cafe, but I think you might enjoy it. They are good people.

2 March 2014 at 12:12  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Avi wrote:

Ms Little,

No worries, I've had worse auto-correct disasters than that!

I get the impression that you are settling down on this site. Good. Have one of Mrs Proudie's wonderful hobnobs and when you are ready for stronger stuff, I'll share my single malt and schmaltz herring with raw onion on crackers with you. No better way to keep David's memory alive here than to carry on the secular/atheist argument and challenge us theists into better understanding and formulating our own faiths and positions. Not that I'm trying to tug at your heartstrings or anything like that. That would be manipulative.

Heh. I'm glad to be here, and never turn down a hobnob, nor indeed a single malt (especially an Islay one). I might skip the herring though :)

And any theist blogger with the generosity to post a tribute to David B, complete with donation link to CEMB, is OK with me.

Nice to meet you all!

2 March 2014 at 12:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Elizabeth: "I'm not saying this to denigrate theism, simply to point out that even those who nominally derive their morality from belief in a deity apply principles of secular morality to their evaluation of what counts as a divine command."

Ah but most theists around here would say that a knowledge of right and wrong was put inside us all by their god, in a natural law stylee, so they cover all bases for themselves. Of course, by doing so they acknowledge that our species has some sort of shared basis for right and wrong in our commonly recognised reality and hence it is not arbitrary, at least in the sense of 'anything goes' anyway. We can see this in assessments of the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, or the destruction of Jericho with all its men, women, children, and animals (other than the spies). Most theists are uncomfortable with these stories, even while acknowledging their absolute submission to their god.

2 March 2014 at 12:53  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I might skip the herring, though. Oh, well, more for Carl Jacobs then, who can't get enough of it ...but only as a reward for some adjustments to his etiquette on condolences. He is an American, you understand.

2 March 2014 at 12:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Most theists are uncomfortable with these stories, even while acknowledging their absolute submission to their god.

Not necessarily, Danjo. Most theists, assuming they know their stuff, can make a distinction between descriptive and prescriptive parts in scripture and recognize differences between specific, exceptional events and commands we find in history and the ethical laws we are bound to.

2 March 2014 at 13:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth:

I'd define objective as 'that which exists independently of my opinion about it'.

Don't want to divert this thread away from its commemoration of David, but lots of issues to consider on future threads.

2 March 2014 at 13:24  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

I think that arguing about an issue that was dear to him is an entirely appropriate way of commemorating David :)

For a start, I wouldn't be taking the stance I am taking if it hadn't been for him.

2 March 2014 at 13:33  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0:

David often raised the genocide issue. A difficult one: as their death toll is for Marxists.

1. Element of Eastern hyperbole.

2. To keep the separate from Semitic paganism.

3. Time/place specific and superseded by New Covenant.

Abraham incident not that problematic. God making the point He doesn't do child sacrifice.

2 March 2014 at 13:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

Your position is your own and is debatable to the say least, Carl, but leaving that aside I wasn't making a religio-philosophical point. Just that I doubt that you would have taken the opportunity for a teaching moment, in such a personal way, at a colleague's funeral with the mourners in the room. For example.

Except this isn't a funeral. It's a weblog. And it ceased to be a tribute thread long ago. Good grief. Did you read Blofeld's initial posts? Did you comprehend what he was saying? And I was not writing to the mourners. The teaching moment was for my fellow believers who said:

One never far from the Kingdom. And perhaps closer than he knew.

I think some non-believers, followers of other religions, atheists and agnostics, do hear faint echoes of God's voice and some of them respond without knowing who they are responding to. They will know in the next life.

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, Amen.

Jack believes there are non-believers and atheists who make it to Heaven

Christians will say "Christ is the only way." Until someone whom we know dies in unbelief, and then we start looking for another route. We start offering false hope so we don't have to think about the alternative. But that alternate route isn't rooted in the Cross. It isn't rooted in the faith the absence of which we otherwise say makes it impossible to please God. It's rooted in the very things we deny will ever allow a man to stand justified. "He was a good man. He had integrity. He cared about justice." We despise the very One we say we worship when we do these things. We declare that there is no reason that He should have had to drink the cup set before Him. It is a denial of the very Gospel we say we proclaim.

And now on this tribute thread and in honor of David B's memory we shall have a very civilized debate about the existence of God. Surely, let us collect our thoughts and argue the subject as if we were debating the text of Tolkien - as if these issues did not possess momentus weight. As if what we believe makes no difference whatsoever. As if eternal destinies don't hang in the balance. Do we Christians believe these things or not? Are we willing to defend all the implications of the Faith and stand up on them even when it is hard to do so?

A man is dead, and that man denied the living God who made him. The gravity of that reality is so great, it should mortify us with fear and trembling. We should ponder the consequences with unblinking eyes. For those consequences are real - the most real thing a man will ever experience. We do men no favors when we hide this from them; when we dissemble about other ways to God.

Because there aren't any other ways.

carl

2 March 2014 at 13:35  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Carl:

"Because there aren't any other ways."

Unless you are, in fact wrong.

2 March 2014 at 13:58  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, except Christ can work within us and we can accept His call without knowing it comes from Him. Jack does believe it is possible for a person to be prompted by the Holy Spirit to live a life of love without intellectually understanding or accepting faith.

Was David B one such fellow? Jack does not know but, in truth, is fearful for his soul given the amount of time and energy he devoted to denying God's existence and influencing others to do so.

Then there is always the chance the Holy Spirit was working overtime in his last moments and in the end he may have accepted Christ.

You are a Calvinist and your views are shaped by the idea we are born totally depraved and completely engulfed in sin. Jack believes we are born wounded and prone to sin but within us all lies an echo of goodness waiting to be awoken and the Holy Spirit draws us to God.

2 March 2014 at 14:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, I'm familiar with your religious convictions. I could reply that the comforting of mourners is a religious commandment whereas expressing one's convictions is not; that you have no basis to judge another man's life and fate; that David did not violate the Noahide laws and practiced kindness and charity which gives him a seat at the table as well; and that you are committing a grave sin by second-guessing the mind and actions of God. But I won't, because these are particular religious arguments which would be meaningless to you as yours are to me.

This is a commemorative post, as established by the tone and content by His Grace. It serves as a modern record and memorial to be read by friends and relatives of David, some of them children. In this sense, there is very little difference between what one can say tastefully at a funeral and a blog entry such as this. The medium does not chuck normative social expectations to find custom, courtesy and hopefully sensitivity and kindness.

Yes, I singled you out, because you usually represent the sober, ethical, down-to-earth and mainstream view on this forum one can look up to. Remember, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? But if this is going to be your attitude, remind me not to invite you to my funeral.

2 March 2014 at 14:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

I am well aware of the need to respect the moment of a funeral. There is a time and a place for retrospection. I taught my children that the side of a coffin is no place to be exegeting Romans 8:28. But neither is it a place to be offering false comfort - such as was offered by Christians on this thread. Truth places a necessary limitations on what may be said. I can say "I'm sorry for your loss" and "It must really hurt." I can focus on their temporal loss and suffering. What I cannot do is what so many Christians chose to do on this thread - offer something of eternal hope. Comfort that is a lie is ultimately no comfort at all. If I could have addressed the matter privately, I would have done so. But the medium does not allow for it.

But there is more to it than that. You say this thread is a record and a memorial. If this thread is a permanent record as you say, then its existence will long post-date the funeral. People will read it a week or a month from now. It is not just a transient moment in time surrounded by raw emotions. In which case, the record must contain the rejection of the false comforts offered. I could not let the lie stand unchallenged, and certainly not a lie of that magnitude.

I understand that you don't believe these things. I did not write them for you. I wrote them for those who share my Faith so that they may see they have committed a grevious error. There is no such thing as faith unawares. There is no such man who rejects God and yet believes in Him. There is no goodness in man such that God will accept him on his own merits. These are all axiomatic things for a Christian, and many of the posts on this thread denied them outright.

I could not let that stand unchallenged. I simply could not.

carl

2 March 2014 at 15:08  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

I find it interesting that people can simply decide that a certain set of things are true, even when they neither make internal sense nor have external validation.

I don't expect David's friends and relatives will be offended that some people think David has gone to hell. They simply don't think it's true, and share David's view that such ideas are foolish and sometimes dangerous.

2 March 2014 at 15:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl:

Since you and I are both Protestants, I agree with most of what you have to say. In this instance, I differ.

Significantly, the Exclusivist/Inclusivist divide is not along Catholic/Protestant lines. In this instance you and the Inspector are on one side, Sister T and I on the other.

Mine is not a panicked response to something I had not thought about before. I've been here many times: when someone I care about has died in a state of unbelief.

If I understand it properly, five-point Calvinism (Exclusivism at its purest) would say this.

If David B had been one of the Elect, he would have found God before he died. If he didn't, then he was not one of the Elect.

This is not the tragedy of a man who made the wrong choice. This is the tragedy of a man who never had the choice in the first place. The decision that he would not be saved was made on his behalf before he was even born.

I'm not going to cite all the texts on either side of the argument, but Inclusivism says that you are saved through Christ. Not through personal integrity, or goodness, or concern for justice. The question is whether or not you can belong to Christ, or have responded to Christ, without fully knowing it.

Happy Jack put it very clearly in his first paragraph above, and I have nothing to add to his argument.

2 March 2014 at 15:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...

There is a website that has consigned Billy Graham, C S Lewis and John Wesley to Hell - confident that there are there now repenting their heresy - for saying that although we may trust to Christ for our salvation, we do not actually know the fate of all the unevangelised (as a blanket term) and must leave this matter to the judgement of God.

2 March 2014 at 15:52  
Blogger JobarJr said...

Your grace, I am one of David's friends, and one of the co-founders of the Secular Cafe with him.

Though I never got to meet him in person, being an ocean apart from him, I knew him for more than a decade via internet; and always found him to be a gentleman and a scholar, full of mercy, and calm wisdom.

I agree with my friend DMB that he would have been delighted with this conversation. The realization of the sharp disjunct between salvation-by-faith and salvation-by-works, which his death points up, is just the sort of thing he would have wanted for a tribute.

I echo the invitation to the Secular Cafe made by others. We're an international community, and even though most of our regulars are unbelievers, many of us enjoy approaching the deepest philosophical subjects by way of religious ideas. For instance, I call myself an atheist/pantheist, and have done so for longer than the internet has existed. We welcome contributions from thoughtful and sincere believers- even though we may sincerely disagree with their beliefs!

2 March 2014 at 15:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

And I don't think one can argue that any one of those three was unconcerned about evangelism.

2 March 2014 at 15:54  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, I understand your need to preach to your (potential) flock here. It's an integral part of your mission...as it's mine to assure any wandering Jews here that we hold by different ideas and doctrines.

Two points can e made against your argument. The first is one which others, like Happy Jack and Explorer made, namely that you did not know David personally and were not there in his last days to know whether he had a change of mind. I won't get into Explorer's predestination argument, as it's a theological one which I don't know much about, although it sounds reasonable and logical to me.

The second point is that regardless of the above, or even Ms Liddle's assurances that Dave's friends and relatives would not be offended, it's simply bad form to make such highly personal judgments in order to make a point on such a post given its stated purpose and its evident readership. If I were you and couldn't contain my need to illustrate a lesson, I would have admitted to not knowing for certain David's judgment and would have added the theological warning as a distinct item. Unless you are getting final judgment and sentencing reports from the Almighty the rest of us aren't.

2 March 2014 at 16:13  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Elizabeth Liddle,

Interesting website you have and you seem to be holding you own here, so a welcome addition to this community. Is that a Gentoo Penguin or a Chinstrap?

2 March 2014 at 16:29  
Blogger Claudio said...

My Church= founded by Jesus Christ. what I do when someone dies, even and especially if it's an atheist? Save a prayer, remember him/her during the Rosary (yes, I said ROSARY) and hope that despite everything he-she will see God, maybe after the right amount of time in Purgatory (yes, I said Purgatory).
Carl's Church: founded by a fanatic who, among other thing, flogged an old woman because she was praying on his son's grave ( she was charged with 'superstition').what does he do when someone dies? He assures us there's no hope whatsoever, because ...Calvin says so.
The more I think about it, the more calvinism looks so constitutively antichristian to me....
However, to David B's family and friends; sorry for your loss.
Le'eterno riposo dona loro Signore-Splenda ad essi la luce perpetua/riposino in pace Amen

2 March 2014 at 16:35  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Chinstrap! I know that the penguin isn't really smiling, but it looks as though it is, and it reminds me of me :)

But I like all penguins.

Thanks for the welcome!

2 March 2014 at 16:36  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Stop Press: Israeli puts Christian Zionist back in box; Corrigan doesn't say a word (hyuk, hyck...)

2 March 2014 at 16:37  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Corrigan,

This isn't an appropriate thread for a discussion re Israel/Zionism. Please have some respect here and control that urge you have for Israel- hate for another time and another thread.

Elizabeth,

I think the penguin looks, ah, a little cheeky myself.

2 March 2014 at 16:43  
Blogger IanCad said...

A passage from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:

"--Throughout there was a strange bitterness; an absence of consolatory gentleness; stern allusions to Calvinistic doctrines--election, predestination, reprobation--were frequent; and each reference to these points sounded like a sentence pronounced for doom. When he had done, instead of feeling better, calmer, more enlightened by his discourse, I experienced an inexpressible sadness; ---"

2 March 2014 at 16:44  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Carl

There are recorded instances of people accepting Christ in their last hours.

I have never seen it myself however.

Phil



2 March 2014 at 16:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Corrigan

1. If you think I am a Christian Zionist, then you have no clue what a Christian Zionist is.

2. I have no fear of this box, nor of occupying it alone if need be. I knew what I was doing before I did it.

carl

2 March 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Hey, David, Corrigan's not saying a word...

2 March 2014 at 16:52  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Reading Carl's response, it seems Corrigan,you were referring to his and Avi's discussion. So you should have written 'Jew' and 'Christian' or 'Canadian' or 'American'. Not 'Israeli' and 'Christian Zionist'. Strange how you conflate 'Jew' and 'Israeli' given your hissy fit last week over 'Zionist' and 'Jew'. Not all Jews are Israelis...

2 March 2014 at 16:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

This has nothing to doing with Calvinism. I could stand row upon row of Arminian teachers who would agree with every word I have written. It has rather to do with the centrality of the work of Christ to man's relationship with God. It has to do with the weakness of the modern church and its unwillingness to say hard things.

Jack is Dodo is a Roman Catholic and his argument is rooted in RC philosophical constructs that are non-Scriptural, indeed sub Scriptural. As a Protestant, you need to justify your position from Scripture. Begin here. "If you do not believe that I Am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24

carl

You will not be able to do it.

2 March 2014 at 17:03  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Oh and Corrigan,

Didn't see that oar you were going to stick into this thread... did you loose it?

2 March 2014 at 17:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

'Romans' 9 is the key election passage.

Read it as individual election, and you get the Calvinist view.

Read it as corporate election (as I do) and you get something rather different.

God has chosen a group who will be saved through their belief in Christ. It is up to us to choose whether or not to be part of that group.

Clear acceptance, clear rejection: easy.

But what if:

1. You die in infancy?

2. You were, like Socrates, born too early in time?

3. You never get to hear the message because, say, you live under an atheist regime but would have responded had you had the opportunity?

4. You hear the Christian message in such a distorted way that the only decent intellectual/moral response is to reject it.

5. You belong to another faith?

There may be others, but these are some of the main grey areas that make the likes of me unwilling to pass judgement about the eternal destiny of any individual in such a position.

2 March 2014 at 17:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

JobarJr, Happy Jack says the distinction you made between
"salvation-by-faith and salvation-by-works" is a false one.

Jack believes all good works are prompted by the Holy Spirit working in us whether or not actual faith exists; and good works can be the gateway to faith.

Carl, Happy Jack wants to say he agrees with some of what you've said about false hope and comfort.

Jack admires you and others who have stated your positions clearly and not hidden sentimentalism. And, let's face it, David's friends who are visiting here are not at all troubled by Christian opinions about heaven and hell. In fact, they believe we are all deluded as religion, according to their world view, manipulates and limits humanity's potential .

Nowadays there is so little talk about Satan and Hell its as if they no longer exist. There is an uncomfortable tension in this thread's title and the picture that Jack believes is worthy of exploration.

2 March 2014 at 17:08  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hey, Corrigan, your nastiness is screwing up our ability to asses reality. Carl's pro-Israel and quite level-headed stance is purely secular, as he clarified so many times. He may cheer for Israel even while rejecting its theological foundations on one hand and assume that all Israelis and Jews who have not become Calvinists are headed for eternal damnation in the Hereafter. I dearly appreciate the first and don't believe a smidgen in the second. Which leaves the question of where you are heading....hyuck, hyuck....

2 March 2014 at 17:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 17:03.

You posted just before mine @ 17:03.

I hope it's clear that I'm not for a moment advocating salvation through works. That's not the issue.

How would John 8:24 apply to:

a) An infant who died unexpectedly in a car crash?

b) Someone denied access to a Bible?

c) Socrates, who died three hundred years or so before Christ?

I'm not trying to evade the issue here. If you need to get the message in order to be saved, who's at fault if you never get the message?

2 March 2014 at 17:16  
Blogger Claudio said...

Happy Jack, the problem is not to impress the atheists with Heaven and Hell, the problem is rather; Hell is real. Hell is a really horrid place/state and no one but God has the right to send someone there.
At this point, for David B's is all said and done and the as Christians, the only thing we can do is to pray for his soul and hope that he will be forgiven. any decent brand of christianity allows me to do it, calvinism does not allow me to do it; therefore, calvinism is unhuman, and everything which is unhuman is IMHO antichristian.

2 March 2014 at 17:19  
Blogger non mouse said...

Unless you are getting final judgment and sentencing reports from the Almighty the rest of us aren't (Avi @ 16:13).
American (and other) aviators tend to be familiar with "High Flight":

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
(John G. Magee)

Others may journey to such heights only on the waves of metaphor, imagination, TM, dreams, medical conditions, drugs, near death experience; etc. Thereby, perceptions and memory permitting, some presume themselves privy to the Mind of God.

In neither case can fallen, fragmented, limited creatures - strutting about here at the Gateway to Hell - achieve that infinity or integrity of Being.

Whether or not they're Americans, or merely Global Atheists.

So I agree with everything Avi has so far said to Mr. Jacobs.

2 March 2014 at 17:20  
Blogger Claudio said...

brand of christianity=strand of christianity, sorry

2 March 2014 at 17:22  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Claudio. More rot about being in communion with God following a life of rejection of the Almighty, and if that isn’t condemning enough, gleeful activity in apostasy. He was not saved because there was nothing to save. He added to the misery of the world, not reduced it. That’s what happens when God is locked out.

I cannot for the life of me see where this false hope comes from...

2 March 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Saul, before he became Paul, thought Christianity was dangerous and misguided, and he tried to stamp it out.

But give me Saul any day - who at least was thinking about what he opposed - over one too pleasure glutted to care.

2 March 2014 at 17:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, a rare trespass from me into someone else's theological homeboy turf. But can't resist myself. You quoted: Begin here. "If you do not believe that I Am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24.

Two questions come to mind; is it possible this was addressed to disciples and followers Jesus who had direct contact with him and his instructions? And is it possible that future generations could not be held responsible to the same degree as scriptural text alone is insufficient to convey the message and evangelizing is of insufficient quality to convey it? Like, faith is one thing, especially faith built on the arguments of mortals as opposed to being born into or consciously and willingly accepting an unbroken Covenant? No need to answer, just mumbling to myself.

2 March 2014 at 17:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

All I did was pay David B the respect of believing what he said of himself. He claimed to be an atheist and no one else on this thread has presented any evidence to the contrary. Those who knew him have said nothing of any change of heart. To the contrary, they have affirmed his unbelief. Why then should I credit the possibility? I am a limited finite creature and I cannot possess metaphysical certainty. But I would never offer someone the slender reed of "Maybe he converted just before he died but no one knew it" lest they try to lean upon it themselves and it pierce their hand.

In fact, however, those Christians on this thread who have opposed me have not principally argued for some hidden death bed conversion. Instead they have argued that there is some way for unbelievers to have faith without knowing it - to believe without believing. And they are rooting that hope in their temporal observations of the man in question. They are judging him good according to human standards and therefore hoping that this perceived goodness reflects something of God working in his life. Except that isn't the standard of goodness that God applies. The beginning of the Gospel is that man isn't good. That was the whole point of the Cross. The Cross that can only be apprehended by faith - the knowing faith in a known Savior and not some unknown god.

I know on the authority of Scripture that a man who dies without Christ is condemned. And I know that the avowed atheist by definition dies without Christ. I know that David B was an avowed atheist. There is no way out of this box in which I have placed myself - unless I want to deny the centrality of the Cross to the Salvation of man. That is the temptation to which my fellow believers succumbed and that is why I spoke out.

Religions divide at the point of a man's death. We can agree so closely on how a man should live. But the way a man should die, and what it means for a man to die - that is where we must part ways. That's when the stakes become eternal.

carl

2 March 2014 at 17:37  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Happy Jack wrote

[snip much that I agree with]

Nowadays there is so little talk about Satan and Hell its as if they no longer exist.

Yes indeed.

And as both are very odd ideas with even less evidence to support them than for a creator deity, perhaps it is not surprising.

2 March 2014 at 17:41  
Blogger Claudio said...

'I cannot for the life of me see where this false hope comes from...'
from the fact that the Lord is Merciful and Compassionate, surely more merciful than me or you, Ernst.Setting this aside, personally my faith has never be shaken by the secularist-hardcore atheists a la David B(and as I've spent basically all my adult life in philosophy departments, both in Italy and in the UK, you can easily imagine I've met MANY hardcore atheists); quite to the contrary, they 'forced' me to look more deeply into my faith, to the extent that philosophy of religion and apologetic is what I do for a living!and I still think that 'intellectual atheism' plays a role in God's plan, make us strongest and teaches us what we could lose and how lucky we are.
No attack from outside the Church (here I take the term "Church' in the broad sense, including every christian denomination) can harm the Church, wht can really affects us are the scandals from within, the unworthy christians at all levels...these atheists? We should simply pray for them.

2 March 2014 at 17:47  
Blogger Thomas E said...

Carl you're forgetting that according to the bible all things are possible for God. The proclaimed purpose of Jesus was "to take away the sins of the whole world," 1 John 2:2.

God can't fail, and while his purpose is beyond our understanding, have faith that he is a God of love and of Mercy.

2 March 2014 at 17:49  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Carl wrote:

There is no way out of this box in which I have placed myself - unless I want to deny the centrality of the Cross to the Salvation of man.

Well, there are a number of ways out of the box, as the long history of Theories of the Atonement indicate.

My preferred theory was Abelard's. And remained so until, thanks in part to David, I saw that There Is No Box.

Not only is There No Box, its non-existence makes not one whit of difference to the capacity of people to be good, kind, generous and loving to their fellows.

And realising that There Is No Box, may even help.

2 March 2014 at 17:50  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Avi,

Yeah, Corrigan's Jew hate is so overruling he will use any thread and any attempt to score cheap points. Typical really.You are better able to deal with him and his oars, so I the pupil shall follow the master in that regard.

2 March 2014 at 17:52  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Very sad news, Your Grace. May David B rest in peace.

2 March 2014 at 17:52  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Elizabeth,

Re, 'Theories of the Atonement', I'll look up the references. But I see it was a theme on your website a while ago, via a guest poster from his '42 reasons not to be a Christians' blog. The post was interesting, but I was bemused when your poster began his discussion with the 'Jewish view' of blood sacrifice (which linked in to the Christian one), which he let himself down with when his first quote was from The book of Hebrews. That is a New Testament book, which has no divine revelation for Jews...

2 March 2014 at 17:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 17:37

An extremely lucid post.

1. I, for one, have not argued for a death-bed conversion. Not my point at all. And not that they DO belong to Christ; simply that they MIGHT. On that basis, I decline to speculate about David B's fate.

2. I'm not arguing for conversion after death: that smacks of universalism, which I reject outright.

3. Without wanting to split hairs, is there a difference between rejecting a God you do believe in and a God you don't believe in?

'Romans' says that there is such evidence for God that we are without excuse. Yet I can sympathise (without agreeing) with one who confronted with, say, the Holocaust or the Somme 1916 who did not feel the existence of God to be self-evident.

2 March 2014 at 18:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I've been reading David's "A view from a foxhole" over there. Quite amused by the title.

2 March 2014 at 18:10  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Explorer,

No 5 ' You belong to another faith?'

As part of my debates with Evangelicals via email, we discussed this one. I found the argument of CS Lewis (Mere Christianity Page 39) interesting :

'IF you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all other religions are simply wrong through and through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake....'

Then :

'As in arithemetic -there is only one right answer to a sum and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer to being right than others'.

Intriguing argument there.

2 March 2014 at 18:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth @ 17:50

Hello again. I've been diverted hitherto into discussion with my fellow believers.

We Christians would argue that people can be and kind and loving because God exists and has implanted conscience within us. People can also be cruel and murderous because they are 'fallen'.

Take God out of the picture. What is your explanation for our kindness and our cruelty?

2 March 2014 at 18:12  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David K @ 18:11:

It's because he made statements like that that the fundamentalist website I mentioned earlier has consigned Lewis to Hell.

They'd consign me there, too, if they knew about me: and wish me a speedy journey before I could spread more misinforamtion.

2 March 2014 at 18:17  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

There may be others, but these are some of the main grey areas that make the likes of me unwilling to pass judgement about the eternal destiny of any individual in such a position.

Even if I credited your list as legitimate, none of it applies to David B. He was not an infant. He did not live without access to light. He gave evidence on this blog that he knew the contents of the Gospel. He did not die before Christ. Your own list list would leave him without excuse. He did not believe that Jesus was who He said He was. David B denied Him, and therefore the God who sent Him. What conclusion then should I reach?

I will leave it to the Arminians to explain their own inconsistencies. They can defend age of accountability and contingency and prevenient grace and all the other accretions they add to make human choice the center of salvation. Admittedly they don't do a good job on the 'innocent native on the island' challenge. But don't blame me for that. And be careful where you follow these thoughts or you will quickly conclude that the best thing to do for men is not evangelize them. If the man without light is held guiltless, then why would you want to condemn him by giving him light? Btw, your own description of choice Re Romans 9 was fatalistic - a caricature if what I actually believe. And none of this change my point about Arminians teachers agreeing with me about the eternal destiny of an avowed atheist.

carl

2 March 2014 at 18:19  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Claudio

", the only thing we can do is to pray for his soul and hope that he will be forgiven. any decent brand of christianity allows me to do it, calvinism does not allow me to do it; therefore, calvinism is unhuman,"

There are problems with Calvinism to my mind, but your "no true Scotsman" argument doesn't really help much.

2 March 2014 at 18:19  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 March 2014 at 18:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

David: "Intriguing argument there."

It's hardly intriguing, it's simplistic. Think of that main thing being one of the core premises of an argument. One doesn't have to accept the premise to see the validity or otherwise of the argument but the soundness of it depends entirely on the truth of that premise. All of us can assess the validity of the argument, or see some truth in parts of it, but the truth of the conclusion follows from all of its bits being true and working together.

2 March 2014 at 18:22  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Explorer,

Just so you don't feel left out I will say ' And me too'. In fact at least the Evangelicals , such as yourself are prepared to debate, unlike Len's flavour of the month, Messianic Judaism. Where the Messianics got to my daughter was because I wasn't very well at the time and said she and I needed to convert to save us from hell and Satan's grip. Which might be a truism to Christians, but not to someone who required a bit more comfort than that and used a difficult time for the purposes of 'evangelism' and they didn't like me suggesting (when I was better) that I should be allowed to put a Jewish apologetic across, as this was my 'wiful obstruction of them 'preaching the Gospel' and a evil sin. I call it stopping my daughter from joining a wacko devious cult myself. But then they didn't want to listen to my case, so they slunked it.

2 March 2014 at 18:25  
Blogger David Kavanagh said...

Danjo,

Intriguing for a faith with claims it has 100% valid truth... perhaps Lewis's view is simplistic, but that wasn't the point being made in my debate which these guys, but the claim of absolute clear cut argument that only Christians had the monopoly on truth.

2 March 2014 at 18:31  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Carl

"Btw, your own description of choice Re Romans 9 was fatalistic - a caricature if what I actually believe."

Can you elaborate on what you actually believe re choice. I'd be interested to know. In words of few syllables ideally. :)

2 March 2014 at 18:34  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Very sad to hear of David B's death - he politely gave this comments stream a bit of engagement with the bigger world out there, and made me think.

Much love to his friends and family, who will no doubt feel the loss long after this thread falls silent.

2 March 2014 at 18:35  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

The Explorer wrote:

Hello again. I've been diverted hitherto into discussion with my fellow believers.

It happens :)

We Christians would argue that people can be and kind and loving because God exists and has implanted conscience within us. People can also be cruel and murderous because they are 'fallen'.

Yes. And that makes some kind of sense to me (or could, and at any rate did).

Take God out of the picture. What is your explanation for our kindness and our cruelty?

Well, I don't think we have to look far to find evolutionary hypotheses that are at least plausible, although notoriously difficult to test.

2 March 2014 at 18:36  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 18:19

We're getting out of sync.

Your response to mine of 17:16 has already been partially answered by mine of 18:02.

1. All my points on this thread have been qualified: if/may. And about David B's fate you may well be right.

2. My list was wider than the David B issue: an attempt to put the case for Inclusivism.

3. Election is plainly scriptural. Some seek to shy away from it. Calvinism squarely confronts it.

4. I have been an inclusivist for ten years. It hasn't yet stopped me from evangelising.

2 March 2014 at 18:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Elizabeth @ 18:36

What do you make of the view that morality is what enables survival?

2 March 2014 at 18:52  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

I think that social groups with moral structures that promote altruism and penalise cheating are more likely to end up playing a positive-sum game than groups without such structures, and thus more likely to thrive, and, indeed, survive (persist over time, bequeathing their genes and cultural values to their descendents)

2 March 2014 at 19:02  
Blogger Claudio said...

@ William; it was not an argument. Let's rephrase the sense of my statement to look like an argument though; Christianity is about hope, faith and charity. If a theological doctrine basically excludes-sensibly reduces hope(not only in our personal salvation but in the mysterious ways by which God manages to save us , even if at least apparently we are pretty far from Him), then we are not talking about christianity anymore, we are talking about something else.And I'm not denying, as Carl is saying, the necessity of preaching the Gospel for I do believe, for instance, that in the Catholic church there are ALL the instruments for salvation, less in other denominations, even less in an atheistic milieu a la British Humanist Association . But I have faith in God, and in the fact that He his more merciful and compassionate than us, so I do not exclude a priori the possibility of David's salvation, and the necessity to pray for his soul. Calvinism excludes any form of salvation for the unelected, calvinism is then trading the image of a Heavenly Father with a somewhat sadist judge, calvinism is therefore truly, but truly misguided. and this is not the word of Claudio, this is what Christians (catholic, ortodox...a;; the Churches with true apostolic succession) have always believed for 1500 and more years.Were they all wrong, and this Calvin guy was right?

2 March 2014 at 19:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl,

For the record, I began with a mildly censorious quip, which you could have ignored and following that I made it clear that my position is about courtesies and norms relating to mourners, not about theology. Theologically you have Happy Jack and the Inspector to agree with you and no doubt others, like Len and Mr Blofeld, I'm sure. Theology I can respect, even if I disagree with it, but that's not the point I was addressing.

If you think that relative online anonymity exempts you from such social courtesies, you could have made a better argument than "it's my faith and I can't help it." But the fact that you wouldn't start going around the funeral home at a colleague's funeral saying how old Jack is aware now and roasting on the coals tells me that you do evidently have limits to your zeal and urge to evangelize. There is a time and place for everything, is my point.

Non mouse, thank you so much for agreeing with me. It's such a rare event that anyone agrees with me (especially my wife) that I feel dizzy from it, lapping up the compliment like sweet dew in the desert...

2 March 2014 at 19:07  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Anyone who suggests there is the slightest possibility David enjoys, by right, salvation is bearing false witness to Christ’s mission on this earth. Ironically, that may be to God a greater felony than what the man himself stands accused of.

He is thus dependant on God’s mercy. But the very concept suggests that mercy is not always forthcoming. If it was, it’s hardly mercy.

2 March 2014 at 19:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I'm retiring from this thread.

Elizabeth, nice to have encountered you.

Thanks to all with whom I have exchanged opinions.

2 March 2014 at 19:13  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Nice to meet you too, Explorer. Hope to do so again sometime :)

2 March 2014 at 19:16  
Blogger Claudio said...

IoG; at the end of the day, aren't we all dependent on God's mercy?

2 March 2014 at 19:30  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Claudio

"Christianity is about hope, faith and charity."

Christianity is about Christ first and foremost. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him.

"Calvinism excludes any form of salvation for the unelected,"

How many forms of salvation are there? What do you believe happens to the unelect? Do you even believe in the concept of God choosing people? Can any created being truly have free choice independent of its creator?

What of John 6:44?

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

2 March 2014 at 19:51  
Blogger Claudio said...

Christianity is about Christ first and foremost. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him.

Right. Christ is the Savior of all mankind.
John 4:42 describes Christ as "the Savior of the world," and 1 John 2:2 states that Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."1 Timothy 4:10 describes God as "the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe."
Was David of some other hellish realm, or a subhuman?
In Gaudium et Spes, 22, these passages are interpreted as follows:
Since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate calling of man is in fact one and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery" that is, to be saved.
I am not saying that I know for certain that David is having a pint with the angels; I'm just saying that I cannot exclude this possibility, for I cannot put limits to God's Mercy, I don't know the guy and who knows, the christianity he has known was far then convincing, maybe he acted as the Lord wanted in what matters and his secularism was an intellectual, harmless hobby that our Lord was laughing about, maybe maybe maybe..who knows? God knows; not me not you and certainly not Carl (I dare to say, not even the Pope knows:)
For the other issues on election-predestination etc, this guy has made a very good job (and differently from me, he is an english native speaker, so he does not need a proofreader to make his stuff readable:)
http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/TULIP.htm
In the meanwhile:
"Do you even believe in the concept of God choosing people?" No, if this means that God has already decided who will be saved and who will be damned.
'Can any created being truly have free choice independent of its creator?"Yes, He made us free, even to reject His love.

2 March 2014 at 20:38  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Claudio, at death, if we are dependant on God’s mercy, then there was something wrong with the life we led. This is based on Christ's sacrifice and assurances for us. Sure you’ll agree....

2 March 2014 at 21:12  
Blogger Thomas E said...

Inspector Genral,

A basic foundational belief in christianity is that we are all dependant on God's mercy, and that the only person who has lived a life without sin is Jesus Christ.

At death, Jesus brings us life not because we are worthy but because he loves us.

2 March 2014 at 21:43  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Thomas E, “At death, Jesus brings us life not because we are worthy but because he loves us.”

Get up off your knees. The Creator does not hate what he has created that has not offended him gravely....


2 March 2014 at 22:05  
Blogger Claudio said...

Yep, Thomas E, thanks a lot, this sums it nicely.
There is ALWAYS something wrong in the life we lead, Inspector, the more we grow in faith the more we know (or should know) this. Unless you are a 'bornagainer' and you know exactly the day and the second you have been saved, we common mortal struggle, we fail , we try, sometimes we win then we fail again. "May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life Amen".
You are catholic too, you might have heard this one no?

2 March 2014 at 22:18  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 March 2014 at 22:25  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

For David B's family and friends :

min haShamayim tenuchamu ('may heaven comfort you').

2 March 2014 at 22:26  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

Dave & Avi,

Corrigan will use any thread to attack Jews, even a Shiva/Wake/Tribute thread for the departed. This is his nature. He can't help being a mindless Zionist-Jew hating- Israeli dismissing bigot.

2 March 2014 at 22:27  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Mr Avi @ 19.07 and previously. It is important to understand there is a time and a place for everything. Disappointing that some communicants need to be told.

2 March 2014 at 22:29  
Blogger non mouse said...

Avi @ 19:07 - :)

Mr. OiG, I am concerned that you: "cannot for the life of me see where this false hope comes from..." (@17:23).

My hope for DB may be on shaky ground, but I protest that: i) it's not false because ii) it derives from the conventional notion that "hope springs eternal." This ties hope not only to the Eternal nature of the Judge, but to faith in His Omnipotence. For complete lack of hope is despair due to lack of faith, and it is often named "the greatest sin"- that's why suicide is forbidden.

Do unrepentant atheists commit spiritual suicide? I suppose so; however, for those who cannot know the Mind of God, a glimmer of hope resides as to the Judgement on particular cases. I gather that the Omniscient has no limitations.

2 March 2014 at 22:34  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Chaps – one of the advantages of living life as a God fearing man is that on death, you get to walk through the green “nothing to declare” channel at the port...

2 March 2014 at 22:57  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Avi Barzel said...

" Carl,

For the record, I began with a mildly censorious quip, which you could have ignored and following that I made it clear that my position is about courtesies and norms relating to mourners, not about theology. Theologically you have Happy Jack and the Inspector to agree with you and no doubt others, like Len and Mr Blofeld, I'm sure. Theology I can respect, even if I disagree with it, but that's not the point I was addressing."

Actually Ernst is offended by the theological quip inherent within above comment.

What has theology got to do, got to do with it. What is human love but a second hand notion of droll whimsy amongst secularists and the godless!

The Bible tells us that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
But how can we even begin to understand that truth?

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

So one way God defines love is in the act of giving.

However, what God gave (or should we say, “who” God gave, which as a Jew you deny there was a Father or A son to do the giving) was not a mere gift-wrapped present; God sacrificed His only Son so that we, who put our faith in His Son, will not spend eternity separated from Him.

This is an amazing love, which David B willing denied and opposed as you do, Avi lad , because we are the ones who choose to be separated from God through our own sin, yet it’s God who mends the separation through His intense personal sacrifice, and all we have to do is accept His gift, Gentile, Jew, Atheist!!!!.


If speaking love does not have truth within, it is sounding brass..a clash of cymbals. Are we to say he went somewhere that he expressly denied nor cared that it may even exist?

He rode relentlessly and joyfully towards the humanist oblivion he desired most more than anything in this world or the possible next.

"If you think that relative online anonymity exempts you from such social courtesies, you could have made a better argument than "it's my faith and I can't help it." But the fact that you wouldn't start going around the funeral home at a colleague's funeral saying how old Jack is aware now and roasting on the coals tells me that you do evidently have limits to your zeal and urge to evangelize. There is a time and place for everything, is my point. "

None here, that Ernst is aware of, charged over to Secular Cafe and gave them a religious piece of our mind as a loving farewell.

HG posted about a deceased communicant that opposed the vast majority of what HG believed and declared and what most here do also.

We stated we were sad that he had deceased as you would have to be a particularly hard hearted Bast*%d to rejoice in the death of another that merely disagreed with you.

God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God’s love is unconditional, and it’s not based on feelings or emotions.

He doesn’t love you or I because we’re lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship, which both you and David B reject/ed.

There is a time and place for everything and now was as good a time as any to state the truth.

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 22:58  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 March 2014 at 23:04  
Blogger Samuel Kavanagh said...

I think the problem Avi and Carl are having is one of etiquette and certainly in England, it is considered to be impolite to speak ill of the dead.

But from the Protestant Christian propaganda I've been subjected to via my relationship with my 'Ex' [Read lunatic Fundamentalist wacko Christian with cracking boobs] girlfriend is that Christians go to a paradise called heaven and non-Christians go to hell, which is like an eternity of perpetual torture, with devils and fire and brimstome...

From what I remember from my Rabbi when I was young and my own thoughts on Olam Ha-Ba [The Afterlife] is that unless your are really evil (in which case you are destroyed forever; like Hitler or something), we spend 12 months in Gehinnom reflecting on our sins and being made right to go to Gan Eden, which is like our Sabbath but 60 times greater, but we are told the living can no more understand the nature of this place than the blind can colour.

I also think that Gentiles will be there in the afterlife, as there is discussion on the 'pious of the nations' in Rabbinic literature. Perhaps Dave and Avi will say I am a heretic but I think unbelief in God does not prevent a Gentile from going to the after life? The seven laws of Noah don't mention belief in God, I think. But I could be wrong or in error here.

2 March 2014 at 23:16  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

My dear non mouse. I repeat myself. If after a life of over 60 years, which was David’s, to be dependent on God’s mercy at the end of it is a damned poor show...

2 March 2014 at 23:18  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Samuel

" God’s Love Toward the Israel of Old

In spite of countless passages in the Old Testament which reveal the profound love and magnificent grace of God, most people envision the God of Israel as a hateful, vengeful God of wrath and destruction and even modern Jews reject Him and look for some philosophical meanings through the ramblings of their fellow man about human goodness, kindness etc!

Unfortunately, for centuries, ministers and teachers have led the Christian-professing world to believe that a stern, implacable God gave Israel harsh, restrictive laws that were a burden and a curse. However OUR Bible, old and new reveals the opposite!

For the Jews!

Moses told the children of Israel just before they came into the promised land, “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, FOR OUR GOOD ALWAYS, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our. righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us” (Deuteronomy. 6:24-25).

God revealed Himself as a God of love and mercy in the covenant that He established with Israel and the blessings that He promised for obedience.

“The Lord did not set His LOVE upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people: for you were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord LOVED YOU, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers....Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the FAITHFUL GOD, which KEEPS COVENANT and MERCY [which comes from His grace] with them that LOVE Him and keep His COMMANDMENTS TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS....Wherefore it shall come to pass, if you hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord your God shall keep unto you the COVENANT and the MERCY which He swore unto your fathers; and HE WILL LOVE YOU, AND BLESS YOU, AND MULTIPLY YOU: He will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your corn, and your wine, and your oil, the increase of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which He swore unto your fathers to give you. YOU SHALL BE BLESSED ABOVE ALL PEOPLE...” (Deuteronomy. 7:7-9, 12-14).

These are indeed wonderful promises of God’s blessings and his Love! If Israel had kept God’s covenant and obeyed Him, God would have blessed them above all nations and therefore Avi, Samuel, Louise and others would not be where they are but all living in Israel.

God Himself loved the children of Israel and commanded them to love Him. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy. 6:4-5)."

"From what I remember from my Rabbi when I was young"..rather than rely upon Him who is reliability itself, you desire the if, buts, maybe's of another lost man. Says it all really!!

Blofeld

2 March 2014 at 23:20  
Blogger Claudio said...

Hi Samuel,
thanks a lot for this one, very interesting. So you guys believe in a sort of "purgatory' too, the Gehinnom? I've heard this before but I'ld like to know more, any reading-suggestion-whatever from you or any other orthodox jew on the blog would be really appreciated.
Also, Catholics and Jews seems to share another interesting, and crucial, point; our actions are a more tangible sign of elections, to the extent that for both a catholic and a jew an unbeliever can still be saved...

2 March 2014 at 23:27  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I am sorry to hear that David B has died, and I will genuinely miss him. However I cannot concur with some of the comments above. My honest impression of David was that he was a man who held a sure and certain conviction in not only the non-existence of God but a disavowal of God. It was an uncompromising rejection.

How the Lord judges is His prerogative, but David B made it quite clear on numerous occasions that he judged against the Lord. It is not respectful to him or his memory to claim him in death to a destiny which he fervently resisted and refused in life.

2 March 2014 at 23:52  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

How can you disavow something you don't believe in?

That makes no sense, and David always did.

2 March 2014 at 23:55  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

bClaudio.

"So you guys believe in a sort of "purgatory' too, the Gehinnom? I've heard this before but I'ld like to know more, any reading-suggestion-whatever from you or any other orthodox Jew on the blog would be really appreciated."

Wasting your time, my ardent papist.

Orthodox Jews do NOT believe in purgatory but Kabbalists DO. It's called HERESY!!! Do read http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/ZoharEnglish.pdf

How the true Jew regards purgatory..
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Reform-Judaism-950/purgatory.htm

Blofeld laughing his socks off

3 March 2014 at 00:04  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Elizabeth Liddle

David B frequently made a point of stating not only his objection to the existence of God, but also his objection to the specific understanding of God as morally wrong.

He was not ambiguous about this. If I had to characterise his approach, I would describe it thus:

"God is not real, but even if he was, I wouldn't follow him, and he wouldn't be good."

If you feel I have misrepresented him in any way, by all means correct me, but I would suggest that you have a look back on this very blog to see the extent to which David B's views often expanded on the summary I have just provided.

3 March 2014 at 00:39  
Blogger Elizabeth Liddle said...

Well, I think you are failing to understand the difference between someone not believing in any god and having a specific disapproval of some putative god as portrayed by someone who claims that god exists.

For instance, speaking for myself, not for David, some people claim that there is a god whose characteristics seem quite benign. Others claim that there is a god whose characteristics seem quite abhorrent. The god that some people have painted here seems quite abhorrent to me. On the other hand, the god that others have painted seems good.

We are back to Euthyphro, except that I don't think it's a dilemma at all - why would we worship a god whom we thought was evil, even if we were convinced that god was real?

On the other hand, if the god you are asking us to believe in is good, then I don't suppose either David or myself would reject such a god, were we to discover that such a god existed.

3 March 2014 at 00:50  

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