Monday, November 07, 2005

This is a pretty picture test. Posted by Picasa


Kwame said...

Now here is test for you:

What is wrong with James White's criticism of Shabir Ally's blockquoted statement at today (11/8)?

If you have that figured out, then you can never go wrong as a Christian apologist (at least not for long).

Derrick Bright said...

Shabir Ally said:
But I cannot help you with this kind of confusion, ladies and gentlemen, except to invite you to the truth that God has revealed to correct all of this confusion. Ladies and gentlemen, I noticed this confusion here today as well when during the prayers we noticed that some people were praying to Yahweh, and some were saying 'Yes Jesus, praise be to Jesus.' Because Yahweh and Jesus, according even to the Trinity, are two different persons, they are not one in the same. If you say that Yahweh is Jesus, then how can you say that Yahweh sends His Son? Who is His Son? Not Jesus?

James White said:
I find it hard to believe Shabir Ally could possibly say something like this in a public debate. Surely any person who has done even the most basic amount of study knows that part and parcel of the proof of the Trinity adduced from the Holy Scriptures is the use of the divine name, YHWH, of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Only by once again assuming unitarianism can Ally miss this vital point. And how could he possibly think that this argumentation is at all compelling to a Christian? A truly amazing example of "We don't need to study what you believe or accurately represent it!" Listen in to the DL for this statement and others, and your phone calls at 877-753-3341. Perhaps some folks will finally call in this morning to defend Shabir Ally's arguments? Some of the other Islamic apologists we have examined? We tried to find someone Thursday evening, but no one called. We will try again at 11am MST (1pm EST).

Sorry Kwame, I may be missing it because it is right in front of me, or I am still likely to go wrong once in a while. The only thing I can think is posiibly that James White does not elaborate on His comment, perhaps needing to show that they are distinct, yet the one God.

Help me out, Kwame. I always enjoy trying to engage in your intellectual gymnastics, though I admit I feel like Chris Farley in the Nancy Kerrigen skit from a few years back--out of my league, but I do appreciate the challenge.


Kwame said...

So you didn’t see the problem. But alas, I don’t expect most Christians to see it. The only ones who do see this are those rare individuals both regenerate and brought through a good collegiate philosophy program in the Analytic tradition.

Trinitarianism (to use a vague term here) *is true* while modalism, unitarianism, etc. are false; but just about every Christian apologist who tries to justify a conviction of the veracity of doctrine(s) of the Trinity both: a) personally has no excuse to assert Jesus is God; b) simply and himself *does not* understand or appreciate many of the objections to Trinitarian doctrine that cryptoheterodox folks in the church and unbelievers outside the church raise; and also c) shows himself to be intellectually and morally corrupt when you *prove* to him these things, in my experience.

This is nothing new; been able to show this sort of thing for years. Maybe I’ll have an opportunity to say something more about this in the future. I would then go on to speak linguistic, metaphysical and epistemological issues (nothing too heavy though), and I would also address this problem: the kind of intellectual/epistemic arrogance that many believers (including apologists) practice in order to glorify God, if such a thing were possible.

End comment.

Derrick Bright said...

Nothing too heavy? I think you have already started. :-)
I am regenerated through Christ, but have not gone through any philosophy program, so it was a little difficult to follow.

You said the person does not have an excuse to assert that Jesus is God. Are you saying that because they may not be able to fully elaborate. I am not sure I follow. What do you mean by that?

Kwame said...

Derrick, how are you keeping track of when people leave comments on your blog? Just curious, and I just now noticed this question that you must have asked like a week ago.

Back to the original question--eh, I try not to direct you or my e-mail correspondents to my Web site, and I am not sure how to answer that without directing you to the Web site or otherwise posting a long introduction to the subject of Trinitarian apologetics.

Um, just about any philosophy professor in the Analytic tradition will probably tell you that a linguistic approach to deep discussions is good and useful; and if they do so, then good for them because half the battles of theological, philosophical, ideological problems can be won when: a) you and your correspondent come to speak the same language and really come to know what the other really is saying; and b) natural language is filled with so much ambiguous and vague speech that it the vagueness obscures our understanding of data which can easily be obtained by anyone if they sit down and do a lot of thinking and observing.

Some theological problems are easily resolved. That a wife should be obedient to her husband: easily proved by bibical exegesis. That a woman should not teach or preach in the pulpit: not as easily proved by biblical hermeneutics. That the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are co-existent and co-eternal while each shares one nature: easily proved by the Scriptures one would think. That Jesus is not identical with the Father and is not identical with the Spirit though each is God (if you wish to say “Jesus is God” in the natural course of conversation or speaking): not easily proven.

There appear to be those Scriptures in which Christ is denoted by the name/noun “God,” and so many of us would say “Yeah, Jesus is God, though JWs and Muslims would not agree.” Okay, now if you are an apologist and you are saying to some unbeliever, “Jesus is God,” what do you mean? If the proposition that you express by means of this sentence is merely that Christ has the same nature that the Father has, well, you’ve made a true statement, but it is a statement that leads to the next point that I raise. If, on the other hand, the proposition that you express by means of this sentence is the proposition literally that Jesus is God--and when writers of the Scriptures use the name “God” to denote Christ, it seems that in one sense or another Jesus indeed is God--then you have to deal with the following (nothing new here):

1) The Father also is God.
2) Of course, the Son is not the Father.
3) Yet a thing is itself, so if the Father is God, then the Father is God; and Jesus is God, so Jesus is the Father.
3') A is A, and if A is B then B is A just as if Samuel Clemens is Mark Twain, then Mark Twain is Samuel Clemens.
4) So there is no getting around the fact that if Christ is God, then the Father and his Son are identical.

I know, I know, someone will give some rash, or stupid, or lame, or absurd/counterintuitive, or ridiculous/counterintuitive rejoinder to this argument of mine and be like, “See there? There really was no problem with Trinitarianism after all.” I dare say that I pretty much know the full set of possible rejoinders that can be given and that I have thus far in my time heard them all, and they all are failures. (I also know of the silly “Look what the cultists have done to him” stuff you might heard said of someone like me even though, well, so-called cultists have not done a thing to me; I am a Trinitarian.)

I don’t care if your name is Peter Pike or James R. White: every Christian misses the boat on this one; all of them do not see the inherent absurdity of their Trinitarian beliefs (or are they?) and the ones who would boldly claim that they can get out of this problem I raise actually cannot. (The Christian philosophers who know of the problems of the identity relation, on the other hand, they know better than to jump the gun with regard evidence of possible solutions to the problem at hand.)

So yeah, if a proposition is absurd, then one has no good reason to believe it. That Jesus is God, with respect to the propositions that Jesus is not his Father though both are co-existent and co-eternal, is absurd (or is it?). Therefore, to all the overconfident Christian apologists crying about how the big, bad cultists and unbelievers just don’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity: oh, they understand some things, all right; they understand the facts and reality underlying the relation of identity and know that your particular ways of attempting to present Scriptural truths are incoherent, even if they cannot explain to you very well that this is the case.

As for James White’s error that I mentioned, perhaps you can begin to see that now. Christians are used to focusing all their defenses on the issue of what nature or set of properties Christ has (apart from concerns of the identity relation). But the people that they are trying to reach with regard to questions on the doctrine(s) of the Trinity--they aren’t focused on the issue of nature as such but rather something else.