Hinduism, a self-refuting worldview!

Friend:
Check out this resurrection claim (http://web.archive.org/web/20091116203706/http://windowsvj.com/jaisai.htm)

James:
At some point in my past I would have probably and ignorantly asked you to provide evidence that Shirdi Sai Baba in fact, self-resurrected himself. Such a request might have required evidence such as the testimony of multiple eyewitnesses, the current location of Shirdi Sai Baba so that we could authenticate that he is the historical Shirdi Sai Baba presented in this account that you have provided, and finally a rational argument for how a mere mortal could perform a self-resurrection.

If the same evidence were requested for the resurrection of Christ, one could of course provide recorded eyewitness testimony from those that witnessed the occurrence. One could also examine Christ’s empty tomb as another indication that the account is credible. Finally, the fact that Christ promises to come back to judge the world would provide the ultimate “evidence” that Christ did resurrect Himself from the grave although at that point the evidence does no good in assisting someone to make a saving profession of faith in Christ since Christ’s return is for the purpose of exacting deserved vengeance on all those who have disobeyed the gospel and failed to acknowledge their Creator. Examining the evidence a couple minutes before being eradicated is hardly the way to go assuming that one is able to survive the prior worldwide plagues of the Great Tribulation. The bible says that “every eye will see Him” so there will eventually be a confrontation between the Creator and His unbelieving creatures.

Having said all of this, I think that it is more important to understand that evidence does not speak for itself but must ultimately be interpreted from within a worldview. For this reason, it is impossible to provide evidence of any claim to someone who does not share the same worldview. Within the realm of the Christian worldview, Christ self-resurrection is certainly evidence of His claim to deity and His resurrection confirms the biblical prophecies that suggest this would occur; however, outside of the Christian worldview the unbeliever can always present what we might call a “rescuing device” for why he/she does not see a particular piece of evidence in the same light. This is why it is important, not to talk about what evidence exist for a particular worldview or claim, but rather, what is the nature of all evidence and what preconditions are necessary in order for any evidence to be meaningful in the human realm.

In order for humans to make sense of any piece of evidence presented, certain things would have to be true, whether we consciously recognize it or not. For one, if the human mind is not capable of subjecting itself to the laws of rational thought then it is impossible for evidence to make sense; evidence becomes useless. Also, the world has to exhibit order and must be understandable for evidence to have meaning, especially evidence of a scientific nature. Our senses themselves must exhibit basic reliability in order for any evidence to make sense. The Hindu faith cannot account for any of these preconditions and in fact violates each one of them:

As one example: in Hinduism, which is generally a monistic (i.e the idea that all reality consists of a single basic substance or element) worldview, how can one account for the laws of logic (and hence the idea of distinctions) which are a requirement for all rational thought? Furthermore, Hinduism is pluralistic; it accommodates all faiths so as to reinforce it’s monism. Therefore, if everything is really part of a greater singular entity then it follows that all things (including all faiths) are illusory. The problem with this stance however is very obvious; by espousing pluralism one must also embrace contradiction since opposing faiths are equally embraced in the realm of Hinduism. Unfortunately, embracing contradiction is the exact opposite of rational thought which we earlier conceded was a precondition for evidence to be meaningful. Moreover, in order for Hinduism to be true, the idea of Hinduism itself must be a real idea as opposed to a fake one, yet, in Hinduism every thing is illusory and thus fake since there are not any real distinctions (and thus ideas) in the all-encompassing single entity that we comprise, according to Hinduism. Therefore, Hinduism is self-refuting. Plainly speaking, it is a belief that necessarily becomes false upon taking it to be true.

Furthermore, Hinduism cannot make sense of science. For example, according to Hinduism, the universe is Maya (an illusion). But science would be impossible if the universe were merely an illusion. How could we study something that does not actually exist? Again, in Hinduism there are no distinctions, all things are one. But science requires distinctions. If there is no difference between the sun, moon, stars, and people, then life would be meaningless. One can therefore safely conclude that since Hinduism cannot account for the preconditions necessary to make evidence intelligible, Hinduism is therefore at least an insufficient worldview, if not an impossible one.

One the other hand, the Christian worldview can make sense of all these preconditions of evidence and intelligibility. Due to the words of Scripture, the Christian understands that God, Who by definition is rational, fashioned the human mind after His Own mind so that we could have the ability (and responsibility) to think rationally. By Scripture we understand that God is not man, and that humans, though made in God’s likeness are entirely distinct from God. We also understand that God made the universe and is upholding it in a consistent and logical fashion so that the laws of nature (i.e. the laws of physics) will not suddenly change tomorrow or within the next second. A worldview without the biblical God does not have this assurance and would consequently undermine all reasoning that is based upon induction (the primary engine behind the prevailing epistemology of empiricism). Through the bible we understand that God created our senses so that we could accurately probe and subdue the world around us. Many people just blindly take for granted that our senses are reliable, that the mind has a propensity to think rationally, and that the world is orderly and understandable. Once you start to wonder why this is or has to be the case then you will really start to think twice before asking others to produce evidence for a particular claim.

References and Related Articles:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n2/fool-proof
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v6/n2/ultimate-proof

Angels or Saints? Part 4

A continuation of Angels and Saints Part 3

James says:
It is becoming tough to dialogue with you, and here is why:

Every time I refute what you state, instead of dealing with the refutation, you simply ignore the refutation and restate your position. As long as you continue this strategy no one will want to give you the time of day.

I have to ask myself, is it fruitful to dialogue with someone who has repeatedly disregarded the Greek lexicon or who doesn’t care about which part of speech is attributed to a particular word?

Is it sound to dialogue with someone that has a disdain for logic (i.e. “All of the word play in the world”)? You use straw men all over the place and leave me to have to remind you what my actual argument is as opposed to what you think it is.

I have not equated “falling into temptation” with being “blameable” this is something that you have concocted to deflect from the main point: the bible clearly teaches that the moment we believe unto salvation we are considered blameless. Case closed. Why don’t you argue with the verses I provided earlier. Nope, why should you? Just disregard those verses the same way you have disregarded all of my responses, choosing to move the goal post.

Since this is hard for you to grasp allow me to emphasize it with caps: DESCRIBING SOMETHING AS HOLY IS DIFFERENT FROM DEFINING SOMETHING AS HOLY. ANGELS ARE NOT DEFINED AS HAGIOS, THEY ARE ONLY DESCRIBED AS SUCH. SAINTS ON THE OTHER HAND ARE DEFINED AS “HAGIOS.” You keep trying to mutilate a dead horse.

I pray that you can meditate on that nugget of truth.

Your disrespectful paraphrase: “God can do anything He wants” misses the entire point I was trying to convey (but it does begin to betray your lack of attention to detail). You have no rules of interpretation. You despise logic. You can’t discern between a necessary inference (WE ARE ALREADY BLAMELESS – Jude 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2) and an invalid inference (i.e. Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point). My advice for you is to invest the time in learning the rules for how to reason correctly. This is not an insult but simply good advice. It is irrational to engage someone in dialogue who dismisses logic as “word play”, to do such is to subscribe to the hermeneutic of relativism – that is to say, your rules of interpretation are no better than mine. This is the essence of futility.

I’m going to have to spurn your request to join your facebook eschatology group, for me, talking to more than one person at a time is a good recipe for confusion.

J&J says:
James,

First of all, if you’re not able to grasp the problem with your interpretation of 1 Thess 3:13, there’s no need to discuss it further.

Secondly, “‘HAGIOS’ IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH ‘CHURCH SAINTS'”.

Thirdly, Hunt’s interpretation of 2 Thess 2 has holes. The more I read verses 1-3, the more I realize that there is nothing in the text which guarantees that they had already been “shaken in mind”. That is always assumed. That is to say, Paul was equally likely to have been preemptively cautioning them not to be shaken by anyone suggesting a “rapture-first” chronology. Strengthening that point is the fact that Paul gave a few possible ways by which they could be deceived (in spirit, by word, or by letter), which makes it less likely that they had already been deceived by any given modality as of yet. Also, he didn’t say that they had included any fear of theirs in a letter to him…

[John also included 6-7 pages of boiler plate material that was not relevant to this discussion thus it is excluded for brevity sake]
James says:

If I had known that you would not seriously read any of the responses I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to reason with you. It is easy to copy and paste boiler plate responses without addressing specific charges that have been raised. It is harder to admit that you believe in a view simply for the sake of believing. Anyone reading our dialogue will understand what I’m trying to say here. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I never expected to encounter a modern day believer who claimed to comprehend eschatology and yet did not even understand the notion of justification nor sanctification. Heed the words of the Psalmist: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Perhaps you are still blameable. Regarding myself, Paul asks, who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth! Who is he that condemneth?

Angels or Saints? Part 3

A continuation of Angels or Saints Part 2
John says:
James,

There would be absolutely no reason for Paul to pray that we’re “preserved blameless” if there’s no chance that we could incur “blame” at some point. I think this is broaching another topic, but if anything, you’ve bolstered my point. The Lord listed a number of “conditions” in Revelation 2 and 3, stressing the importance of “overcoming” versus being spewed out of His mouth and blotted out of the Book of Life. He said to overcome just as He overcame. In Matthew 24:13, He tells us that he who endures until the end shall be saved. That speaks of enduring belief and repentance (which are not works, mind you, and refute the “altar call” mentality).

Frankly, you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too by suggesting that we are blameless now, but finding no dichotomy in Paul praying that we will be blameless at the coming of the Lord.

The argument that “only” isn’t mentioned in 2 Thess 1:6-10 is a non sequitur. Paul clearly has us here at that time (“rest with us”) and doesn’t give the slightest allusion of us being anywhere else but here until that time. You may as well argue that John 14:6 isn’t a statement of the exclusivity of Christ, because, after all, He didn’t say that He is “the only way, the only truth, and the only life”, but I’m sure you wouldn’t dare make that suggestion.

The truth is that there are several points which you are avoiding. It’s not just a “hagios” issue, but your exegesis of 1 Thess 3:13 is lacking.

I say this with respect for you, as your tone has been pleasant.

In Christ Alone,
John

James says:

John,
I’m afraid that you have committed a logical fallacy called asserting or affirming the consequent. The fallacy has the logical form:

If p then q. (Where p – the antecedent and q – the consequent are both propositions)
q.
Therefore, p.

In this logical fallacy, the antecedent (Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point) is presumed true by affirming the consequent (In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul “prays” that we are preserved blameless).

Your argument follows:
(if p then q) If Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point, then Paul will pray for us to be preserved blameless.
(q – the consequent) In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul “prays” that we are preserved blameless.
Therefore:
(p – the antecedent) Paul believes that we could incur blame at some point.

This argument is clearly fallacious; there are any number of reasons why Paul would pray that we would be preserved blameless. For example, perhaps he is simply echoing a proposition that is already established in scripture as is done in many other prayers that occur in the bible (i.e. Our Father who art in Heaven, etc.). Consequently, Paul’s utterance in 1 Thess 5:23 does not constitute proof that we can incur blame. Besides, there are at least two other reasons why your argument is without merit. Firstly, in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul’s saying is less of a prayer and more of a declaration. In fact, the phrase ” I pray God” (in the KJV) is an interpreter’s addition that is italicized. Admittedly, the sentence even reads like something in a prayer but this does not preclude it from being a declaration as well since the proposition conveyed by the verse occurs in other scriptural passages that are decidedly not prayers (Jude 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2). Secondly, Jude affirms Paul’s utterance by asserting that we are already “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ” in Jude 1:1. Once again, the bible clearly teaches that we are already positionally (in Christ) sanctified, even though we are still physically and spiritually undergoing the sanctification process (Philippians 1:6). The same concept of positional attribution occurs in Ephesians 2:6 where it is said that we are already risen and sitting with Christ in heavenly places.

Moving along to the next point, in logic, a non sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow from the prior premises. My premises were: (1) The word “only” does not occur in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 which talks about Christ coming with angels
(2) The same author, Paul, also talks about Christ coming with saints (and not angels) in 1 Thessalonians 3:13

My conclusion was:
Therefore, it follows by good and necessary consequence that Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 cannot mean that Christ comes with angels exclusively.

So how is this a non sequitur again?

Also, it may interest you to know that “rest with us” in 2 Thessalonians 1: 7 doesn’t mean that Paul “has us here at that time.” “Rest” in the aforementioned verse is a noun (please confer with a Greek lexicon for the part of speech belonging to the Greek term “anesis”), not a verb. Therefore, those who are doing the troubling (in verse 6) will receive tribulation, while those who are being troubled will be given rest (verse 7). Once again, Paul is not giving anyone a directive to stay put or anything of that sort. It appears that you have mistakenly based our location during the “2nd coming” on a noun (that was to you) pretending to be a verb.

Finally, I like how you tried to borrow the construction of a previous argument of mine to use against me. 🙂 The only problem with your quip about John 14:6 is that He DID say “the only way, the only truth and the only life”, not literally, but by propositional equivalence. The proposition in John 14:6 (No one comes to the Father except through me) is identical to the proposition of the literal sentence: “I am the only way, etc.” Therefore, since He did say He is “the only way, the only truth, and the only life”, your argument fails to convey anything meaningful.

As you can see, I have in painstaking detail, dealt with every issue you have raised when I could have easily glanced over them as being incorrect based on prior argumentation and without further explanation. Hopefully you will not accuse me again of avoiding anything in the future. I may not have dealt with something yet but that is quite different from avoiding it.

John says:

James,

It matters very little whether or not the words “I pray God” are inserted. The fact remains that Paul speaks of their spirits, souls, and bodies being “preserved blameless”. In the prior verses, he writes that they abstain from evil. Would this be necessary were they not capable of falling into temptation? Of course not. There is no getting around the Lord’s assertion that “he who endures until the end shall be saved”.

Redirecting back to the verse in question:

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

Now, James, if you don’t see “And the Lord make you to…” as a prayer, then you must be in some sort of denial. And what does Paul pray for? For our hearts to be established “unblameable”. When? “…at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

The argument you proposed (“God can do anything He wants”- paraphrasing) brought to mind a schoolyard response. Of course God can do anything He wants, but that’s hardly a solid argument here, as Paul was clear. If we’re a blameless bride in Heaven for seven years, there is no reason for Paul to be praying for our “sanctification” during the time leading up to the “parousia”. There is no question that our sanctification should be complete prior to “meeting the Lord in the air”.

Secondly, there is nothing structurally in those verses which would suggest that we accompany the Lord back from Heaven. He is addressing them in second person plural (“you”; “your hearts”) in his prayer for them, but doesn’t speak of the “saints” who accompany the Lord at the parousia in 1st person plural. So again, your explanation is reaching.

Furthermore, who did the Lord say He returns with?

Matthew 25:31- “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”

Two points:

1)The Lord clearly describes the angels as “hagios” (“holy ones”).

2)He only describes coming back with the angels.

Do you seriously think the Lord would forget to mention His glorious, adorned bride coming back with Him from Heaven if we really do come back with Him from Heaven? So Paul didn’t say “only”, and the Lord didn’t say “only”. I think that just reduced the odds considerable that you have a legitimate argument.

In addition, what is the sequence if events?

Matthew 24:30-31: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

1)He descends out of Heaven first
2)All eyes see Him
3)He then sends His angels to gather the elect from one end of the sky (“ouranos”) to the other.

The Lord makes no mention of the church/body/bride/elect coming with Him from Heaven. No, He only speaks of the elect being gathered together (same “episynogogue” which Paul uses in 2 Thess 2:1, except different tense) after He descends out of Heaven. You think He forgot to mention us again there? “Elect”, by the way, refers to the church throughout the epistles (with the exception of one instance, where it refers to angels).

The fact of the matter, James, is that the Lord only described one gathering together of believers, and that being “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29-31). Paul said that it wouldn’t be until after the son of perdition is revealed (2 Thess 2:1-3). He then goes on to describe just how he will be revealed in verse 4, which seems to be a description of the AoD which the Lord warned us we’d see (Matthew 24:15).

All of the word play in the world won’t change those facts, and yes, you’ve been avoiding those verses.

I’m more than happy to continue this discussion, but not here. I am already spread too thin. I started a FB rapture group awhile back, which keeps me very busy. For the last few days, I’ve been bouncing around between the group and Amazon. Feel free to join. With your pleasant tone, you would be a welcome addition, and a good representation of the pretrib view. As it is, probably 90% there are pretrib, but aren’t very capable of defending that position.

Continued @ Angels or Saints Part 4

Angels or Saints? Part 2

A continuation of Angels and Saints Part 1

John:
Thanks for the feedback. Regarding “hagios”, however, I think I gave a more than sufficient example of the noun form referring unequivocally to angels in 1 Thess 3:13.
James:
No, not really. Remember, the fact that you think the word translated as “saint” may really refer to angels is quite different from the fact that the Greek term “hagios” literally (and I would add contextually) means “saint”.
John:
Still, let’s cut to the chase. In 2 Thess 2, What was Paul warning us not to let anyone deceive us about? A different chronology of events than the one he gave us. And what was Paul’s chronology? That we won’t be gathered together unto the Lord until AFTER the “apostasia” (that word refers to “rebellion” in both Acts 21:21 as well as all six times it’s used in the Septuagint), and AFTER the “son of perdition” is revealed (2 Thess 2:1-3). And how is he revealed? Paul goes on to tell us in verse 4, which seems to be a description of the Abomination of Desolation (which the Lord told us we’d see- Matthew 24:15).Keep in mind that had Paul given us any OTHER chronology of events (like you’re suggesting), the Thessalonians would have been duped again by the very next charlatan that came around saying the DOTL had begun. But again, Paul gave them/us two markers to KNOW what to look for first. They/we should never be fooled again. Sadly, we have.
James:
Dave Hunt’s book had a section called “Post-Tribbers Would Not Be Troubled” which deals with your concerns about the Thessalonians and the DOTL. I thought he did a good job explaining what would essentially be my response to your point, so, I would simply point you to that part of the book. I have included part of it for you to digest:
Other than being caught by surprise, which they shouldn’t have been, why would the Thessalonian believers be upset to be told that the day of Christ had arrived? There was no reason to be “shaken in mind” if they believed in a post-tribulation Rapture. There was, however, sound reason for being shaken if they believed in a pre-trib Rapture. Clearly, then, the latter was their view. If the Thessalonians knew they had to go through the Great Tribulation in order to arrive at the Rapture, which they looked forward to with eager anticipation, then it would not have troubled them to know that the day of Christ had come. Their reaction rather would have been, “Praise God! The time has come for us to face Antichrist and prove our love and faithfulness to our Lord. If we are martyred, we have a special crown. If not, and we endure to the end, then we will be caught up to meet Christ on His descent to the Mount of Olives.” After all, the coming of the day of the Lord and the revelation of the Antichrist with the accompanying tribulation was certainly what they had anticipated if they believed in a post-trib Rapture. Not exactly a “blessed hope,” but surely nothing to be “shaken in mind” or “troubled” about. If, on the other hand, the Thessalonians were expecting Christ before the tribulation period and it had arrived without their leaving in the Rapture, they had something, indeed, to be “shaken in mind” about! Had they been rejected by Christ? Why hadn’t they been taken? And why was Paul still there and all of the other Christians? No one had been caught up to heaven…
Dave Hunt. When Will Jesus Come?: Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ (pp. 161-162).
John says:
After all, the Lord only described one gathering together of believers, and that being “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29-31).
James says:
I disagree, your reference to Matthew 24:29-31 is actually about Israel. He does consolidate His “elect” from all over as mentioned in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27. However, the word “elect” in the bible refers to both Israel and the Church (Isaiah 45:4, Isaiah 65:9, Matthew 24:31, 1 Peter 1:2, Colosians 3:12). However, Jeremiah 9:25-26 suggests that Israel (and not the Church) will be the elect entity that must endure the great tribulation. Therefore, since the Church is already in heaven attending the Wedding that occurs during the great tribulation (Revelation 19:7-8); and since God said that in that day (when Christ returns in wrath), no Jew would be left outside Israel: “I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them [among other nations] any more” (Ezekiel 39:28, cf. Isaiah 27:12; Amos 9:9); it seems reasonable to interpret Matthew 24:31 in light of God’s promise to gather Israel from all ends of the earth.
John says:
The “hagios” issue notwithstanding, I think I gave a Scripturally faithful description of the “day of the Lord”, and how the tribulation cannot be the “wrath” which we’re “not appointed to”. Have you considered these important points?
James says:
I have considered your points. Some I am clear on and others (like your 2 Thess 2 explanation) still elude me. In regards to your comments about our being appointed to endure the tribulation, I wrote a blog entitled (Four reasons why Isaiah 26:19-21 refers to the Rapture – https://christpluszero.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/four-reasons-why-isaiah-2619-21-refers-to-the-rapture/) where I explain why I believe that this passage affirms God’s intent that we escape the wrath that He has prepared specifically for those that have disregarded and disobeyed His loving truth. Have you considered this passage?

John says:

James, I would recommend that you examine 1 Thess 3:13 further:

1 Thessalonians 3:13- “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints (“hagios”).”

That verse would make no sense if we’re the “hagios” who come back with the Lord at His second coming. Otherwise, why would Paul need to pray for our hearts to be made “unblameable” at that time? Weren’t they made “unblameable” seven years prior (at a “pretrib rapture”)? No, the only way that verse makes any sense is if we’re here when the Lord comes back with His “holy ones” (see Matthew 25:31). Then it makes all the sense in the world for Paul to be praying for our hearts to be made “unblameable”…”at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

Do you see the point?

James says:

I do not see a problem with the idea that our hearts will be established unblameable in holiness before God at Christ’s coming with all his saints (and angels – c.f. 2Th 1:7). Why must this occur at the pretrib rapture? Yes, we get resurrected bodies at the rapture but why must that include the “establishing of our hearts as unblameable and holy?” God can do whatever He wants when he wants and this verse appears to suggest that our hearts will be established when we come back with Christ. No problem there. Unfortunately, the greek word “hagios” can never produce a noun interpretation of angel; such a deviation from the semantic range of a word would allow us to practically interpret the bible to say anything.