• Muslims, Christians and No True Scotsmen

    The No True Scotsman fallacy is a well-used fallacy in debates about religion with religionists. As wiki defines:

    No true Scotsman is an informal fallacy, an ad hoc attempt to retain an unreasoned assertion.[1] When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

    The use of the term was advanced by British philosopher Antony Flew:

    Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”. Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about anAberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.[2]

    When the statement “all A are B” is qualified like this to exclude those A which are not B, this is a form of begging the question; the conclusion is assumed by the definition of “true A“.

    The defence of accusations against Christians for X, Y and Z is often “well, that person cannot really be called a Christian”. Which leads on to calls for a usable definition of Christianity, which then entails Christianity being defined (in arguably an obvious manner) with precisely the denomination or worldview that is held by the person you are arguing with.

    Let’s put this in a famous context:

    For the past two nights on his Fox News show, Bill O’Reilly has been expressing his offense at the idea that Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect in last Friday’s terror attacks in Norway, is being described by the media as a Christian.

    On Monday night’s show, O’Reilly was outraged that The New York Times described Breivik as a “Christian extremist” in a page-one headline, declaring that being an “anti-Muslim bigot” is what drove him, “not Jesus, not being baptized.” O’Reilly went on to assert that this was part of “a movement in the American media to diminish and marginalize the Christian philosophy.” Later in the show, O’Reilly said the Times‘ headline was done to “give jihadists quarter or something like that, diminish the threat of them,” asserting that “the liberal media is so protective of extreme Islam, when it hates the left. … At The New York Times, they would all be hung.”

    O’Reilly continued his obsession on Tuesday’s show during a segment with The Washington Post‘s Sally Quinn. As Quinn pointed out that Breivik called himself a Christian, invoked the name of Jesus and discussed the nature of his faith, O’Reilly insisted that “there’s no evidence that ties this guy to Christianity,” dismissing Breivik’s self-description by claiming that “Mussolini called himself a Christian.”

    Unfortunately for O’Reilly, while Breivik may not be a Christian in an orthodox American way, he clearly identifies as one. As Salon’s Alex Pareene details:

    Breivik chose to be baptized at age 15. He self-identified as “Christian” on his Facebook page. He thought “Christianity should recombine under the banner of a reconstituted and traditionalist Catholic Church” or, later, under a new (traditionalist) European Church.

    Breivik is not an American-style evangelical Christian. He is not a “fundamentalist” in that sense. Though he does identify with American cultural Christian conservatives. And he considers himself to be fighting in the name of “our Christian cultural heritage.” He supports a reconstituted Knights Templar devoted to winning a war against Islam in the name of Christianity.

    All of this says “Christian terrorist.” His goals — the restoration of a pure Christian world in its “traditional” home — were analogous to the stated of goals of al-Qaida.

    Does he go to church? Does he believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ? Is he a biblical literalist? I have no idea. There’s plenty about him that would lead a devout Christian to consider Breivik “not a ‘real’ Christian.” Here’s the thing about that: The same is true of all self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of terrorism.

    He’s a sick perversion of Christianity, sure. But if he “doesn’t count” as a Christian solely because no one this evil should “count” as a Christian (which is O’Reilly’s other argument — “no one believing in Jesus commits mass murder,” he said) then no terrorist should “count” as a representative of his faith.

    But O’Reilly wasn’t done. He went on to invoke the “No True Scotsman” fallacy (as others have), essentially claiming that Breivik couldn’t be a Christian because “they’re nonviolent.” When Quinn noted that most Muslims would not consider accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan a Muslim, O’Reilly objected: “I’m not saying he was a good Muslim. I’m saying that he was a Muslim terrorist because he carried a business card that said ‘Soldier of Allah,’ and he committed his crimes in the name of Allah.” He added, “The guy in Fort Hood, he was acting in the name of his religion. He killed because he believed that Allah told him to kill. The guy in Norway didn’t kill because he thinks Jesus wanted him to kill those people. Jesus had nothing to do with it. He wasn’t even cited. And using the word ‘Christian’ to label this guy is dishonest.”

    O’Reilly is trying to have it both ways here. He presumes that Hasan and other Islamic extremists are Muslim because they claim to be committing their terrorist acts in the name of Allah, but he insists that Breivik — who considers himself a Christian and has clearly stated that he committed his terrorist acts in the name of restoring a Christian Europe — couldn’t possibly be a Christian because he didn’t behave like an orthodox Christian. It’s a clear double standard.

    O’Reilly got in one final, surprisingly mean dig at the end of the segment. When Quinn reiterated her argument that you should take someone at their word on what religion they identify with, O’Reilly retorted, “Benito Mussolini would have liked you, Miss Quinn, that’s for sure, because that’s what he was doing.”

    And this is what happens when Christians are accused of doing bad things. They are not true Christians.

    But ISLAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well, of course, EVERY vile and violent act committed by a Muslim is BECAUSE they are Muslim, naturally….

    And Bill O’Reilly appears to be the first to claim this. What I would like to do here is to bring in some psychological research to quantify this fallacious cognitive behaviour.

    From a recent survey at the Public Religion Research Institute:

    Americans employ a double standard when evaluating violence committed by self-identified Christians and Muslims.

    More than 8-in-10 (83 percent) Americans say that self-proclaimed Christians who commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity are not really Christians. In contrast, less than half (48 percent) of Americans say that self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam are not really Muslims.

    /images/managed/gowsmall.jpg

    Wow. I mean, wow. If that is not fallacious reasoning, then I’m Lady Gaga. For a superb piece of cognitive gerrymandering, see Norway’s conservative Pro Deutschland group who said:

    As Christians and Conservatives, we want to express solidarity with the victims of the attacks of July 22. The hate that is driving Islamic assassins and fanatic individuals a la…Breivik is foreign to Christians and Conservatives.

    So Breivik is no longer Christian, he is merely a “fanatic individual” and, not only that, but STILL Islam is somehow brought into culpability or association! This is the No True Scotsman 2.0 fallacy!

    Christian conservative commentator and well-known idiot, Glenn Beck, offered his own cognitive dissonance, this time in partly justifying the shooting by ‘otherising’ the victims, comparing them to the Hitler Youth:

    “There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing.”

    Our very own commenter here, JohnM, does the same:

    A common ignorance among the masses. But no… There is no such thing as anti-Semitic Christians. Jesus is Jewish. He’s the lion of the tribe of Judah. If you don’t love Jews, then you’re not Christian. Being anti-Semitic automatically disqualifies you as a follower of Christ. You cannot love Christ and hate Christ at the same time. Source

    I could have picked out more, but you get the point. This all reflects in-group and out-group cognitive biases. And if one finds someone in their in-group doing something horrible, cognitive dissonance will try to place that person not in the in-group, but in the out-group. Breivik is turned from an in-group Christian into an out-group “fanatic individual” with a neat cognitive side-step.

    We know from the work of Blogowska, for example, that as soon as people switch from in-group to out-group or sympathy fro them diminishes. This is known as limited prosociality (kindness) and affects the way particularly fundamentalists view the world and those around them. For instance, fundamentalist subjects were asked about a woman falling asleep and having her stuff stolen. When asked how sympathetic they were to this woman, subjects reacted sympathetically to the woman, but far less to her if she had been seen to be reading some feminist literature. Yes, all feminists are evil, obviously.

    As Blogowska’s paper states:

    Two distinct research traditions have established that (a) religiosity implies prosocial tendencies, though limited to proximal targets, and (b) religious fundamentalism (RF) relates to prejudice, often because of underlying right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). Through two studies, we investigated the idea that RF, due to underlying religiosity, also predicts prosociality that is limited to proximal rather than distal targets. Specifically, we found that RF, unlike RWA and because of religiosity, predicted prosociality towards a nonfeminist but not a feminist target in need (Experiment 1) and willingness to help friends but not unknown people in need in the same hypothetical situations (Experiment 2). Moreover, like RWA, RF implied negative attitudes towards the feminist. This limited, not extended, prosociality of people scoring high on RF was in contrast with their self-perceptions of being universally altruistic. Fundamentalism seems to combine religiosity’s qualities (in-group prosociality) with authoritarianism’s defects (out-group derogation).

    What is interesting is that religious fundamentalists tend to be more likely to help people they know than to help strangers. These RFs rate themselves higher than the control group as being universally prosocial, but this does not tally with their actual beliefs and actions. In other words, though they see themselves as morally virtuous and altruistic, they are far more likely to only be kind to their in-group – other RFs. Or, Good Samaritan, Schmood Schamaritan. Religion seems to be more likely to delude people in their own understanding of themselves and their interactions with others.

    So what can we learn from this? Jesus wasn’t Scottish? Perhaps. More likely that we have learnt that perhaps no one can be a Christian, if Jesus is the only Christian in conception. Or perhaps we have learnt that everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian. Because anywhere in between is nothing short of special pleading, no?

     

    For more information on these ideas, check out the excellent podcasts from Reasonable Doubts here and here.

    Category: MoralityPsychology

    Tags:

    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    One Pingback/Trackback

    • JohnM

      Isn’t this just guilt by association tactics?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

      I mean… What does it say about the christian faith, that people who call themselves followers of Christ, does this or that? What does it say about all Atheists, that people who call themselves atheist, does this or that?

      If Breivik is a follower of Christ, then Stalin must be a prime example of what a rational atheist are like, right? Do you know how many atheist throws a hissy fit, if you refer to Stalin and Pol pot, as atheist terrorists? And yes, I speak from experience :P

      • John Grove

        JohnM,
        Being an atheist doesn’t make one “rational”. It simply says they reject theism. So no, most if not all freethinkers would not call Stalin or Pol Pot “rational atheist(s)”. They would probably admit they were atheist, but they were not in any way “rational”.

        • JohnM

          So he wasn’t “a rational atheist” TM, huh? Time to bring out the no true Scotsman :P

          Nah, I understand what you’re saying.. But why does people say Breivik the follower of christ.. or Stalin the ateist.. or Osama the muslim ? Well because they are trying to make some of what those persons did, become associated with either muslims, atheists or christians.

          • John Grove

            Well, for one thing, Christianity and Islam have terrible pasts. In fact have you ever read, “The Dark Side of Christianity”? A large percentage of Christians have done terrible things and have claimed biblical support for them. And MANY within Islam have done and are still doing terrible things based on their understanding of holy writ. Slavery was defended by a large percentage of Christians.

            So, in my estimation, it is because “belief” and “faith” to quote Sam Harris allows people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own.

            • JohnM

              John Grove said : Well, for one thing, Christianity and Islam have terrible pasts.

              And atheism does not? Just think about what Kim Jong did in North Korea..

              Ahh, the wonders of No True Scotsmen…

            • 1) John Grove did not say that.
              2) You seem to misunderstand the NTS fallacy.

            • JohnM

              It’s not a matter of what he said. It’s a matter of what he left out.

              And just on a sidenote… I’m not trolling as such. I’m attempting to show, how silly I think it is, to invoke the No True Scotsman.

            • John Grove

              The difference being is that believers do bad things *because* of things they understood in holy writ. No one has ever done bad things because of their lack of belief in any deity. They have done it for other reasons, usually political or other ideological. But saying someone kills in the name of atheism is a misnomer. Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil things, in the name of atheism.

            • Absolutely, John. It’s the political ideology which shapes things. I think there is evidence to show that belief worldview kow tows to political ideology. In other words, people do bad things not because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, but because of their expressions of politics.

            • JohnM

              JohnG said : No one has ever done bad things because of their lack of belief in any deity.

              When people believe that they can get away with it, it tends to have the opposite effect. You don’t think, that their lack of belief in a judgement after death, would have made it easier for them to talk themselves into doing horrible things?

            • Brilliant. You walked into that one. The classic.

              So, Christians do things not out of moral (intrinsic) good, but because it will get them to heaven or away from hell. Self-interest.

              I read a great essay on this once, but don;t know where it is. Christians cannot untangle their own moral decisions from their own self-interest.

            • JohnM

              Yes, people act out of Self-interest in general. If they didn’t, there would be no point in having a legal system, with jails and fines.

              People are not generally good. People generally are wicked. What keeps most people civil, is the thought of going to jail for breaking the law. It’s not that they are so nice people, that they wouldn’t consider breaking the law, if they could get away with it.

              And most people who claims to be Christians, are no different. They still live by their lust and desires for the things of this world.

            • You can never really tell whether a Christian is doing good for the sake of being good, or whether it is (subconsciously) connected to their notions of having and hell.

              Morality, for the Christian, isn’t just about having strings attached. It’s about having the biggest ropes known to human conception (heaven and hell are respectively the best and worst scenarios in human conception).

              Life for the Christian is the world’s biggest bribe.

            • JohnM

              There is a real difference between asking forgives, because you just want to avoid punishment, and asking forgiveness because you really are sorry and repent of your actions. And unlike you and me, God can judge peoples heart.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I repeat my question, you said:

              People are not generally good. People generally are wicked. What keeps most people civil, is the thought of going to jail for breaking the law.

              Does “most people” include you ?
              If it does – why do you project your own inadequacies on others? If it doesn´t – why do you think this statement of yours is true?

              There is a real difference between asking forgives, because you just want to avoid punishment, and asking forgiveness because you really are sorry and repent of your actions. And unlike you and me, God can judge peoples heart.

              Does that mean that all those people you described before, which only avoid wicked actions because they are afraid of punishment, will necessarily go to hell no matter what they do, because God will know whether they are just asking for forgiveness because they are afraid of hell?
              If not, how exactly does one change from a person that only avoids wicked actions because of (s)he is afraid of punishment, to a person that does not commit wicked actions because s(he) genuinely believes that this is the right thing to do?

            • JohnM

              If you want something, then fear is only a temporary setback.

              If you want to avoid something on the long term, then something has to change.

            • Andy_Schueler

              If you want to avoid something on the long term, then something has to change.

              Does that mean that all those people you described before, which only avoid wicked actions because they are afraid of punishment, will necessarily go to hell no matter what they do, because God will know whether they are just asking for forgiveness because they are afraid of hell?
              If not, how exactly does one change from a person that only avoids wicked actions because of (s)he is afraid of punishment, to a person that does not commit wicked actions because s(he) genuinely believes that this is the right thing to do?

            • This may have a ring of truth, though it does not help your position.

              Gao et al (2009) found that children at age 3 with poor fear conditioning went on to be criminals (to phrase it simplistically). In other words, fear of consequences DOES inform our behaviour. This, however, affects the Christians in two ways.

              1) it further, or more hugely, blurs morality and fear of consequences – doing it for the RIGHT reason as opposed to for the reward / lack of punishment.
              2) this is further evidence of a lack of free will. People’s physiological disposition to fear sensitivity informs their behaviour. Not their ‘magical’ will.

            • JohnM

              Maybe fear is a bad word.. I guess it’s more like a risk.. After all you may not get caught running a red light.. And you may not crash.. And so for a lot of people, it becomes a risk evaluation.. Can they get away with it? Rather than a moral issue of it being right / wrong to run a red light.

              Then comes the question of free will. Say.. What if I knew for certain, that someone would be shot dad by the government for talking about Christ… That is of course something that I would think about the consequences of.. And consider the risk of paying that price.. But would I still be able to do so anyway? Or would the fear and risk of being killed, mean that I had no choice but to shut up?

            • Andy_Schueler

              People are not generally good. People generally are wicked. What keeps most people civil, is the thought of going to jail for breaking the law.

              Does “most people” include you ?

            • JohnM

              All people have different temptations and challenges, that they do battle with their flesh about. For some it’s drugs, others it’s alcohol or women.. The list is long.

              If you’re an addict of something, and most people are, it’s always there. Part of you crave it. The other part says “I’m not going back there”. And one of the two sides, wins the battle.

            • Andy_Schueler

              You didn´t answer my question.
              you said:

              People are not generally good. People generally are wicked. What keeps most people civil, is the thought of going to jail for breaking the law.

              Does “most people” include you ?

              If it does – why do you project your own inadequacies on others? If it doesn´t – why do you think this statement of yours is true?

            • JohnM

              Jails and fines works. That’s why we have them. And yes it includes me.

              Whenever I drive for example, I tend to keep the speed limit.. Not because I’m afraid of crashing the car.. But because I would hate to get another ticket.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Jails and fines works. That’s why we have them. And yes it includes me.

              I hate moralizing and I hate this “better-than-thou” attitude of many christians (particularly catholics) but still:
              I never wanted to commit any action that would be punishable by prison time and didn´t do it because I was afraid of going to jail. And the same applies to all of the people I know personally.
              We need jails not because they have a deterrent effect on putative criminals – the expectation of punishment is very ineffective in doing that (if effective at all). The “tough-on-crime” attitude – including longer prison times does not translate to lower crime rates and not even the death penalty leads to lower crime rates!
              We need jails for the rehabilitation of people that became criminals due to substance abuse, poverty etc. and to protect society from the tiny fraction of people who are sociopaths and / or have no impulse control.

              Whenever I drive for example, I tend to keep the speed limit.. Not because I’m afraid of crashing the car.. But because I would hate to get another ticket.

              Alright, so lets assume jails didn´t exist – which crimes would you then commit, that you currently do not because you are afraid of jail time? Rape? Theft? Murder?

            • John Grove

              JohnM,

              Do ALL Christians ALWAYS walk in the footsteps of Christ?

              if (yes){
              //then they are sinless like Christ
              }
              else{
              //can they still be called Christian? If so, you are admitting that not all Christians always walk in the footsteps of Christ. Yet they are still Christian, which defeats your point.

              }

            • JohnM

              var Path = 1;
              var Time = 0;
              var ChristsPath = 1;

              function CheckPath(){

              while (Time < Time+1 && Path == 1)
              {

              if(Path == ChristsPath){

              $("#Status").text('Christian');

              } else {

              Path = 0;
              $("#Status").text('No longer – Ender after ' + Time);
              Time = 0;
              Repent();

              }

              }

              }

              function Repent(){

              if (confirm('Want another try?')) {

              $("#Status").text('Christian');
              Path = 1;
              CheckPath();

              } else {

              $("#Status").text('Lost sheep');

              }

              }

            • John Grove

              So judging by your method, if a Christian doesn’t repent for any unconfessed sins they are lost? So, I take it eternal security is not a doctrine you subscribe to. But, since you often mock Calvinists, you must think that salvation is not of God, but of the believers “choice” to utilize his “free will” to accept the very thing the bible says he cannot do and does not seek as a natural man.

              Brilliant. According to you the Christian must be in essence “sinless” because the clock is ticking and he has any un-confessed sins, beware because the judgement is a coming..You worship this?

            • JohnM

              No I don’t subscribe to Perseverance of the saints. I believe that Jesus told us to stick to the narrow road for a reason. And that we actually can get lost and start walking on the broad road. And yes I do think that we must ourselves, approach God and ask him to come into our heart. And no I don’t think that salvation is of works. Nothing we could ever do, could undo our sin. Jesus is salvation.But I think that we’ve had this talk before. :)

            • John Grove

              I see, so when Christ said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”, according to you Christ misspoke? If a believer is held by his own deeds and confessions, than salvation is not of God but of man.

              The bible says that a man is saved by faith and THAT (that is the faith) is not of yourself, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. The faith that God gives is a gift. But according to you a person who has been born again can also be lost again?

              Interesting, so can a born again person be born again and again? A born again person can be plucked out of the Fathers hand? Does Christ give temporal life and not eternal life? Contingent on their holding out faithful to the end?

            • JohnM

              JohnG said : I see, so when Christ said, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”, according to you Christ misspoke?

              No, he was just talking about the things to come. None of them had suffered the first death yet. And all who have sinned, shall suffer the first death. Because the wages of sin is death. Eternal life, is not in this life, but the next.

              JohnG said : The bible says that a man is saved by faith and THAT (that is the faith) is not of yourself, it is a gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.

              That’s right. We are all sinners. Nobody can boast. But that doesn’t mean, that you won’t have to things.. Such as repent and follow Christ.

              JohnG said : The faith that God gives is a gift. But according to you a person who has been born again can also be lost again?

              Matthew 10:33
              But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

              JohnG said : Interesting, so can a born again person be born again and again?

              There is a baptism of water… and a baptism of fire. And neither needs repeating.

              A born again person can be plucked out of the Fathers hand?

              Matthew 10:33
              But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

              JohnG said : Does Christ give temporal life and not eternal life?

              If Jesus granted eternal life, in this life, how could any of his disciples die? The question is not what is given, but when it’s given.

            • Andy_Schueler

              But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

              This seems to be one of the verses where the Jesus character sounds like an abusive husband – “love me or else
              He was much more likeable in Matthew 19 and 25 for example.

            • John Grove

              [[No, he was just talking about the things to come]]

              He said “I give (present tense) unto them eternal life”

              [[But that doesn’t mean, that you won’t have to things.. Such as repent and follow Christ]]

              Election, according to the Bible makes this possible. Therein is the difference you fail to acknowledge.

              You quote Matthew 10:33 to refute all the verses of eternal security and your rationale is, “If Jesus granted eternal life, in this life, how could any of his disciples die?”.

              Well first of all, I think the bible is BS, but I am trying to show you how weak your hermeneutics are. So let me humor you. In God’s eyes, salvation is a done deal vicariously paid for by Christ. That means that the death of Jesus actually secured the salvation of it’s elect. So it is impossible to lose any of them. For if they could be lost, than the cross was ineffective. The difference being that most reformers believe that that the atonement paid the price and secured the salvation of its elect. Any other doctrine (except universalism) does not believe the cross did anything except make salvation a possibility.

              John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

              So if the Father gave Jesus his elect and said his elect will come to him and they will not be cast out, what does this tell you about Matthew 10:33? It tells you smart guy that these people here were not believers.

              John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

              John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than
              all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

              So if a person disowns Christ are they his sheep? He said here that his sheep hear his voice and follow him? Peter disowned Jesus three times. Was he still Christ’s sheep?

              You make me laugh with your naivete and schoolboy ignorance. You lack the erudition to understand scientific truths. You do not comprehend the very book you hold to be the word of God by any measure. Yet, you have this drive to press home your sectarianism.

            • JohnM

              JohnG said : You quote Matthew 10:33 to refute all the verses of eternal security

              And by eternal security, you mean a licence to sin, without consequences.

              Jesus never gave such a licence. You have been deceived by evil men, preaching falsehood, to people who hare only too happy to listen to them.

              Matthew 7 : 21-23
              Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

              Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly : I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.

              JohnG said : He said “I give (present tense) unto them eternal life”

              Eternal life, before the first death?

              Everyone shall suffer the first death. And only afterwards comes the judgement.

              Hebrews 9:27
              it is appointed unto men to die once , and after that to face judgment

              This applies to all men, including Christians

              2 Corinthians 5:10
              For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

            • John Grove

              [[And by eternal security, you mean a [sic]licence to sin, without consequences.]]

              Jesus said his sheep hear his voice and follow him. As for Matthew 7:21-23, do you somehow surmise that a person who does not seek God, is dead in trespasses and sins and incapable of understanding spiritual things are believers who were purchased by Jesus? The verse is talking about fakers, posers.

              [[Eternal life, before the first death?]]

              Eternal life “promised” right there and then. Doctrinally, it will be realized in resurrection. But positionally, it is a promise.

              [[This applies to all men, including Christians]]

              You cite 2 Cor 5:10 as if a believer can lose salvation? You are joking right?

            • JohnM

              Matthew 7:19
              Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

              Romans 11: 17 – 22
              If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you will also be cut off.

            • John Grove

              Let me also show a huge dispensational misunderstanding that JohnM fails to realize as well. He uses Matthew 10 to prove that a believer can be unplucked from the Fathers hand, removed from election, removed from being Christ’s sheep, have his eternal life taken from him, etc..

              Matthew 10:7, Jesus told the 12:

              “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”

              If JohnM thinks this is dispensationally valid, why doesn’t he cleanse lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils? How does this teaching square with Paul’s dispensation of the mystery of the body? To confound this with the gospel of the grace of God is as wild as you can get without falling out the backside of the boat. But it does show you how fundamentally shallow his views of the Bible are. And he is the supposed Bible believer?

              Notice he also says, “There is a baptism of water… and a baptism of fire. And neither needs repeating.”

              Does not Paul say that in this current dispensation there is only “one” baptism? And it is neither water or fire but spirit. Also, he confuses the book of Matthew with the Pauline epistles. Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

              Notice carefully, “..teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”.

              What were some of these things? The legalism of Matt. 28:20 (cf. 23:1-3),
              the baptismal salvation and miraculous signs of Mark 16:16-18, the “Jerusalem first” of Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:8, and the authority to remit sins in John 20:22,23

              1. Under this commission the apostles were sent to the nation Israel
              exclusively (Matt. 10:5,6, cf. 15:24 and Rom. 15:8).

              2. Under this commission the kingdom was to be proclaimed “at hand” (Matt.
              10:7).

              3. Under this commission the apostles were given miraculous powers (Matt.
              10:8).

              4. Under this commission they were not to lay up provisions for the future
              (Matt. 10:8-10, cf. 5:42, Luke 12:32,33).

              5. Under this commission repentance and baptism were required for the
              remission of sins. It is clear that the apostles, like John the Baptist, proclaimed the kingdom and required repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (See Mark 1:4 and cf. John 4:1,2).

              Sound anything like what Paul preached at all?

            • JohnM

              JohnG said : Let me also show a huge dispensational misunderstanding that JohnM fails to realize as well. He uses Matthew 10 to prove that a believer can be unplucked from the Fathers hand, removed from election, removed from being Christ’s sheep, have his eternal life taken from him

              There are more verses where that came from..

              2 Timothy 2 : 12
              if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us

              Revelation 22 : 19
              And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

              JohnG said : Matthew 10:7, Jesus told the 12

              What they had freely received, was the gospel.

              JohnG said : Does not Paul say that in this current dispensation there is only “one” baptism? And it is neither water or fire but spirit.

              Matthew 3:11
              John the Baptist : “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

              Water = Repentance
              Fire = Holyspirit

              JohnG said : Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

              And there he’s talking about the baptism of repentance. Which is not to be confused with what happened at Pentecost.

              Acts 2:38
              Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

              Repent and be (water) baptised. Then you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ( baptism of fire ).

              Acts 2 : 3-4
              They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

            • John Grove

              JohnM,
              Quoting verses you do not understand doesn’t help your position. It merely shows how you ignore the context.

              1. II Tim 2:12

              Note, it is appealing believers to endure hardship. It is not talking about losing salvation. In fact, why didn’t you quote the very next verse? It says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”. Paul is simply urging Timothy to endure for the cause of Christ.

              2. Rev 22:19

              This has to do with a tribulation passage which is in a different dispensation. You say the twelve “had freely received the gospel”. No, they did not even understand some of the things Paul’s letter contained. THe gospel Paul preached was given to Paul NOT the twelve.

              “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery…..That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel”

              How could Peter been preaching that? Impossible.

              3. Matthew 3:11

              Note, this verse is before Paul had gotten the revelation of the mystery. And second you say:

              Water = Repentance
              Fire = Holyspirit

              No, water = water, fire = fire. Note that at this time the gospel of the kingdom was being preached NOT the gospel of the grace of God or the mystery of the one body. You are in gross error. And also, John the Baptist is discussing TWO baptisms. One, which believers will have (Holy Spirit) and one which unbelievers will have (Fire).

              4. Acts 2:38

              To confound Simon Peter’s pentecostal “Jewish” message to Israel! with the Pauline doctrine of the gospel of the grace of God shows you are totally incapable of interpreting any passage of the Bible. BTW, at this time, water baptism was required. When Paul got the revelation of the mystery, it was not. Again, dispensational passages you just don’t understand.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Do you believe that you will have libertarian free will in heaven?

            • John Grove
            • JohnM

              Yes, but evil will be no more, at that point in time, according to the bible.

            • Andy_Schueler

              So, why will humans never sin in heaven, despite having libertarian free will, but inevitably sin on earth?

            • JohnM

              Fallen creatures on earth. New resurrection body in heaven.

            • Andy_Schueler

              You believe that sin entered “God´s perfect creation” due to men´s actions. Why was this possible in “God´s perfect creation A” (=earth) but is impossible in “God´s perfect creation b” (=heaven)?
              If it is because “evil no longer exists”, why was the existence of evil ever possible in the first place if free will does not inevitably lead to sin/evil?

            • JohnM

              There will be no tree of ( such ) knowledge, and no snake in the garden.

            • Andy_Schueler

              There will be no tree of ( such ) knowledge, and no snake in the garden.

              This doesn´t answer my question.
              Why was evil possible in “God´s perfect creation A” (=earth) but is impossible in “God´s perfect creation B” (=heaven)?
              If it is because magic trees + magic snakes are not available in heaven, how could creation A (=earth) have been “perfect” although it did include magic tree + magic snake?

            • JohnM

              If it is because “evil no longer exists”, why was the existence of evil ever possible in the first place if free will does not inevitably lead to sin/evil?

              Satan is the father of lies. The one who iniquity were first found in.

              God created Lucifer, that was his creation. Lucifer created Satan, though mutations.

              And Satan, introduced the others, and told them the ancient lie.. THat was his contribution to the creation.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Satan is the father of lies. The one who iniquity were first found in.

              God created Lucifer, that was his creation. Lucifer created Satan, though mutations.

              And Satan, introduced the others, and told them the ancient lie.. THat was his contribution to the creation.

              Alright, so your God:
              1. Created “Lucifer”.
              2. Allowed “Lucifer” to become evil and did NOT use his magic super powers to remove Lucifer from creation.
              3. Allowed “Lucifer” to fuck up his allegedly “perfect creation” completely.
              4. Punishes humans for his own incompetence (see 1-3)
              5. Has the audacity to demand “repentance” from others for the stuff HE fucked up.

              You have just admitted that “Gods perfect creation” was in fact not “perfect”, it was fucked up by design.

            • JohnM

              If you take a chair, and break two of the legs with an axe… Is it now horrible to sit on, because of bad design? No. The designer never intended it to be used with two broken legs. He designed it to be used, with all 4 legs intact.

              As for Lucifer, the Morning star.. The Light-bringer.. Isaiah 14:12-14 tells us what we need to know.

            • Andy_Schueler

              You said God´s creation was “perfect”. “Lucifer” was allegedly part of God´s creation and Lucifer wasn´t “perfect”, ergo, your claim cannot be true.

              Also, I asked you:
              “please provide the specific Bible verses that imply that “Satan” and “Lucifer” are two different beings and that “Lucifer” created “Satan” through “mutations” (what exactly is the hebrew word for “mutation”?)”

              Isaiah 14:12-14 does not address these questions in any way, shape or form.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : You said God´s creation was “perfect”. “Lucifer” was allegedly part of God´s creation and Lucifer wasn´t “perfect”

              Ezekiel 28 starts out by addressing the puppet, but soon turn its attention to the puppet-master. Someone who is obviously not human.

              Ezekiel 28 : 14-17
              You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

              Paul too speaks about the puppets and the puppet-masters:

              Ephesians 6 : 12
              For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

            • Andy_Schueler

              So, Lucifer was able to sin, meaning that he wasn´t perfect, meaning that God fucked up his creation.
              And you cannot use a free-will excuse to explain Lucifers fall, because you already claimed that we will have free will in heaven – but no “knowledge of evil” / no “father of lies” – and there will thus be no evil in heaven, despite free will.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : you argue that God´s creation was “perfect” and free of “sin” / “evil”.

              Genesis 1:31
              God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

              Andy said : Yet you argue as well that “Lucifer” was part of God´s creation and “Lucifer” was not “free of evil” – which is a contradiction

              From the day he was created, he was blameless in his ways … UNTILL wickedness was found in him. Evil takes stage, after creation is complete, though the agency of Satan.

              Andy said : which is a contradiction, if “Lucifer” was part of God´s creation, his creation cannot have been good

              It was good. And then it became corrupted. The snake and the fall.

              Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that something which is perfect, cannot be corrupted or destroyed.

              Truth is perfection, which is good and righteous.

              A half truth, is a contaminated product of inferior truth quality.

              And a lie, is the absence of truth. And therefore evil.

              How does one get from good truth to evil lie? One leaves out the good part.

              So you see.. One does not create a lie. Rather, one takes truth, and corrupts / destroyed it, to get a product of untruth a deceit..

              Andy said : So why did God create “Lucifer” with “knowledge of evil”

              You don’t create a smashed vase. You take a flawless vase, and smash it.

              Just like you don’t create evil. Evil is the absence of that which is good and just.

              God is the creator of the universe. And Satan is the father of lies.. the root of all evils.

            • JohnM

              Also :

              Andy said : this makes also no sense because you argued that there will be no “sin” / no “evil” in heaven, despite humans having free will.

              That was in relation to the future, when evil has been destroyed. Creation is the past.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Genesis 1:31

              God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

              Quoting the Bible doesn´t make the contradictions go away.

              From the day he was created, he was blameless in his ways … UNTILL wickedness was found in him. Evil takes stage, after creation is complete, though the agency of Satan.

              So God created him with “knowledge of evil” – which was completely unnecessary (you argue that none of the people that go to heaven will have “knowledge of evil” and will therefore never sin – meaning that the same could have been true for Lucifer). Ergo, God fucked up.

              Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that something which is perfect, cannot be corrupted or destroyed.

              Yet you argue that there will be no evil / sin in heaven, make up your mind – either God can create a world in which “free will” can exit, but “evil / sin” is impossible, or he cannot – it cannot be both,

              Just like you don’t create evil. Evil is the absence of that which is good and just.God is the creator of the universe.

              And Satan is the father of lies.. the root of all evils.

              You argued that we will never sin in heaven because there will be no “knowledge of evil”. God could have created Lucifer without “knowledge of evil”, he didn´t – ergo, he fucked up.

              Andy : this makes also no sense because you argued that there will be no “sin” / no “evil” in heaven, despite humans having free will.

              JohnM: That was in relation to the future, when evil has been destroyed. Creation is the past.

              In your fantasy world, the very existence of evil is only possible if God grants knowledge of evil – and you believe that this knowlegde is not necessary because no one in heaven will have “knowledge of evil”.
              Ergo, creating anything with “knowledge of evil” is the ultimate cause of the existence of evil – meaning that within your fantasy world, the blame for the existence of evil rests on Yahweh, and no one else.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : So God created him with “knowledge of evil”

              No. What God created was good.

              Andy said : Yet you argue that there will be no evil / sin in heaven

              When death and evil are destroyed…

              Andy said : You argued that we will never sin in heaven because there will be no “knowledge of evil”.

              No, is said: “If evil has been destroyed, then that option is gone.”

              Andy said : God could have created Lucifer without “knowledge of evil”

              God created Lucifer as a perfect being, blameless in his ways … UNTILL wickedness was found in him. He himself gained “knowledge of evil” as you call it, which really is knowledge of abstaining from doing good.

              Andy said : and you believe that this knowlegde is not necessary because no one in heaven will have “knowledge of evil”.

              Knowledge of evil is not necessary. The world was perfect, UNTILL wickedness was found in Lucifer / Satan.

              Andy said : Ergo, creating anything with “knowledge of evil” is the ultimate cause of the existence of evil

              You don’t create evil or cause evil, as such. You refrain from doing good, and that is evil.

              Evil is the absence of good. And you get there, by taking something good, which has been created, and destroying / corrupting it.

            • Andy_Schueler

              JohnM,
              I started out by asking you two things:
              1. Will there be libertarian free will in heaven?
              2. Is “Sin / Evil” possible in heaven? And if not, why not?
              You replied affirmative to question 1, and you argued that there can be no “evil / sin” in heaven because there will be “no tree” (= no “knowledge of evil”) and “no snake” =(no “Satan”, no “Father of lies”).

              So, unless you are willing to retract those statements, this inevitably leads us to these conclusions:
              c1: It is possible to create a world in which there are beings with “free will”, but “evil / sin” is impossible.
              c2: Lucifer could never have sinned without “knowledge of evil” (if you disagree, you have to retract your claim 2 above first, and come up with a new explanation for why there can be no “evil / sin” in heaven).
              c3: Yahweh chose to create Lucifer in a way that made it possible for him to become corrupt. And he didn´t have to do that (see your claim 2 and conclusion 1).
              c4: Yahweh´s creation was fucked up by design.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : Yahweh chose to create Lucifer in a way that made it possible for him to become corrupt.

              Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that something which is perfect, cannot be corrupted or destroyed.

              Truth is perfection, which is good and righteous.

              A half truth, is a contaminated product of inferior truth quality.

              And a lie, is the absence of truth. And therefore evil.

              Andy said : Yahweh´s creation was fucked up by design.

              No, the world was perfect and good. And then sin entered the world, though man, who listened to the snake, the great deceiver, the father of lies. Who was created blameless, but corrupted his wisdom and sinned, by rebelling against God and leading the world astray.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that something which is perfect, cannot be corrupted or destroyed.

              Yet you claimed that “evil / sin” cannot enter heaven. Meaning that this claim of yours cannot be universally true, and Yahweh can create a world where IT DOES NOT APPLY.
              Make up your mind, either Yahweh can create such a world, or he cannot – it cannot be both,

              No, the world was perfect and good. And then sin entered the world, though man, who listened to the snake, the great deceiver, the father of lies. Who was created blameless, but corrupted his wisdom and sinned, by rebelling against God and leading the world astray.

              So you claim that creation was:
              a) perfectly good.
              b) contained a “father of lies” who fucked everything up.
              Those claims are inconsistent.
              And again, claiming that “Lucifer” became corrupted all by himself doesn´t help your case because you simultaneously claim that NO ONE in heaven can become corrupted – if humans cannot be corrupted in heaven, then all Yahweh had to do was create Lucifer in exactly this way. He didn´t do it – he fucked up.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : Yet you claimed that “evil / sin” cannot enter heaven.

              Where? Could you quote the part that you’re referring to?

              Andy said : So you claim that creation was:
              a) perfectly good.

              That’s what the bible states.

              Andy said : contained a “father of lies” who fucked everything up.

              The creation process did NOT contain a father of lies.

              Andy said : Those claims are inconsistent.

              You’re doing flawed logic.

              That something is broken, does not mean, that it was designed or created in such a state. It’s only logical to assume, that it was created perfect, and then broken at a later point in time.

              And Creation was perfect and good. Lucifer was blameless. And that’s how the world was created..

              And it remained so, until wickedness was found in Lucifer, who then went and corrupted the whole world.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy : Yet you claimed that”evil / sin” cannot enter heaven.

              JohnM: Where? Could you quote the part that you’re referring to?

              Your inability to remember your own words is very frustrating.

              Andy:
              You believe that sin entered “God´s perfect creation” due to men´s actions. Why was this possible in “God´s perfect creation A” (=earth) but is impossible in “God´s perfect creation b” (=heaven)?
              If it is because “evil no longer exists”, why was the existence of evil ever possible in the first place if free will does not inevitably lead to sin/evil?
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/04/17/muslims-christians-and-no-true-scotsmen/#comment-866421441

              JohnM: There will be no tree of ( such ) knowledge, and no snake in the garden.
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/04/17/muslims-christians-and-no-true-scotsmen/#comment-866432278

              That’s what the bible states.

              Quoting the Bible doesn´t magically make contradictions disappear.

              The creation process did NOT contain a father of lies.

              And according to your words it never had to contain a father of lies because Yahweh can create a world that cannot be corrupted and he WILL create such a world in the future.

              Not at all. That’s flawed logic.

              Oh really? Then pray tell, WHY could Lucifer become corrupted while no being in heaven can become corrupted?

              And whatever your answer may be (you already tried out “Lucifer became corrupted by himself”) – explain WHY this applies to Lucifer but NOT to anyone in heaven.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : Yet you claimed that “evil / sin” cannot enter heaven.

              Andy said : Your inability to remember your own words is very frustrating.

              Actually, I’m pretty good at remembering what I said. That’s why I’m challenging your claim. Once again, Andy… Where? Could you at least quote the part that you’re referring to?

              WHY could Lucifer become corrupted while no being in heaven can become corrupted

              It’s not a matter of location. And haven’t you read scripture? Satan didn’t leave heaven of his own free will. He raised an army to overthrow God, and a third of the angels followed him. Only after a great battle, was he and the other fallen, cast out of heaven and down to earth, where they became “The Princes of the air”, the “gods of this world”. That is what we read about in Revelation, Isaiah, Ezekiel and the book of Enoch.

              Andy said : You believe that sin entered “God´s perfect creation” due to men´s actions. Why was this possible in “God´s perfect creation A” (=earth) but is impossible in “God´s perfect creation b” (=heaven)?

              It depends on what you mean by heaven. But really, the location is irrelevant.

              What matters, is that there will be a new resurrection body, making humans whole and perfect again. Sin and death will be destroyed. And there will be no snake around to lead astray.

              Remember genesis 3.

              Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

              Did God realllyyyy say that? ( Casting doubt on what is otherwise clear ).

              The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

              Eve tells the truth as she knows no other way of responding. And she reveals, that she knew that God had forbidden to eat of the tree. And that it would have consequences of death, if they did.

              Now Eve would not have understood what death meant. But she fully understood, that eating of the tree would be going against Gods commandments. And therefore she had no desire to do so, as she was a perfect creation, with no seed of rebellion in her. That seed was planted by someone else.

              You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

              The first lie recorded in human history. Followed by more deception and manipulation.

              When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom she took some and ate it.

              Eve never even considered eating of the fruit up to that point. She knew that God has commanded not to eat of it, and perfect as she was, it wasn’t even an option to her, until the snake started filling her with lies.

              Lies which she had no concept of… She didn’t know what a lie was, as she only knew of telling the truth. But she gave heed to the deceiving spirit, and developed a lust for this forbidden fruit. This lust bare fruit, so to speak, as she then ate the fruit, which god had commanded them not to. And so she allowed herself to be snared, and lead astray.

              Have you ever noticed how these things start? “Oh it’s not so dangerous to drive faster.” “Surely, you can handle it.” “Surely, you will not crash” “What’s the harm? You’re a good driver.” “Go ahead. Press a little harder on that pedal. You’re late, and it will help.” “The authorities only sets speed limit to make sure that you can’t get there fast enough. Surely you can drive faster.”

              She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

              And Adam allowed his wife to lead him astray. The snake got to the Man, though the woman. And the rest, is our story.

              Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

              “All is well, nothing to see here. We’re not wicked beings. We’re good. I pay my taxes. I give a little to the poor. I once helped an old man across the street. I’m basically a pretty nice and good human being. There’s no evil in me. And I’m certainly much much much too good, to be judged. Yes ok, I do have a few very very small mistakes. But so does everyone. What’s the big deal?”.

              Andy said : according to your words it never had to contain a father of lies because Yahweh can create a world that cannot be corrupted and he WILL create such a world in the future.

              That’s not my words. That’s your thoughts.

              Again, Don’t make the mistake of thinking, that something which is perfect, cannot be corrupted or destroyed. It can. The difference is, that this time around, there will be no sin, no death and no snake. Because all of that will be destroyed, before creation is rebuilt.

              That’s how you make a house destroyed by an earthquake whole again. You level it to the ground. And then you build it up from the ground. You don’t keep building onto the flaws in the old house, introduced by the earthquake. And there is no such thing as an earthquake proof house. Only houses which doesn’t suffer earthquakes.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Actually, I’m pretty good at remembering what I said. That’s why I’m challenging your claim. Once again, Andy… Where? Could you at least quote the part that you’re referring to?

              Are you fucking kidding me?! I did exactly that, it´s the part ot the comment that you didn´t read.

              That’s not my words. That’s your thoughts.

              No, and you couldn´t know that since you are unable to remember your own words, and you don´t even recognize them when they are quoted verbatim with a link to your original comment.

              The rest of your wall of text doesn´t address anything I said in any way, shape or form.
              Your beliefs are logically incoherent:
              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/04/17/muslims-christians-and-no-true-scotsmen/#comment-868672879

            • JohnM

              Andy said : I did exactly that, it´s the part ot the comment that you didn´t read.

              I did read it. Is just didn’t realize, that you intended that part to be a quote confirming your claim.

              Andy said : you claimed that “evil / sin” cannot enter heaven.

              No. I said that THERE WILL BE, no tree of ( such ) knowledge, and no snake in the garden ( the future one ).

              …because I’ll be destroyed and gone by then. So it’s not a matter of it being unable to enter. It’s a matter of it not being anywhere.

              It’ll be Genesis, without the snake.

            • Andy_Schueler

              It’ll be Genesis, without the snake.

              Aaaand, back to square 1. Yahweh created the snake – Yahweh fucked up.
              And before you think about replying to that “Lucifer was created perfectly!!!111!! He became corrupt all by himself yadda yadda yadda” – this has already been addressed, and all you do is turn in circles.

            • JohnM

              If you want to discuss this, then you really have to take serious what the bible says. You cannot just take half of what the bible says and then make up the rest. You either work with the text or you don’t.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I didn´t make up anything I didn´t even interpret anything, I pointed out that your particular interpretation of the Bible is logically inconsistent.

            • JohnM

              Ezekiel 28 : 14-17
              You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

              Why is that inconsistent with what we read in genesis?

            • Andy_Schueler

              You had to explain two things:
              a) how could Lucifer become evil?
              b) why can “evil / sin” not enter heaven?

              Your explanation for a) contradicts b) and vice versa.

            • JohnM

              1: Ezekiel 28 explains how.

              2: I never said, that “evil / sin” could not enter heaven. I said that in the new garden,THERE WILL BE none of that, …because I’ll be destroyed and gone by then.

            • Andy_Schueler

              1: Ezekiel 28 explains how.

              2: I never said, that “evil / sin” could not enter heaven. I said that in the new garden,THERE WILL BE none of that, …because I’ll be destroyed and gone by then.

              No difference whatsoever, 1 contradicts 2 and vice versa.

            • JohnM

              No. It’s just you who fails to grasp what’s being said. And it’s you who completely fail to think consistently about these things.

              The old garden won’t be like the new garden. The old is the old, and the new is the new. And the difference between the old and the new, is what happens in-between.

            • Andy_Schueler

              You are either too deluded or too stupid to notice those blatant contradictions – or both.

            • JohnM

              Please elaborate.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Already done.

            • JohnM

              Pathetic.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Yes, your inane ramblings are indeed pathetic.

            • GearHedEd

              Eve tells the truth as she knows no other way of responding.

              Demonstrating unequivocally that Adam and Eve had no free will.

              And that ignores the fact that A & E did not exist in the first place.

              …as she (like Lucifer) was a perfect creation, with no seed of rebellion in her. That seed was planted by someone else.

              Logic hole you could drive a Space Shuttle through, sideways.

              Everything you say, JohnM, is ad hoc reasoning, based upon myths and legends that could not possibly have happened as written.

              You fail so hard, it’s difficult to read the stupid you spew.

            • JohnM

              GearHedEd said : Demonstrating unequivocally that Adam and Eve had no free will.

              “ So George.. We have a red pill and a blue pill. Which one do you freely choose?”

              “BUT I want a purple pill”

              “We have no purple pill. Now pick one”

              “BUT I WANT, the purple pill, so that I can grow wings and fly with the bird. And if I cant pick that one, I have no free will”

              “ *Sigh* ”

              Free will, is the ability to pick between the options available to you. And having that capacity, doesn’t depend on the number of options available to you.

              Arguing that Adam and Eve had no free will, because they had no knowledge of evil, is the equivalent of arguing that drivers have no free will, because they don’t know every shortcut on the route that they are driving.

            • GearHedEd

              Your tap dancing is not working. You cannot rehabilitate the fact that YOU said that Eve could not respond in any other way. Eve HAD more than one choice; to either tell the truth or not, but was unable to choose to respond untruthfully, ergo, NO FREE WILL. And without free will, the whole stupid story collapses. THAT’S why you tap dance.

              But again, all this is a stupid argument. It’s equivalent to asking why the Eagles of Manwe couldn’t have delivered Frodo to the slopes of Mount Doom instead of making him risk a long journey over all of Middle Earth on his hairy little feet.

            • JohnM

              In the mind of Eve, there were only one option. Telling the truth. She was a perfect creature, and didn’t have the ability to leave out the truth, in order to tell wicked lies.

              But that doesn’t mean, that she had no free will. Eve didn’t have to talk to the snake, for example. She did so, of her own free will. Therefore she had free will. And claiming otherwise is fallacious reasoning.

            • GearHedEd

              Looks like you missed the part about Eve never existing in reality. She is a mythological character, used only to tell a story. Another thing in Genesis that’s completely false. You can believe in silly stories if you want, but don’t expect anyone with more than half a brain to buy into your delusions.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Arguing that Adam and Eve had no free will, because they had no knowledge of evil…

              Ah, now the lack of “knowledge of evil” matters again, while Lucifer came up with this all by himself – but who gives a fuck about consistency, amirite?

            • GearHedEd

              Actually, that statement from JohnM is him strawmanning my argument. I never said, by implication, explicitly or otherwise that “Adam and Eve had no free will, because they had no knowledge of evil…”. I said that if Eve had no choice but to respond a certain way, even though she had more than one choice (truth or untruth), then she had no free will. And JohnM has also painted himself into a logical corner with the “Lucifer was created perfect, but somehow was able to generate evil on his own without someone else ‘planting a seed’…” BS, while insisting that Eve needed the “seed of rebellion” to be planted in her.

              I can see JohnM’s rebuttal coming: “Lucifer is in a different class of beings, being an angel…”

              Nope. No proof that angels exist.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Yup, consistency is not his strong side – we will have “free will” in heaven, but cannot choose “evil” because we will have “no knowledge of evil”. And Adam & Eve could only become “corrupted”, despite having no “knowledge of evil”, because they were lied to by a talking evil snake (which Lucifer created). And said Lucifer was “created flawless”, but unlike Adam & Eve, could aquire “knowledge of evil” and choose to do evil all by himself, without help from a magic snake. Because yadda yadda yadda Bible says so yadda yadda yadda.

            • JohnM

              Could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by that?

            • JohnM

              Doh

            • John Grove

              [[Fallen creatures on earth. New resurrection body in heaven.]]

              Does this new resurrected body still have the capacity to sin? Yes or no? You say that option is removed, so according to your own rules of logic you have laid down, they DO not have libertarian free will.

            • John Grove

              So people will have the capacity to sin since they possess this thing called “free will”, but they never will in Heaven? Did God change their wills then how they were on Earth, since they sinned on Earth? If so, how is it in any way free?

            • JohnM

              Free will is the ability to choose.. If evil has been destroyed, then that option is gone.

            • John Grove

              [[Free will is the ability to choose]]

              This is what Schopenhaeur would call an unsophisticated understanding of the subtleties of determinism. You have the ability to choose, but what about your willing, what does that depend on?

            • JohnM

              Well, free will is about the options available to you. The fact that you can’t choose to grow wings and fly like a bird, does mean, that you have no free will. Free will, is the ability to choose freely, between the options available to you.

            • Sadly enough, given all of our talks, you still massively misunderstand the free will debate.

            • JohnM

              Well, I’m just telling you what I mean by free will.

            • Andy_Schueler

              1. ‘path’ starts with the value 1, meaning that every human being starts his life as a follower of christ immediatly after being born??
              2. The “Time < Time+1 && " in the loop header makes no sense because it cannot be false.
              3. Since this seems to be javascript, and you didn´t use a do-while construct.The else clause can never be executed because the while condition checks if ‘path’ is equal to 1, meaning that the while block will never be executed if it isn´t, meaning that the if-condition cannot be false (and even in a do-while construct, it still wouldn´t make sense because the else block could only be executed in the very first iteration.
              4. The value of the variable ‘path’ can never change from it´s initial value – making problem Nr. 3 even more severe.
              5. The variable ‘time’ is never actually incremented and since ‘path’ cannot change from it´s initial value (see 4.) this means that the loop would run infinitely with the value of ‘time’ always being 0.

            • JohnM

              ‘path’ starts with the value 1, meaning that every human being starts his life as a follower of christ immediatly after being born??

              I don’t subscribe to the doctrine of original sin. I believe that we are born without sin, and that sin enter our life, when we first stray from the path.

              The “Time < Time+1 && " in the loop header makes no sense because it cannot be false.

              Its an infinite loop, until path changes to 0.

              And yes, my function would never change it. It would come from outside, such as someone pressing a button, with a function on, that changed the value to 0.

              The variable ‘time’ is never actually incremented

              Good point, haha. I forgot the Time++;

            • Andy_Schueler

              I don’t subscribe to the doctrine of original sin. I believe that we are born without sin, and that sin enter our life, when we first stray from the path.

              I know. So do you believe that you will have libertarian free will in heaven?
              If you do, why do you believe that you will never “stray from the path” in heaven?
              If you don´t, why do you believe libertarian free will was ever necessary in God´s creation?

              Its an infinite loop, until path changes to 0

              It would be one without the unnecessary “Time < Time+1 && " as well and the else block can never be executed in any case but what the hell.

            • John Grove

              [[I believe that we are born without sin]]

              Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

              Somebody has not been reading the bible…

            • Andy_Schueler

              Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

              Ah, that´s why they call it the good book – imagine a mother reading this verse to her child…

            • JohnM

              Was the child not born of fallen flesh?

            • Andy_Schueler

              Seems to depend on the translation you use. And I´m not going to look up which translation makes more sense since both translations are ugly enough in their own ways.

            • JohnM

              David is just saying, that when he was born, he was so, by a mother, who was herself a fallen creature.. And he inherited her flesh. Because he was of her.

            • Andy_Schueler

              If you look at the different translations:
              http://bible.cc/psalms/51-5.htm

              they seem to fall into two groups, with one group implying that David was depraved from the very moment where he was born and the other group implying that his mother was depraved while she was giving birth to him.
              The Bible commentaries similarly seem to fall into those two groups.

              I don´t know hebrew so I´ll refrain from siding with any of those two groups. What makes you so certain that group A is right and group B is wrong?

            • John Grove

              Andy,

              The context of this is very important. The context is David discussing himself and his sins. SO naturally the context is talking about his sins, not his mother.

              Verse 1, “Have mercy upon me”
              Verse 2, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Ah, I see, I only looked up the discussion for Verse 5 – thanks for the clarification John!

            • John Grove

              This just shows you how shallow JohnM is at reading. But we all knew that already. I just thought I would add this little extra wrinkle to his character.

            • JohnM

              Andy said : they seem to fall into two groups, with one group implying that David was depraved from the very moment where he was born and the other group implying that his mother was depraved while she was giving birth to him.

              People are not born as sinners. People are sinners, because of their own actions. The bible itself refutes the catholic/calvinist doctrine of Original sin, that John Grove is defending.

              Romans 5:12
              Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

              Sin and death spread to all men. Not because they were all born…. but because all sinned, themselves.

              That is why Jesus is going to return, and judge the world… Not according to what Adam has done… But according to what each person has done.

              Matthew 16:27
              For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

              If the catholic/calvinist doctrine of Original sin, that John Grove is defending, was in tune with the bible, Matthew would have stated, that Jesus would return to judge the world, according to what Adam had done.

            • Andy_Schueler

              That is why Jesus is going to return, and judge the world… Not according to what Adam has done… But according to what each person has done.

              Yeah, we´ve already been there before… You might believe that, yet it is obvious that you depend on interpretations of the words “judgment”, “justice”, “responsibility” etc. that have nothing whatsoever to do with the way these words are defined in a dictionary.

            • JohnM

              Everyone rewarded according to what they have done, good or bad. What can be more just than that?

            • Andy_Schueler

              Everyone rewarded according to what they have done, good or bad. What can be more just than that?

              You can repeat that as often as you want, what you actually believe has nothing whatsoever to do with these words.

            • JohnM

              I believe that the wicked will get their reward, just as the righteous will get their reward. That’s what I believe.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Yes, but you use a Humpty Dumpty approach.
              “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

              I stick with the dictionary definitions of “just”, “judgment”, “righteous” etc.

            • pboyfloyd

              No he’s not, he’s saying, “Surely I was sinful at birth..”. You’re saying his mom was sinful and he inherited her flesh. But that’s not what he’s saying, is it?

            • John Grove

              [[Was the child not born of fallen flesh?]]

              The verse talks about the child, NOT the mother. Read it again, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

            • JohnM

              Psalm 51:5
              Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity….

            • GearHedEd

              How nice of you to classify men as “people” (by inference) while classifying women as “things”.

              Fine example of a Christian you are.

              Asshole. You, and everyone who thinks like you, are a blight upon humankind, which includes BOTH men and women.

            • JohnM

              No, I classified woman as something that can be an addiction. If you think, I’m a male chauvinistic pig, for doing that, then that’s perfectly fine. But I was only point out a fact of life. And the opposite can be true as well. Woman who are addicted to men, rock-stars, movie-stars and what have you.

            • GearHedEd

              The fact remains: If you didn’t want people thinking you were a chauvinist, you’d have said For some it’s drugs, others it’s alcohol or SEX. Your first choice (and your slavish adherence to the Bible) tells us a lot about your attitudes towards women: they were excluded from your first clause referencing “people”, and placed in the clause that includes examples of “things” with which ‘people’ can be tempted to addiction. And you AGREE with this assessment!

              No, I classified woman as something that can be an addiction.

              You are scum.

            • JohnM

              Woman are so much more than sex.

              That’s why I say woman and not just sex.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I’m attempting to show, how silly I think it is, to invoke the No True Scotsman.

              If you think it´s so silly, you should consider stopping to use this fallacy.

            • JohnM

              If there’s no true scotsmen, then every can be one.. And I could be an atheist, right?

            • Here you have proved my point entirely.The fact that you define a Christian out of being a Christian and claim that Christ is the only true Christian, which makes no sense of the word since ‘ian’ implies a follower or adherent, shows that the term “Christian” used in your way makes the term totally meaningless and redundant.

              Which means that every single time it is ever used, it is used incorrectly. Of course, this shows a misunderstanding of linguistics. Meaning, according to Wittgenstein, is derived from usage.

              Thus, either accept general usage as making sense, or never ever use the term, even to apply to yourself. and never use any term. Just sit there in silence…

              Thus, a Christian who commits a crime is still a Christian.

              You should know that. We’re all fallen, no?

            • JohnM

              Jonathan said : The fact that you define a Christian out of being a Christian and claim that Christ is the only true Christian, which makes no sense of the word since ‘ian’ implies a follower or adherent, shows that the term “Christian” used in your way makes the term totally meaningless and redundant.

              Oki. So let’s sum up. ‘ian’ implies a follower or adherent. Of what? Christ.

              Christian = Follower or adherent of Christ.

              Christ walked this way and not that way. In order to be a follower of Christ, one must do the same.

              Jonathan said : Thus, a Christian who commits a crime is still a Christian.

              No, Someone who wants to proclaim himself a Christian, must walk the path. Someone who commits a crime, is not following in the footsteps of Christ. Unless Christ committed that crime, of course. :)

            • You fail to understand. Again.

              So a follower of Christ, fallen by your definition, cannot, by definition, be a “Christian”.

              Therefore, the term is meaningless. An impossibilities. all statistics involving the term “Christian” are, by your definition, false and misleading. There isn;t, nor can their be, a Christian.

            • JohnM

              Nobody has walked the path for all their life. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.

              But how long do you have to walk on a path, to be a wanderer of the path?

              The same could be said of NFL players.. Nobody has been playing there, their whole life. Yet we do have NFL players. And there is such a thing, as a NFL player. And that’s not people who just like to call themselves NFL players.

            • So there ARE some true Christians who are identical to Christ?

            • JohnM

              There are people who have walked on the path, for a very long time.

              And then there are those, who have never walked the path, but only claims to have done so.

              And then there are others, who walked the path, left the path, and then found it again.

            • pboyfloyd

              You seem to be missing the point though, JohnM. If some Christians are outraged that their religion is in any way associated with someone who claimed to be motivated by Christianity to commit a heinous act, the outraged Christians are ‘invoking’ No True Scotsman.
              If you, as a Christian say they shouldn’t be outraged, you’re ‘invoking’ No True Scotsman at them.
              Basically, it’s just rhetoric, it’s saying that it’s all just a matter of opinion.
              1)That killer is claiming he was motivated by his Christianity
              2)Some Christians baulk at the idea, ‘Christians CANNOT be motivated to do terrible things by their religion.
              3)Those SAME Christians are in the habit of claiming that people of OTHER religions ARE TOO motivated by THEIR religion or lack of religion.
              4) So they’re trying to eat their cake(“See what non-Christians do? It’s because they’re not Christian!”) and .have it too!(“True Christians could never do that!”)
              But what’s the point of being Christian if you cannot tell who is a TRUE Christian and who is faking it? You just have to take peoples’ word for it, right?

            • JohnM

              Christian means follower of Christ. When people say that Breivik is a christian, they’re basically saying, that he’s following in the footsteps of Christ.

              First of all, that’s not true. And secondly, it’s eroding the meaning of the word, to a point where it becomes meaningless. Otherwise, I don’t really care.

              That killer is claiming he was motivated by his Christianity

              But if you know anything about what Jesus said, then you know that he’s wrong. So why would you grant him that?

              And what if he said, that he was motivated by something that you posted on the internet. Would you also grant him that? I mean.. it must be true, because he said so.. Right?

            • pboyfloyd

              You’re just being tricky here JohnM. What I ‘grant’ the killer isn’t the issue as I pointed out. The Christians who are upset that the papers characterized the killer as ‘characterizing himself as a Christian’ are the exact same Christians who routinely characterize Muslims as terrorists because some terrorists characterize themselves as Muslims.
              In your above comment you’re inviting me to play(or invoke) ‘No True Scotsman’ on the killer too!!

            • Andy_Schueler

              Just think about what Kim Jong did in North Korea..

              Ahh, the wonders of No True Scotsmen…

              North Korea is about the worst example you could pick, Kim Il-Sung is worshipped as a God, the “heavenly leader”, children are taught that they are clothed and fed by the “grace of the chairman”. Children are taught that the birth of his son was accompanied by miracles like winter spontaneously changing to spring and so on and so forth.
              North Korea is arguably the most religious and oppressive nation that the world has ever seen – expressing even the mildest doubts about the myths being taught regarding the heavenly leader and his family will earn the doubter and his entire family a place in the famous “re-education” camps.

              Stalinism and Maoism would be far better examples (although again, the cult of personality surrounding Stalin and Mao makes it very hard to classify their followers as atheists – but the religious aspects were not nearly as pronounced as they are in NK). The best example, by far, would be the Khmer rouge.

            • JohnM

              Yes, North Korea is a religious country worshipping their leader. But last I checked, Kim Jong and North Korea, aren’t the same thing.

            • Andy_Schueler

              By “Kim Jong” I assume that you refer to “Kim Il-Sung”. And so your argument would be that a guy who has himself established as a GOD counts as an atheist? Well, that is certainly possible – he might have been aware that this is all bullshit instead of being completely deluded.

              I still fail to see how this is relevant for anything. If you could point to atheists arguing that atheists could never be brutal dictators, this might be relevant.

            • JohnM

              I was referring to the son of Kim Il-Sung
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Jong-il

            • John Grove

              [[And atheism does not? Just think about what Kim Jong did in North Korea]]

              Kim Jong does nothing in the name of atheism. That is like saying someone kills in the name of tallness. It makes absolutely no sense.

          • Andy_Schueler

            You are ignoring a key difference.
            Atheists do NOT claim any kind of moral superiority over theists or any other group – while christians do that all the time, sometimes even going so far as to claim that people who do not believe in THEIR God cannot be good people.
            And the only argument they have for that claim is a no true scotsmen fallacy.
            Atheists do not claim to be better than christians or muslims and atheists do not claim that an atheist could not be a mass murderer or a tyrant or whatever.
            The most drastic statement that you will ever hear from atheists in this respect is something along the line of:
            “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
            – Steven Weinberg
            We NEVER claim that theists cannot be good people.

            Re Stalin – Stalin himself was an atheist but for his followers, the label atheist would certainly be a stretch, because Stalin was associated with quasi-divine attributes like infallibility. But again, granting you that they were in fact atheists doesn´t affect our position in any way, shape or form because we never claimed that atheism automatically entails rationality, compassion etc. – it most certainly does not.

            • JohnM

              Andy_Schueler said : Atheists do NOT claim any kind of moral superiority over theists or any other group – while christians do that all the time, sometimes even going so far as to claim that people who do not believe in THEIR God cannot be good people.

              That’s true. I often hear that fallacy coming from mainly Catholics.

              Of course atheists can be good people ( or as bad as everyone else I should say :P ). That’s not what the moral argument is about. It’s all about how one defines good and evil, without an objective standard.

          • You’re not being very rational here yourself, John.

            “So he wasn’t “a rational atheist” TM, huh? Time to bring out the no true Scotsman :P”

            This is known as a straw man – presenting a person’s argument falsely so you can refute it. JG stated atheists can be both rational and irrational. He did not say that being irrational invalidates one’s claim to atheism.

            • JohnM

              Yeah, it was a “dirty trick” in order to invoke the No true scotsman, in a silly way. And for me it wasn’t a matter of being rational or not. It was a matter pointing out, that he’s attempting to distance himself from Stalin.

      • MosesZD

        Stalin grew up Orthodox. Pol Pot grew up Catholic. Both went to religious schools. As the Jesuits boast: ‘Give me the child for his first seven years, and I’ll give you the man,’ which acknowledges the importance of setting that early moral compass…
        A compass set by a religious society, a religious household and a religious education.
        That they both became crazed dictators who set themselves up as quasi-religious icons seems to take more from religion than atheism. Which is why atheists get annoyed with those idiotic positions.

        • Huh. I never knew Pol Pot was raised a Catholic. Time to get over to wiki….

          • David Marshall

            In East Asia (and probably Central Asia), Christians provided much of the best education. Going to a Catholic school, as Pol Pot did (and as my wife, a Buddhist at the time, also did in Japan), was simply the best route to education and success in much of Asia. Stalin appears to have gone to a Christian school for the same reason.
            But John is right, maybe this should cause atheists here like Moses to do some soul-searching.

            • John Grove

              [[ Christians provided much of the best education]]

              Teaching falsehoods is not what I consider the “best education”.

        • JohnM

          MosesZD : Stalin grew up Orthodox. Pol Pot grew up Catholic. Both went to religious schools.

          The same could be said of many atheist bloggers.

    • David Marshall

      Jonathan: O’Reilly was right. Breivik was not a Christian:

      http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2011/08/which-is-face-of-norwegian-christianity.html
      Begin by getting facts straight.
      Also, there is nothing at all illogical about doubing if someone is a “little Christ” when he does the opposite of what Jesus did and taught, while thinking a terrorist is a pretty good Muslim when he does what Mohammed did and taught.
      The logic is fallacious, Scotsmen are defined by the place of their birth, which has no necessary correlation with morality. Christians may be defined in a variety of ways, some of which may at least seem to make certain kinds of action far less likely.
      Amazing that skeptics chatter about Scotsmen so much, without even even considering such obvious distinctions.
      In practice, if someone seems to adhere to Christianity, and commits crimes, (say, Christopher Columbus) I don’t deny that they are Christians for the purposes of public discourse. But privately, it may be reasonable to wonder.

      • Andy_Schueler

        Also, there is nothing at all illogical about doubing if someone is a “little Christ” when he does the opposite of what Jesus did and taught, while thinking a terrorist is a pretty good Muslim when he does what Mohammed did and taught.

        In principle, yes. In practice however, we see that christians have no problems with cherry picking their own holy book but don´t think muslims should be allowed to do the same.
        Passages like John 8:44 might not be shocking to you and other christians, because you either ignore it or think that other verses put this one into a different perspective – and if you want to do that, that´s your right. You have no rational or moral basis though, to not allow muslims the same approach with their holy book.

        The logic is fallacious, Scotsmen are defined by the place of their birth, which has no necessary correlation with morality.

        Your objection indicates that you did not bother to look up what this fallacy actually is. This fallacy was made popular by Anthony Flew, using a hypothetical scotsman called “Hamish McDonald”. And this Hamish character uses the label “Scotsman” in such a way, that he can arbitrarily label people as “Scotsman” or “not a true Scotsman”, based not on any previously specified criteria (like place of birth or citizenship), but rather on his own personal subjective preferences.

        Christians may be defined in a variety of ways, some of which may at least seem to make certain kinds of action far less likely.

        That is beside the point. We need workable and non-arbitrary definitions.
        If you have better suggestions than using “identifies as a christian” or “is (active) member of a christian church”, you are welcome to suggest them.

        • David Marshall

          Andy: John 8:44 doesn’t say or imply that “all Jews” are “wicked liars and children of the devil.” Where in the world did you get that?
          Yes, I am quite familiar with the alleged True Scotsman fallacy. I explained why it is itself fallacious.
          Who cares what you need? The question is what a given Christian might mean by “Christian,” defining his own faith. If you want to accuse him of a fallacy, you need to ask what his definition is, not your own, of course.

          • Andy_Schueler

            Andy: John 8:44 doesn’t say or imply that “all Jews” are “wicked liars and children of the devil.” Where in the world did you get that?

            From reading the verse and the context.

            Yes, I am quite familiar with the alleged True Scotsman fallacy. I explained why it is itself fallacious.

            You think the fallacy is fallacious?? Which would mean that the way Hamish McDonald used the word “scotsman” in Flew´s story wasn´t actually a special form of begging the question?
            1. Your original comment didn´t imply that in any way, shape or form.
            2. I´m really curious how you want to argue that.

            Who cares what you need? The question is what a given Christian might mean by “Christian,” defining his own faith. If you want to accuse him of a fallacy, you need to ask what his definition is, not your own, of course.

            So you think “christian” means “whatever any christian person thinks it means”? Then we might as well get rid of the word (also, your explanation for why you think Breivik is no christian would no longer make sense, because you neither claimed that this only applies to your own subjective opinion of what a christian is nor did you ask every single christian on this planet about his definition).

            • David Marshall

              Andy: Baloney that’s a natural reading. In fact, it’s a grossly uncharitable and dishonest reading. Jesus wasn’t talking to or about “all Jews,” nor did he say that to all Jews he met, of course. The sin Jesus was talking about was murder, religious terrorism specifically. If religious terrorists can’t be called “children of the Devil,” metaphorically, then who can be?
              I mean applying True Scotsman to “He can’t be a Christian, because he did X” is an argument from analogy that should not be accepted blindly with asking whether the analogy really works, and taking note of disanalogous elements, as skeptics seldom seem to do. Since I’m a Christian, and in some sense a scholar of the Christian tradition, and have read a good bit of Breivik’s manifesto, actually my opinion about whether or not he’s a Christian may well make sense –the argument stands or falls on its own.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy: Baloney that’s a natural reading. In fact, it’s a grossly uncharitable and dishonest reading. Jesus wasn’t talking to or about “all Jews,” nor did he say that to all Jews he met, of course. The sin Jesus was talking about was murder, religious terrorism specifically. If religious terrorists can’t be called “children of the Devil,” metaphorically, then who can be?

              1. Jesus wasn´t talking about specific sins, he said “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” in John 8:34.
              2. Consider the reasons Jesus gives for his condemnation:
              “42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
              => And now tell me how this does NOT apply to ALL Jews that do not believe in the divinity of Jesus? Jesus clearly states that they would believe him and would love him if they “could hear what he says” and would not “belong to their father” (=the Devil). Jesus doesn´t qualify this condemnation by adding a statement that he is only condemning those that want to do him harm / murder him – he clearly says that Jews would believe him and would love him if they were able to hear what he says and would not belong to the Devil.
              3. “Religious terrorism” really doesn´t make any sense in this context. There was no such thing as freedom of religion in this situation, hebrew law is theocratic and false prophets, wannabe-messiahs, blasphemers etc. had to be put to death. And Jesus doesn´t complain about the law being wrong (given that it allegedly came from his father in whose name he speaks, this also wouldn´t make too much sense) he condemns those that do not believe that he is actually telling the truth!
              4. I do believe you that your interpretation seems to be the natural reading of the text for you – for me (and most other non-christians I presume) however, it sounds exactly like the rationalizations that liberal Muslims come up with to explain away the more unpleasant parts of the Quran.

              I mean applying True Scotsman to “He can’t be a Christian, because he did X” is an argument from analogy that should not be accepted blindly with asking whether the analogy really works…

              No disagreement here.

              Since I’m a Christian, and in some sense a scholar of the Christian tradition, and have read a good bit of Breivik’s manifesto, actually my opinion about whether or not he’s a Christian may well make sense –the argument stands or falls on its own.

              If we adopt your definition of what it means to be a “christian”, I would totally agree that Breivik saw Christianity as a useful tool and not much more, and hence cannot be called a christian. However, classifying Breivik based on your definition is very easy, because Breivik openly admits that christianity is little more than a tool for him. What about Fred Phelps? What about Martin Luther? Helen Ukpabio? Thomas More? John Calvin? Harold Camping?
              In general, I don´t think that the “does he follow the teachings of Christ” approach is very useful, because there are just too many disagreements on what exactly those teachings are (Luther certainly seemed to be convinced that he is following the teachings of Christ when he wrote about the Jews, to give just one example).

            • “If we adopt your definition of what it means to be a “christian”, I would totally agree that Breivik saw Christianity as a useful tool and not much more, and hence cannot be called a christian. However, classifying Breivik based on your definition is very easy, because Breivik openly admits that christianity is little more than a tool for him. What about Fred Phelps? What about Martin Luther? Helen Ukpabio? Thomas More? John Calvin? Harold Camping?In general, I don´t think that the “does he follow the teachings of Christ” approach is very useful, because there are just too many disagreements on what exactly those teachings are. Luther certainly seemed to be convinced that he is following the teachings of Christ when he wrote about the Jews, to give just one example – and you can´t really dismiss his conclusions regarding the Jews based on him being ignorant about what the Bible had to say on this subject (although you could try to dismiss them based on Luther´s passionate and irrational hatred towards Jews)”

              Precisely.

            • But the OP isn’t really about whether Breivik was or wasn’t a Christian per se, but about the use of the NTS fallacy, and especially its empirically evidenced use by Christians in a double standards way.

      • Hi David. Long time no talk.

        “O’Reilly was right. Breivik was not a Christian:”

        According to you and O’Reilly. Of course, you don’t necessarily get to define to others what a Christian is.

        “Also, there is nothing at all illogical about doubing if someone is a “little Christ” when he does the opposite of what Jesus did and taught,”

        But what counts as opposite? Any contravention? Extra-marital sex? Stealing? etc etc? Because then no one will qualify. Everyone has sinned. Your cutting off of one crime smacks of the Sorites Paradox.

        “while thinking a terrorist is a pretty good Muslim when he does what Mohammed did and taught.”

        There are millions of Muslims who would disagree with you here. eg http://www.hiiraan.com/op4/2012/apr/23799/what_if_anders_behring_breivik_had_been_a_muslim.aspx

        “The logic is fallacious, Scotsmen are defined by the place of their birth, which has no necessary correlation with morality.”

        And picked you up on this.

        “Christians may be defined in a variety of ways, some of which may at least seem to make certain kinds of action far less likely.
        Amazing that skeptics chatter about Scotsmen so much, without even even considering such obvious distinctions.

        This is exactly the point. And the variety of ways seems to always adapt to in groups and exclude out groups. “A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.”

        You see, I can be a moral utilitarian, believe in that moral worldview, but still end up doing actions which contravene this.

        “In practice, if someone seems to adhere to Christianity, and commits crimes, (say, Christopher Columbus) I don’t deny that they are Christians for the purposes of public discourse. But privately, it may be reasonable to wonder.”

        This appears to be the very thing we are discussing!

        • David Marshall

          Jonathan: So atheists get to define what a Christian is, but Christians don’t? That seems to be the consensus between you and Andy. So do we at least get to define what an atheist is? How about if we define you as “card-sharks and scallywags?” :- )
          But seriously, I think you get my point, so I’ll leave it be.

          • No. but either being subjective tot he point of only pertaining to yourself or someone with identical beliefs as you is both subjective and limiting (such that all other Christians would disagree).

            atheism is pretty simply – a lack of belief in a deity. Even then, it is contentious. I am a strong atheist such that I think it is a belief in a proposition (ie that there is no God) rather than the weak version.

            The point of the OP is to show the clear (empirically evidenced) double standards utilised by, in this case, Christians.

    • No true atheist would slaughter millions of his own citizens and place them in gulags, right? Oh apart from Stalin!

      Johno, just another thing. Breivik was a Freemason and never tried to hide that fact. He was also a total psycho.

      • But this is the point. Who defines what a Christian is? You? Him? A Greek Orthodox? A Lutheran?

        He certainly saw himself as a Christian martyr:

        ” If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past.”

        “At the age of 15 I chose to be baptised [sic] and confirmed in the Norwegian State Church,” the 32-year-old Breivik wrote. “I consider myself to be 100 percent Christian.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/anders-breivik-christian-terrorist_n_910379.html

        Of course, I am not necessarily saying he was a Christian. I am more interested in showing that when (and we know this empirically) Christians see a Christian doing something bad, they are not a Christian. But when they see a Muslim doing it, they are definitely a Muslim. This has been shown in psych tests.

    • Pingback: On the Skepticism of Free Market Economics (part 2): No True Capitalism | A Tippling Philosopher()