Joined: Sep. 2014
February 14, 2020 at 4:20 am
you are a reasonably educated and cultured person, so you know what is and is not appropriate in a context that in film terms needs to be PG rated. That you resent such a reasonable requirement instead of implicitly recognising and respecting it speaks volumes. But then, this is an age where shocking, habituating, entangling perversity is a few clicks away on the Internet. (Though, per a brewing scandal linked above, that may well collapse over matters of child exploitation and recorded sexual assault of same. The last remaining barrier, in place for reasons that carry all sorts of implications.)
Next, the underlying tone and response to evidence, record and heroic sacrifice above goes far beyond mere questioning of the veracity or credibility.
On the latter, you have an obvious problem with selective hyperskepticism and refusal to address adequate warrant.
On the former, consider as just one case how you reacted to a context in which the minimal facts of a consensus of scholarship [across the spectrum of views] are on the table, as well as the principles behind such facts , also historical evidence and undeniable trends. Namely, you invented a hypothetical narrative that has no provenance and put in it the suggestion of utterly gross immorality on the part of a man who could — and did — publicly challenge those who hated him enough to try to entrap him in death penalty crimes, that they were not able to factually accuse him of wrongdoing. A man, whose closest acquaintances were willing to peacefully die in the face of judicial murder for what they regarded about his spotless character (in a culture trained from birth to be sensitive to personal wrong-doing). Likewise, he was one able to rescue women, including those who had notoriously been scarlet; I here particularly point to Mary of Magdala (who is likely to also be Mary of Bethany).
The rhetoric of a shocking smear to taint another by planting a notion of accusation is well known, and revealing. It is obvious that you are unwilling to acknowledge and respect the presence and manifest character of one of the all time great uplifting teachers of humanity; that reflects a fundamental incivility and want of understanding of the underpinnings of sound community. No wonder that we find ourselves in an age of manipulation by slander.
I have already pointed to the connexion between truth, responsible reason and moral government, something you have consistently dodged: that we are subject to first duties of reason that pervade our intellectual endeavours and ground that we are under a law of our nature. That law is built in and binding, setting the context for individual life, family, community, sound government and the upholding of the civil peace of justice. Such moral government raises the issue of the IS-OUGHT gap, thus the need for an adequate reality root. That source of the world needs to be independent in being [thus necessary and eternal], powerful and knowledgeable enough to frame and build worlds, AND to have the inherent goodness and utter wisdom to ground moral government.
The alternative, is that moral government is delusional. There is no real duty, we just have a socially advantageous delusion. As can be documented as a clear view out there. But given that our sense of duty to truth pervades our rational life, such a delusion would take down with it our whole intellectual credibility.
You and your circle have been present many times when we have put on the table as a real world case study that it is manifestly and self-evidently evil to ambush, kidnap, bind, sexually indecently assault and murder a child for one’s sick pleasure. That is a case of effectively certain and incorrigible moral knowledge. The attempted denial is patently absurd, leading to that certainty of self-evidence. This speaks straight to first duties of a rational being — start with, truth, prudence, right reason, fairness and justice — and leads to the challenge to bridge is and ought [only possible in the root of reality] thus the bill of requisites for a world root being.
None of this is specifically Judaeo-Christian, nor does it presume generic theism, it is a worldviews analysis exercise towards understanding the integrity, wider coherence and credibility of rationality. Something which we desperately need. Indeed, it echoes not only Plato but also Cicero (a pagan, Roman Stoic, lawyer and top level statesman, writing c 50 BC):
—Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent with the true nature of man.
[–> Note, how justice and our built in nature as a morally governed class of creatures are highlighted; thus framing the natural law frame: recognising built-in law that we do not create nor can we repeal, which then frames a sound understanding of justice. Without such an anchor, law inevitably reduces to the sort of ruthless, nihilistic might- and- manipulation- make- “right,”- “truth,”- “knowledge,”- “law”- and- “justice”- etc power struggle and chaos Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X.]
We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws.
Quintus [his real-life brother]. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation.
Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason, implanted in nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions.
They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [–> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil.
The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.
This is the sort of general consensus thinking on the built in law of our morally governed nature that Paul of Tarsus wrote to Rome about 100 years later. And if there is no such built in law, if it is all a grand delusion, that taints our whole intellectual life. The positivism, relativism, selective hyperskepticism and scientism of our day are ill advised, self referentially absurd and nihilistic to the point of being misanthropy.
We would be well advised to reconsider and turn back.
Now, we face a bill of requisites for the world source, the root of reality. That bill of requisites is familiar sounding. And indeed, on those requisites tracing to our being morally governed creatures in a world fine tuned for such to exist, we can see the candidate to beat. Indeed, the only serious candidate after centuries of debate: the inherently good and utterly wise creator God; a necessary and maximally great being. One, worthy of our loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our manifest morally governed nature.
If you doubt this balance, this is phil, simply provide another candidate reality root _ and show its seriousness on comparative difficulties ___ . (As this challenge has been put on the table many times without serious answer the balance on merits is obvious.)
So, we have reason to hold to generic ethical theism, indeed we can see that the likes of Plato or Cicero were groping their way in that direction. In that context, we can note how the Hebraic tradition from outset, thousands of years before an analysis of necessary and maximally great being was seriously taken up, captured its essence in the self-revelation of God: I AM THAT I AM. That’s impressive. Likewise, in that tradition we saw predictive prophecy, demonstrably centuries ahead, specifically — Isa 53 — involving resurrection of messiah. That is what was fulfilled, with 500 witnesses c 30 AD.
Those witnesses were the unbreakable core of the founding era of the Christian movement as Morison noted. They were unanswerable, not even by ruthless demonic force that did not shrink back from judicial murder. And that is what is reflected in the C1 eyewitness lifetime record that grounds the minimal facts consensus. As to the attempt to reduce to one source and to dismiss as hearsay, the pattern of unintended coincidences and superficial differences that fuse into a coherent pattern on closer examination shows the direct contrary. Independent, multiple sources, recorded in a window of time before the Judaean war of the 60’s and 70’s wiped out the places so casually and aptly referred to.
What emerges, then, is a pattern of selective hyperskepticism, motivated by a culture that is no longer post Christian but is in some quarters militantly hostile, anti-Christian. In the pursuit of such, there is a shipwreck being made of the law of our morally governed nature; which is fraught with implications of undermining sound government and the defence of the civil peace of justice. Such is anti-civilisational and misanthropic; suicidally ruinous should it succeed.
We would be well advised to reconsider.
I challenge anyone to make sense out of this.