A rabbi, a priest, and an atheist walk into a ... garage

(John Dalton) #21

What exactly would your instinct be to rebel against? We all believe various things for reasons, which seem convincing to us, and which we would naturally expect to be convincing to others. But in the end, if you can’t say that you “know” something, it seems hard to say why anyone else should necessarily believe it to be true.

I’m sure that we could point to plenty of other NT passages which suggest that belief as opposed to knowledge is important, as well!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #22

I think it was more me initially misunderstanding what you wrote than me disagreeing with what you actually said. My knee-jerk reaction is to balk at the suggestion that ‘belief’ and ‘knowledge’ are so easily teased apart. I guess I just prefer a tidy little world where I get to believe real things without having to entertain the notion that there could be separation between my understanding and reality. I also don’t want it to be possible that something is “reasonable” to me and simultaneously “unreasonable” to somebody else when we’re both of sound mind. But that’s basic philosophy 101 stuff, I’m sure. And my more reflective self accepts that the world is messier than that and that I don’t usually get what I want. So in the end, I do accept that belief and knowledge are most likely distinguishable things - and [I believe! :wink: ] scripture supports that.

(John Dalton) #23

In a lot of ways they are not. Some even dispute if it’s possible to “know” anything :slight_smile: But the abstract concepts can still help us draw an illustrative picture. It’s ultimately a matter of confidence about one’s beliefs/knowledge, where that confidence comes from, and if or how it can be related to others.

Edit made, not easily teased apart!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #24


I think that one sentence captures the central tool of education (no; wider than education - all popular discourse and learning). It might have been you, John, that once shared a great Asimov quote …

… when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.

I remind my science students more than once that good teachers lie to them on a regular basis. We always know that our scientific models have some degree of wrongness. We just strive (by attending to evidence) to see to it that they are less wrong than the ones they replaced [and always allow for the possibility that we are wrong even in that assessment, though we often have good confidence that the old model is permanently laid to rest in favor of the better].

Show me a science teacher that ties themselves in knots trying to deliver “unvarnished truth” to his students (which already implicates him of the self-delusion that he possesses the final truth, and the further tragedy that he is criminally cultivating the same delusion in his students), and I’ll show you a tragic figure who will not last long in the world of education (and rightly so)!

(Randy) #25

good quote!

(Dominik Kowalski) #26

I very much enjoyed Bishop Barrons conversation with Ben Shapiro and I think his points are very useful in the judeo-christian-dialogue, though it will require a second listen to get all his points, especially in context. I never heard of him before and was very surprised by the size of his social media following.
Also his points to Jordan Peterson are right, and I like Petersons presentations and biblical references very much, but we have to be careful to not only analyze the bible in its psychological/metaphysical/metaphorical components and leave out the historical parts which are important for the christian faith (although Peterson regularly avoids this question since he doesn´t know enough about it).

(Christy Hemphill) #27

Well, your mother tongue always seems easier. As someone who has taught both English and Spanish as a second language, I’m pretty confident he’s wrong (at least for most people.). There are aspects of English that are easier than Spanish, for sure, but overall, Spanish is a more regular language than English, and if you factor in literacy as well, has a much simpler orthography and pronunciation system. Just ask yourself, how do you know which syllable of a word gets primary stress in English? It actually is systematic to some degree, but it would take about 150 pages of an English phonology book to explain the rules, and they differ depending on the language the word in question was derived from.

It also probably depends on what language you are learning English from. This chart is for English speakers learning other languages, not vice versa, but I would think the generalizations about linguistics and cultural differences hold both ways. So a Dutch speaker would have a much easier time learning English than a Chinese or Arabic Speaker. https://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty

Such a bunny trail. Sorry, folks. :rabbit::rabbit2:

(Mark D.) #28

Yep and I think you teach math as well. When a question arises for which a complete and entirely adequate answer would require substantial additional learning, it is better to give a less complete answer. Otherwise, if nothing within their current grasp can be said, it is better just to let them know in how many semesters or years they might expect to learn the math needed to answer their question.

(John Dalton) #29

Oh? Has he said that’s why?

(Dominik Kowalski) #30

Several times when asked about it. Of course since there are many viewer who attribute their conversion at least partly to him, there has been several times that he was asked about his own stance. In a talk with Ben Shapiro he said that he wasn´t an atheist anymore, which you know according to older posts. But with focus on Christianity, he always avoided this question and answered that he doesn´t know enough about the history and therefor focuses on the aspect which he has knowledge about, the psychological one with its benefits. Here is just an example from a video I saw recently

I think this position is very humble and I respect that. This video is just an example, but its pretty much the same answer every time. And maybe he is a christian, but if he is I wouldn´t expect him to ever make that statement, he has stated that he considers that question as a very private issue and he doesn´t want anyone to put him into a box so that one side can proclaim him as one of “theirs”.

Your wording is a bit strange, did you hear otherwise?

As a German, I disagree :grin:

(John Dalton) #31

No, but I don’t recall him saying it after watching a good number of his comments. Certainly he’s always been vague about it, so I’m interested in anything more concrete he’s said. Will take a look at that video!

(Dominik Kowalski) #32

Yes, and I wished I could give you the exact video where he was clear about it, but this guy gives so many interviews that its hard to keep track where he said what. I try to find it again.

(John Dalton) #33

I’ll take a look too.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #34

And your confidence is well-supported I’m sure. We were discussing this again today and he conceded he wasn’t thinking of the pronunciation / spelling aspect of it so much (apparently one doesn’t hear much of ‘Spanish spelling contests’). We really enjoyed looking at the graphic you linked.

Thanks for the educational tangent!

(John Dalton) #35

Started scrolling through this one, and didn’t pick up on anything initially except his annoying interpretation of the Cain story around 22:00. And the Ark around 30:00. He seems to have a knack for interpreting a story in a way that fits his own needs, IMO. Ah they start to get into it directly about 34:00. Things get interesting from here, thanks for posting. He does say he doesn’t know about the Resurrection as he needs three more years to think about it :thought_balloon: So I’d say your characterization is accurate on that point at least. He treats a lot of religious questions in this way though, even seemingly simple things like “do you believe in god” (or relatively simple, based on our conversation above :slight_smile: ) Maybe we can look forward to a NT lecture in three years :slight_smile: He doesn’t seem to be saying the same thing about the OT, which makes sense in that he has lectured about it. JP has his own church–did not know that!

(Dominik Kowalski) #36

Yes but taking into account what he has said in many interviews I don´t really expect him to tell the audience to which particular conclusion he came about God or the history of the resurrection since he considers it a very private issue. Of course I don´t know what he is reading, but I would say that to come to a reasonable conclusion he´d have to read some scholarly work, because treating the NT in the same psychological and metaphorical manner like the OT won´t give him a proper answer to that.

I guess this is something we can spread across the whole NT. Noone is going to ask you whether you belief Jesus is the son of God or if he walked on water, if you already said that you don´t know how to think about the resurrection. And looking at the God-question the only thing he clearly stated was that he wasn´t an atheist anymore but going further its getting blurry quickly and he avoids it. Though thats consistent of course with his position to treat this whole thing privately.

Well the Cain and Abel story, as well as the flood, are so loaded with potential theological perspectives and philosophical interpretations that I wouldn´t blame him, as long as he is making a consistent argument how he came to that conclusion. Similar to a text analysis in school. I think the only way you can have a wrong interpretation of e.g. a painting is if you can´t argue for it.

Keeping in mind that he said that he wanted to make the same presentations for every book of the bible like he did with Genesis and remembering how long he needed to get only Genesis done, I wouldn´t hold my breath.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #37

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