Christus Rex

In the cultural and theological tug of war to define Jesus, many on the theological left have moved to emphasize Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. They emphasize Jesus’s moral teachings, his healing and his temporal good works. Some go so far as to present Jesus as a social revolutionary and partisan in class warfare between the rich and the poor. By following Christ’s earthly example, they argue, the betterment of mankind can be accomplished.

I do not mean to de-emphasize Christ’s humanity in this post, after all a core tenet of Christian doctrine is the Hypostatic Union in which Christ is fully human and fully divine. But by emphasizing Christ’s earthly ministry, we de-emphasize His divinity.

Christ was fully human, and he carried out a temporal ministry which we are called to emulate. But Christ was and most importantly is divine. Christ is a friend, but he is also King.

In a way, this serves to better emphasize the love of Christ, after all, what earthly king is also a friend to humble and poor? But I believe the concept of Christ the King has several implications which make it somewhat uncomfortable for those on the theological left.

Firstly, the concept of Christ as king emphasizes the sovereignty of God. By emphasizing Christ’s role as king, as ruler, as lord, we emphasize God’s final and ultimate authority in all things. God in his infinite knowledge knows more than any man ever can know, and this idea is unsettling to many people. Rather than working to end suffering on this earth, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God tells us that we cannot know why there is suffering and that suffering will exist to the end of time. And the permanence of suffering emphasizes more than anything else that mankind cannot be saved and redeemed through temporal earthly ministry and social justice.

Secondly, the concept of Christ the King emphasizes the existence of absolute morality. After all, if Christ is the ultimate sovereign ruler, then it logically follows that the pronouncements of such a ruler serve as an absolute moral code. “Love” as defined by the theological left is often relative to the circumstances. It is centered around not appearing judgmental, intolerant or absolutist. Yet, as Christ was about to ascend into heaven his last words to his disciples were not “be open-minded and tolerant”, the were to “go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Thirdly, the concept of Christ the King emphasizes the existence of absolute truth and reason. God’s existence, and therefore his sovereignty, are unchanging and immutable. This is a attribute that many on the theological left find distasteful. Shane Claiborne, for example, writes The Irresistible Revolution that “religious doctrines just aren’t very compelling, even if they’re true.”Post-modernists and Emergents argue that God is encountered emotionally rather than intellectually. As a result, Biblical morality becomes subjective and relativistic. Theology becomes based on feelings rather than objective truth.

Keeping this view of Christ the King in mind also gives the Christian a proper sense of reverence for the divine. God is infinitely greater than man, and being reminded of this serves to remind mankind of his true place in the order of things. With the immensity and power of God in mind, earth’s problems seem small by comparison. One’s own life is of small concern. Christians in Cuba executed by Che Guevara (a man idolized by some proponents of the social gospel such as Shane Claiborne as an example of a fighter for social justice) did not go to their deaths at the killing walls of La Cabana Prison shouting “Christ the Fighter for Social Justice!” or “Christ the Defender of the Poor!” Rather, they died shouting “Viva Cristo del Rey!”

I am not trying to minimize Christ’s temporal ministry, but to put it in its proper perspective. Christians do not just follow the earthly Christ of Thomas Jefferson’s The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. We follow the divine Christ, Christ the Redeemer, Christ the King. Christ is worthy not only of our emulation but of our reverence. Emphasizing Christ’s temporal ministry at the expense of his divinity is to miss half of the point. We follow Christ’s earthly ministry, but we also follow the Risen Christ. Christ is not just our friend, He is our God.

The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth

45 thoughts on “Christus Rex

  1. I'm glad you expounded on your last post; I missed your short, declarative concluding sentences that repeat but don't synthesize.

    You're doing us atheists a favor by turning faith into a fatalist trope that inspires no one.

  2. Bravo, Chris! Excellent points, all around. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, either Christianity is false and it is of no importance whatsoever or it is true and it is the single most important thing in the world. Emphasis on Christ as a human moral teacher tends to diminish His ultimate importance; thank you for your effort at restoring a proper perspective.

    Re: Panzo: No religion that I am aware of claims as its purpose inspiring people. As for fatalism, you're going to die, so get over it. Besides, atheism offers no hope of anything else, so if you really want an escape from fatalism, I would suggest finding religion. And when choosing a particular religion, I would recommend looking for one that is closest to the truth, regardless of its inspirational value.

    (Something to consider, though, Chris: maybe you should get an editor to fix a few typos…)

  3. This is a response to a combination of your last post and this one I suppose.

    you make truth out to be a type of knowledge like facts which can be learned from a textbook.
    truth is not acquired intellectually, it is revealed.
    how can we know truth without it having been revealed to us?
    God reveals it to us by the revelation of Scripture and the world around us.
    ok so i can live in this world and not know God exists, i can read the bible all day long and not have that revelation that this is truth, this is God speaking to me, without first being confronted with the realization of His love.
    that is why Christ calls his followers to the ends of the earth to bring his commands to all, which are? "Love God and love your neighbor as yourself"
    that's why missionaries today go out and bring the bible, bring medical supplies, bring food and water to the lost, hurting, hungry, addicted, confused, angry, apathetic, unloved.

    How else might people uncover God's love? they don't have your theology books or your professors or pastors. the only thing some people have is you.
    So you come at me explaining God's sovereignty and kingship in my life, and i have not accepted him as lord of my life bc who wants to be subservient to some random god just because you say so.
    you show me this with your life and i will reconsider.

    Without the lens of love we cannot "see" truth. our hearts are hardened from sin. from our nature. its not like all of a sudden, from enough study, from enough theological inquiry and philosophical searching, or even from someone's well reasoned argument we can stumble upon truth and go AHA now I know that God is real and Jesus died for my sins and I can believe what he said about himself and about me and about life.
    GOD has to reveal it to you. remove the scales from one's eyes. soften the heart. and that doesn't come from a mere intellectual pursuit.
    the breaking down of walls begins with an act of love. Jesus did that when he died on the cross. we have to guide others to that ultimate act of love through the everyday acts of love/ opportunities we are given to serve our neighbor.
    whoever he may be.
    I believe God IS encountered emotionally first (when you realize how depraved you are and how much you need God, that is no mere mental decision, that's some heart deciding going on too), but then should be pursued both emotionally and intellectually. (LOVE the lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind) and God sure enough doesn't want our mere intellectual study of him either. He wants our full devotion. He must be experienced emotionally too.
    We base our feelings (the overflow of our hearts) by the objective truth we internalize and meditate on day and night. the response in our actions (of love toward God and others) is just the logical outflow.

    This is what I see in all I know and read of Claiborne- show others love in order to guide them to Christ. A perspective which he believes is lacking in the current Christian culture. And because we are so extremely detached from that concept (living in our own christian bubbles) the only way to change it is to do so with such radical action as what- i'm sure you've read- he's doing through this redefined social gospel movement.

    truth isn't always popular, but it is revolutionary. once we've got ahold of that truth, why aren't we becoming revolutionaries too?
    apparently Christ has lost his awe and power in our lives, that's why we're afraid to be bold. not just talking boldly (which I'm sure you and I can all do very well), but acting boldly. why aren't we bold?

  4. I'm not sure I understand your definition of "truth" and "know".

    I know my computer runs on electricity. I know God exists. For me, these truths are the same type of thing.

    Love has no bearing on what is true and what isn't. It is possible to do things out of love for the wrong reasons. In fact, it happens a lot.

    If love points us to the truth, then what of people from other religions who do good works from acts of love? Does this make Buddhism true? There has to be rational discernment involved here.

    "truth isn't always popular, but it is revolutionary. once we've got ahold of that truth, why aren't we becoming revolutionaries too?"

    I don't buy the "Jesus was a revolutionary" line. During his ministry, Jesus was constantly fighting against the misconception that he was going to bring some sort of earthly revolution, overthrow Rome, become a king, etc.

    The real revolution, if you insist on using that word, was the idea of God redeeming fallen man, not physically, but spiritually.

    1. "I know my computer runs on electricity. I know God exists. For me, these truths are the same type of thing."

      How can they possibly be the same type of thing? Electricity is invisible, but it's very easy to verify its presence. The presence of an invisible supernatural being cannot be perceived or verified with any experiment.

      1. The existence of God is a given. It can be easily proven using the most basic of logical arguments. As far as I can tell, that is Chris's point.

  5. Electricity can shock against someone's will, it can kill someone, it can generally be subjected to logical and sensory tests, like most things. But Christians see the illogical character of determining the existence of God as an endearing quality. In other words, Christians commit themselves to the biggest logical fallacy ever: they believe in God because God cannot be proven NOT to exist. And every time that anti-logic contrives a cute little flourish about faith or truth, they talk about it like it's a magic trick.

    I'm comfortable with death, Cheston, comfortable enough that I don't need a belief system to face it. As a free-thinking person, I can read theology and not be tricked into erecting a bunch of scaffolding upon hollow foundations. Theology is in the same part of the '-ology' spectrum as astrology anyway.

    My point with my last post was that Christians who minimize the social gospel anyway take away the relevance of faith (note that I was talking about faith, not religion) in people's lives do atheists a favor by offering added encouragement to look elsewhere for bettering themselves and their lives.

    Thanks.

    1. Anyone who thinks that the proof of God lies with the inability to prove that God does not exist is a moron or simply doesn't know enough about debate to prove it in a proper logical manner.

      People who intellectually dishonest enough to become atheists do the Church a favor by leaving. The only reason that I bother arguing with atheists like yourself is because I find it fun. You come up with so many interesting and far fetched reasons to deny the source of morality that I cannot help myself.

      1. Have to agree, NJR. Debating the existence of God, per se, with an atheist is almost useless, unless you have fun doing it. The existence of God is written on the hearts of men–they know it naturally. Therefore, atheists WANT God not to exist, and have some extenuating circumstance (apart from reason) that causes their denial.

        And, no, atheists, I'm not using a circular argument here because, with this post, I'm not attempting to prove the existence of God. I'm just pointing out that, to me, the existence of God is self-evident, and, because I believe that other people perceive the world as I perceive the world, I believe that God's existence is self-evident to everyone who doesn't have a selfish desire to believe against his nature. And, again, I'll acknowledge that this does not prove my point. But I still believe I'm right.

  6. At least you finally admit that you cannot understand that others can (and do) see the world differently than you. This will save everyone a world of trouble that ever tries to explain anything to you in the future. Riley Matheson is a boy who is in his element only outside the classroom, pissing in the sandbox because he fears if he doesn't, someone else will get to first.

    One last thing:

    "Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful [the Babel fish] could have evolved by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
    The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
    "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED"
    "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic."

    –Douglas Adams, "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

    1. Isn't that classy. Quoting Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

      Since you seem to think that it is impossible to prove the existence of God with logic, I will do it to shut you up. By the way, faith and explanation are not opposing terms.

      Initial Claim: A supernatural being, and the source of all things exists. Namely, God.

      Suppose not.
      Suppose that there is no supernatural being.
      We see in nature that there is both cause and effect, and that matter is finite.
      However, the denial of God necessarily posits that there is either no cause and effect, or that matter is infinite.
      It is obvious that there is cause and effect and it can be proven through numerous methods.
      We know that anything finite has both a cause and an effect, or a beginning and an end, through experimentation and by the definition of "finite". By definition of "infinite", anything that is infinite would not be subject to cause and effect, as it would negate the unchanging aspect of infinity.

      If there is no beginning then there is no end. Therefore, all matter that exists now, has always existed and will always exist. However, since we know that matter can be destroyed, and that it is subject to cause and effect, we know that matter is not and cannot be infinite.

      So, we have shown that the two necessities for the supposition that God does not exist are false. Cause and effect do occur in nature, and matter is not infinite.
      Therefore, by indirect proof, the claim that a supernatural being, and the source of all things exists (God) is true. QED

      1. "Therefore, by indirect proof, the claim that a supernatural being, and the source of all things exists (God) is true. QED"

        Truly magical reasoning. Do you really expect to be taken seriously? I started laughing when I got to "Suppose not."

      2. That's because you know nothing about debate, or logical reasoning. And no, I don't expect to be taken seriously by the likes of you. I don't waste my time trying to convince intellectually banrupt and dishonest halfwits like yourself.

        Try googling indirect proof, and you'll see why I began with "Suppose not".

        I also like the fact that beyond dismissing my argument as laughable, you failed to actually explain why the reasoning is false.

      3. No, really, it's a waste of time. The question of the existence of supernatural being(s) is not one that interests me in the least, and your assertion that you can prove the existence of such through a simple! trick! of logic! is something that I can only regard as a joke.

      4. A trick of logic? LOL!!!!!! A trick? That's a new one. You can't disprove the logic so it must be a trick and waste of your time? I've heard a lot of cop outs, but this one takes the cake.

        Look up indirect proofs and maybe the "trick" of my logic will be revealed to you.

        "The question of the existence of supernatural being(s) is not one that interests me in the least" It's called denial. That you refuse to refute my "absurd" point is proof of that.

  7. Again, a logical determination depends on an antiquated or incorrect cosmology.

    The physical law of the conservation of mass states that matter cannot be created or destroyed. Which, by the way, dude, you learn in the sixth grade. It can be rearranged in space in a closed system. Matter can be reduced into particles typically not considered matter, but is never blown absolutely out of existence in some form.

    There's a big jump in saying that denying God definitively posits either of those assumptions. Straw man all you like, it's bullshit. You've set this up way too loosely.

    First of all, the meaning of "cause and effect" is different depending on whether or not you mean physical causality or in a more common sense, and even in physics causality becomes unclear when discussing relativity. So, you're going to have to narrow down what sort of "cause and effect" you mean.

    As you can probably deduce from what has been discussed before, your definition of matter's "beginning and end" here seems to have no relation to physical science, because whether or not "things" "begin" or "end" is not clearly defined even within the scientific community. So the "matter is infinite" option is pitted with definitive issues as well.

    matter does not have cause and effect anyway: phenomena do. This table's cause was what: The trees? The woodworker? The process of making it? If the latter, where does the process begin and end? Does it start when the woodworker got up to bed? The effect was what: the table itself? My buying it? Referring to cause and effect this way is clunky because you're using it incorrectly.

    1. I'm glad that you brought up the Law of Conservation of MASS. Mass is not matter and you've used the two terms interchangeably.
      The key word here is "closed" system. Unless you plan to argue that the entirety of the universe is a closed system, your argument holds no water. Whether matter can or cannot be destroyed also depends upon your definition of matter. If you believe that particles like electrons and photons are matter, then matter can be destroyed.

      "…your definition of matter's "beginning and end" here seems to have no relation to physical science, because whether or not "things" "begin" or "end" is not clearly defined even within the scientific community."

      You're arguing semantics now. All matter is SUBJECT to cause and effect. To deny that, no matter how you define cause and effect is ludicrous. The problem with using relativity as a response to causality, is that they simply do not know how causality works at the quantum level. In many cases, it appeared (that's another key word) that certain elements of the quantum "world" were not subject to cause and effect.

      Since all matter is subject to cause and effect, by the very definition of infinite, matter cannot be infinite. The fact that matter changes makes it impossible to claim that matter is infinite.

    2. Whether mass or matter or energy is conserved or destroyed doesn't actually matter, Panzo. The thing that's more important to consider is the fact that the universe (and the mass, matter, energy, or whatever you want to call it) is in a constant state of change, which requires cause and effect.

      "First of all, the meaning of "cause and effect" is different depending on whether or not you mean physical causality or in a more common sense, and even in physics causality becomes unclear when discussing relativity. So, you're going to have to narrow down what sort of "cause and effect" you mean."

      (While you're attacking other people's education, go ahead and re-read this latter poorly-constructed paragraph of yours.) And sure, "in physics causality becomes unclear when discussing relativity," but that's no shocker. Just because there is, at times, a chicken-and-egg question doesn't mean that there is no efficient or prior cause. It just means that we can't necessarily discern the cause and effect with our limited human minds.

      "This table's cause was what: The trees? The woodworker? The process of making it? If the latter, where does the process begin and end? Does it start when the woodworker got up to bed? The effect was what: the table itself? My buying it?"

      No, it's because you don't understand how to think. NJR was simplifying the question, because, at the end of the day, there is/are (an) efficient cause(s) for everything. Go to dictionary.com and look up "cause," definition 8b. If you're honest, you'll see what meant and entailed by the term "cause." Your table was caused by all the things that you have mentioned, and perhaps even more. The trees provided the material cause, the woodworker provided the efficient cause, the process of making it and perhaps the nature of the wood, tools, worker, etc. provided the formal cause, and selling it to you provides the final cause. This is obviously a simplified version of the summation, and we can certainly analyze the situation much more deeply than that. But just because the almighty Panzo the great Danzo can't see all the causes or put them in proper order doesn't mean that they don't exist and doesn't mean that there isn't a proper order.

      "Referring to cause and effect this way is clunky because you're using it incorrectly."

      My, you have a scientific mind, don't you! You'd rather take the easy way out and just obfuscate the discussion by saying that cause and effect are "clunky." But here's the thing, even if you're right–even if we can't know all causes and all effects of a given thing or action–that doesn't mean that cause and effect do not exist. It just means that, on account of our own human limitations, we can't track them perfectly. But this has never surprised anyone, not even the dreaded, foolish people who believe in God.

      1. NJR states that matter can be destroyed; he says so as part of his/her reasoning toward the finite character of matter. As I said, and as they reiterate, whether or not it is destroyed depends on how you define matter. I'm glad NJR said it on their own (Whether matter can or cannot be destroyed also depends upon your definition of matter), because it blows a hole in their own proof. And yes, whether or not the universe is a closed system, is functionally open or absolutely open is a matter of scientific debate.

        I haven't "obfuscated" anything. I've just shown how NJR's argument doesn't handle under scrutiny because it's too general.

        Frankly, God has nothing to do with the price of eggs: belief in cause and effect and belief in God have little to do with one another.

      2. Whether matter can be destroyed or not doesn't matter. I believe that it can be, but my opinion doesn't matter. Matter is, however, subject to cause and effect, which refutes the claim that matter is infinite.

        "Doesn't handle under scrutiny"? Really? You misinterpret the Conservation of Mass and claim that the "cause and effect" is too general, and that shows that my argument doesn't handle scrutiny? I generalize the use of "cause and effect" because to narrow it down to the level that you seem to require would simply muddle the debate beyond comprehension. It would become a red herring of sorts, since defining how cause and effect work EXACTLY is pointless.

        The point is that you cannot deny that matter is subject to cause and effect. For example, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That's an aspect of cause and effect.

        "belief in cause and effect and belief in God have little to do with one another." What exactly is the "belief" in cause and effect? As far as I know, cause and effect, much like gravity, is given.

        It is always the final move of the atheist to simply deny reality. You get backed into a corner and suddenly, you start questioning the existence of reality.

      3. Did you not read mine or NJR's post? Cause and effect have everything to do with the existence of God. I'll tell you what. Let's make this less religious since apparently you are uncomfortable with religion. Let's call God the First Mover or the Uncaused Cause (I'm using an initial capital letter because the First Mover is clearly singular).

        1. The universe is in a constant state of change. Every change has a prior or efficient cause. We may not know what the cause(s) is/are exactly, as I've already said, but clearly things do not happen without prior causes. This is what allows us to perceive the passage of time–indeed, this is what gives time any meaning at all. If nothing changed, there would be no time.

        2. It is clearly impossible to trace causes back ad infinitum, because that would eliminate the initial, first cause, and actions/effects/results/things clearly cannot cause themselves, or be prior to themselves.

        3. Thus, there needs to be a First Mover–something that has always existed, because, as I have already stated, things cannot bring themselves into existence or cause themselves.

        4. "God" is simply the word we use to describe this First Mover. The First Mover is, by definition, infinite. God is unchanging. By His nature, He does not change, so there is no need for Him to have a cause, assuming that He has always existed, which is clearly part of His definition if we call Him infinite.

        Another way to look at it is as follows: Let's say that we had as much knowledge about the universe as is possible to have. We would, in that case, know all the causes of everything in existence, and we would know the course of history exactly, without any uncertainty at all and there would not be an action or thing about which we were ignorant in the slightest degree at all. If that were the case, we would eventually reach back to the first cause. But, when we reached the first "natural" cause, we would realize that this natural cause could not have caused itself, which would tell us that there is a cause of the first natural cause–something that would have had to have been supernatural and infinite (unchanging)–something that is not part of the natural universe. We call this thing God.

        So, cause and effect have everything to do with the existence of God.

        Now, the only counterargument you could possibly have at this point is that we can trace causes back ad infinitum. My answer? My answer is that, in all nature, you cannot find an example of a natural phenomenon that causes itself. Also, logically speaking, it is obvious that it is unreasonable to claim that a thing/phenomenon could bring itself about–whether the thing is natural or supernatural–because that would require that the thing/phenomenon be prior to itself. That's like saying a pancake cooked itself.

      4. That's rich. Atheists are the ones that have a reluctant relationship with reality. That's really good.

        I have no interest in repeating myself when it comes to cause and effect. I've already said why conservation of mass is important and NJR has chosen not to deal with my counter-point.

        It requires specificity because you're talking about physics. Temporal relationships and cause and effect come into question. Particles can affect one another without any apparent interaction, from two separate areas of space. They can also "disappear" and "reappear" in space. So a general "things affect things" understanding doesn't mean anything, especially toward the already ridiculous mission to prove (g)od in a proof.

        "Whether matter can be destroyed or not doesn't matter. I believe that it can be, but my opinion doesn't matter. Matter is, however, subject to cause and effect, which refutes the claim that matter is infinite."

        Because you still choose to hang part of your argument on it, it appears that your opinion is the only thing that matters, no pun intended. Your ability to construct a paragraph casts doubt on the relevance of cause and effect, since one sentence has no bearing on the one before it.

        There's a big jump between "cause and effect" and "(g)od" or even "first-mover" and (g)od. And the universe, as we are coming to understand, doesn't follow the simple rules we are governed by. And while that sounds awfully faith-like, there's far more reason to ascribe to that line of thought than the internally contradictory, highly edited and amended, cross-purposed alternatives.

      5. "I've already said why conservation of mass is important and NJR has chosen not to deal with my counter-point."

        Excuse me? Let me quote you:

        "The physical law of the conservation of mass states that matter cannot be created or destroyed."

        That claim is false. You accuse me of using antiquated reasoning, but you respond to my argument with the "law" of the conservation of matter (You state "mass", but since you failed to state that particular law, I'll assume that you meant matter). The law of conservation of matter was proven to be "false" by Einstein. The updated Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy states that in a chemical reaction, the total amount of energy in the system remains unchanged. While this claim is true, it is only true in a closed system. Since all science seems to indicate that the universe is NOT a closed system, I fail to see how you provided any sort of "counter-point".

        Let me ask you this, Panzo. If the universe is a closed system, and the amount of mass and energy is constant, then why do we see change in nature? You may claim that the change is simply a rearrangement of matter, but it begs the question of what caused the rearrangement. Also, a closed system would necessarily mean that there is a set amount of energy and matter, which would make it finite, now wouldn't it?

        "Because you still choose to hang part of your argument on it, it appears that your opinion is the only thing that matters, no pun intended. Your ability to construct a paragraph casts doubt on the relevance of cause and effect, since one sentence has no bearing on the one before it."

        Your "understanding" of cause and effect is either nonexistent, or you simply persist in your ignorance out of spite. The conversion of matter into energy is an effect which has a cause. Not even spontaneous reactions are without a cause. For example, an iron nail rusting is the most common example of a spontaneous reaction. However, in order for that spontaneous reaction to occur, you must combine iron, water, and oxygen in order to produce iron oxide(rust). That necessary combination is a cause, with rusting being the effect.

      6. "That's rich. Atheists are the ones that have a reluctant relationship with reality. That's really good."

        You're right, jackass. What did you expect me to say? That WE are the ones who have a reluctant relationship with reality? This statement of yours betrays a hint of circular reasoning on your part. Somehow, you think that theists must believe, in their heart of hearts, that God doesn't exist.

        "I have no interest in repeating myself when it comes to cause and effect. I've already said why conservation of mass is important and NJR has chosen not to deal with my counter-point."

        And I've already said why conservation of mass is irrelevant. I, too, have no interest in repeating myself when it comes to cause and effect. Apparently, you think that causes can be traced back ad infinitum. If you believe that, then I may as well stop trying with you.

        "Particles can affect one another without any apparent interaction, from two separate areas of space."

        The key word here is “apparent.” There is clearly interaction. Ever heard of force carriers? But, again, this is really irrelevant.

        “There's a big jump between "cause and effect" and "(g)od" or even "first-mover" and (g)od.”

        The reason you think this is because you don’t understand what a logical proof of the existence of God is intended to prove and what it’s not intended to prove. It’s not intended to prove the existence of the Triune God, and it’s not intended to prove that Jesus is God. I’ve already explained this, but apparently you are so obstinate in your beliefs that you missed that part.

        “And the universe, as we are coming to understand, doesn't follow the simple rules we are governed by.”

        Bullshit. The universe never contradicts logic, even if it may appear to at times. But when it appears to contradict logic, the atheists are the ones who use a cop-out and just say that “logic doesn’t apply,” while the theists are the ones who try to figure out what the logical explanation is. So, in fact, you guys are incredibly uncurious.

        Well, I’ll have to thank you, Danzo. You’ve helped me vindicate myself yet again.

      7. I'm glad the both of you have a newfound appreciation of science! The amount of science you have chosen to use has increased over the life of this post, meaning the two of you have wasted some time wiki-ing, at least.

        I haven't suggested that this was meant to prove a specifically Christian God or anything like it. But tell me: if it's not meant to prove 'God,' than what is the proof proving at all? If it is simply "first-mover," you could just as easily substitute "Big Bang" for the word "God" in the proof and it would still work. In fact, it makes more sense that way.

        As I've stated before, whether or not the universe is a closed system is an issue of scientific debate. And for you to claim that "all science" points otherwise is completely false, since theories regarding the end (or not) of the universe depend on whether or not it is to be considered a closed system. Even further, both of your arguments serve to divorce the relevance of either cause and effect or the finite/infinite nature of the universe with the existence of god, which apparently isn't really 'god' either.

      8. Before you call into question my understanding of science, I believe it was you who failed to show an understanding of the Principle of the Conservation of Mass. I graduated from UNC with a degree in Chemistry, so I know a fair bit of science without "wiki-ing". I can only assume, now, that you used wikipedia to look up the Principle of Conservation of Mass, since the actual principle says nothing about the existence of matter. That, or you simply took your 6th grade understanding of it, and tried to apply to a higher level of science. Nicely done.

        "since theories regarding the end (or not) of the universe depend on whether or not it is to be considered a closed system." That is called circular reasoning…..

        The infinite/finite nature of the universe isn't "divorced" from the existence of God. You can ignore certain aspects of my argument as much as you want. To deny God is to imply that the universe is infinite and has always and will always exist. Both logic and scientific evidence at the moment indicate that the universe has a boundary and is therefore finite. Until you (not you specifically) prove that the universe is infinite your "counterpoint" does not exist.

        Let me also clarify something. I am not arguing the "First Cause". I am arguing the existence of a supernatural being who is the source of all things. Don't group two separate argument forms into one, Panzo.

      9. Look, Danzo. I'll admit I'm no scientist, but I doubt you are either. (For what it's worth, I do have a minor in chemistry, which came with a decent amount of physics and math.) By the way, I can't even remember the first time I heard about force carriers. Maybe high school? So, if that's the "science" you're claiming I've used (because I can't really think of any other "science" I've sourced), your mockery falls incredibly flat.

        I still can't help but notice how condescending your tone is toward our scientific knowledge. Would you care to cite your credentials? (Not that I really give a shit and not that it's relevant to this discussion. But if I had to guess, you don't have much more formal training in science than I do.)

        "But tell me: if it's not meant to prove 'God,' than what is the proof proving at all? If it is simply "first-mover," you could just as easily substitute "Big Bang" for the word "God" in the proof and it would still work. In fact, it makes more sense that way."

        Fine. Call it the "Big Bang" if you want to. But only if you acknowledge that the Big Bang is not a part of the natural universe, as long as you admit that the Big Bang still exists, as long as you admit that the Big Bang is unchanging, as long as you admit that the Big Bang is self-sufficient, etc.

        "Even further, both of your arguments serve to divorce the relevance of either cause and effect or the finite/infinite nature of the universe with the existence of god, which apparently isn't really 'god' either."

        *Sigh* Learn to read. I've never in any way "divorced the relevance of…cause and effect…with (sic) the existence of [G]od." I've said that God has to exist because, without Him, there is no first mover, which is logically necessary to set off the chain of causes and effects. What don't you get?

      10. So, in short, we see an attempt to apply logic to the supernatural. That's what this really boils down to. If NJR is really a graduate of this school's science program and fails to see the folly coded in that, I'd have rather gone to Duke full-time.

        "But only if you acknowledge that the Big Bang is not a part of the natural universe, as long as you admit that the Big Bang still exists, as long as you admit that the Big Bang is unchanging, as long as you admit that the Big Bang is self-sufficient, etc."

        Taxing further the suspension of disbelief I've had to endure for the entirety of this discussion, I could entertain the first assertion there. The second and third are writing flourishes you ought to have removed. They don't apply to the argument. My point is that if you boil it down to simply saying that there had to be something that caused the big bang, the argument no longer means anything. It could be a giant banana. If that's all you are arguing, then you aren't arguing anything at all.

        I said your argument "serve to;" I didn't say you said it per se. *sigh*

      11. There we go. I wondered how long it would take before you would bring up that "argument". Here's the issue with that.

        According to your argument, mathematicians and physicists are obviously crazy. I mean, limits that approach infinity(which goes beyond nature, as we do not and cannot fully grasp the concept of infinity), quantum mechanics (which, by your own words, seem to ignore the rules of nature) etc….So, how are they able to make claims on these things? I mean, how can you apply logic to the limit of natural log of x, as x approaches 0? Or, how do you make a claim on quantum mechanics when quantum mechanics seem to ignore natural law? It's OBVIOUSLY impossible, since you are applying logic to something that cannot be explained by logic.

        Your claim is a subtle form of circular reasoning. We cannot logically prove the existence of the supernatural, because the supernatural is beyond logic. In order to prove its existence, we can only use what is available to us, (logic and reasoning), but we cannot because to prove it, we'd have to use logic.

        Nice jab by the way. You have yet to state your "credentials" while at the same time showing a complete and utter lack of understanding of the Law of Conservation of Mass/Matter (whatever fits your current argument). It's just so much easier to attack me, then it is to attack my arguments.

        I won't take any jabs at you and continue this intellectual mud slinging. You're welcome to continue though, as you have little else to fall back on.

        I do have a question to pose to you. You seem hell bent on showing that God does not exist. However, what I have yet to see from you, or any atheist, is a reasonable explanation as to how the universe came to be. Don't forget. You cannot use anything that goes beyond logic (like infinity, or anything that disobeys natural law) to explain it. So, do you have a logical and naturally reasoned explanation as to how things came to be? You immediately dismiss God as an explanation as being antiquated, so you must have some revealed knowledge that explains the nature of the universe.

      12. I haven't said that quantum mechanics ignore, rather they go beyond common convention. And when I've said that, it's been to distill something out of your meaningless proof, which could solve for god, God, god(s), Trig Palin, banana or fill-in-the-blank with equal success. Try arguing against someone's argument that you haven't tried to reduce to absolutes.

        I no longer need to explain further why the argument made about the conservation of mass is consistent. I even did so relative to your supposition early on. But go ahead and keep belaboring this point.

        No one claims to have figured out for certain the origin of the universe except for religious folk. I'm not particularly hung up on it being proven for sure, but I find it ridiculous that someone would see me as unreasonable for not buying into one that definitively comes with an excess of moralizing baggage.

        I have no reason to believe god exists and this certainly hasn't dissuaded me from that viewpoint. That's what being an atheist is, truly: to require that things be proven beyond any doubt. The burden of proof is on those who argue for god, not those who demand proof of it. The idea that 'there cannot NOT be god' seems absurd because to be because I can't see what sort of event would make such a conclusion evident.

        Religion requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief, and you seem to have a problem with that. At least Kierkegaard, one of few modern religious philosophers of any real merit, understood that religion required faith in the absurd. Without it, what is faith?

      13. And you completely ignored my comment about math and the concept of infinity.

        Let me try and explain why I "belabor" that point. Your response to my argument can basically be summed up as the following:

        You source the Law of the Conservation of Mass by not actually stating the Law. You then draw a conclusion from it, without actually supporting that leap in logic. Your point in doing this, I can only assume, is to show that matter is infinite. However, in order for that Law that you sourced to be valid, the universe must be a closed system. By definition of a close system, the universe HAS to be finite, then. Either way, the universe is finite, and therefore my point stands. Since the denial of God would mean that the universe is infinite, a point which you yourself have proven to be false, my argument has yet to be challenged.

        So, your "counterpoint" proves itself wrong, in the context of my argument.

        You then switch gears and say that it is insane to use logic to prove the existence of something beyond logic. Seeing as you had no real response to my rebuttal, I'll take it that you realize just how ridiculous your claim was.

        So, for the time being, you have yet to show why my proof fails to show the existence of God.

        "That's what being an atheist is, truly: to require that things be proven beyond any doubt."

        You obviously have no background in science, judging from this statement. You have no idea how the world began, and unless you are talking about pure mathematics (which apparently is false, according to your reasoning) there is no such thing as pure science. NOTHING in science is proven beyond a doubt. Absolutely. Nothing. So, are you a nihilist? I mean, the LAW of conservation of mass was replaced and changed. And yet, what defines a law in nature is the fact that it is never changing, or never broken. And yet, it changed. What law is beyond doubt?

        This simply has everything to do with pride. To acknowledge that God exists would be a massive bruise to your enormous ego, and you can't back down now. You have no reason to believe in God because it is inconvenient to do so. Plugging your ears and saying that you have no reason to believe in something doesn't change a thing. You say that religion requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief. I'd say that atheism requires an extreme denial of reality. You set up inexact science as the source of all knowledge and claim that it is infallible (which is ludicrous), but you refuse to acknowledge the supernatural. Not everything can be explained in the lab. But, you use the fact that God cannot be dissected on table as the reason why belief in God is for halfwits. That you are so oblivious to the hypocrisy of that stance can only be explained by blinding pride.

        Also, I didn't ask you to "buy" into God. What I asked you was to provide what it is that you believe in. The origin of the universe is something that science has yet to (and probably never will) prove. So, do you just not believe in the origin of the universe?

      14. Applying logic to the supernatural, in my opinion, is perfectly legitimate. Why can't we? You are confusing empirical proof with logic. Logically, there are certain things we can deduce to be true, even if we can't prove them in a laboratory. NJR raises an interesting point about calculus. Not everything in calculus can be shown empirically to be true, but we know from logic that it is true. Math is more pure than science in the sense that there is really not much experimentation that goes on in the field of mathematics. Math is really about logic. Math and science cross paths when a mathematical model helps generalize and explain experimental phenomena. If you've ever conducted an experiment in a laboratory, you'd realize this. It's called "shit happens" and the actual results almost never match up exactly with the mathematical model. But if it's true that empirical results NEVER match exactly the mathematical model (and therefore we never empirically vindicate the mathematical model because of experimental limitations), are you suggesting that the concepts explored in mathematics cannot be proven to be true? If so, that's quite a thing to say.

    1. Before you call into question my understanding of science, I believe it was you who failed to show an understanding of the Principle of the Conservation of Mass. I graduated from UNC with a degree in Chemistry, so I know a fair bit of science without "wiki-ing". I can only assume, now, that you used wikipedia to look up the Principle of Conservation of Mass, since the actual principle says nothing about the existence of matter. That, or you simply took your 6th grade understanding of it, and tried to apply to a higher level of science. Nicely done.

      "since theories regarding the end (or not) of the universe depend on whether or not it is to be considered a closed system." That is called circular reasoning…..

      The infinite/finite nature of the universe isn't "divorced" from the existence of God. You can ignore certain aspects of my argument as much as you want. To deny God is to imply that the universe is infinite and has always and will always exist. Both logic and scientific evidence at the moment indicate that the universe has a boundary and is therefore finite. Until you (not you specifically) prove that the universe is infinite your "counterpoint" does not exist.

      Let me also clarify something. I am not arguing the "First Cause". I am arguing the existence of a supernatural being who is the source of all things. Don't group two separate argument forms into one, Panzo.

  8. I want to finish my thgouht here. If God treated us fairly Jesus would have never died on the cross. and we would have never been offered salvation. I praise God that He loves me, He never fails me and He goes to plan B and on. Look ho w He blessed Israel, they sinned and went away from God countless times, but He was faithful and loved them any way. Romans 5:8 But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. Praise be to God!

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