Argument without rules

THURSDAY, 5 NOVEMBER 2015

My position since at least “To talk about God” (written in November 2001) has been as follows: You cannot believe in “God” without defining “God”. And when you have defined “God”, you have created an idol – like Moses’ brother Aaron created an idol of gold and jewellery, so people do it with words.

FRIDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2015

Many people will be ready with a counter-argument: “I don’t define God. I believe what God has revealed about Himself.”

Okay, I’ll say, let me try again: You cannot believe in “God” without first defining “God”. And when you have defined “God” …

“Nobody defines God. He has revealed himself.”

How do you know? I will ask.

And so the back and forth will continue, until you realise you are knee-deep in an argument with absolutely no rules, because how do you argue with “I believe so because I feel so”? How do you argue with, “I believe what I believe because a book that was written by God Himself who moved the authors’ hands in a certain way says that is how it is. And the book must be right because the book says it is right. And my feeling confirms it. And feelings I have had in the past also confirm it. And almost everyone I know agrees with me.”

How do you argue a point if the other person is saying whatever he wants without any reference to independent research and confirmation other than other people who also have a strong personal stake in the matter?

“This is the shell of a dragon egg,” says someone with an ostrich egg shell in her hand.

“How do you know it’s a dragon egg shell?” another person asks.

“Because I feel it’s true, and you can’t say anything that would convince me that what I feel isn’t true.”

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