We enter a conversation between Sandbuilder and Rockbuilder. Sandbuilder was responding to a post that pointed out the problem for ungodly thinkers to have a true premise. They can’t get there. That’s why every argument against biblical creation, the Bible, or Christ is based on made-up stuff.
Sandbuilder: I am very happy to see a post addressing reason itself on this forum. It is on the common ground of reason that believers and infidels need to meet each other, and explore their differences with forbearance and compassion.
Yes, even scientists (both creation and evolution) have to live in a world where logic either works or it doesn’t. Sandbuilder claims to know nothing for certain except for some things he knows for certain. Watch for it. It's pretty tricky.
Sandbuilder: As to divine revelation, that premise itself would also lack proof, no?
Rockbuilder: You’re saying, “You too have the same problem.” That’s a tu quoque fallacy. For several reasons, your tu quoque doesn’t work. Do you want to know why?
Sandbuilder: Of course, please explain. In particular, I would like to know whether one person’s divine revelation should be accepted by another as true, if they have not themselves received it. If so, how do we distinguish between competing claims of divine revelation?
Rockbuilder: You ask, “Should person A’s divine revelation should be accepted by another as true, if they have not themselves received it.” I suppose you may be thinking they would just be asking you to just trust them. However, they aren’t asking you to just trust them. God is asking you to trust Him through them. God teaches us those who follow Christ ought always to speak/write by the Holy Spirit. He says, “Speak as His oracle.” He says whoever rejects them speaking by His Spirit rejects Him directly. Whoever rejects Him rejects the Father directly.
God has revealed one thing most disbelievers find disturbing. He says He has revealed Himself, and a lot about Himself, to every person. Some people refuse to acknowledge Him. They then suppress the truth in their unrighteousness. They reject Him because they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Otherwise, they would come to Him. This is a tough one and hard to accept for many. As God says, they have no excuse.
Almost forgot the most important level. Anyone can test this without any equipment or expense. No one has to take someone else's word for it. Whoever seeks Christ finds Christ. Of course, they can’t deceive God. They must come with sincerity, persistence, respect, and submission to Christ.
At this point, Sandbuilder said axiomatic reasoning “actually holds (and is used informally every day, in all sorts of circumstances).” In other words, he says he’s rational to make up stuff and call the made-up stuff true. He says he can base all his reasoning on made-up stuff and he says it makes sense for him to reason this way. Of course, he says axioms aren’t actually made-up stuff. Axioms consist of stuff so obvious he can take them as true though not true. We ask how they can be obvious if they we can’t prove them? Of course, he also thinks it’s fine if we each have our own made-up stuff, and your made-up stuff can conflict with his made-up stuff. Neither one is ultimately true, but you can use yours and he can use his for sound reasoning. This means you can come to conflicting conclusions and still both be rational.
Sandbuilder: Taking divine revelation to be an axiom, as you said, isn’t binding on those who haven’t received it. I further challenge whether those who HAVE received it and hold it axiomatic, are correct. My challenge stands. One person told me I should sincerely seek Christ, and will find him. Another told me to sincerely seek Lord Vishnu, and will find him. I have sought both while finding neither. Why should I prefer one to the other? Why shouldn’t I rather reject both and regress to axioms such as the excluded middle and Occam’s Razor?
Rockbuilder: I never said “Taking divine revelation to be an axiom.” You’re trying to put your words in my mouth. I don’t offer axiomatic reasoning as a way out. Axioms are made-up stuff.
Christ leads, teaches, and corrects every person who follows Him moment by moment. This is how we know. When He speaks to us, faith comes. Faith is reality as opposed to concept and the only absolutely certain proof possible since Jesus Christ authors it. If we hold divine revelation as an axiom we forsake Christ and begin following the fallen human mind. God wants relationship. He isn’t interested in theoretical believers.
God has revealed Himself to you through the things He created. God doesn’t give anyone responsibility to convince you or persuade you. He puts the responsibility on you since He provides the revelation you need. He’s very clear on this. Those on the side of truth listen to Christ. Many other voices exist, but God equips you to decide if you desire righteousness and truth.
Sandbuilder: Axioms aren’t made up stuff. They’re things that seem so self-evident we accept them without challenge. An example would be the “excluded middle,” which is the impossibility something is true and false at the same time.
God has certainly not revealed himself to me in the things he has created, not even when I prayed for such a revelation.
Rockbuilder: Axioms are unproved claims. Yet, we accept them as if as if we had proved them. However, we have to be careful not to confuse divine revelation with made-up stuff. If we won’t acknowledge Christ, we see everything the same. We make no difference between made-up stuff and reality. However, we make a difference between what’s in our own worldviews and what’s in other people’s worldviews. Whatever we firmly establish in our worldviews seems “so self-evident we accept it without challenge.” For instance, God reveals something can’t be true and false at the same time. A person without Christ would take this as an axiom. A person with Christ hears this from Christ in the moment.
God has indeed revealed Himself to you. As I said, God says He reveals Himself to every person, and most disbelievers find this disturbing. He reveals Himself today in the words I’m saying to you. You can’t hear Scripture quoted or read a verse without hearing His voice. You can’t look at any part of creation without Him revealing Himself to you. However, you can reject Him. You can refuse to acknowledge Him. One of the things I noticed about the way you express yourself, you look for reasons not to believe. You approach God with animosity and skepticism, with a closed mind. You look for ways to screen Him out. You must come as a child, full of wonder and acceptance of Him. He won’t force Himself on you if you don’t want Him. When you come with every intention to prove He isn’t there, He knows your heart better than you do. He just turns you over to your own corrupted mind. Every human mind is corrupted by the fall. Our minds aren’t capable of rational thought without divine revelation.
During the conversation, Rockbuilder also said this:
God teaches those who follow Him to communicate by the Holy Spirit. He says, “Speak as His oracle.” He says whoever rejects His communication rejects Him directly. Whoever rejects Him rejects the Father directly.
This means God spoke to Sandbuilder during this conversation, but Sandbuilder rejected God. Sandbuilder refused to acknowledge God. His mind is closed to God.
This conversation didn’t end here. Sandbuilder continued, but he tried to prove three things. He wanted to prove he was totally open to God, but it was God’s fault he couldn’t find God. He wanted to prove he could be fully rational without a true premise. And he looked for ways to question knowing anything by divine revelation. We’ll go over a few of Sandbuilder’s comments to see how he does this.
Sandbuilder has done his part. He tried. He implies God failed him.
I have been completely open to be convinced of God’s existence by revelation or reason on several occasions in my life.
Sandbuilder insists he can think rationally by depending on axioms as long as he thinks those axioms are obvious. We’ll go into some detail on this journey to find out why our own axioms, even the false ones, seem so obvious to us.
I must have received divine revelation, since I appear capable of at least some rational thought. Since I am not conscious of having received revelation, the word “revelation” does not seem appropriate to whatever I may have received from God.
Sandbuilder receives revelation. He refuses to acknowledge God, so the revelation seems like something obvious he got from some unknown source. He puts his made-up ideas into the same category. He makes no difference between the two. God turns him over to his own corrupt mind. As he continues to disrespect and ignore God, even trying to convince Christians to stop following Christ, he hardens his mind against God. He develops disbelieving answers for every approach the Holy Spirit may make toward him. His senseless mind is darkened.
the thought was rational, even though its premise and conclusion later turned out to be false
it is entirely possible to have rational thought of correct form without ultimate certainty in its premises.
Though Sandbuilder can’t be certain of anything, he’s certain he can think rationally without a true premise.
When Sandbuilder says “of correct form” he’s pointing out a common failure of the education system. Schools teach this. Here’s his claim, and the false teaching of the school system. If he forms his argument correctly, then he’s thinking rationally even if he uses premises that may be false. That means the sociopath who thinks it’s OK to kill people on Tuesdays is rational if he uses this as a premise. Here’s valid form with a false premise:
It’s OK to kill people on Tuesdays. It’s Tuesday. Therefore, I can kill people today.”
This form is valid. Sandbuilder is saying a sociopath could rationally make this statement as long as the sociopath felt the first statement was obvious.
Sandbuilder also insisted he couldn’t know anything for certain. He doesn’t claim his uncertainty in uncertain terms. He’s certain of his uncertainty. How can he be so certain he can’t be certain about anything?
I do not believe such a proof (for or against God) is conceivable, or necessary.
Sandbuilder doesn’t just express a lack of belief. He willfully disbelieves. When he says “is conceivable,” we can see his desire to push the possibility of knowing God as far from himself as he can. When he says “or necessary,” he’s rationalizing a complete theology and concept of the spiritual and natural world. Since he can’t be certain of anything, how is he so certain about this? Why would he willfully disbelieve God.
I found I could not at all distinguish between the things I was convinced were revelations and the things that turned out to be wishful thinking.
We can’t look into Sandbuilder’s past and see the experience he’s describing, so we don’t know if it was real. If God did reveal reality to him, he looked back at those revelations at a certain point and convinced himself God’s revelation was wishful thinking. This is when he knew he couldn’t be certain of anything. Yet he was certain God’s revelation was wishful thinking.
If God didn’t reveal, but Sandbuilder just believed the things he wanted to be true, that’s a different story. Sandbuilder may have wished for a million dollar check and imagined God told him it would come on April 30th of 2012. We don’t know what Sandbuilder means by “revelations,” but this might be an example. Perhaps a pastor told him to name it and claim it, but God didn’t honor his claim. If Sandbuilder ever cared about God’s will and submitting to God’s will, he would be seeking God’s mind continually. At some point, the Holy Spirit would correct Sandbuilder and tell him he was prophesying a vision out of his own heart. The Holy Spirit would then reveal the truth He wanted Sandbuilder to know. Sandbuilder may receive this truth from the Holy Spirit, or he may reject this truth since he didn’t want to hear it. He may decide to get rid of God if God won’t be his vending machine to give him his own will. Then, he could direct his mind to believe he couldn’t be certain about anything.
I as an unbeliever have no way of knowing whether that is the case, or whether that statement is even meaningful.
I have no way of knowing anything
I have not denied that divine revelation may be possible.
You are certain about some things, unlike me who is uncertain about everything.
He’s insider his bunker, protecting himself from God by willful ignorance. He said he can’t know the difference between what his mind makes up, what comes from demons, and what comes from God, but only in the ultimate sense. He didn’t say what the ultimate sense is.
I do believe I have moral flaws
He reasons he has moral flaws. Yet, he doesn’t admit to a law giver. He doesn’t know of a source for morality. He’s eliminated every means by which God could give him understanding of right and wrong with certainty. In all likelihood, he tries to follow God’s Laws, since God reveals these Laws to every person . However, he refuses to acknowledge God or give Him the glory.
We can see why Jesus said, “I tell all of you with certainty, unless you change and become like little children, you will never get into the kingdom from heaven.”
This is a common pattern. A person who’s open to Jesus Christ won’t defend thinking based on made-up stuff while trying to find a way to prove those who follow Christ aren’t experiencing what they’re experiencing. (video: Scooby-Doo and the Skeptometer)
With this conversation, the two builders didn’t discuss the situation where someone can seemingly build an empire without God. We may have trouble defining the exact line between possible reasons the wicked flourish. We know God created our brute beast minds with tremendous capability. They’re clever as a fox. They’re wise like serpents in a fleshly kind of wisdom James mentioned. God also gives divine revelation to every person. Some success, even for evil-doers, comes from God for His purposes. We don’t know what role evil principalities in the success of the ungodly. However, we can know God ultimately has planned everything and precise, accurate, and absolutely certain knowledge of truth comes from Him.