Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fact, Belief, and Truth

If you read through the comments in my Reader's Challenge post, you will see something quite interesting.

I think, I am trying to discuss a fact.

Carl is trying to talk about belief.

The two things are very different.

I stated in one of my sermons that Christianity is unique because it alone of all religions and philosophies states that salvation and the satisfaction of justice comes not through any actions of humankind, but solely through the actions of God.

This is a statement of fact.  It can be falsified rather easily.  If there is another religion that proclaims this, then my statement is untrue.  My statement is not narrow, if it is true anymore than the statement two plus two is four is not narrow.  It is simply a fact.

Beliefs are another matter.  Beliefs are not easily falsified.  For instance:

Christianity claims/believes that Jesus is God in flesh.  Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice of atonement and was raised from the dead.

Islam claims/believes that Jesus was a prophet; he was not the Son of God; he didn't really die therefore was not raised from the dead.

These are two completely contradictory beliefs/claims.

Either they are both false or one is correct.  They both cannot be true.  You cannot say that Jesus was the Son of God and he wasn't the Son of God.  You cannot say that Jesus was raised from the dead and he was not raised from the dead.  Factually, this is impossible.

Similarly, the most basic difference between atheists and theists is the following:

Theists believe there is something beyond this physical universe.

Atheists believe there is nothing beyond this physical universe.

One of these statements is true.  The other is false.  They cannot both be true.

The question is: which one is ultimately true?

The answer is: we don't know for certain.

There is no way to scientifically test whether or not Jesus was the Son of God or if he was raised from the dead.  There is no way to scientifically test what is beyond this physical universe.  You can only make that decision based upon how you read evidence and which authorities you trust.

If you trust that Mohammed is Allah's prophet and his words are true, you will be a Muslim and believe Jesus is not God's Son and that he was not raised from the dead.
If you trust the biblical witness you will be a Christian and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and was raised from the dead.
If you look at the evidence and conclude there is nothing beyond this physical universe, you will be an atheist.
If you look at the evidence and conclude there is something beyond this physical universe, you will be a theist.

There is plenty of room to argue the evidence for these matters.  There is plenty of room for open dialogue and discussion of these things.  Facts can be laid out.  Arguments can be made for the authority of the Koran or the Bible.  Evidence can be pointed out for something outside the universe, and evidence can be pointed out for the non-existence of something outside this universe. Weaknesses of arguments can be pointed out.  Such things can be done because we are dealing with beliefs--points which can be disputed.

But you cannot dispute a fact.
You can show your ignorance.
You can pretend the fact does not exist.
You can uncover evidence to prove that what was thought was fact was indeed wrong.  (Science progresses in just this fashion!)

But in the absence of such evidence, you must admit that a fact is true.

Islam and Christianity have very different beliefs about who Jesus is.
Atheists and Theists have very different understandings about what lies beyond this physical universe.
And Christianity is unique among world religions and philosophies in that it claims that salvation and the satisfaction of justice are brought about by God's action alone and not by our own.


Unknown said...

"I think I am Trying to discuss a FACT"
HELLO? is it your own thought, or is it a Fact?

Kevin Haug said...

John 14:6.

Unknown said...

John 10:16

Oh, I do so love proof texting....

Kevin Haug said...

John 10:26-27.

Unknown said...

Matthew 7:21.
Ezekiel 48:40 :-)
Jeremiah 25:40 .....
2 Chronicles 11:29


Kevin Haug said...

What does it say about a nominal Christian who posts three non-existent Bible verses?

Kevin Haug said...

Especially if that person knows there are non such verses...

Kevin Haug said...

Oh, and John 6:40.

Unknown said...

oh dear, it must your expurgated Bible!


Kevin Haug said...

No. I'm not the one trying to avoid what the Bible reports Jesus to have said.

Unknown said...

What of Jon 10:16?
Who are these other sheep?
Is it not possible that this is the way in which The Divine was revealed to these people, could God not have chosen to reveal God's self to other communities in other forms?

Kevin Haug said...

The nature of God has been revealed in His creation (Romans 1). This is why most people have some sort of understanding of justice, fairness, morality, etc. This is why most people believe there is a creator God. However, in all religions except Christianity, the founder of those faiths has said, "I am a prophet, and I will show you how to get to God." In Christianity, the fullness of God has been revealed in Jesus who said not, "This is how you get to God," but "This is how I (God) come to you." No other religion claims this. None. Which is why you must understand Jesus' words pre-crucifixion/resurrection. The Jews thought the flock was only the people of Israel. Jesus, throughout the Gospels expands the flock to the entire world--ta ethne--all nations. Jesus wants to bring everyone into that flock, and His actions on the cross provide the entry into that flock. But not all hear His voice. Some blatantly ignore it and continue to trust their own actions instead of Christ's actions. God/Jesus loves such people enough to allow them to pursue their own paths--even unto eternity.

Unknown said...

Tell me Oh Great one, are you implying that I am going to hell?

Kevin Haug said...

I am implying nothing, just stating the orthodox, Christian position.

Kevin Haug said...

The question you must ask yourself is whether you trust in Jesus's action or your own.

Unknown said...

Whew, Hey I know that I am a sinner, I can not earn or buy 'Salvation" The question is Salvation from What? The emptiness of eternity floating endlessly in space?
OK so now we might be getting somewhere, just to broaden the question here, not fighting between your Roman friends, or Jews, or those darned pesky atheists, or (boo- hiss) those "secular humanists." What if you happened to make the acquaintance of a person with a Hindi background. OK so if this hypothetical Hindi person has a child who plays on your girls soccer team or even just happens to be a school friend, OK, so living in Texas, if they have a television, or a radio or even a computer with the internet, They have likely heard of Jesus, and are quite likely aware that between your Stetson and the gun in your holster is a clerical collar. When you are at a school function or at the grocery store, they may say hello, and smile.

What will you do? How will you proselytize them? They Don't believe in JESUS!
They have nothing directly to do with you, but you know they are NOT Christians.
Do you thump your bible on the Fathers turban? do you pull on his beard and pull out a scissors? Do you tell him that YOU know what is best for HIM And that he has to believe in Jesus? Do you start wrestling with the father, get him in a headlock and tell him to renounce his evil ways, because YOU PASTOR KEVIN HAUG know what is best for him, and that you Pastor Kevin want his soul for Jesus?

OK So Now We are talking. Tell me Pastor Kevin, they don't seem to know that they need Jesus. What do you do?

Kevin Haug said...

Whether or not I think they need Jesus is irrelevant. The fact that Jesus commands me to make disciples of all people is very relevant. Tell me, Mr. Johnson how it is that you choose to completely ignore Jesus's command and blame me for seeking to follow it?

Unknown said...

Wait just a cotton picking minute here my friend, WTF... I asked you a question. Oh I get it answering a question with a question, OYE, very Jewish of you, does that make you a scribe or a Pharisee? Please answer the question I asked you! How would you proselytize and tell my Hindi friend about Jesus?
You tell me Mr. Haug.... will your be put in the slow lane when you get to them there Pearly Gates, if you don't give my Hindi friend a wedgie to force him to convert? Will proselytizing help you make it to the express lane at the pearly Gates?

Really Kevin, is that good theology? Dang it, Kevin it sounds vaguely like works righteousness to me... But then I am easily confused. Please Set me straight!

Kevin Haug said...

No. I answered the questions behind your question. You have no interest in how to proselytize. That is a long and drawn out answer which requires relationship and conversation and years of work. You are more concerned with "you know what is best for him and you want his soul for Jesus."

You believe such actions are a violation brought forth in arrogance and self-righteousness, a claim you assert in your false line of questioning. But I assert the need for proselyzation comes directly from the mouth of Jesus. My feelings are irrelevant. How I go about the process-hopefully with a great deal of compassion and as Christlike as possible-is secondary to the command. You do not like the command. Answer the question, therefore: how is it that you choose to completely ignore the command of Jesus?

Unknown said...

Your assertion of ignoring the Great Commission is SPECIOUS. I thought that we might be getting to a point of agreement. But NOOOOOOO. Darn it I was going to concur on your notion of how to share the Gospel of Jesus with someone of a different culture or belief. I was once told that Evangelism is as simple as one beggar sharing with another where to find a hot meal and shelter.

Oh well!


Kevin Haug said...

If you were actually coming to a point of agreement, you have a very strange way of showing it all the while hurling insults and innuendos in your questioning. This is why you were banned from Lutherans Online. This is why I banned you for quite a time. You insult and then run crying when held accountable.

Unknown said...

Shirley Ewe Jest.
Kevin, ouch your ego is bruised, again, isn't it?

You seem to need a "devil" to keep your blog alive.
I am a nice guy,and am willing to serve as your devil/antagonist.
We both know that serving as your blog's a devil has NOTHING to do with the eternal deposition of my soul.

OK I will ignore your insults and stick to the point.
You just don't seem to be willing to AGREE with a fellow believer and member of the Body of Christ, or accept our common ground.. I was simply trying to clarify your personal need to proselytize, And help me figure out to proselytize properly.

Dang it All Kevin, Now you got me all cornfused.

Kevin Haug said...

Bull shit.

Unknown said...

OOPSIE! Kevin, you are an educated man, do you really need to resort to such barnyard language? OMG I wouldn't have expected a Lutheran Pastor to allow such language on his blog. But it's OK Kevin, This is your blog. Shocked I tell you, I am Shocked!

Are you upset that you don't get to ban me from Heaven? Are you upset because I reminded you that YOU are Not G*D?

Can you be a bit more specific? Is there anything in my post that we Can agree on?

Such language makes it difficult to continue our Dialog.

Cheer up Kevin, Your Day will get better!



Unknown said...

Maybe it's just a rough day for People who wear Stetson's
Sorry about what happened to your friends there in Oregon,
They look good in their hats too. But they ought to learn that it isn't nice to shoot at Federal agents. Not only do the Fed's have guns, to shoot back ut they can put you in the Pokey for a Looooooonnnngggg donkey old time, Would you have pulled out your AK47 to defend your Stetson wearing buddies in Oregon?

Cheer up Kevin, The Sun will come up tomorrow!

Kevin Haug said...

Grow up, Carl. Get a life. Learn some manners and how to actually dialogue respectfully. Become something more than the asshole you actually are. You feign surprise and shock, but you are a master of bringing out anger and frustration in people. You did so in the past, and you have done so again. Your questioning and commentary does not bring about the fruits of the Spirit, so that leaves only one alternative. While I do not have any say about the eternal destination of your soul, if you are so worried about what I and others might think, perhaps you should take a good, hard look in the mirror. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you get banned. Perhaps you should stop finger pointing and remember that there are three pointing back at yourself.

You know, Jesus saved His most damning commentary for people like you and me. People who believe in God and are intimately connected to the church/temple. I know that deep down I am nothing more than an asshole who is saved only by the grace of God. I am completely and totally unworthy of what Jesus has done for me. I am also aware that He holds me to quite a different standard as a teacher and proclaimer. I am a failure.

How about you? Can you admit your wrong? Can you admit your failure? Can you admit your need of God's mercy and grace? Can you admit that your line of questioning in this thread is blatantly intended to cause anger, poke fun, and irritate? Can you admit that you purposely have tried to get under my skin by your commentary? Can you admit that your actions are not in line with Christ and His teaching?

Prove me wrong.

Unknown said...

I know of no greater sinner, less worthy of G*d's love or caring than myself. Yes Kevin, I too am an Asshole, but guess what, any living breathing organism needs an asshole even the body of Christ. Because "that's the Way G*d planned it, that's the way G*d wants it to be."... __Billy Preston

But, back to the relevant points....
Am I really "the worlds Biggest Liar"? when BTW, my "Lie" was repeating what more than 95% of legitimate Earth scientists and corporate America now agree on?
Really Kevin?

Yes I choose scientific FACT over some 4,000 year folk tales you choose to call DOGMA. And While we are at it you know those bacon Cheeseburgers you like? They are forbidden in the same Set of rules. ARE YOU WILLING TO REPENT KEVIN? Yeah I know we are both assholes, but the Same set of rules that forbids Same Sex unions also forbids pig roasts, pork tenderloin dinners and bacon. Me thinks perhaps your Karma has run over your DOGMA.

REALLY KEVIN? So while you are skeptical of Global Climate Change, you choose to Interpret literally stories about talking serpents, non consumed burning bushes, seas that part while some people walk through it but as soon as they are through it closes up again, and three people being thrown into an all consuming furnace, walking out, like they had just sat in a sauna, or spent a day in the Texas heat.
Really Rev?

And YES, I thought of you when I saw the pictures of that Bundy boy, there in Oregon He wears a Stetsons doesn't he? My comments and Questions concerning the eternal deposition of my soul was to flush out any Substance behind your numerous innuendos.. I wondered if you REALLY DID have some inside information....

I wonder if your other 3 readers applauded or were Shocked by your "BULLSHIT"
response. Your blog is more entertaining when you have an antagonist...

Was it Oscar Wilde who said: "The only thing worse than being talked about, is NOT being talked about"

Kevin Haug said...

I am glad to see that you are willing to admit your need of grace, but your comfort in being an as whole is disturbing for it shows an easy believism that rejects transformation. Par for the course.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that your biblical interpretation skills are those of a two year old. For that same set of rules also includes loving ones neighbor as one's self and welcoming the immigrant. Want to throw those out too? You speak as though you stopped learning biblically after confirmation.

And yes, I choose to believe all those things because if God can raise a dead man from the dead, He can certainly do all those other things as well. Do you believe in the resurrection?

Kevin Haug said...

Oh, and as to scientific fact, chew on this: science is never settled. It can only speak in terms of probability. Science also depends upon reproducibility in affirming its assertions.

In the case of homosexuality, please show me the definitive, replicated studies that show that it is genetic. And if it were genetic, why are there multiple cases of identical twins who do not share the same sexuality?

In the case of global warming, climate change,climate disruption or whatever flavor of the day it is caused, why do the most technologically advanced metrics for measuring global temperature show no significant warming for the last 18 years while only the land based adjusted data show warming?

Unknown said...

Oh thou most omnipotent asshole,
How can anyone debate you?
Why waste my time and talents?
How is it That tour mind and heart are made up?
I genuinely pity your wife and children.
You have told me in the past that it is your wife who is fortunate to have married you. Kevin, that speaks volumes as part of a much larger issue. Do you remind her daily how lucky she is that you married her? I will bet that you do. Is G*d as lucky to be in relationship with you as your wife is? Just curious.


Kevin Haug said...

Hmm. Refusal to answer two fundamental questions of faith each pointing out obvious fallacies in your worldview AND a refusal to deal with stated facts.

Based on what you have said above, Carl, I have no other choice than to conclude that you are essentially a deist who likes the teachings of Christianity but who places his trust in science--albeit a warped view of science that does not take into account the advances of quantum physics over the Newtonian model. What I have posted above is FACT. Fact that you do not like based upon your ad hominem response, but fact none-the-less.

Now if you are interested in dealing with facts and answering important questions of faith, we can continue. However should you continue in your current vein of dialogue, this discussion is formally over, and you will be permanently banned. There will be no room for you here--no exceptions.

Unknown said...

Oh Most omnipotent (and self identified) Asshole.
Your self Identification is oh so SPOT ON!
Yes, yes, yes, that's right ad hominem and stir.

Why do you, So arrogant (and self identified Most High Anus), and yes, acknowledgment is the first step,, but why do you need to put everyone, (including the people who do actually care about you, as well as the penitent who pay your salary) into nice little boxes that suit your own self serving needs. Kevin you don't know me and yet you are putting me in a box too. Is that what Jesus does too? REALLY?

I see the Pathos in your situation Rev. I am praying for you.


Kevin Haug said...

Classic projection.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

My prayers persist!

Amen and Amen!

Unknown said...

Hmmm a most curious silence.
Let the reader take note, my post of January 29,closed it informing Pastor Haug that I am praying for him.

His reaponse to that post was "Classic Projection"
I have and continue to pray for peace, reconciliation, and understanding with Rev Haug. Any one who may have followed this blog over the past years will easily note that Rev Haug and myself (both descended from fine and upstanding Lutheran stock, have engaged in passionate discourse on issues related to Earth Science as well as the best way to spread the Gospel as Jesus ordered his followers to do in" The Great commission."

My Concern is that our passion, opinions have been expressed in a manner that I find to be inconsistent the clear proclamation of the Gospel message that Jesus taught us. I have attempted on numerous occasions while under attack, to remind Rev Haug that given our religious and social/cultural backgrounds that Rev Haug and myself both LOVE JESUS and are very close in our understanding of the words and ministry of Jesus, and the Body of Christ. Pastor Haug did post a one word response recently to one of my attempts, His response as of this writing still readable in this thread described Fecal matter that descends from oh maybe a Texas Longhorn steer.

It has been my intent and my nature to challenge the existing order in order to come to a better/clearer understanding of it. Sadly, I have experienced the scorn ridicule and the reproach of a self professed a** hole. Has A self professing "A** Hole" ever labeled you a diest? I had hoped that my own recognition of said characteristics in my own personality might establish common ground and facilitate a calmer intercourse. Sadly this has not been my experience, and of course in moments of weakness allowing the more base angels of human nature to respond in a Way that has NOT been conducive to constructive dialog. Aside from the incredible amount of WASTED energy, having my queries rebuffed by a scholar of both theology, Earth Science and any other topic you might choose to query him on. Yes, he Seems to be a self made man and very fond of his creator, Gosh how did all that genius and talent land on the same person?

I am certain that continuing and perpetuating the tone of this discussion will change neither of our hearts or minds. After prayerful thought I have decided that the best and most powerful weapon available to me at This time is to continue with my prayers for reconciliation healing and understanding with Kevin Haug my brother in Christ Jesus!

Kevin Haug said...

"Two men went up to the temple to pray..."