1. Standard memberDeepThought
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    The posts of some of the Christians in this forum have given me the impression that one of their beliefs is that humans are born with the a priori knowledge that God exists. In that case Atheists would be in denial of this. While I do not think that a tabula rasa quite correctly characterises the mind of a newborn baby I do not think there is innate knowledge of acquaintance and certainly not knowledge of propositions. There is innate knowledge of how to do some things, breath, scream at the top of their lungs, and so forth, but that is not quite the same thing.

    This leads me to some questions:

    1) Is this position based on biblical authority? Does the Bible claim that humans know God exists as a priori knowledge and that those who do not believe are in denial of something they know?
    2) Do all the Christians who post here believe this?
    3) Is this view common amongst religions or is is specific to Abrahamic ones? I believe, but could be mistaken in this, that there is a similar notion in Islam.
    4) Is this acquaintance knowledge, in the sense of "I know Juliet", or is it knowledge of, in the sense that I know that spring comes before summer, in other words knowledge of a proposition?
    5) Do people here think there is such a thing as innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?
  2. Standard memberKellyJay
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    27 Mar '15 00:32
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    The posts of some of the Christians in this forum have given me the impression that one of their beliefs is that humans are born with the a priori knowledge that God exists. In that case Atheists would be in denial of this. While I do not think that a tabula rasa quite correctly characterises the mind of a newborn baby I do not think ther ...[text shortened]... s innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?
    I do not believe babies are empty slates that must have everything put into
    them. Babies are afraid of somethings right away, why? There must be some
    knowledge within in them that suggests they need to be scared of things
    that make them scared. The fact that some things are soothing and others
    scare them suggests to me that there is some innate knowledge that gives
    them cause.

    Unlike the Atheists who make that claim that babies don't have any
    knowledge of God, I will profess I don't know. Maybe they know because
    they just left a place that only God could communicate with them on some
    level? The truth is I have no idea what they know, or how they know it.

    I'm unaware of any scripture that suggests babies know anything, I've read
    the whole thing, but that doesn't mean it isn't there, it only means off the
    top of my head I cannot think of anything that makes that suggestion. The
    only thing that comes close would be something that Jesus said when He
    was being questioned about people cheering Him as He was going to
    Jerusalem right before He was to die, if He was being literal than that to
    me suggests all of creation is aware of God, even rocks.

    Luke 19:40

    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

    With respect to the rest of us who do have more knowledge than babies.

    Romans 1:20

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 00:34
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    The posts of some of the Christians in this forum have given me the impression that one of their beliefs is that humans are born with the a priori knowledge that God exists. In that case Atheists would be in denial of this.
    If they "know" it and deny that it is so, then the accusation would surely be that they are "lying" rather than "in denial"?
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    27 Mar '15 00:401 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    The posts of some of the Christians in this forum have given me the impression that one of their beliefs is that humans are born with the a priori knowledge that God exists. In that case Atheists would be in denial of this. While I do not think that a tabula rasa quite correctly characterises the mind of a newborn baby I do not think ther ...[text shortened]... s innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?
    "Do people here think there is such a thing as innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?"

    I think both, but not in the usual sense of an adult. Tabula rasa as it is related to sensory experience, and a priori as it relates to the spiritual, but only fundamentally, meaning that the a priori knowledge is in its infancy and innocence.

    The first four questions trouble me. I can say this though, your going to get different answers from each Christian.

    Which is why I say in answer to the first question; the Word of God is the final authority on all questions relating to life and living. The trick is, is to allow God's Word to speak for itself. The idea that God's Word is the final authority is the a priori of the Christian life.

    Later.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 00:441 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    5) Do people here think there is such a thing as innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?
    The tabula rasa, in so far as a newborn mind is not yet affected by experience and that all knowledge comes from that, I would say exists as far as 'nurture' is concerned, but then the fascinating 'nature' component affects how we relate to knowledge and how experience affects us and that in many ways may be rather built-in and already present at birth.
  6. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 00:47
    Originally posted by josephw
    The idea that God's Word is the final authority is the a priori of the Christian life.
    So do non-Christians have a priori knowledge then?

    Surely Christianity is something encountered and absorbed from family and culture and through study just as competing religious doctrines are?
  7. Standard memberDeepThought
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    27 Mar '15 01:50
    Originally posted by josephw
    [b]"Do people here think there is such a thing as innate, a priori, knowledge or do you think that we are born with a tabula rasa?"

    I think both, but not in the usual sense of an adult. Tabula rasa as it is related to sensory experience, and a priori as it relates to the spiritual, but only fundamentally, meaning that the [ ...[text shortened]... a that God's Word is the final authority is the a priori of the Christian life.

    Later.[/b]
    I should have said innate, not a priori, a little confusion on my behalf. It's the innate part that interests me in this thread. Clearly, once someone is a Christian, at least the Gospels become a priori. The passage both you and KellyJay mention is:
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    Romans 1:18-25
    Authorized King James Version
    The part I put into bold face seems to indicate that this is evidential rather than a claim of innate knowledge. The idea seems to be that creation is evidence of a creator. Given the state of scientific knowledge at the time the options were a creator God or that the world had always been. This means that there are two options and St. Paul does not give a reason for rejecting the notion that the world had always existed. So it is not clear from the text alone whether Paul is referring to innate knowledge or knowledge based on evidence.

    There are two influences that may be relevant to this. One possible influence are the Greek Philosophers. According to Plato, Socrates had the idea that humans do not so much learn as remember. This implies that all knowledge is innate and we just need reminding. As a theory of knowledge it is clearly problem ridden. But may have had some influence on St. Pauls thinking.

    The other, and probably more important influence, is the Book of Wisdom. I know absolutely nothing about this Book as it's non-canonical within Christianity, in Catholicism it's regarded as deuterocanonical and within Protestantism apocryphal. However it's not rejected. So I'm wondering now if that has anything to say regarding innate knowledge of God's existence.
  8. Standard memberKellyJay
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    27 Mar '15 04:21
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I should have said innate, not a priori, a little confusion on my behalf. It's the innate part that interests me in this thread. Clearly, once someone is a Christian, at least the Gospels become a priori. The passage both you and KellyJay mention is:[quote]18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrigh ...[text shortened]... So I'm wondering now if that has anything to say regarding innate knowledge of God's existence.
    One of the beliefs I have that I think are foundational within Christianity is
    that God calls us and we answer, we do not on our own go to God.

    This calling would be done for all, we choose to respond as we will. It does
    not really matter as far as I can tell how this knowledge of God comes to us,
    either given and we remember, or it is shown so plainly and we accept it,
    either way we end up with it and are responsible for it.

    John 6:44 New International Version (NIV)

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 04:52
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    This calling would be done for all, we choose to respond as we will. It does not really matter as far as I can tell how this knowledge of God comes to us, either given and we remember, or it is shown so plainly and we accept it, either way we end up with it and are responsible for it.
    But isn't this an absolutely ridiculous way for a God figure to deal with the "salvation" of what His followers believe are His created beings? Why so arbitrary? Why so inconsistent? Why so unfair? Why so subject to geography and culture? It sounds like something thought up ~ and then not really thought through ~ by a group of self-regarding and fiercely partisan humans wedded to the circular logic of their own particular religious ideology.
  10. Standard memberlemon lime
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    27 Mar '15 05:42
    Originally posted by FMF
    But isn't this an absolutely ridiculous way for a God figure to deal with the "salvation" of what His followers believe are His created beings? Why so arbitrary? Why so inconsistent? Why so unfair? Why so subject to geography and culture? It sounds like something thought up ~ and then not really thought through ~ by a group of self-regarding and fiercely partisan humans wedded to the circular logic of their own particular religious ideology.
    Many are called but few are chosen.

    Responding to a call (rather than ignoring or rejecting it) is a condition of being chosen. You can't be chosen for something if you ignore it, reject it, or don't show up and indicate a desire to join... so how is this unfair? It's not mandatory, you are are free to accept this or reject it.

    And why do you believe it must be subject to geography and culture?
  11. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 06:14
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    And why do you believe it must be subject to geography and culture?
    Just take a look at the different beliefs in God and their distribution around the world. What religion are almost all my neighbours here where I live? And what religion were almost all of my neighbours 7,500 miles away where I grew up? Not the same.
  12. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 06:20
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    Responding to a call (rather than ignoring or rejecting it) is a condition of being chosen. You can't be chosen for something if you ignore it, reject it, or don't show up and indicate a desire to join... so how is this unfair? It's not mandatory, you are are free to accept this or reject it.
    Like I say, it sounds to me arbitrary, man-made, imaginative ~ granted ~ but poorly thought through. It doesn't sound the least bit divinely inspired. It sounds parochial instead. Why was the supposed revelation of the Christian God so equivocal and ineffective (relative to what it could have been)?
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 06:31
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    Many are called but few are chosen.
    How are the majority of my (Muslim) neighbours here where I live "called" by the Christian God figure? It's such a daft notion. They already have a religion. Many are called but few are chosen? Such trite pronouncements as these are so preposterously self-regarding and partisan. Is that really the nature of the Creator's relationship with humanity ~ you have to have the same religion as the one lemon lime and KellyJay propagate... or else? They "called" me? It all seems so small, mundane and doctrinaire. I rather think that, if there is going to be a revelation then, when it comes it is going to be different from the ancient Hebrew mythology one you have settled for.
  14. Standard memberlemon lime
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    27 Mar '15 06:58
    Originally posted by FMF
    Just take a look at the different beliefs in God and their distribution around the world. What religion are almost all my neighbours here where I live? And what religion were almost all of my neighbours 7,500 miles away where I grew up? Not the same.
    Why would it have to be the same, and why assume any of this should be easy for you? If you were a "Christian" for nearly 30 years, then you obviously weren't kept in the dark about the existence of Christianity.

    This could have all been spoon fed for you, or you might have had to seek and find out about it for yourself. But either way it doesn't matter, because you have already responded to it by rejecting it. In light of the fact that you had exercised your own free will in this matter, don't you think it's a bit presumptuous of you to insist everyone see it your way and accept what you say about this?

    You've been droning on and on, day after day, like a whiny old lady who is only happy if everyone listens to her and does what she says. So what in your not so humble opinion is supposed to be my motivation here... why should I pay any attention to you?
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    27 Mar '15 07:06
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    You've been droning on and on, day after day, like a whiny old lady who is only happy if everyone listens to her and does what she says. So what in your not so humble opinion is supposed to be my motivation here... why should I pay any attention to you?
    This is a debate and discussion forum. I am interested in talking to people whose views and experiences are different from mine. Who or what you pay attention to is up to you.
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