deadwhitemale wrote:"Salvation is free, but... . "God is forgiving and merciful," but... . "But, but, but," and so on, seemingly forever.
DWM
Is this addiction to one-liners a consequence of newspaper headlines? Well to be fair, when we compare the Ptolemaic solar system with all its "buts" to the Copernican model, the superiority of the Copernican model is obvious and perhaps this example creates the unrealistic expectation that all truths should be like this. But the truth is that this sort of thing is the exception to the rule, for in most things we can only find accuracy in successive approximation.
Successive approximation is perfectly natural. Consider the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. We call it pi and it is about 3.14, right? But 3.1416 would be more accurate. But 3.14159 would be more accurate. But 3.141592 would be more accurate. But 3.1415927 would be more accurate. But 3.14159265 would be more accurate. But 3.141592654 would be more accurate. ...and no mater how far you go there will always be another but... We can give it the name of pi but that doesn't really get rid of all those buts now does it. Perhaps the best we can do is write down the proceedure for getting all the digits and that proceedure itself will represent the most compact version of pi in its entirety.
The origin this successive approximation thing in Christianity is due to misunderstandings. Someone grasps the first approximation "Salvation is free" and then misunderstands and also concludes... "so I can do whatever I want", which is wrong. And so Christian explanations are dealing with all these misunderstandings. But if you want a compact representation of what Christians believe, you cannot do much better than the Bible. Its not a one-liner I am afraid.