lfnetwork.com mark read register faq members calendar

Thread: What good reason is there to believe the Christian God exists? [The Debate Thread]
Thread Tools Display Modes
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Old 04-09-2010, 11:36 AM   #121
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kipperthefrog View Post
at church the priest said that the 12 disciples of Christ died for the belief in Christ. they were persecuted and killed in different ways and still said Jesus had risen. He said "they would not die for a lie."
Ignoring the obvious historicity debate, how is this argument any different here than when it is used as "evidence" for islam, judaism, etc? 76 followers of David Koresh died for their belief that he was the messiah. 909 followers of Jim Jones died for his delusions.

Does this mean that Koresh is more likely to be the messiah than jesus? Is Jones more holy than Koresh? What does this whole "people died for their beliefs" thing really tell us? It tells me that sometimes people are willing to die for what they believe. It doesn't tell me anything about the veracity of those beliefs.

Last edited by Achilles; 04-09-2010 at 01:07 PM. Reason: spellin
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 04-11-2010, 11:20 PM   #122
Arcesious
Trolololololololololololo
 
Arcesious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NE
Posts: 1,876
Current Game: Mass Effect
I have a response to two issues in this thread that I don't think were answered well enough/I want to rephrase in my own way.

First, the god of the gaps argument. This is a common argument, due to lack or understanding or lack of explanation. Just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we need an answer. Why must you have all of your questions answered? Is it better to say, 'god did it', or to say, 'I simply don't know.'? Religious belief is so subjective that saying 'god did it' is a very poor substitute for an answer.

Look for answers to life's questions. If you don't find a completely solid answer, oh well, big deal. You should settle with not knowing for sure, instead of letting the question nag at you so much that you must create a substitute for an answer. (Don't take this sentence the wrong way - a strong sense of doubt and imperative need for answers are good things.)

That's what I think religions are - substitute answers to life's questions and problems. But not good ones. An answer that lacks intellectual integrity. You have the ability to do so - go seek answers, evidence - rationally. Don't settle for anything less than 'I don't know' or 'I know because of facts A, B, and C'. Don't settle for quasi answers. (Directed at those with religious belief or deistic belief) No answer is better than a bad answer.

This leads right into the second thing I want to answer to further - the argument about how some people 'need' belief.

It all comes down to two options - either control your emotions or let them control you. Perhaps I can't understand the minds of those few people with mental disorders who end up clinging to a religious crutch. (Not a universal statement about all people with mental disorders.) I don't understand what its like to be a person like that. But as far as my understanding goes, logic-based thought solves everything. It's certainly resolved solidly every problem I've ever had for the better since I adopted the form of thought.(Though that claim on my part is ultimately irrelevant.)

I understand how scary it can be, the thought of what life would be like without religion. I experienced that fear myself. And I used to let it control me. I let that fear of doubting subject my critical thinking capabilities to confirmation bias and willful ignorance. For a time I tried to avoid thinking about what life would be like without religion. I thought myself a skeptic, but that wasn't true until I really let go of my fear and willful ignorance. (Again though, claims based on my own experiences are ultimately irrelevant. This paragraph is intended to be mostly emphatically persuasive, I admit. Please do not take offense to it.)

I can't put this any other way than to be blunt. If a person can't doubt their religion without their emotions turning them into a basket-case, then they're a coward. Truth benefits people more than willful ignorance.(IMO) I think it is entirely unethical to prevent a person, insane or not, from going outside of their comfort zone and seeking good answers instead of lousy answers.

There's a reason we have psychiatrists. In the short term, breaking out of one's emotional comfort zone if they are insane would be bad if that person wasn't closely supervised. In the long term, it would be better for that person's intellectual well-being.

But I don't think any of you are insane. At least you don't seem to be. You can break out of your comfort zone of thought - as you already have shown that you are doing (at least somewhat) by participating in this thread.

One last thing - try to debunk the arguments in your posts before posting them, and then debunk the arguments you make up to support your old arguments, and so on and so forth. You might find the results quite interesting. Deductive reasoning is a wonderful thing.

I feel I have restated some of the points made already in this thread by Skinwalker (Very interesting post about the Exodus, thanks for making it) and Achilles, but hopefully I've been original enough not to be a complete copy-cat. My posts are more directed at your process of thought, and thus very philosophical in content. I don't intend to make any empirical claims in this post, and please don't mistake it as an ad hominem argument. Take it with as little or as much salt as you like.

To summarize, I'll just say again something I just said: Deductive reasoning is a wonderful thing.

And that's my 2 cents.


Please feed the trolls. XD
Arcesious is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 05-31-2013, 10:10 AM   #123
CM Punk
Rookie
 
CM Punk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 15
Current Game: KotOR II, GTA V, WWE 2K14
This thread is awesome.


Best Since Day One
CM Punk is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 11-14-2013, 11:30 AM   #124
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Great topic. I wish I had more time to interact with it. Essentially I would start off by saying that you are not going to get "scientific proof" of any God's existence (unless we are talking about little "g" gods, who are physical beings who live in the universe, as opposed to some kind of ultimate being, which is what most of us westerners mean by "GOD").

Rather, you are only going to objectively "prove" God's existence in the arena of philosophy. Anything else will simply be subjective (visionary experiences, private revelations, or whatever... non-transferable ecstatic or mystical experiences).

I don't reject "Science" (most Christians accept mainstream science, including evolution & the big-bang, which incidentally was a theory first developed by a Catholic priest in good standing). But "science" has changed since the time of Aristotle. It no longer can answer such ultimate questions. Philosophy and science have divided and so it remains for philosophy to answer such questions.

So any "proofs" for God will be philosophical proofs. Sure, people continue to attempt scientific proofs of God, but I would say most of us don't rely upon such things. But that's fine, because all truth does not lie in "science." If it did, most of us would not live our lives the way we do (including atheists). All of our morals, ethics, ideals and even the basis of our laws, social structures, etc. are based upon philosophical ideas, not "science." Science itself is founded upon philosophical principles of intelligibility, general reliability of our senses, uniformity of nature, etc.

Now then I wanted to comment on a few things:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Jedi Han View Post
About the Bible:

What my CHRISTIAN teacher told me is that the first written texts about Jesus came much later than him, like a few hundred years after, if I'm not completely wrong.
Either you or your "Christian teacher" (sadly, simply being a Christian or a teacher doesn't make you an expert) is "completely wrong."

If they had a doctorate degree in Scripture studies or something, I would take their view more seriously, but I'd ask for evidence for why they hold that position. In any case, here is the answer...

The earliest texts we have about Jesus are the letters of Paul (aka Saul of Tarsus), written from about the year 49 through the year 67. As Jesus died in about 30, that's a mere two decades after his death that we have writings preserved by contemporaries. According to Paul, some of Jesus's original disciples (namely "Cephas" aka Simon Peter), James ("the brother of the Lord") and John were still alive and he interacted with them. The four canonical Gospels are thought by most scholars to be the earliest documents with the designation "Gospel" (but recall, they were written after the letters of Paul) and appeared between 65 and 95 CE (most scholars consider Mark to have been the first, then Matthew and Luke-Acts, followed by John). A few scholars put them earlier, a few put them later, but most would say right around 70 CE is when you get a bunch of Gospels about Jesus. the "Gnostic" writings and so forth do appear centuries later, but almost nobody of any academic standing considers them the least bit reliable in comparison. In about the year 90 we have independent testimony of the Jewish historian Josephus to the historical existence of Jesus and his brother James (and while one reference is questionable, most scholars consider it at least partially genuine and another reference which includes the mention of James, is not disputed by modern historians). Tacticus and Suetonius (pagan writers), near contemporaries of Josephus also attest to Jesus and his movement, but within a century or a bit later than Jesus himself. The argument that the Biblical writings cannot be used as sources is a strange one, of course but it is often thrown out by skeptics without justification. All historical writings are fragmentary and biased.

Another objection is that Paul "never met Jesus" but that's not really an issue because he knew Jesus' inner circle, and he fought against Jesus' movement (why would he do that if he didn't at least know who Jesus was or what he stood for?) prior to his conversion. Paul in his letters writings to already existing communities of disciples (including ones he did not found) as if they already know the basic story of Jesus and beliefs about him. He cites what scholars identify as early "hymns" and "creeds" (for instance in Philippians 2:1-11). In short, the argument (made by some) that Paul "invented' the Christian faith is laughable at best. Likewise there is clear indication in the undisputed letters of Paul that other letters of his were written that are now lost to us. This means there was more information out there than just is recorded in the letters (unless I suppose he simply repeated himself). We know that the early apostles did most of their teaching orally, rather than in writing. However there is a robust "Tradition" preserved in for example the early Church Fathers and in the ancient creeds and liturgies of the Church. So one should not think "I can't find it clearly in the bible, therefore it must not have happened." The original audiences had more information than is recorded in these texts. But that doesn't mean we can't figure out what it is they knew, most likely, as any historian could determine.

As an aside: For anyone who argues that Jesus was not a historical figure, I would point you to (agnostic biblical scholar) Bart Ehrman's "Did Jesus Exist?" which provides a thorough summary of the consensus view of modern scholarship on Jesus and demolishes the "Mythicist" position. Not all founders of religions are equally attested in the historical evidence. Of course Ehrman caught lots of "heat" from other (less credentialed) atheists but has responded to them on his blog.

I do get tired of the arguments that the bible has been "translated and re-translated" or "written and re-written" so we "can't know what the texts really said." I also get tired of pointing out to some skeptics that nobody is using the "bible said it, so it must be true" argument in these types of debates. As a Catholic, I don't accept "sola scriptura" anyway (a theory held by a minority of Christians no earlier than the 14th century). I have to normally explain to those same people that the bible is a library, not a single book, and there's no evidence it was created by "illiterate bronze age desert dwellers" or "by the establishment for political power." Yet those kinds of things keep getting thrown around. There is nothing unbelievable about a preacher and faith-healer who was crucified, that some of his followers considered the Messiah and somehow divine. There is also nothing unbelievable about such a man viewing himself as the Son of God in a divine sense. Such people exist today, and such people existed 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately many of the skeptics one hears are still dealing with their own emotional issues against a fundamentalist Christian upbringing and are unaware of the studies out there beyond popular apologetics and counter apologetics.

Rant aside...

It's true, a bunch of people dying for their beliefs is not proof (by itself) those beliefs are true. It does however indicate that the people were sincere. Who would willingly die for a lie?

That is, the common argument that Christianity began as some kind of plot or ploy to control the masses with an invented lie doesn't really pan out. It would have to be a vast conspiracy (we can't assume a conspiracy without evidence of that conspiracy). You could argue that all the disciples and early followers were deluded, but that's different than claiming it was a deliberate lie.

One can't compare followers of Muhammad 1300 years later dying in suicide attacks to the early followers of Jesus. Another difference there is that these guys were terrorists (or guerrilla fighters waging a "war") vs. those who had nothing to gain (in earthly terms) by their deaths. Muhammad and Jesus are very different characters.

The idea that Christianity was invented for political power doesn't really fly since the religion didn't have political power for the first three centuries of its existence (and it wasn't Constantine who made it the state religion, that was Theodosius, fifty years later in about 381 CE).

In any case, Thomas Aquinas would argue that one could reason their way to the existence of a creator God, and admit the possibility that that God could reveal Himself to His creation if He so chose. But to accept the truth of the Christian faith, one still would have to accept the claims of divine revelations themselves.

A skeptic could still say Jesus and his followers were sincere, but deluded, and provide a naturalistic explanation for everything and say either God doesn't exist, or God didn't reveal himself through this religion.

Quote:
When Jesus (peace upon him) was crucified, he spoke to God, saying: "Lahi" or "Eli (= God), did you leave me?" (it may be wrong, but I remember well that there were two contradictions in the different Gospels)

Another thing: Jesus asks for water.
Jesus quotes Psalm 22 in his native Aramaic. The Quran tells stories of Jesus that were apparently unknown to the early Christians, in the 7th century, a much longer space of time since Jesus' earthly life than the canonical Gospels.


Quote:
In one Gospel, a Roman centurion puts a sponge on his spear, drips it in water and tends it to Jesus. In another one, it was completely different.

This is just to say that many versions exist, but we will never know which one is true.
The early Christians considered all of them true and preserved them for that reason. Modern people want one version of the story. Information was simply preserved differently back then. The Torah also contains multiple versions of the same story, often side by side (just not seperated out into different "books" as in the New Testament). There are also variations of the Quran, though this is an emerging field, because Islam has long resisted this since the Uthmanic "reform."

Quote:
And by the way: I'm a muslim, and recognize Jesus as a Messenger of God, but not as His son. Of course, that is for another thread.
Some would argue that we have more reliable evidence for the existence of Jesus than for Muhammad as historical figures. Of course I accept the existence of both and I am even willing to grant that both were sincere in their beliefs. However from the point of view of "which one is true" one could come at it from many different angles, but the general Muslim position is that Christianity is a corruption that Muhammad and the Quran came to restore. The trouble is much the same for Muslims as for Mormons. Where is the evidence of this corruption? Presumably in the Muslim view there was an "original faith" that more closely adhered to Islam than to Christianity. So surely there should be evidence of this. If we say all evidence was destroyed, how do we know the claim to restoration is correct? That doesn't even begin to answer the question of whether God exists of course (and doesn't even answer which religion is true, only which is closer to the "earlier faith" they both claim lineage from).

Of course the claim of Muslims is that they have the same God as Jews and Christians. So if our God doesn't exist, then neither does theirs (I would not say different understandings of the same God equal different Gods).

The Trinity doctrine is a key difference between Christian and Jewish or Muslim understanding of God, but I would just say for now that it has its roots not only in the revelation of Christ, but in ancient Jewish theology of the personification of "Wisdom," the "Angel of the Lord" and so forth, out of the Old Testament (remember that the Jewish TaNaKh and the Protestant "old testament" is smaller than the book of Scriptures used by most Jews in the first century). It is not, as some have alledged, some kind of "borrowing" from pagan mythology. Trinitarianism is a form of monotheism, not polytheism. This sadly is a big misunderstanding by many critics of Christianity.

It's simply reasonable to believe in the Christian God. You could say it's also reasonable not to. But one can't simply dismiss it, especially with the excuse "I don't understand" or "it sounds silly to me," or "I never really studied it." But without some kind of personal investment through an experience or act of faith, one could freely doubt it or accept it but not allow it to have any kind of impact on one's life. Most Christians live the way they do because they think it's the right thing to do, and it gives them joy (not happiness per se, as that's a fickle emotion). It's the best thing going, so they accept it.

[Edit: fixed tags]


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn

Last edited by Kurgan; 07-18-2015 at 11:44 AM.
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 11-16-2013, 05:27 PM   #125
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
All of our morals, ethics, ideals and even the basis of our laws, social structures, etc. are based upon philosophical ideas, not "science."
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91508-morality/
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 02-11-2014, 11:54 AM   #126
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Looks like an interesting list of topics.

I wanted to add:

If we presumed that morality were simply an evolutionary adaptation or a law of nature, how is it that morality is then seen to "evolve" (more like change, "evolve" is wrapped up in common speech with the baggage of "progress" while true evolution is merely change that happens to survive through generation) from one century to another, one culture to another, and even within one culture? It's not something purely biological. So one could speculate that we were "born with" certain ideas, but then we can't just turn around and say we are free to change them on a whim and say it's bogus. It would be really great if more people from the internet world could take serious courses in philosophy.

The basis of everything in the human mind is philosophy, so if we start second guessing that, we have nothing. We can't "know" anything and might as well assume our actions are completely determined, even if our common sense and everything else points to the opposite. I'd say we're part of nature, but we also have free choice, however limited that might be by our finite information and powers, the influence of others, etc.

Religion and philosophy are closely tied with one another. Simply getting rid of the idea of a "God" and assigning the origins of morality to philosophy doesn't really get you very far, because you still have to account for where philosophy comes from and what it means (if we're simply biologically determined, it's just something quirky about our species but ultimately meaningless).


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 02-12-2014, 09:20 PM   #127
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Kurgan didn't listen to the podcast.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 12-13-2014, 09:17 PM   #128
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Hey sorry I haven't been around in awhile.


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn

Last edited by Kurgan; 12-13-2014 at 09:29 PM.
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-17-2015, 11:07 AM   #129
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Does the author of the original post seek to know a good reason to believe in God (Christian or otherwise), or does he seek proof that any such being exists, or does he simply wish to have a sounding board for all of the things he wishes to say to discredit the existence of said being(s)? I only ask because a simple Google search can render literally thousands of results on the subject of the correlation between spirituality and happiness, which seems to me, a pretty good reason to believe God exists.

I also haven't been around in a while...


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-23-2015, 01:51 AM   #130
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapNColostomy View Post
the correlation between spirituality and happiness, which seems to me, a pretty good reason to believe God exists.
Ah, some things never change.

Closer examination of said studies, along with an understanding that correlation does not equal causation, tends to support an alternate hypothesis. Specifically, that the actual "secret sauce" is pro-social behavior, which church-going people just happen to get from spending time around their in-group. Same measures of happiness and satisfaction can be found in people that have completely secular means of scratching that itch, such as chess clubs or cup-stacking tournaments.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 01:40 AM   #131
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Your argument is that people can be happy without being spiritual? Well done, I suppose. I answered the question. *shrugs*


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 08:35 AM   #132
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Your argument is that happiness is a good reason to believe that god exists. My argument is that happiness doesn't do that.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 11:05 AM   #133
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
No, my argument is that spirituality can result in happiness. As you were quick to point out, so can chess clubs, or cup-stacking tournaments. Change the title of the thread now to "What good reason is there to join chess clubs or cup-stacking tournaments?" Happiness, health, etc...All fine reasons to join chess clubs and stack cups. As for correlation not equaling causation, I'd say I have a basic understanding of it, and in this case, I could get on board with that if not for the fact that even those who do not attend regular church services, but simply "feel spiritual" have lower levels of depression and anxiety, which of course results in lower blood pressure, decreased chance of strokes. Living longer, healthier, lives are "good reason"(s).


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 03:22 PM   #134
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
I'll try this again a slightly different way.

What you are arguing (whether you realize it or not), is that there is a causal relationship between spirituality/church attendance/what have you and happiness.

The point I am trying to make is that the causal relationship is between pro-social behavior/pro-social cues and happiness. That some people get this from religion and/or spirituality is nice, but there are lots of ways to get there. My larger point (made elsewhere in this thread and others, but not this exchange) is that spirituality/religion is actually one of the least optimal ways to get there.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 03:26 PM   #135
Alexrd
Senior Member
 
Alexrd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Portugal
Posts: 2,290
Current Game: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Forum Veteran LF Jester 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
My larger point (made elsewhere in this thread and others, but not this exchange) is that spirituality/religion is actually one of the least optimal ways to get there.
That would be up to each person to decide.



Star Wars: In Concert - Lisbon - Some pictures of the exhibition accompanying the event.
Alexrd is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 03:59 PM   #136
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
I'll try this again a slightly different way.

What you are arguing (whether you realize it or not), is that there is a causal relationship between spirituality/church attendance/what have you and happiness.

The point I am trying to make is that the causal relationship is between pro-social behavior/pro-social cues and happiness. That some people get this from religion and/or spirituality is nice, but there are lots of ways to get there. My larger point (made elsewhere in this thread and others, but not this exchange) is that spirituality/religion is actually one of the least optimal ways to get there.
You seem to be under the impression I've missed some points along the way. I have not. You also seem to have skipped over the bit where I mentioned that not everyone who considers themselves to be spiritual, engages in social functions relating to said spirituality, and yet still enjoy less stressful lives among other health benefits. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin touched upon your suggestion that it's simply healthier mentally and physically to be active socially, but it was not the only factor, and sometimes, isn't a factor at all, as evidenced by people who meditate, or pray, etc, minus attending church.


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 05:27 PM   #137
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexrd View Post
That would be up to each person to decide.
No, there is sound argument to be made.

If there are multiple ways to accomplish X, some are inherently going to be better than others (which means some are going to be worse than others). The only room for real debate here is whether or not you agree that doing things, like indoctrinating children to believe that an invisible man lives in the sky, can read your thoughts, and will send you to a lake of fire to burn for all of eternity if you don't love him enough, is a "bad thing".

Last edited by Achilles; 01-27-2015 at 05:48 PM.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 01-27-2015, 05:46 PM   #138
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapNColostomy View Post
You seem to be under the impression I've missed some points along the way. I have not. You also seem to have skipped over the bit where I mentioned that not everyone who considers themselves to be spiritual, engages in social functions relating to said spirituality, and yet still enjoy less stressful lives among other health benefits. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin touched upon your suggestion that it's simply healthier mentally and physically to be active socially, but it was not the only factor, and sometimes, isn't a factor at all, as evidenced by people who meditate, or pray, etc, minus attending church.
Again, the "secret sauce" isn't being spiritual. Studies that prime subjects via secular cues (such as voting, or other civic-related institutions or activities) show the same results. When these studies controlled for other factors (the sequence in which you make your arguments above makes me think you aren't considering this as part of your analysis) they consistently find that religion/spirituality just isn't a factor.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-03-2015, 04:43 PM   #139
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
I see a very common claim by professed atheists online that they are happier people, even that they are better people, because of their worldview.

Theoretically I could imagine that as many of these people appear to have come from fundamentalist (or otherwise strictly conservative) religious upbringings, they now report this satisfaction because they resent rules being imposed upon them that caused them moral upset (at not being able to do the things they wanted, that their religion frowned upon).

Now on the other hand, a person who considers what their religion teaches to be true, would probably be more happy adhering to that lifestyle and ideology, thinking they are "doing the right thing." After all, most of us seem to want to "do the right thing" and derive satisfaction from that.

The difficulty with atheists usually is that they throw off their old worldview and then go in search of something to replace it. Generally it seems like people end up modifying a few things (like related to sexual morality, drugs, dancing or whatever it was that their previous religion restricted more than they wished... others even cite things like being annoyed at having to attend weekly religious services) but hold to pretty much what they did before. Otherwise accept a radically different worldview, but it still gives them the sorts of things they desire... how they should live and a goal to work for in life (even if it's something like "be happy" or "help people").

The "I'm better than you" mentality of some atheists (which to be fair, is a common complaint from atheists about Christians and other traditional religious people online) is that they're adhering to "the truth" as they see it, and doing things "for the right reasons."

It would be interesting to see some data on that. I generally tend to imagine people will appreciate the polls and studies that confirm their own bias and dislike the ones that go against it.

But the idea of a God being something that will make you happy really doesn't seem that important if one places a premium on the truth above happiness. If there is no God, I'd want to know it. If there is a God, I'd want to know it, in either case I'd be "happier" to know the truth than just happy to have an idea I like as my accepted worldview.

The atheist will argue not having a God means more freedom. The Christian will argue having a God gives one a foundation for objective morality and a goal to shoot for (eternal happiness for loyalty to God).

The evolutionary argument can go a number of different ways. If we were programmed to believe in deities for the sake of our survival, why would we suddenly think that certain individuals are born (mutants?) who lack this programming and that these people will somehow pass this on to the "next level of human evolution" which is atheism which is best for our species survival.

Trouble is, "evolution" isn't concerned with ideas or memories, but our physical makeup. Where is the "religion gene"? Do atheists lack this? Did they lose it when they became atheists (do they gain it back again when they convert to theistic religions?). I think people misuse the term (saying "evolution" to mean "better ideas or lifestyle" rather than a change in biology over generations).

If religion was really going to wipe us all out, why is it bigger now than ever before and the human population is bigger than ever before (and technology is as advanced as it has ever been)?

Atheists will say all the technological progress is due to the freedom given by atheists, but they have to recall that they stand on the shoulders of giants. The foundations that they are building upon were established by religious people... theists, including Christians (and others who benefited from their discoveries and research). And by the same token Christians benefited from (monotheistic) Jews and (polytheistic) Greeks & Romans for a lot of things. Muslims took from the same sources and prior to Al Ghazali were pretty pro-"science."

Comparing bodycounts and wars doesn't really do it either. Even so, if something is true, whether it "causes" wars or not, isn't a reason to reject the truth in favor of something that feels better, unless we put the truth at less of a premium than peace, I suppose.

Fascinating discussion, wish I had to the time to really get into it with you guys. Most of these discussions on the internet sadly don't get past the chest-beating and flame-baiting stage.


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-03-2015, 07:54 PM   #140
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
I see a very common claim by professed atheists online that they are happier people, even that they are better people, because of their worldview.

Theoretically I could imagine that as many of these people appear to have come from fundamentalist (or otherwise strictly conservative) religious upbringings, they now report this satisfaction because they resent rules being imposed upon them that caused them moral upset (at not being able to do the things they wanted, that their religion frowned upon).

Now on the other hand, a person who considers what their religion teaches to be true, would probably be more happy adhering to that lifestyle and ideology, thinking they are "doing the right thing." After all, most of us seem to want to "do the right thing" and derive satisfaction from that.
In the interest of being consistent, I'll repeat my earlier argument that ideology (in and of itself), tends to be a poor indicator of happiness. An extroverted atheist who spends a lot of time hanging out with like-minded secular people, doing volunteer work, etc is going to be more happy than an introverted jehovah's witness who sits at home, hating himself for being a sinner. Likewise, someone who is moderately religious but goes to unitarian church every Sunday to hang out with like-minded theistic people is going to be happier than the anti-theist sitting at home crossing "god" off his dollar bills with a sharpie.

Furthermore, religions that are more fundamentalist in nature don't give a crap about "doing the right thing". They care about adherence. Islamists who are cutting off the heads of journalists and aid workers aren't doing it because they feel that their actions are contributing to maximizing human flourishing, they are doing it because they have a very strict interpretation of their doctrine.

So yeah, you could argue that this person (or these persons) are individually happier because they feel they are doing "the right thing", however they are increasing suffering while doing so. Hardly a "good reason to believe".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The difficulty with atheists usually is that they throw off their old worldview and then go in search of something to replace it. Generally it seems like people end up modifying a few things (like related to sexual morality, drugs, dancing or whatever it was that their previous religion restricted more than they wished... others even cite things like being annoyed at having to attend weekly religious services) but hold to pretty much what they did before. Otherwise accept a radically different worldview, but it still gives them the sorts of things they desire... how they should live and a goal to work for in life (even if it's something like "be happy" or "help people").
I don't agree that this is categorically a difficulty that atheists usually have. I do find a couple of things interesting/telling here:

1) you seem to only think of athiests in terms of former theists who deconverted. While it probably fair to say that some significant number of people who identify as athiests (especially those you encounter in North America) probably fit the bill, a lot of your commentary falls apart the moment we try to apply to people who were raised secular. This includes entire countries.

2) if the "secret sauce" is religion, then why would these people "desire" goals, such as "being happy" or "helping people"? Before you answer, the question was rhetorical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The "I'm better than you" mentality of some atheists (which to be fair, is a common complaint from atheists about Christians and other traditional religious people online) is that they're adhering to "the truth" as they see it, and doing things "for the right reasons."

It would be interesting to see some data on that. I generally tend to imagine people will appreciate the polls and studies that confirm their own bias and dislike the ones that go against it.
The mechanism you're looking for here is "confirmation bias".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
But the idea of a God being something that will make you happy really doesn't seem that important if one places a premium on the truth above happiness. If there is no God, I'd want to know it. If there is a God, I'd want to know it, in either case I'd be "happier" to know the truth than just happy to have an idea I like as my accepted worldview.
Interesting. If there was no god, how would you know it? If the answer to the question of god's existence was unknowable, would you still be able to find happiness? Neither of these are rhetorical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The atheist will argue not having a God means more freedom. The Christian will argue having a God gives one a foundation for objective morality and a goal to shoot for (eternal happiness for loyalty to God).
Objective morality isn't dependent upon a god existing (let alone the christian god). Is eternal happiness for loyalty to god the only reason to be moral?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The evolutionary argument can go a number of different ways. If we were programmed to believe in deities for the sake of our survival, why would we suddenly think that certain individuals are born (mutants?) who lack this programming and that these people will somehow pass this on to the "next level of human evolution" which is atheism which is best for our species survival.
There have been non-theists for at least as long as we've been recording history. One could say that they are more prominent now (though that it could be possible that this is simply a function of how human percieve the times they live in). The shortish answer might sound something like this:

You're right to invoke evolution here. The landscape has changed and we, the social mammals, have evolved. We don't need "the group" the way we once did. The mix between individual yearning and group adherence has changed. It's not that "atheists are better than non-theists" or vice versa. We still have moral obligations to each other. Using a 2000 year old book and bronze age superstition is not the best way to navigate that conversation though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
Trouble is, "evolution" isn't concerned with ideas or memories, but our physical makeup. Where is the "religion gene"? Do atheists lack this? Did they lose it when they became atheists (do they gain it back again when they convert to theistic religions?). I think people misuse the term (saying "evolution" to mean "better ideas or lifestyle" rather than a change in biology over generations).
Our brains are part of our physical makeup. Religion is fairly universal. There are two explanations for this: 1) religion is right or 2) we all have brains with religious centers in them. Evolution accounts for #2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
If religion was really going to wipe us all out, why is it bigger now than ever before and the human population is bigger than ever before (and technology is as advanced as it has ever been)?
More people, more free time, more interaction between ideologies. 2 million people, split into tribes and spread across the globe with little contact and no means to communicate don't have religious conflict.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
Atheists will say all the technological progress is due to the freedom given by atheists, but they have to recall that they stand on the shoulders of giants. The foundations that they are building upon were established by religious people... theists, including Christians (and others who benefited from their discoveries and research). And by the same token Christians benefited from (monotheistic) Jews and (polytheistic) Greeks & Romans for a lot of things. Muslims took from the same sources and prior to Al Ghazali were pretty pro-"science."
Yeah, I spend a lot of time around atheists and I don't think I've ever heard any one of them say anything like this. I think anyone who knows even a little bit of the history of science is well aware of how things have gone down.

Last edited by Achilles; 03-04-2015 at 01:09 AM. Reason: spellin' and clarity
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-04-2015, 02:41 AM   #141
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
An extroverted atheist who spends a lot of time hanging out with like-minded secular people, doing volunteer work, etc is going to be more happy than an introverted jehovah's witness who sits at home, hating himself for being a sinner. Likewise, someone who is moderately religious but goes to unitarian church every Sunday to hang out with like-minded theistic people is going to be happier than the anti-theist sitting at home crossing "god" off his dollar bills with a sharpie.
I personally don't buy into the argument that extroverts are "happier" people than introverts, especially considering what tests have been used to gauge the results tend to focus on levels of comfort during social interactions. Nor does my wife, who is a bit of an introvert herself. It just so happens she's an introvert with a master's degree in psychology.

An excerpt from an article published by Psychology Today stated;
Quote:
There’s no clear answer to this question. Current tests consistently rate extroverts higher on the happiness scale than introverts. However, many of these tests measure degree of happiness using activities like socializing and interacting with the outside world, both of which extroverts need to thrive! Introverts do experience happiness when they are around other people, but are most happy when participating in lower-key activities. These are not accounted for on current tests and likely causes introverts to score lower.
So! Is it possible to have a happier, healthier, life while still believing that a Christian (or other) God exists? I would have to suppose so, in the same way that it's possible to be an introvert who enjoys the health benefits of owning a pet.


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-04-2015, 02:53 PM   #142
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Yeah, that isn't the argument that I was making. I was using extreme examples to support the argument I was making. Apologies for adding confusion where I was trying to add clarity.

Re: the second part of your post - I don't think anyone has questioned that such a thing was possible. It's possible to find bliss in any number of things (some of which immoral). The question I thought we were trying to answer was whether or not we had good reasons for thinking the christian god exists.

"Because some people believe that believing makes some people happy" continues to be a poor argument.

Last edited by Achilles; 03-04-2015 at 06:51 PM.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-04-2015, 09:53 PM   #143
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
If one asks for a reason to believe in God, and another says "happiness equating healthiness is a good reason", and you say that it is the social function rather than the spirituality itself that is the "secret sauce" or "pudding", or whatever other food stuff you'd like, then you have, in fact, questioned the second part of my post, or rather all of my posts on the topic.

If the question instead, is "is there any rock solid evidence of a Christian God?" (I didn't read that anywhere. Maybe I should have read between the lines?), I'd have to assume a person who is as intelligent as you seem be, is trolling, while we're on the subject of poor arguments.


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-05-2015, 02:20 AM   #144
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapNColostomy View Post
If one asks for a reason to believe in God, and another says "happiness equating healthiness is a good reason", and you say that it is the social function rather than the spirituality itself that is the "secret sauce" or "pudding", or whatever other food stuff you'd like, then you have, in fact, questioned the second part of my post, or rather all of my posts on the topic.
Good reason. The title of the thread is "What good reason is there to believe the christian god exists?"

You offered a reason, but as I pointed out it isn't a good reason because 1) the relationship between belief and happiness isn't causal, 2) a positive correlation between belief and happiness would be applicable to any religious belief and therefore not a supporting argument for the christian god specifically, and 3) belief in christianity comes out of the box with several negative implications (for oneself and for others) which result in a net loss of happiness.

The second part of your post specifically said:

Quote:
So! Is it possible to have a happier, healthier, life while still believing that a Christian (or other) God exists?
Yes. It absolutely is possible. If I've said otherwise in this thread, please show me where.

What I have not said is that this is a good reason for believing that the christian god exists.

The belief that Santa is going to bring me a Tesla Model S tomorrow may bring me intense joy, but that joy doesn't make my reasoning sound. Even if I managed to convince my neighbors that this was a thing and they too adopted this thinking, it still wouldn't be good reasoning. If we started getting up early on Sunday mornings to dress in our best clothes and gather together to talk about the immense satisfaction that came with knowing that "tomorrow" Saint Nicholas would be bringing us fancy electric cars, it still wouldn't be good reasoning. Even if this belief system somehow spread into the global water supply and every man, woman, and child all came to believe (and found bone-shattering ecstasy in the acceptance) that in the morning, there would be a shiny Model S waiting for them compliments of Kris Kringle, not a single one of us would have come to that belief via good reasoning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapNColostomy View Post
If the question instead, is "is there any rock solid evidence of a Christian God?" (I didn't read that anywhere. Maybe I should have read between the lines?), I'd have to assume a person who is as intelligent as you seem be, is trolling, while we're on the subject of poor arguments.
Title of the thread: "What good reason is there to believe the christian god exists?"

Not sure how being able to stick to the argument constitutes trolling.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-05-2015, 12:05 PM   #145
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
Good reason. The title of the thread is "What good reason is there to believe the christian god exists?"
I gave a good reason. The fact that you yourself don't agree that living a longer, healthier life is beside the point. The name of the thread is not "Is there a reason good enough for Achilles to believe the Christian God exists", and the fact that you continue to argue otherwise puts me in the mind of a child who sticks his fingers in his ears, closes his eyes, and says "NYAH NYAH NYAH I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Quote:
You offered a reason, but as I pointed out it isn't a good reason because 1) the relationship between belief and happiness isn't causal,
Not true according to several psychology/medical text books and studies.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...s-spirituality

http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictur...you-healthier/

http://www.webmd.com/balance/feature...le-live-longer

I could literally go on and on posting links to studies that show your statement to be false, but I'm sure you can work a search engine.

Quote:
2) a positive correlation between belief and happiness would be applicable to any religious belief and therefore not a supporting argument for the christian god specifically, and
I'm sorry, could you explain how what I've said can pertain to as you say "any religious belief", but then somehow exclude the Christian God? If said good reason applies to any religious belief, then you've made my argument for me as it also covers the Christian God. I'm being a bit facetious here, in that I know what you mean. The question in the thread title asks specifically about the Christian God. I realize my answer covers many ideologies and deities, but it doesn't make it any less correct, and it still certainly covers the very specific Christian God.

Quote:
3) belief in christianity comes out of the box with several negative implications (for oneself and for others) which result in a net loss of happiness.
This bit seems to be entirely made up. There is no evidence to support that claim whatsoever.

Quote:
The second part of your post specifically said:



Yes. It absolutely is possible. If I've said otherwise in this thread, please show me where.

What I have not said is that this is a good reason for believing that the christian god exists.

The belief that Santa is going to bring me a Tesla Model S tomorrow may bring me intense joy, but that joy doesn't make my reasoning sound. Even if I managed to convince my neighbors that this was a thing and they too adopted this thinking, it still wouldn't be good reasoning. If we started getting up early on Sunday mornings to dress in our best clothes and gather together to talk about the immense satisfaction that came with knowing that "tomorrow" Saint Nicholas would be bringing us fancy electric cars, it still wouldn't be good reasoning. Even if this belief system somehow spread into the global water supply and every man, woman, and child all came to believe (and found bone-shattering ecstasy in the acceptance) that in the morning, there would be a shiny Model S waiting for them compliments of Kris Kringle, not a single one of us would have come to that belief via good reasoning.
Nice analogy, except this car presumably wouldn't have a direct impact on my health or the longevity of my life. Maybe it would? I'm not much into cars, so I'm guessing this one is extra-special-super-dee-dooper. I don't argue that anyone who is religious/spiritual arrives at that state of mind from what you would consider "sound reasoning". I merely argue that scientific data has shown benefits to arriving there, and that the benefits seem to me and many others, to be good reason.

Quote:
Title of the thread: "What good reason is there to believe the christian god exists?"

Not sure how being able to stick to the argument constitutes trolling.
Then accept my apology as I retract that statement in its entirety.


CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-05-2015, 05:01 PM   #146
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
We are pretty close to the point (if we haven't crossed it already) where we are arguing in circles. I'm going to make one last-ditch effort to make my point and then we'll see where it goes from there.

A primer on causality:

A) the sun rises
B) the rooster crows
C) the farmer's alarm clock goes off
D) the farmer wakes up

Someone with a flawed understanding of causality may argue that A causes B, which causes C, which clauses D.

Someone with a better understanding of causality understands that A causes B, nothing in this sequence causes C, and while B could be a cause for D, in this example C is the actual cause of D. A and B have a causal relationship. C and D have a causal relationship. There is no overlap between the first causal relationship and the second.

Now, to bring it home:

A) Humans are pro-social mammals
B) Pro-social mammals gain benefits from normative behaviors
C) Religion provides a framework of normative behaviors
D) Humans gain benefits from religion

B happens because A is true. D happens because C also just happens to be true.

Your "argument" is simply to assert D over and over again. My point is that you can replace the word "religion" in C and D with any other thing that satisfies C and you will get the same result. You seem to think that this constitutes a good reason for thinking that the christian god exists. This cannot be the case if "the thing" in question is your weekly cribbage tournament. "Christianity" is one degree shy of being completely arbitrary at that point. This is why there is no causal relationship between the specific belief in the christian god and happiness; the thing causing the happiness isn't the belief, it's the framework. You're confusing the two.

Moving on.

Regarding your sources: They are garbage. I started to make an honest attempt to address the very serious problems with each of them, but honestly, I can't shake the feeling that I would be wasting my time. Not to be insulting, but anyone who posts a Psychology Today link probably isn't going to understand why that's a bad idea, even if it's explained to them.

If you want the tl;dr version: poor methodology or no methodology provided, blatantly biased samples, no explanation of how results compared to other groups when other factors were controlled for (I've called you out for this last one in other posts. The fact that you didn't acknowledge, counter-argue, or change your tactic is a contributing factor to my assumptions about you above - just in case you try to accuse me of judging you unfairly).

Next.

Let's take a look at christianity. What differentiates christianity from other religions (or what makes christianity "christianity")?

It's jesus, right? Ok, who is he? Why is he important? Let's talk about that.

A) christianity is a religion based on the belief that jesus christ is "the savior" (can't tie this back to god - two other religions lay claim to the same abrahamic deity. The thing that makes christianity "christianity" is christ...it's right there in the name).
B) Acceptance of jesus christ is required for salvation ("salvation"? Salvation from what?)
C) Salvation is the absolution/forgiveness for one's sins (okay, sounds important, but this doesn't answer my question. What am I being saved from?)
D) Absolution/forgiveness is required for entrance into heaven in the afterlife (please? the answer to my question now?)
E) Those not granted into heaven go to hell (sounds...fun. What exactly happens in hell?)
F) Hell is a lake of fire in which the souls banished there will enjoy an eternity of never-ending torment.

TL;DR - jesus is only way to not be subjected to the worst possible torture imaginable.

BTW, god never sleeps, can read your thoughts, and will seriously **** your **** up if you even think about slipping. But he loves you. So much so that he invented hell just so that you could have a place to go if you can't prove that you love him back enough.

This is just the most fundamental example of what I mean when I say, "belief in christianty comes out of the box with several negative implications which result in a net loss of happiness". If you really need more examples, we can talk about christianity's views on topics such as womens' rights, slavery, homosexuality, minority rights, science education, environmentalism, etc. Still feeling like I'm making stuff up?

Almost finished.

To draw attention to the meta-argument for a moment, I'd like to point out a couple of things:

1) To the question, "What good reason is there to believe the christian god exists?" your only response has been to assert that the belief (apparently in anything) makes people happy. Is this really the only arrow in your quiver?

2) Your sources (and to a certain extent, your argumentation) keep referring to spirituality. You do realize that "spiritual, but not religious" is a thing, right? Or that muslims, hindus, buddists, jains, hari krishnas, etc, etc, etc all consider their pursuits to be "spiritual", right? Are you arguing that spirituality is a good thing or are you arguing that there is a good reason to think the christian god exists? The former is really a non sequitur (and all I see you doing). The latter is the actual topic of the thread.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-14-2015, 06:41 PM   #147
CapNColostomy
Custom User Title
 
CapNColostomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Across your face.
Posts: 2,506
Oh my. Where to begin. You know what? Nevermind. I'll just say one final time, that I am not saying being happy to believe in God is proof of God. I'm saying that being happy to believe in God is one possible beneficial outcome. I'm not confused about anything. You make the same point in the post above. So...so what if you can replace C with something other than religion and still wind up at D? You're still winding up at D. If I told you sun light was a good source of vitamin D, and you argued that fish was also a source, it doesn't make sun light any less of a source.

Moving on to my sources being garbage. You seem to think that if you don't like a particular site, that everything they post must be false. I'm not sure what that's based on. Psychology Today didn't conduct any of the studies they reported on in that particular article. Also, I dug around and can't find a shred of evidence that suggests their site might be a disreputable source of false information, but please, continue to smugly dismiss them. It was a university study, if memory serves correct, not a study some unqualified web magazine publisher came up with. So yeah, I'm probably just too stupid to know why using them as a source isn't a good idea. Furthermore, I will again remind you that my wife has a masters degree in psychology, and we've discussed this very same topic at length. So with all due respect, I think I'll take her word over yours. Also, your sources are where?

As for your thoughts on Christianity, I really can't be bothered, mate. I'm not here to convert you or anyone else to the flock. The Christians I know personally aren't experiencing any "fundamental loss of happiness". They're quite happy to acknowledge Christ as their savior, and ask forgiveness for their sins. It doesn't really seem that much of a hassle to them at all, in fact, quite the opposite. So yes, I feel like you're just making things up, to answer that question.

As for arrows in my quiver, my very first post on the topic on this very page, I believe asked "Does the author of the original post seek to know a good reason to believe in God (Christian or otherwise), or does he seek proof that any such being exists, or does he simply wish to have a sounding board for all of the things he wishes to say to discredit the existence of said being(s)?" You seem to fall into the category of the last two parts of the question. I only needed one arrow to answer the first. Honestly, I don't have answers or arrows for the other two. So no need to argue those on my end. It's not my place to convince you or anyone else there's a God. That seems pretty simple.

And for your final question, I again refer to when I asked what the author of the thread meant by HIS question. If I've engaged in non sequitur with YOU, and the topic is a simple "Is there any proof of Jebus?", then accept my apology, as no one has bothered to answer my question. I'm not so simple as to think it was anything other than "show me Jeebus", so perhaps I should have gotten your permission before I jumped into this asking if the things I've been saying could be entered into the debate, or better still, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have jumped in at all. And of course I know you can be spiritual without being religious, attending church (a point I've already made to debunk your "pro social animals" claim), or being Christian. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Anyhoo, nice debating with you. It's fun to have opposing views on topics and still remain civil. I think we've done that.



Last edited by CapNColostomy; 03-14-2015 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Left a bit out.
CapNColostomy is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 03-14-2015, 07:46 PM   #148
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CapNColostomy View Post
Anyhoo, nice debating with you. It's fun to have opposing views on topics and still remain civil. I think we've done that.
Ok, toodles.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 04-17-2015, 10:39 AM   #149
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
In the interest of being consistent, I'll repeat my earlier argument that ideology (in and of itself), tends to be a poor indicator of happiness. An extroverted atheist who spends a lot of time hanging out with like-minded secular people, doing volunteer work, etc is going to be more happy than an introverted jehovah's witness who sits at home, hating himself for being a sinner. Likewise, someone who is moderately religious but goes to unitarian church every Sunday to hang out with like-minded theistic people is going to be happier than the anti-theist sitting at home crossing "god" off his dollar bills with a sharpie.

Furthermore, religions that are more fundamentalist in nature don't give a crap about "doing the right thing". They care about adherence. Islamists who are cutting off the heads of journalists and aid workers aren't doing it because they feel that their actions are contributing to maximizing human flourishing, they are doing it because they have a very strict interpretation of their doctrine.

So yeah, you could argue that this person (or these persons) are individually happier because they feel they are doing "the right thing", however they are increasing suffering while doing so. Hardly a "good reason to believe".
But here we're presupposing that the fundamentalist who causes suffering is objectively wrong. From their perspective I'm sure they believe they are doing the right thing (or else they are hypocrites/liars) and may be "happy."

I will freely admit that "happiness" (as in some kind of subjective feeling of well being) is not the end-all be-all of goodness. A crazed sadist is not "good" outside of his own insane mind.

This could then devolve into the "what is better for society" argument between theists and atheists, which ends up typically being "as long as everybody in the society is the same, that's the best."

If we view "happiness" as "happiness of humanity" that's another kettle of fish. The atheist who says he'd rather accept the "cold hard truth" rather than be "blissfully ignorant" (ie: believing that he'll go to heaven when he dies to be with his lost loved ones and a loving father deity vs. knowing he'll be dead forever after a short life no matter what he does), is he "happier" than the religious believer who is "sad" because he feels condemned by his God for his sins? The religious fanatic may be convinced he's "saved" no matter what he does, or he might be tormented thinking he'll never measure up to the religious standards he has imposed upon himself.

So you can go all over the place here. But the atheist is never going to become a believer if he goes about it like this "well I KNOW this is a lie, but I'm going to force myself to believe it, because I heard it will make me happier." So any discussion along those lines isn't going to go anywhere. This isn't a matter of "just believe" as if it's an on/off switch. If it's a contest between "who is better, believers or unbelievers" it's an endless pissing contest, at least it has been a lot of places.

Quote:
1) you seem to only think of athiests in terms of former theists who deconverted. While it probably fair to say that some significant number of people who identify as athiests (especially those you encounter in North America) probably fit the bill, a lot of your commentary falls apart the moment we try to apply to people who were raised secular. This includes entire countries.
Right, and I'm guessing none of us are from that context. But there are only two types of anything... those who were always that way (raised) and those who converted.

Usually I hear this argument used against religious theists by atheists, to the tune of "you only believe that because you were raised that way" (conversely they usually then explain that they were religious until around college age then they became an atheist). People convert from one thing to another to another all throughout their life, it's very common and others never do. I get it. Is someone more right just because they never changed or someone less right because they changed their mind? (assuming of course the person who was "raised a/n X" actually believed it and wasn't just biding their time until they could come out of the closet so to speak).

Quote:
2) if the "secret sauce" is religion, then why would these people "desire" goals, such as "being happy" or "helping people"? Before you answer, the question was rhetorical.

The mechanism you're looking for here is "confirmation bias".
I know I made the right decision, and I'm happy with it. Lots of people experience disatisfaction. The question of happiness (whoever defined) is an interesting one, but I agree, not the end all be all. So one might then ask, what good reason is there to be an atheist, besides the reasons I mentioned? (ie: not "having to follow rules" or "be happier [than some other subjective standard]")

Quote:
Interesting. If there was no god, how would you know it? If the answer to the question of god's existence was unknowable, would you still be able to find happiness? Neither of these are rhetorical.
According to philosophy, we can know (to a reasonable degree of certainty of course) through reason, we don't need to simply perceive the lack of a special revelation (or denial of all alleged revelations) to be disconfirmation of the god hypothesis. Just out of curiosity, is anyone reading this thread a philosophy major or have a degree in it?

The atheist is either presuming lack of evidence is proof of absence or else is convinced by a philosophical exploration of the question, so I don't see there's any getting around it there. We would never give credit to a creationist who believed evolution was false, simply because he never met a scientist who could adequately convince him of it, especially if he had no understanding of science himself.

Quote:
Objective morality isn't dependent upon a god existing (let alone the christian god). Is eternal happiness for loyalty to god the only reason to be moral?

There have been non-theists for at least as long as we've been recording history.
That's an interesting claim. How are you defining "theism" here? Because the ancient Greeks, even the ones who explicitly denied the existence of the various pantheons typically believed in some kind of Demiurge or other figure that excludes them being "atheists."

Quote:
One could say that they are more prominent now (though that it could be possible that this is simply a function of how human percieve the times they live in).
It seems to me that atheism as we know it really was a product of the enlightenment.

Quote:
The shortish answer might sound something like this:

You're right to invoke evolution here. The landscape has changed and we, the social mammals, have evolved. We don't need "the group" the way we once did. The mix between individual yearning and group adherence has changed. It's not that "atheists are better than non-theists" or vice versa. We still have moral obligations to each other. Using a 2000 year old book and bronze age superstition is not the best way to navigate that conversation though.
Ironic then that we invoke philosophy (to say nothing of mathematics) as our foundation, much of which is older than 2,000 years, and some of which is also founded from the the time of the "bronze age" of superstition. As for "needing the group" we still do. The modern entrepreneur could never exist in the wild, but needs a flourishing human community with a built up infrastructure in order to step forth out of his boot straps. We just perceive it differently because we've grown up in a SOCIETY (group) that glorifies individualism and autonomy. We all had parents (or other elders) who taught us language, gave us access to resources and technology and learned to the point where we could then take advantage of a pre-existing system to declare our independence (meanwhile reaping the rewards of those who came before us)... unless of course we really grew up in log cabins we built with our own hands.

Quote:
Our brains are part of our physical makeup. Religion is fairly universal. There are two explanations for this: 1) religion is right or 2) we all have brains with religious centers in them. Evolution accounts for #2.
Should we say if evolution is responsible for religion, that we should get rid of it? Is that "getting rid of it" an evolutionary change or just an individual assertion against nature? If so, is that right or wrong, good or bad? Just curious what you think there.

Quote:
More people, more free time, more interaction between ideologies. 2 million people, split into tribes and spread across the globe with little contact and no means to communicate don't have religious conflict.
There's no conflict between groups that have no conflict, that's true, but what happens when the two groups meet and let's say one has something the other wants, would a difference, say a religious difference, be an adequate excuse for conflict?

Religious conflict can be contrasted with religious toleration, even pluralism. Apparently there's no guarantee of either.

Quote:
Yeah, I spend a lot of time around atheists and I don't think I've ever heard any one of them say anything like this. I think anyone who knows even a little bit of the history of science is well aware of how things have gone down.
How about the history of philosophy? Anyhow, neither of us have met most of the atheists in the world, and never will. But if we look at a cross section, we do see a lot of North American converts from (typically conservative) Christian denominations, and a lot of people raised atheist in oppressive states, so it's not surprising if that's whom we might stereotype as atheists. The North American convert variety is the typical atheist I meet online, maybe because of their high visibility and their often missionary spirit. If I only spent time with people like me, I might find it harder to believe other types of people existed.

Interesting discussion, as always.


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 04-17-2015, 10:51 AM   #150
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Edit: Wikipedia at least mentions some "atheistic" Vedic (pre-Hindu) groups that existed in the "final centuries BCE." Considering recorded history began around the 4th millennium BCE, that's a long time without evidence of atheists. Of course the definition has changed over time. Christians were once considered "atheists" for instance.

Vedic religions are not an area I'm well studied in, so I could be wrong on that point.

If we were to adopt the popular self-definition used by many folks on the internet and define "atheist" as "simply one lacking belief in the existence of any deities" (and excluding pantheists and panentheists) and define "deity" as a supernatural being greater than a human (especially, but not limited to one(s) responsible for the creation of man and/or the universe) or any ultimate being, then it would seem for much of recorded history there was no such thing. Doesn't mean it's wrong (hence those atheists who favor the "we're a higher step of evolution" claim, which is still not biological evolution).


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 05-06-2015, 12:15 AM   #151
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
According to philosophy, we can know (to a reasonable degree of certainty of course) through reason, we don't need to simply perceive the lack of a special revelation (or denial of all alleged revelations) to be disconfirmation of the god hypothesis. Just out of curiosity, is anyone reading this thread a philosophy major or have a degree in it?

The atheist is either presuming lack of evidence is proof of absence or else is convinced by a philosophical exploration of the question, so I don't see there's any getting around it there. We would never give credit to a creationist who believed evolution was false, simply because he never met a scientist who could adequately convince him of it, especially if he had no understanding of science himself.
I'm not seeing an answer to either question here.
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 05-07-2015, 08:20 AM   #152
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
You're not agreeing that answers exist, or you're saying I didn't provide them but should have?

If one is ignorant of a subject, and is not capable of becoming an expert in it, would it be right to declare that subject false or useless? I think we can agree that the answer is "no." There's far too much data in the world to be an expert on everything, and as such even the most brilliant minds must assume there is knowledge outside themselves that they nevertheless do not and can't hope to possess. Do we need indubitable certainty of everything to be able to take a position? I'm saying you're probably not an expert on evolution, but assume it to be true. A doubter of evolution who demands you "prove it to me," is he asking something reasonable or unreasonable? If you try, and fail to "convince" him he's wrong to doubt something you hold as factual (like evolution), is he justified in his continued skepticism? Is an appeal to popularity ("every educated person knows it's true") going to sway him?

I hope you can see the problem here and what I'm getting at. I'm not saying "the Christian God should be accepted on blind faith" (or "because a 2,000 year old book said so"). If we can appeal to evolution as an explanation for the belief in the Christian God, are we saying it's a false belief, or a true one? If we appeal to evolution and say it's given us false beliefs, might we also begin to wonder if everything else we believe is also false, and if it is, would we then begin to doubt that anything we can claim to know is possible to be known? We can't exactly step outside of our humanity to determine if we're being duped by our own brains, can we? As I see it, we can't, we can only appeal to "common" experience and devices we ourselves have created (neither of which are infallible).

Now then...

Do we lack free will? If everything is predetermined by naturalistic material processes, including mental processes that lead to things like "logic," then there's no way to know, if even what we're thinking right now is objective or real, right?

Everything is based in philosophy, there's no way around it. It just depends upon what type of philosophical foundations you're going for. If you're assuming Naturalism, you're never going to admit something like "God" could be real, unless it was a materialistic part of nature (and hence "God" isn't "God" but a physical object or a euphemism for nature itself).

The "Christian God" is something we can define, and it is not a material object or a euphemism for "the physical universe and its laws" (i.e. "nature"). A classic definition is that which nothing greater can be conceived (see Anselm, Thomas Aquinas). This rules out "God" being a physical object within the cosmos or a euphemism for something else. Hope that helps. If the argument is that I need to "show you" God as a physical object in my hand, then that's going to go nowhere, but then there are a lot of things you probably agree exist that can't be demonstrated this way, and even so it all assumes we have a common frame of reference that is also presumed to be objective (else, how do we know that logic itself is a delusion produced by physical processes)?

Science itself is an excellent tool, but it's based on philosophical assumptions, which in turn our based on thought processes, which are natural processes. If nature gave us nonsense, how could we ever be sure of anything? I'm curious how you would resolve that question, Achilles.


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn

Last edited by Kurgan; 05-07-2015 at 08:25 AM.
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 05-07-2015, 07:35 PM   #153
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
You're not agreeing that answers exist, or you're saying I didn't provide them but should have?
You quoted questions and then didn't answer them.

Did you quote them by mistake?
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-18-2015, 11:36 AM   #154
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Which specific questions do you want answers to? (i.e.: Does God Exist? Do humans have free will?)

Before we go on, do you have any degrees in philosophy or theology? Anthropology, perhaps?


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn

Last edited by Kurgan; 07-18-2015 at 11:47 AM.
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-21-2015, 09:52 AM   #155
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
It shouldn't be too difficult to read a few posts up, Kurgan. Here, I did it for you (and it didn't even hurt):

Quote:
Interesting. If there was no god, how would you know it? If the answer to the question of god's existence was unknowable, would you still be able to find happiness? Neither of these are rhetorical.
Before we go on...we won't be "going on". I've known you too long to think for one second that you're here to debate in good faith. My sole purpose for responding to your posts is to help new readers figure that as well.

However, if you truly wish to have a go at it, here's the deal: straight answers are going to be a currency between us. Each of us will have to maintain a balance with the other in order to "make a withdrawal". So...

No, I do not hold any degrees in philosophy, theology, or anthropology. I do hold both graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business. Course requirements for both included study in ethics/moral philosophy, law, history, and critical thinking - all of which I've continued to study outside of the classroom because I find them interesting. I've also completed coursework in anthropology and sociology and I continue to study those topics as well.

Straight answers balance: Achilles +1

Kurgan, before we go on, please operationally define "philosophy".
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-21-2015, 01:06 PM   #156
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Quote:
Before we go on...we won't be "going on". I've known you too long to think for one second that you're here to debate in good faith. My sole purpose for responding to your posts is to help new readers figure that as well.
So you think I'm dishonest? I presume then you believe yourself to be honest, and you're hoping others will "side with" you for this. Am I missing your tone there? Resolving the question of God's existence and whether atheism is a good foundation for one's life won't be resolved in a single thread, and we both know most readers have already made up their mind before they read anything.

This is a debate thread, but where's the debate here? I just see people asking questions and commenting on what others are saying. I guess "debate" has a lot of different definitions. But you want something like that...

Quote:
However, if you truly wish to have a go at it, here's the deal: straight answers are going to be a currency between us. Each of us will have to maintain a balance with the other in order to "make a withdrawal". So...

No, I do not hold any degrees in philosophy, theology, or anthropology. I do hold both graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business. Course requirements for both included study in ethics/moral philosophy, law, history, and critical thinking - all of which I've continued to study outside of the classroom because I find them interesting. I've also completed coursework in anthropology and sociology and I continue to study those topics as well.
Great. Full disclosure: I have a bachelors degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Theology (actually "Divinity" which adds courses more akin to pastoral ministry), accredited. That course work includes one in sociology and one in philosophical anthropology, but apart from a course taught by an anthropologist (on Islam), I didn't take any courses strictly on anthropology as a social science. That doesn't make me an expert by any means. I too have been known to dabble and study on my own outside of this, as many people do.

Quote:
Kurgan, before we go on, please operationally define "philosophy".
It is not merely "the love of wisdom," but an actual field of study and discipline, (to quote dictionary.com a bible of internet debates) "the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct" which of course includes natural, moral and metaphysical respectively. Despite colloquial usage, it is not limited to laboratory work or "musings" on deep subjects.

Every human being with a functioning mind has a philosophy (or uses philosophy) whether they use those words or not, because everyone upon maturity functions with a view of motion, cause and effect, reality, right and wrong, how we know what we think we know, and contemplation of our existence. However, only those who professionally study and teach this discipline are properly known as philosophers.

By "straight answers" I hope you don't mean "short answers."


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn

Last edited by Kurgan; 07-21-2015 at 01:14 PM.
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-21-2015, 01:31 PM   #157
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Now to answers those questions you said I brought up and should have answered:

Quote:
Interesting. If there was no god, how would you know it?
One needs to come up with a definition (or definitions) of what "God" (or gods) is/are, and then ask if there is a way to discern that. So if I think God is defined as an immortal human being living on Mt. Olympus on earth, I can presumably search for such a mountain, and in the absence of such a mountain, conclude that it is reasonable (for now) to doubt this being's existence. If I simply presume this being is a trickster who can elude my detection, I would have to come up with another way to falsify this being, but the idea that I can be fooled, means it's still reasonable to doubt their existence, at least for now.

I've seen attempts to apply this sort of example to the Christian God, presuming that if the Bible says God "lives in the sky" and sounds like a "man" then if we go up in a spacecraft we can look around and if we don't see a man floating up there, we've disproven his existence. A less comical way of doing this is to examine the philosophical arguments given for God's existence as found in Doctors of the Church like Thomas Aquinas or Anselm of Canterbury. If we define "God" not as a magically powerful physical being residing in our universe but as "that which nothing greater can be conceived" (as Anselm did) then logically this "God" must exist (since we can't really imagine "infinity plus one"). These theologians and philosophers then discuss whether one can reason to the idea of the Christian God or if this merely posits a God akin to that of the Deists or some other conception. If we imagine "God" is a trickster who is fooling all of us, all the time, we can abandon rationality altogether since we can have no hope to know anything. The presence of those who have a differing opinions over God or deny the question entirely doesn't moot the discussion anymore than differing opinions (legitimate or not) on any other topic negates that topic (for example controversies amongst historians or scientists).

I find the arguments they present to be compelling, even if not exhaustive. They are not arguing for a "God of the gaps" (we don't know something, so therefore God must be responsible; God is hiding just over the next hill we haven't explored yet), but a God that can reasonably be said to exist, even without show magic tricks or elaborate myths told to give some moral lesson.

Quote:
If the answer to the question of god's existence was unknowable, would you still be able to find happiness? Neither of these are rhetorical.
I think a person could find "happiness" of a sort, if we define it as physical pleasure. This sort of happiness requires no rational engagement. If we define happiness instead as satisfaction with truth, then yes, there too it is possible, but we have no way of knowing of that truth is really true or merely our perception of it. We can believe in universal truths and still be mistaken about them. Doing the right thing implies we know what the right thing is. But we can all "do our best" (what we think is our best). So yes, it's quite possible for atheists, I believe, to be happy. I would argue a greater happiness is possible for one who believes and follows the true God, but there I'm making a claim such a thing is possible. Most atheists I think would agree that a true believer might be deluded, but happy thinking he's chosen the best part. If God doesn't exist, then this "greatest happiness" is impossible, and its path merely a delusion. So the atheist has lost nothing, but the true believer "wins" if he's right. Otherwise both can be happy, but attended to in different ways. I believe that God does exist, and so the true believer has the greater happiness, but a degree of happiness can be had by others who do not cling to this deity. The atheist must admit that happiness exists for his "believer" brethren, even if he thinks the basis of this happiness is false (but if a relativist, he cannot deny, except for his personal preference, that this is legitimate).


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-21-2015, 06:11 PM   #158
Kurgan
Headhunter
 
Kurgan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Posts: 18,386
LFN Staff Member 10 year veteran! 
Now if we move beyond the question of "God" why the Christian God, specifically? Because to me (despite my personal bias), only the Christian God really makes sense, to a believer. Why?

Because there is no need to worship a Deist God. A Deist God requires our worship no more than an idol or a pantheistic universe "god" would. I own many possessions that I find useful or "like" but I don't "love" them. My computer or my books don't "love" me back like a person. So whether I were to fawn over them or not, makes no difference. My mother doesn't "need" my love to exist, but I do love her and that is the relationship that exists.

The pagan gods might literally need our worship to maintain themselves, but they exist as merely parts of creation, not its source and the author of its purpose (making them little more than "super" humans, much like the caricature of the "big man in the sky" who will destroy you if you don't keep him happy). A "God" who is merely the name for the physical world is also not worth worshiping, since no relationship is possible with something that lacks intelligence. Yes, even the primitive intelligence of a family pet still provides for a reciprocal relationship of a kind of love. So to "believe" in a God, to have a relationship of a worshiper of a deity, only makes sense, to me, in the Christian God, because this God is all powerful, but also willing to give us free will, and willing to enter the creation for our sake and foster a relationship, not merely be a judge and king who expects obedience (as for instance in the classical Muslim understanding of God; who also seems focused more on rewarding physical actions with physical punishments or physical pleasures). The pantheistic or monistic God would really be "me" (or me saying I'm the universe). So I'd be worshiping myself. That's self esteem, not a relationship.

Now there are certain Jewish, Muslim and other conceptions of God that are close to the Christian one, but I'm only positing the existence of one God. Multiple "gods" don't fit the definition of God (an infinite, all powerful and eternal being doesn't compete with other simultaneously infinite and all powerful eternal beings, and the Trinity doctrine is an ancient understanding of the oneness of God, not a multiplicity, as in classic paganism). If I can "make up" in my head an idea of God, that's fine, as long as it corresponds to the real God that exists. I can't say the real God doesn't exist, if I can just "make up" and guess what that God is like, anymore than saying a person isn't real if I can guess correctly what they are like before I get to really know them. Our knowledge of God is limited, but if God wishes to reveal Himself to His creation, then something of that God can be known. The atheist will point out that all religious experiences must be subjective, fallible and non-transferable. Fine. But some experiences of God can be more communal, even universal, as in the discovery of God through philosophical reasoning. Granted, a person can reason their way "out" of a belief in God as well, but I find such systems far less satisfying. One still attempts to come up with explanations for problems they've created, often substituting God-like solutions, which I think concede the point (like a universe that somehow "knows" us, created itself, and controls our very thoughts, including, presumably, rationality itself).

Now if we are to quibble about "which Christian" God we're talking about, I make no distinction between the "God of a Baptist," or a Methodist, or a Lutheran, because they are all the same thing (I'm here excluding henotheists like Mormons). There is no alternative, as if God were a subjective creation (if God is, then "God" is not God, as the atheist would have it). I think the "God" of Catholic and Orthodox thought, streaming from the biblical record (which is merely a "snapshot" in time of the testimony of the Church, not the end-all, be-all as fundamentalists would have it), is the norm of Christian thought. If you want to debate with an Open Theist or Foursquare Gospel person or Oneness Pentecostal, have at it, but they're johnny-come-lately. Different perceptions of God are not the same thing as different Gods (and as my motto says, there can be only one).


Download JK2 maps for JA Server|BOOT CAMP!|Strategic Academy|
(JA Server: 108.178.55.189:29070)


"The Concussion Rifle is the weapon of a Jedi Knight Player, an elegant weapon, from a more civilized community." - Kyle Katarn
Kurgan is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 07-21-2015, 08:13 PM   #159
Achilles
Dapper Chimp
 
Achilles's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 8,227
Current Game: Pillars of Eternity
10 year veteran! Helpful! Veteran Modder Forum Veteran 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
So you think I'm dishonest? I presume then you believe yourself to be honest, and you're hoping others will "side with" you for this. Am I missing your tone there?
Yes, you are. My assertions was that you are not here to debate in good faith. In other words, your mind is already made up, you are closed to (new) evidence, and no amount of sound reasoning will persuade you.

Not the same thing as saying that you are dishonest (though some might argue that pattern of behavior I described above fits the definition of "intellectual dishonesty").

Quote:
Resolving the question of God's existence and whether atheism is a good foundation for one's life won't be resolved in a single thread, and we both know most readers have already made up their mind before they read anything.
I guess I don't see why such a thing shouldn't be possible. In fact, something as substantive and "obvious" as the existence of a supreme being shouldn't require a great deal of evidence at all (as no other reasonable explanation should exist). To argue that one would need much more than a few bullet points on a single powerpoint slide seems like overkill.

Quote:
This is a debate thread, but where's the debate here?
Great question.

Quote:
Great. Full disclosure: I have a bachelors degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Theology (actually "Divinity" which adds courses more akin to pastoral ministry), accredited. That course work includes one in sociology and one in philosophical anthropology, but apart from a course taught by an anthropologist (on Islam), I didn't take any courses strictly on anthropology as a social science. That doesn't make me an expert by any means. I too have been known to dabble and study on my own outside of this, as many people do.
This is actually very helpful. In our past exchanges, it seemed to me that you had a vested interest in maintaining your position at all costs. Now I understand why.

Quote:
It is not merely "the love of wisdom," but an actual field of study and discipline, (to quote dictionary.com a bible of internet debates) "the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct" which of course includes natural, moral and metaphysical respectively. Despite colloquial usage, it is not limited to laboratory work or "musings" on deep subjects.
I see "rational" in there, but just for clarity: how do you see concepts such as "logic" and "critical thinking" relating to "philosophy"?

Quote:
By "straight answers" I hope you don't mean "short answers."
Nope. Straight answer = not posting 15 lines of word-salad without addressing the question (especially if the question is in a quote box at the top of the post).
Achilles is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Go Back   LucasForums > Network > JediKnight Series > Community > Senate Chambers > What good reason is there to believe the Christian God exists? [The Debate Thread]

Tags
debate, god, religion, superstition

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:34 AM.

LFNetwork, LLC ©2002-2011 - All rights reserved.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.