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Old 04-15-2008, 04:13 AM   #41
Jvstice
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YT clip

For those of you that want to skip the video (not recommended) and go straight to the questions, here they are:

#1 Why won't god heal amputees?
Deuteronomy repeatedly quotes God as saying "I will show mercy to whom I choose to show mercy." A statement that God loves some people more than others.

#2 Why are there so many starving people in our world?
see #1

#3 Why does god demand the death of so many innocent people in the bible?
see #1
#4 Why does the bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?

God's words, in the words of men. It may not give a full or complete view of God or the universe in terms of specific tangible data. It's primarily stories about the Hebrews and early Christians and earlier people's relationships with God and vice versa, the historic details were afterthoughts at best.

#5 Why is god such a huge proponent of slavery in the bible?

Being in favor of something is not the same as not caring enough to intervene yourself to stop it. The Bible never states that God prefers a government system of slavery, but does go with the assumption that slavery's pretty thoroughly ingrained and goes with setting social rules on how to treat them, including a time and place they should be freed.

Though related somewhat, there is one point where Jesus is talking about something else not being prohibited in the Hebrew scriptures, as a concession to people's stubbornly sinful & hard hearted nature toward one another, and just focusing on the problem of how to act assuming that this other thing was going to be thoroughly ingrained in the culture

#6 Why do bad things happen to good people?

Never really found an answer I like to this, and I've thought of it a lot. Most answers that make any sense point to God enjoying our suffering, indifferent to our suffering, or having a purpose to which the quality of life of good people are a secondary consideration. I do try to give benefit of the doubt, but .... *shrug* who can really say what's in God's mind.

#7 Why didn't any of jesus' miracles in the bible leave behind any evidence?

Part of the definition of miracle and part of the definition of science. A miracle is a 1 time event. Science is by definition replicable. If it can't be replicated, it can't be studied scientifically.

#8 How do we explain the fact that jesus has never appeared to you?

I'm not owed anything in life. Why would I expect that?

#9 Why would jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?

I'm not catholic, so I'm not such a literalist on this matter and normally would say that the bread and wine represent some very uncomfortable events, the literal shedding of Christ's body and blood and a call to accept his actions and suffering as being on our behalf. The point of the crucifixion was that it was a repulsive way for anyone to die. It's a matter of appologizing more sincerely to God so that you can get beyond whatever distances you from God, to move on with life.

I'll assume the literal for the sake of this discussion. In the first millenia after Christ, most Christians were illiterate peasants, both in the Roman empire, and after. You are told that this becomes the blood and body of Christ. You'd feel revulsion. And this would weed out those that weren't really dedicated to the idea of becoming a Christian and really following Jesus.

#10 Why do christians get divorced at the same rate as non-christians?

Because they're people.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:50 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Deuteronomy repeatedly quotes God as saying "I will show mercy to whom I choose to show mercy." A statement that God loves some people more than others.
But no one enough to replace their missing limb? Even though certain species of reptile do it all the time. He loves the lizards more than us

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
see #1
So rather than kill them off with a flood or brimstone, he starves them to death (this included children)? Quite the conundrum for the "omnibenevolent" myth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
see #1
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
God's words, in the words of men.
Huh? God's words or men's words. Which is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
It may not give a full or complete view of God or the universe in terms of specific tangible data. It's primarily stories about the Hebrews and early Christians and earlier people's relationships with God and vice versa, the historic details were afterthoughts at best.
Is this an argument for god needing a better editor for his next publication?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Being in favor of something is not the same as not caring enough to intervene yourself to stop it. The Bible never states that God prefers a government system of slavery, but does go with the assumption that slavery's pretty thoroughly ingrained and goes with setting social rules on how to treat them, including a time and place they should be freed.
Well, some of them anyway. Odd that he would speak out on behalf of livestock but not people. Hmmm...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Never really found an answer I like to this, and I've thought of it a lot. Most answers that make any sense point to God enjoying our suffering, indifferent to our suffering, or having a purpose to which the quality of life of good people are a secondary consideration. I do try to give benefit of the doubt, but .... *shrug* who can really say what's in God's mind.
Well, if nothing else, you've at least posed a pretty strong argument for why apologists are hypocrites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Part of the definition of miracle and part of the definition of science. A miracle is a 1 time event. Science is by definition replicable. If it can't be replicated, it can't be studied scientifically.
Not exactly true. If scientists can reproduce conditions that satisfactorily explain a phenomenon, then that is considered science. However since "miracles" cannot be ruled out via this method (or any other for that matter) I suppose your argument and my response are really moot points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'm not owed anything in life. Why would I expect that?
Not a question of expectation: If he exists, why hasn't he physically appeared to you? Whether you feel it would be "owed" to you or not is really quite beside the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'm not catholic, so I'm not such a literalist on this matter and normally would say that the bread and wine represent some very uncomfortable events, the literal shedding of Christ's body and blood and a call to accept his actions and suffering as being on our behalf.
That's fine, however people that are catholic disagree with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'll assume the literal for the sake of this discussion. In the first millenia after Christ, most Christians were illiterate peasants, both in the Roman empire, and after. You are told that this becomes the blood and body of Christ. You'd feel revulsion. And this would weed out those that weren't really dedicated to the idea of becoming a Christian and really following Jesus.
Or it would help endear pagan converts that were used to consuming animal sacrifices. *shrugs*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Because they're people.
^^^^ non-answer
If Christian couples are subject to the same divorce rates, martial problems, etc as non-christians, then what the heck's the point of the religious institution of marriage. Might as well just default to the legal status of civil unions and keep it real, if you ask me.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:17 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
The question's possible answers are fairly irrelevant. The point of asking these questions is not necessarily to come up with any specific answer; it is to demonstrate that no answer to them is good enough, no answer explanatory, no answer sufficient.

It's like someone asking you "Do you have a mind?" and you say, "sure." But then the other guy asks you: "well, if you have it, then where is it? Show it to me." Etc. He's not really asking for an answer to where your mind is; he's trying to get you to recognize that a problem exists...

Similarly here: this guy asks these questions because they don't seem to have any good answers-- and they should have good answers, shouldn't they?
Maybe I'm getting misunderstood because of my tendency to use over-pretentious vocabulary. What I'm trying to say here is that they, "intelligent" christians, have no reason to answer these questions from "intelligent" atheists. Since if these atheists were in fact intelligent, they wouldn't be asking these questions.

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Old 04-15-2008, 09:18 AM   #44
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Who's to say that the target of the questions is primarily "intelligent" christians? From what I've seen, most outrage others have over religion is not caused by these "intelligent" ones. If it's targeted mainly at the more ignorant ones then it does makes sense to ask the questions. Their purpose is not to convert someone to atheism; their purpose is to make someone stop ranting long enough to realize they don't have all the answers...


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Old 04-15-2008, 11:12 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxstate
Since if these atheists were in fact intelligent, they wouldn't be asking these questions.
Why is that?

I have to assume that you didn't watch the video because the author explains precisely why the target audience is "intelligent christians".
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:21 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
But no one enough to replace their missing limb? Even though certain species of reptile do it all the time. He loves the lizards more than us
Well we were given minds, and the capacity to learn how to develop cures for our own betterment over the long run. It sounds callous to put it like that though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So rather than kill them off with a flood or brimstone, he starves them to death (this included children)? Quite the conundrum for the "omnibenevolent" myth.
I've never claimed omnibenevolence, and the Deuteronomy quote actually shows God showing that he plays favorites, loving some intensely and despising others with no regard to any merit and no person being intrinsically worse than others. We're told by Jesus not to play favorites that way though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
See above.
ditto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Huh? God's words or men's words. Which is it?
When someone attempts to quote another individual, the biases of the person doing the quoting sometimes creep in, even though the basic substance of the message is that of the originator of the message. Little things, like different emphases might end up having a bigger role. So it's actually something of a hybrid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Is this an argument for god needing a better editor for his next publication?
It's an arguement for not using a tool for more than it's purpose. The purpose of the Bible is to illustrate what relationships between human beings and God look like, and to serve as a call to faith. When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I wouldn't have thought that you and the fundamentalists would have that much in common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Well, some of them anyway. Odd that he would speak out on behalf of livestock but not people. Hmmm...
Well, that wouldn't be my priorities, but I wouldn't presume to speak for someone else without hearing the why from them first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Well, if nothing else, you've at least posed a pretty strong argument for why apologists are hypocrites.
Of course, having an axe to grind and only opening a debate because you have an emotional investment in how the opposing side answers, and how you can paint them, often leads a person being dishonest with themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Not exactly true. If scientists can reproduce conditions that satisfactorily explain a phenomenon, then that is considered science. However since "miracles" cannot be ruled out via this method (or any other for that matter) I suppose your argument and my response are really moot points.
Even the bible makes pretty clear that there's no methodology to dividing a loaf of bread in such a way to feed hundreds or thousands of people. Elisha prays and feeds a 200 man army, where Jesus feeds 4000 people following to hear him preach one time, and 5000 another. I don't see how this is supposed to leave behind some evidence of a universal law that you could then put into effect and feed the world's hungry.

By their own admission, these were special cases, and not some undiscovered application of E = mc2 energy to mass conversion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Not a question of expectation: If he exists, why hasn't he physically appeared to you? Whether you feel it would be "owed" to you or not is really quite beside the point.
I'm on an entirely different wavelength then you and don't see what you're getting at. We're told have faith, or don't bother at all, because it's impossible to please God otherwise. Why act in a way that makes the one thing you're calling on people to do irrelevant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
That's fine, however people that are catholic disagree with you.
I can live with that. And they're probably relieved at not having to answer for me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Or it would help endear pagan converts that were used to consuming animal sacrifices. *shrugs*
Considering that to be Christian under the declining roman empire was a death sentence if you were caught, and secrecy was a major part, I'd think that disuasion and pushing casually interested people away was probably a bigger factor initially. What you're talking about might well have entered into it later once there was a centralized church body focused on missionaryism at any cost. Much the same as the sainting of pagan gods was done during this time too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
^^^^ non-answer
If Christian couples are subject to the same divorce rates, martial problems, etc as non-christians, then what the heck's the point of the religious institution of marriage. Might as well just default to the legal status of civil unions and keep it real, if you ask me.
In the eyes of the law, that would probably be the best way to see that no one's liberties are crushed by the government whose job is to stay a neutral party other than to enforce that everyone does get their liberties.

But just because someone gives you the ideal makings of a garden, wouldn't mean that the person who puts theirs together from scratch can't have a worthwhile one. It also doesn't relieve the person given the garden the responsibility of upkeeping it themselves, to reap the benefits regardless of their actual competence to do so.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:16 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well we were given minds, and the capacity to learn how to develop cures for our own betterment over the long run. It sounds callous to put it like that though.
That's fine however it does not address the question. If some people experience "miraculous" cures and those "miraculous" cures are the direct intervention of god, then why does god not intervene to replace missing limbs? Your points are good, however they have absolutely nothing to do with the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I've never claimed omnibenevolence...
And I never said that *you* did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
...and the Deuteronomy quote actually shows God showing that he plays favorites, loving some intensely and despising others with no regard to any merit and no person being intrinsically worse than others. We're told by Jesus not to play favorites that way though.
And I agree. However, since modern judeo-christian theology tends to argue that god is omnibenevolent, these points tend to create a problem for that myth. Within the scope of this belief, the question is legitimate and your response is rather unrelated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
ditto.
Are we at match point yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
When someone attempts to quote another individual, the biases of the person doing the quoting sometimes creep in, even though the basic substance of the message is that of the originator of the message. Little things, like different emphases might end up having a bigger role. So it's actually something of a hybrid.
Sorry, this point is rather important, so I'm not going to be able let you squirm on this one: Is the bible the word of god or the word of man? Please read John 1:1 before responding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
It's an arguement for not using a tool for more than it's purpose. The purpose of the Bible is to illustrate what relationships between human beings and God look like, and to serve as a call to faith. When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I wouldn't have thought that you and the fundamentalists would have that much in common.
"not using a tool for more than it's purpose". "The purpose of the bible is to illustrate what relationship human being and god look like and to serve as a call to faith". First, let's please recognize that this is *your* interpretation. It's not bad, or wrong, or evil, in fact in many ways I'm sure it's fine, however it is still the equivalent of an opinion (e.g. not a fact). Second, if the purpose of the bible is to lay out "the ground rules" set forth by our perfect creator, then why does it contain so much bad information (as pointed out by the author). I'm afraid that you can't have it both ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well, that wouldn't be my priorities, but I wouldn't presume to speak for someone else without hearing the why from them first.
So if god had a very good reason for allowing/promoting slavery then why isn't the practice commonly accepted today? You see how this kinda fluffy thinking doesn't hold up to scrutiny?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Of course, having an axe to grind and only opening a debate because you have an emotional investment in how the opposing side answers, and how you can paint them, often leads a person being dishonest with themselves.
So people don't need to be intellectually honest or take responsibility for their own thinking? Sorry, not buying that one. Participation is not mandatory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Even the bible makes pretty clear that there's no methodology to dividing a loaf of bread in such a way to feed hundreds or thousands of people. Elisha prays and feeds a 200 man army, where Jesus feeds 4000 people following to hear him preach one time, and 5000 another. I don't see how this is supposed to leave behind some evidence of a universal law that you could then put into effect and feed the world's hungry.

By their own admission, these were special cases, and not some undiscovered application of E = mc2 energy to mass conversion.
And once more the author's point strikes home. I really do get that you, personally, don't feel the need for their to be evidence, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the question: why isn't there any?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'm on an entirely different wavelength then you and don't see what you're getting at. We're told have faith, or don't bother at all, because it's impossible to please God otherwise. Why act in a way that makes the one thing you're calling on people to do irrelevant?
Fair enough.

Have you seen the movie No Country For Old Men? There's a scene where the antagonist is in a gas station purchasing Corn Nuts or something of the like. The cashier says something that makes him upset, so he pulls out a quarter, flips it, and then insists that the cashier call heads or tails. The scene is long and I won't try to recreate all the dialog for you, but the point that the audience gets but the cashier doesn't is that if the cashier call it wrong, the antagonist is going to kill him.

The fact that he is going to kill him has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the cashier want to die, wants to call either heads or tails, or even cares about calling it correctly. Similarly, whether *you* feel a physical appearance is "owed" to you or not is completely irrelevant to the fact that he has not. Saying "I don't feel that Jesus owes me a cameo" is the equivalent of the cashier in the scene babbling on about why he's being asked to call it: it doesn't change reality/answer the question.

To the second part of your point, Muslims will tell you that if you don't accept Islam then you won't please god either. Is it similarly wise to blindly accept that calling as well? You have just as much evidence for their version of god and the christian one, so what criteria are you using for your decision. Also, are you prepared to accept the consequences of making the wrong choice? Might want to think about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I can live with that. And they're probably relieved at not having to answer for me as well.
That's probably true, but once again, we've completely skirted anything that might pass for an answer. What we do have is an elaborate mental gymnastics plan for how we're going to get out of having to answer the question, which is the point the author was trying to address with his video.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Considering that to be Christian under the declining roman empire was a death sentence if you were caught, and secrecy was a major part, I'd think that disuasion and pushing casually interested people away was probably a bigger factor initially. What you're talking about might well have entered into it later once there was a centralized church body focused on missionaryism at any cost. Much the same as the sainting of pagan gods was done during this time too.
Interesting conjecture. I don't think I've ever heard anyone propose that the eucharist was concieved as an attempt to "separate the men from the boys" before. Too bad Darth InSidious doesn't roam these parts; I'm sure he'd have a field day with that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
In the eyes of the law, that would probably be the best way to see that no one's liberties are crushed by the government whose job is to stay a neutral party other than to enforce that everyone does get their liberties.

But just because someone gives you the ideal makings of a garden, wouldn't mean that the person who puts theirs together from scratch can't have a worthwhile one. It also doesn't relieve the person given the garden the responsibility of upkeeping it themselves, to reap the benefits regardless of their actual competence to do so.
This doesn't address the point: if christian marriage is somehow superior to some other flavor of marriage or even civil union, then why isn't this demonstrated in divorce rates? The question isn't going to change no matter how much we try to avoid it or put it off with responses that aren't related.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:43 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Achilles
That's fine however it does not address the question. If some people experience "miraculous" cures and those "miraculous" cures are the direct intervention of god, then why does god not intervene to replace missing limbs? Your points are good, however they have absolutely nothing to do with the question.
God's not being concerned with all suffering is an answer for a good bit of it, but you're right that it isn't a direct answer, because there are a number of people that have faith and have certain kinds of illnesses that have never been observed and recorded as having been cured. And you're right. There is no proof that they don't hope in vain that I can drag out and show you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
And I never said that *you* did.
Since faith is a personal matter, I'm not going to be drawn into defending ideas that I don't personally believe are true, regardless of who holds to the idea. I'll confess to being somewhat a Calvinist in my interpretation of Christianity, so the idea that God's already decided that He doesn't love some people, but universally calls all His children to love every person that God has created is an idea I've had to reconcile to long ago.

But that is a bit of a dodge, because there are too many people to be dismissed that suffer greatly and still have hope of meaning to be found in the afterlife, and lumping the people in as all one and the same doesn't entirely address this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
And I agree. However, since modern judeo-christian theology tends to argue that god is omnibenevolent, these points tend to create a problem for that myth. Within the scope of this belief, the question is legitimate and your response is rather unrelated.
Who argues that? It's certainly not something I've given any credence to since I was a teen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Are we at match point yet?
I wonder
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Sorry, this point is rather important, so I'm not going to be able let you squirm on this one: Is the bible the word of god or the word of man? Please read John 1:1 before responding.
All in all as it was originally given, I live my life as though it was the word of God. It has been corrupted by men though, with translator errors, changing definitions of words as languages evolve, and cultural context that the original hearers of a message have that doesn't get passed on to later hearers.

I've considered the possibilities both ways, and I hedge in the direction of it may not be perfect, but it's the best we have, and I choose to live my life depending on what has worked for me. I know that view would not make me popular in any major denomination.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
"not using a tool for more than it's purpose". "The purpose of the bible is to illustrate what relationship human being and god look like and to serve as a call to faith". First, let's please recognize that this is *your* interpretation. It's not bad, or wrong, or evil, in fact in many ways I'm sure it's fine, however it is still the equivalent of an opinion (e.g. not a fact). Second, if the purpose of the bible is to lay out "the ground rules" set forth by our perfect creator, then why does it contain so much bad information (as pointed out by the author). I'm afraid that you can't have it both ways.
Well if you're trying to convince me that "I'm" wrong (which is the entire point of this thread from what I can see) you'll have to deal with this point of view at some point, because it's central to how I understand my faith. As to how fundamentalists think, every religion has them, and I refuse to take the blame for the ones that claim to be affiliated with my religion. A lot of the stuff they spout I find embarassing and doing a major disservice to what I hold sacred.

As to your second point, the New Testament contains bad information about how to live a life? That's essentially what ground rules are. I mean, you've got idiots that try to go out and legislate obscure points of bible poetry into the education system or legislate morality, but that has nothing to do with following the ground rules or not. That's just people getting worked up about making non Christians act like Christians (thus precluding the possibility that they'd ever actually want to be a Christian by being so militant over trivial stuff) so they don't have to deal with the hypocrisy in their own lives. That has nothing to do with the "ground rules," other than by negative example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So if god had a very good reason for allowing/promoting slavery then why isn't the practice commonly accepted today? You see how this kinda fluffy thinking doesn't hold up to scrutiny?
It's still commonly practiced in much of the world. There is a widespread and growing sex slave industry. Additionally, in developing nations, economic conditions are bad enough that the same work gets done in the same miserable conditions without calling it slavery much of the times. There are a lot of people still who see sweatshops as a step up from how they have to live.

And you're right. It doesn't make it okay, but it's still present and modern ideas haven't really gotten rid of it. Just driven it "underground." Not saying that it shouldn't be stigmatized, but if it was so terrible when it was legal in much of the ancient world, what's made it less so now that it's illegal in much of the world and still goes on?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So people don't need to be intellectually honest or take responsibility for their own thinking? Sorry, not buying that one. Participation is not mandatory.
As much as you attempt to use the socratic method to lay traps for people who haven't thought about their faith, of course you would say this. Believe it or not, I agree that self consistency of a world view is important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
And once more the author's point strikes home. I really do get that you, personally, don't feel the need for their to be evidence, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the question: why isn't there any?
Personally I don't need other than what my own experiences in life tell me. You'd never get to the same point in life as I have, having not lived the same life, so there really is no point in debating how I see things.

Q: How do you know who your daddy is?
A: Your mom told you.

Do you feel the need to run out and get this tested? Most people are happy enough to accept their family relationships are what their family tells them and not dig deeper demanding genetic tests. What would you find that would change what was or was not already true anyway? How would this make your life more complete?

I've considered the possibility that I'm right. I've also considered the possibilty that I'm wrong. I think Vicktor Frankl had it right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Fair enough.

Have you seen the movie No Country For Old Men? There's a scene where the antagonist is in a gas station purchasing Corn Nuts or something of the like. The cashier says something that makes him upset, so he pulls out a quarter, flips it, and then insists that the cashier call heads or tails. The scene is long and I won't try to recreate all the dialog for you, but the point that the audience gets but the cashier doesn't is that if the cashier call it wrong, the antagonist is going to kill him.

The fact that he is going to kill him has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the cashier want to die, wants to call either heads or tails, or even cares about calling it correctly. Similarly, whether *you* feel a physical appearance is "owed" to you or not is completely irrelevant to the fact that he has not. Saying "I don't feel that Jesus owes me a cameo" is the equivalent of the cashier in the scene babbling on about why he's being asked to call it: it doesn't change reality/answer the question.
True. Reality exists. The presence or absence of a higher power doesn't depend on my belief or nonbelief in that higher power's existence.

Something I've already considered, and is central to everything you've tried to say. You believe I'll look at my beliefs at this point and conclude that it doesnt matter what I believe, and conclude you're right. Actually the opposite is true. I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless. Overall I see a downward quality of life (not in terms of comforts, but if you are familiar with Frankl, you'll know what I mean) if I started living like you were correct instead of what I believe now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
To the second part of your point, Muslims will tell you that if you don't accept Islam then you won't please god either. Is it similarly wise to blindly accept that calling as well? You have just as much evidence for their version of god and the christian one, so what criteria are you using for your decision. Also, are you prepared to accept the consequences of making the wrong choice? Might want to think about it.
Well I don't pray towards mecca, I do eat pig (though rarely), I don't believe that Mohammad spoke for God, and I haven't ever done Ramadan. They probably wouldn't be too thrilled with my attachment to the belief in the trinity. Otherwise, I live a life that most muslims would consider me to have lived decently, and their religion does make provision for modern Christians having been "misled" by the early apostles, so that God doesn't judge us harshly for that in their own belief system.
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Originally Posted by Achilles
That's probably true, but once again, we've completely skirted anything that might pass for an answer. What we do have is an elaborate mental gymnastics plan for how we're going to get out of having to answer the question, which is the point the author was trying to address with his video.
Personally, I found much of the video irrelevant to my actual point of view because it tries to punch a hole in people's beliefs in an omnibenevolent god (which I don't believe in. God does play favorites both in terms of physical benefits and salvation according to his own word, and the beneficiaries of one often are not the beneficiaries of the other, often sitting aside and watching as small children suffer, or tortured, and die.) and goes from assuming that the audience will be so shocked by the audacity of saying that people suffer and there are prayers that aren't answered that they'll happily accept the solution the maker of the video offers to the viewers.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Interesting conjecture. I don't think I've ever heard anyone propose that the eucharist was concieved as an attempt to "separate the men from the boys" before. Too bad Darth InSidious doesn't roam these parts; I'm sure he'd have a field day with that one.
Well references in the Bible say that the early Christian church were accused of canibalism as the Bible was still being written. It does point to a lot of people contemporary to that time taking Jesus' words at face value and running with the literal interpretation, since there's nothing else I could think in any interpretation of Christianity that could be interpreted as condoning canabalism.

And it would have fit with their purposes. Attracting people that were going into it with the expectation that it would be hard. Secret societies under the penalty of death would want some method of making sure that only those that weren't going to spill their guts about something disasterous to the Romans were ever given enough information to potentially be dangerous.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
This doesn't address the point: if christian marriage is somehow superior to some other flavor of marriage or even civil union, then why isn't this demonstrated in divorce rates? The question isn't going to change no matter how much we try to avoid it or put it off with responses that aren't related.
Not in terms of durability obviously. Simply in the matter that a Christian marriage a gift from God and something more to be thankful for a show of trust from God in return for. Not that the marriage is likelier to perform better if people take it for granted than any other marriage, or that the people that get into them have it made or anything.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle

Last edited by Jvstice; 04-15-2008 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:50 PM   #49
Achilles
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Originally Posted by Jvstice
God's not being concerned with all suffering is an answer for a good bit of it, but you're right that it isn't a direct answer, because there are a number of people that have faith and have certain kinds of illnesses that have never been observed and recorded as having been cured. And you're right. There is no proof that they don't hope in vain that I can drag out and show you.
Okay.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Since faith is a personal matter, I'm not going to be drawn into defending ideas that I don't personally believe are true, regardless of who holds to the idea. I'll confess to being somewhat a Calvinist in my interpretation of Christianity, so the idea that God's already decided that He doesn't love some people, but universally calls all His children to love every person that God has created is an idea I've had to reconcile to long ago.
Okay. So for the purposes of this part of the conversation, you're not going to comment on the first three questions because they are based on the commonly held belief that god loves us and answers our prayers. Fair enough.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Who argues that? It's certainly not something I've given any credence to since I was a teen.
Well according to theologians and apologists, the bible does *shrugs*.

Probably good that we're acknowledging that you have your own flavor of christianity here. Difficult to answer questions about god's nature if you have your own take on what that is. The obvious question I'm dying to ask is why *your* version is "right" and these others are "wrong" is probably fodder for another thread through.

Suffice it to say that many christians do believe that god loves them and answers their prayers and these individuals will hopefully opt to try to answer these important questions at some point.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
All in all as it was originally given, I live my life as though it was the word of God.
Okay, and how do you know what it said when it was originally given?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
It has been corrupted by men though, with translator errors, changing definitions of words as languages evolve, and cultural context that the original hearers of a message have that doesn't get passed on to later hearers.
Agreed, but if that's all we have to go on, how does one know what it said *before* it was changed? Seems to me the best we can do is guess. Wouldn't you agree?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I've considered the possibilities both ways, and I hedge in the direction of it may not be perfect, but it's the best we have, and I choose to live my life depending on what has worked for me. I know that view would not make me popular in any major denomination.
That's cool. But if you've decided to use your own powers of observation and deduction to determine right, wrong, etc, why choose to have religion at all?

This is the thing that get's me: it's almost like getting sucked into a black hole. Once you pass the event horizon, there's no going back. So if one chooses to accept theism, it would seem to me that it would be of paramount importance to figure out which flavor is right and then do every single thing that ideology told me to do. It's like knowing that daddy will whoop the bejesus outta ya for riding your bike in the house, but doing it anyway. If you're going to accept god, it seems to me the smart money is in doing it all the way.

As much grief as I give the fundamentalists, I have to tell you, they're the ones who's actions make the most sense to me.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well if you're trying to convince me that "I'm" wrong (which is the entire point of this thread from what I can see) you'll have to deal with this point of view at some point, because it's central to how I understand my faith.
Not trying to convince anyone of anything. If you answer the questions honestly, I don't have to.

The reality is that your take is one opinion. Fundamental catholocism is another. Mormonism a third, et cetera, et cetera. If you want pass your opinion off as fact, then yes, I imagine that we are both going to have to address that at some point. However, if you acknowledge that you interpretation has equal weight and is as equally valid as any of these others then I don't think there's any conflict.

Of course, you are still left to resolve the question as to why the bible has so much bad information in it, but that's not something that you and I necessarily need to discuss any more so than you care to.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to how fundamentalists think, every religion has them, and I refuse to take the blame for the ones that claim to be affiliated with my religion. A lot of the stuff they spout I find embarassing and a discredit to what I hold sacred.
I understand the sentiment, but I guess I don't understand why. They're just behaving like the bible tells them to. Of course, the problem is that other messages can be cherry picked out of the bible too.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to your second point, the New Testament contains bad information about how to live a life?
Sure. No doubt it also contains some great stuff too, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have it's share of whoppers as well.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's essentially what ground rules are.
Ok, so what is the old testament then? And how do you feel about the parts of the new testament that advocate the positions laid out in the old testament?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I mean, you've got idiots that try to go out and legislate obscure points of bible poetry into the education system or legislate morality, but that has nothing to do with following the ground rules or not.
Well, just as you have arbitrarily determined that these verses are meaningless, they have arbitrarily determined that they are not. Let's be fair: if you get to pick and choose and call it "good" then so do they.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's just people getting worked up about making non Christians act like Christians (thus precluding the possibility that they'd ever actually want to be a Christian by being so militant over trivial stuff) so they don't have to deal with the hypocrisy in their own lives.
Well, technically they have orders from god to kill us, so forgive me if I don't considering school prayer as "militant" as you do.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That has nothing to do with the "ground rules," other than by negative example.
Sir, it sounds as though you've opted to cherry pick your "ground rules". You're not the first and you won't be the last, but let's at least acknowledge that fact.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
It's still commonly practiced in much of the world.
In predominantly christian nations? If not, then your valid point does not apply to the discussion.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
And you're right. It doesn't make it okay, but it's still present and modern ideas haven't really gotten rid of it. Just driven it "underground." Not saying that it shouldn't be stigmatized, but if it was so terrible when it was legal in much of the ancient world, what's made it less so now that it's legal and still goes on?
I think you might be very close to making my point here: if god never pulled the plug on the whole slavery thing, then who are we to suddenly decide that it's wrong? Clearly we did not get to that conclusion via a literal interpretation of the holy bible.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As much as you attempt to use the socratic method to lay traps for people who haven't thought about their faith, of course you would say this. Believe it or not, I agree that self consistency of a world view is consistent.
I'm not entirely clear on what your point is here. Your contention seemed to be "shame on the atheists for posting such things". My argument is that no one is being forced to read or respond to these posts. If you choose to participate, please don't expect the kid gloves.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally I don't need other than what my own experiences in life tell me.
That's fantastic. I promise that I really got it the last time you said it. However, that doesn't change the fact that *your expectations* have nothing to do with the question. Your experiences and your expectations do not have any bearing on whether or not the question is important to anyone other than you. If you would like to make a compelling argument for why it shouldn't matter to anyone, I'd be happy to hear it but repeating this point isn't moving the dialog forward.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Q: How do you know who your daddy is?
A: Your mom told you.
Actually no. There was this guy, that I kinda look like, that I grew up calling Dad. To the best of my recollection, my mother never offered a formal introduction.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Do you feel the need to run out and get this tested? Most people are happy enough to accept their family relationships are what their family tells them and not dig deeper demanding genetic tests. What would you find that would change what was or was not already true anyway? How would this make your life more complete?

I've considered the possibility that I'm right. I've also considered the possibilty that I'm wrong. I think Vicktor Frankl had it right.
Please help me understand the relevance of this train of thought. Thanks in advance.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
True. Reality exists. The presence or absence of a higher power doesn't depend on my belief or nonbelief in that higher power's existence.

Something I've already considered, and is central to everything you've tried to say. You believe I'll look at my beliefs at this point and conclude that it doesnt matter what I believe, and conclude you're right. Actually the opposite is true. I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless. Overall I see a downward quality of life (not in terms of comforts, but if you are familiar with Frankl, you'll know what I mean) if I started living like you were correct instead of what I believe now.
Without knowing precisely what you assume about "what I advocate", I really can't comment intelligently here.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well I don't pray towards mecca, I do eat pig (though rarely), I don't believe that Mohammad spoke for God, and I haven't ever done Ramadan. They probably wouldn't be too thrilled with my attachment to the belief in the trinity. Otherwise, I live a life that most muslims would consider me to have lived decently, and their religion does make provision for modern Christians having been "misled" by the early apostles, so that God doesn't judge us harshly for that in their own belief system.
I think you're taking the same risk with Islam that you're taking with your own religion: you're cherry-picking parts of it and assuming that it represents the whole. The argument that you've gone out of your way to avoid acknowledging is this: what if your beliefs are wrong?

With all due respect, you've appeared to invest almost no critical thought into religion in general yet still somehow managed to arrive at the conclusion that it's central to your being. How does one do that?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally, I found much of the video irrelevant to my actual point of view because it tries to punch a hole in people's beliefs in an omnibenevolent god (which I don't believe in. God does play favorites both in terms of physical benefits and salvation according to his own word, and the beneficiaries of one often are not the beneficiaries of the other, often sitting aside and watching as small children suffer, or tortured, and die.) and goes from assuming that the audience will be so shocked by the audacity of saying that people suffer and there are prayers that aren't answered that they'll happily accept the solution the maker of the video offers to the viewers.
As I pointed out earlier, the omnibenevolent god myth is not some fringe concept within religion, so it's not as though the author it trying to appeal to some radical sect of christianity. You've apparently decided at some point to adopt a worldview that crappy things happen and it's all part of god's plan. I can't help but think that has to foster a profound sense of apathy ("nothin' I can do about it - god's plan" *shrug*) which with seem to fly in the face of the the parts of the new testament you attempted to point me towards earlier. And furthermore, this is somehow better than "the life I advocate" (?).

The point remains that we're still left with mental gymnastics. I'm sorry to hear that the author's point passed you by, but hopefully you at least got an enjoyable discussion out of it.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well references in the Bible say that the early Christian church were accused of canibalism as the Bible was still being written. It does point to a lot of people contemporary to that time taking Jesus' words at face value and running with the literal interpretation, since there's nothing else I could think in any interpretation of Christianity that could be interpreted as condoning canabalism..

And it would have fit with their purposes. Attracting people that were going into it with the expectation that it would be hard. Secret societies under the penalty of death would want some method of making sure that only those that weren't going to spill their guts about something disasterous to the Romans were ever given enough information to potentially be dangerous.
I'm trying to imagine what kind of individual would be attracted to this early christian church you're proposing. The results aren't flattering.

FWIW, you may or may not enjoy the PBS documentary From Jesus to Christ.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Not in terms of durability obviously. Simply in the matter that a Christian marriage a gift from God and something more to be thankful for a show of trust from God in return for. Not that the marriage is likelier to perform better if people take it for granted than any other marriage, or that the people that get into them have it made or anything.
This still doesn't address the point, but I suspect that doing so is not a priority for you.

Take care and thanks for the interesting discussion, sir.
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Old 04-16-2008, 01:35 AM   #50
Jvstice
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Okay. So for the purposes of this part of the conversation, you're not going to comment on the first three questions because they are based on the commonly held belief that god loves us and answers our prayers. Fair enough.
Just it may or may not be true. It's not a dogmatic thing to me on either side whether someone who hasn't at this point entered into a relationship with God is or is not loved by God.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Well according to theologians and apologists, the bible does *shrugs*.
Some theologians. And others not.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Probably good that we're acknowledging that you have your own flavor of christianity here. Difficult to answer questions about god's nature if you have your own take on what that is. The obvious question I'm dying to ask is why *your* version is "right" and these others are "wrong" is probably fodder for another thread through.
I don't think it would be possible to carry on an honest discussion without admitting biases, so I did.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Suffice it to say that many christians do believe that god loves them and answers their prayers and these individuals will hopefully opt to try to answer these important questions at some point.
And hopefully they'll be better off for facing their doubts. That's really the only way a person can make their faith their own. And it's really not until you've come out the other end of doubt that you can be said to have faith at all. (I differentiate faith from belief in this. Faith is trust. Belief is intellectual assent. Intellectually believing that a chair will hold your mass is a different thing than trusting your weight to it).


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Originally Posted by Achilles
Okay, and how do you know what it said when it was originally given?
That's why it's best to be extremely lenient what you advocate for other people's actions to be or how you judge them, and go with the stricter standard in regards to oneself. At least that's the way I try to see things.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Agreed, but if that's all we have to go on, how does one know what it said *before* it was changed? Seems to me the best we can do is guess. Wouldn't you agree?
Often. Though there are certain near universals that most major groups agree on.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
That's cool. But if you've decided to use your own powers of observation and deduction to determine right, wrong, etc, why choose to have religion at all?
Because my faith in God has and does bring increased meaning to my life.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
This is the thing that get's me: it's almost like getting sucked into a black hole. Once you pass the event horizon, there's no going back. So if one chooses to accept theism, it would seem to me that it would be of paramount importance to figure out which flavor is right and then do every single thing that ideology told me to do. It's like knowing that daddy will whoop the bejesus outta ya for riding your bike in the house, but doing it anyway. If you're going to accept god, it seems to me the smart money is in doing it all the way.
Well the one thing I keep coming back to is grace. One time, Jesus gave the example of a Pharisee and a Saducee both approaching God in prayer. He'd already said that the Pharisees were much closer to God's actual views on a lot of their theology than the saducees. The basic point of the parable was that the Pharisee just prayed "thank you for making me myself," where the saducee prayed "have mercy on me, a sinner." The saducee is portrayed as recieving god's approval and forgiveness.

That and other things lead me to believe its' not primarily a matter of being right, but being humble about your own view of things.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
As much grief as I give the fundamentalists, I have to tell you, they're the ones who's actions make the most sense to me.
Perhaps in terms of doctrine. Not to me in terms of actions matching their beliefs.

I have control over my own actions. I don't have control over the actions of others, nor do I aspire to have that kind of power in order to bring what I percieve as right to be used against others who see things differently than me.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Not trying to convince anyone of anything. If you answer the questions honestly, I don't have to.
I haven't tried to be dishonest. I largely entered this discussion because I didn't like the either or presented in the video and thought best to include enough of my own approach within Christianity to show that there is a vast segment to whom the guy in the video's thought process is largely irrelevant, though not wholely off the mark.
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Originally Posted by Achilles
The reality is that your take is one opinion. Fundamental catholocism is another. Mormonism a third, et cetera, et cetera. If you want pass your opinion off as fact, then yes, I imagine that we are both going to have to address that at some point. However, if you acknowledge that you interpretation has equal weight and is as equally valid as any of these others then I don't think there's any conflict.
I don't think I've attacked the validity of those interpretations of reality. I do have some problems with the power grabbing elements within any religion in that they use their religion as an excuse rather than a tool to get closer to God at that point, but that's a matter of behavior, and not belief. I know what I believe, and I am willling to learn from anyone. Yes. I do learn from you as well even if you think I'm totally closed minded to all you have to say.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Of course, you are still left to resolve the question as to why the bible has so much bad information in it, but that's not something that you and I necessarily need to discuss any more so than you care to.
Either way. I don't feel the need to reconcile genesis 1 & genesis 2 or the like.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I understand the sentiment, but I guess I don't understand why. They're just behaving like the bible tells them to. Of course, the problem is that other messages can be cherry picked out of the bible too.
I disagree with the word "just." There is no mandate for a culture war. Frequently in the Bible, both old and new testaments, God's people are shown suffering under cruel rulers and told to bear up. And the ones that often meet God's approval aren't either the ones that let all injustice pass, nor are they the ones that act militant and have a predisposition to rebel against their leaders. Frequently what you see in biblical heroes is a person who starts out not looking to be the center of things, but that they are thrust into a unique position where if they do rebel, that certainly wasn't their first inclination.

I have a dispute with the whole posture of being predisposed to rebel against hte greater society in the name of God or against a president because you don't like his politics. If a specific issue requires being rebelled against to bring change, that's one thing. It is wrong to come at things with the predisposition that it needs to be rebelled against though. You see the difference?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Sure. No doubt it also contains some great stuff too, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have it's share of whoppers as well.
Specific examples you're refering to?
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Ok, so what is the old testament then? And how do you feel about the parts of the new testament that advocate the positions laid out in the old testament?
Personally what do I think? The word testament means covenant. The Old Testament or covenant was God's covenant with the Israelite/Hebrew/ and later Jewish people, and had specific terms and conditions spelled out for both parties.

The New Testament /Covenant is a 1 sided covenant where God says God will save whomever he chooses regardless of any merit of the individual being chosen. And if you're chosen, then something in your mind and heart will find that a good thing and draw you towards God, and changing you. And if you're not, you won't really have any internal draw to that point of view anyway and find nothing really compelling about Christianity or following Christ.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Well, just as you have arbitrarily determined that these verses are meaningless, they have arbitrarily determined that they are not. Let's be fair: if you get to pick and choose and call it "good" then so do they.
I haven't denied that anybody does a certain amount of that either consciously or unconsciously. But I do it to apply to my own life, or answer what I think when asked. Not all of them are willing to return the courtesy of leaving it at personal application. They betray a major principle to push a more minor one.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Well, technically they have orders from god to kill us, so forgive me if I don't considering school prayer as "militant" as you do.
Orders from God to kill us? That doesnt' appear in the new testament any where, and I certainly don't recall seeing it as a general kill everyone thing in the old testament.

Saying that "we've been marginalized and persecuted" then reacting to a percieved persecution in such a way that people that are still forming their opinions about what you are all about react hostilly is counterproductive, no matter what they think. The Jesus camp video illustrates this happening better than anything else I could say.
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Sir, it sounds as though you've opted to cherry pick your "ground rules". You're not the first and you won't be the last, but let's at least acknowledge that fact.
Actually, I look at if people use their faith primarily as personal application, or as a weapon or tool to control others as my main criteria. My main complaint against most fundamentalists and fundamentalist groups isnt' that they're fundamentalists. It's that they've thrown out the spirit of their interpretation of God's word for it's letter.

There's a twin danger. You point out that I get "murky" and cherry pick in that I don't look at as a letter of the law thing. There may be some justification to that. I'm more concerned with the opposite danger, and from my understanding a greater sin and does harm to more people.

People get more legalistic when they look for loopholes to excuse their own behavior and justify not giving others a benefit of the doubt. It does happen that people get legalistic for good reasons, but that's not the norm. As a society, we've lost our ability to differentiate between what is good, and what is our role? Should an organization do something that is good, if in the process it compromises it's role or capability of fulfilling its purpose which is a greater good?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
In predominantly christian nations? If not, then your valid point does not apply to the discussion.
Some of them are I think. Trinidad? The Philipines? Jamaica? I've heard them mentioned among other nations which are definitely not predominately Christian.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I think you might be very close to making my point here: if god never pulled the plug on the whole slavery thing, then who are we to suddenly decide that it's wrong? Clearly we did not get to that conclusion via a literal interpretation of the holy bible.
I have nothing wrong with people who live by a literal interpretation of the bible as far as personal application goes. I do, however, think that the whole cultural movement often do more harm than good by focusing on the political at the expense of the spiritual. Jesus's command to his disciples was pretty straightforward that their concerns were to be in worshiping God with their lives then as a 2nd priority making disciples of others.

In the book of John during the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples not to desire to lord it over one another "like the heathen do." The whole amish/menonite/quaker/shaker anabaptist branch of protestantism claim, and with some merit I think that hunger for political power over others is incompatible with the attitude that Jesus tried to bring about in his followers, and that one cannot truly follow Christ if your primary goals are political. So there is a good case that the fundamentalists are taking Christian principles and turning them into legislation, but ignoring the central message of what Christianity is supposed to be about in order to achieve a "lesser" goal, according to the values expressed in the gospels.


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Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm not entirely clear on what your point is here. Your contention seemed to be "shame on the atheists for posting such things". My argument is that no one is being forced to read or respond to these posts. If you choose to participate, please don't expect the kid gloves.
I resist emotional manipulation from within Christian groups too. Don't get offended that I don't think highly of it.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
That's fantastic. I promise that I really got it the last time you said it. However, that doesn't change the fact that *your expectations* have nothing to do with the question. Your experiences and your expectations do not have any bearing on whether or not the question is important to anyone other than you. If you would like to make a compelling argument for why it shouldn't matter to anyone, I'd be happy to hear it but repeating this point isn't moving the dialog forward.
Whether a Christian is protestant or catholic, they believe they are called to faith, if they are serious about their religious beliefs at all. There's some debate on how we're judged, about whether God looks at the mix of faith and works. Most modern protestant clergy will admit that for a person's salvation to be sincere that works must be present for it to have ever been a real commitment &/or relationship to God, even though its been the Catholic position that faith and works are what save you. Likewise, most Catholic clergy I've heard from will freely admit that it may be the faith itself that saves you, and that no single work a person can do can merit a person's being "owed" salvation. But both groups have never come together to work out an agreement in spite of how close their points of view have grown other than the face saving statements of saying that they weren't wrong 4 centuries ago.

There are certain universals and commonalities, and even people in both protestant & catholic groups who say they are interested in greater ecumenicism and respect.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Actually no. There was this guy, that I kinda look like, that I grew up calling Dad. To the best of my recollection, my mother never offered a formal introduction.

Please help me understand the relevance of this train of thought. Thanks in advance.
What is gained in undercutting the faith in the relationships that matter to you? I include my relationship to God in this category for me personally. I considered the person's arguements who made the video. I just didn't find them compelling and I found them to be manipulative.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Without knowing precisely what you assume about "what I advocate", I really can't comment intelligently here.
I think you advocate that religion and faith are dangerous, just like the video said the creator of the video believed as well. Was I wrong in this assumption or do you invest so much effort in disproving all faiths because it's a matter you're indifferent about?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I think you're taking the same risk with Islam that you're taking with your own religion: you're cherry-picking parts of it and assuming that it represents the whole. The argument that you've gone out of your way to avoid acknowledging is this: what if your beliefs are wrong?
Then my beliefs would be wrong. I've already said that I am not that worried. Either they are or they're not. I'd be in the same boat if I were an athiest, a theist, an agnostic, or any specific flavor of any of them, like muslims, jews, christians, budhists, or hindu on the theist side; or budhists, humanists, objectivists, communists, social darwinists, or other groups on the atheist side. Presumably all of them are wrong on at least some points. Presumably myself as well. I've never held myself or anyone else to a standard of perfection in that regard or expected that they'd have to live by my rules. I look for the personal application. Let others worry about their own behavior. I've got enough to deal with making sure of my own, and keeping safe my loved ones to really see myself as anyone else's judge.

I was pointing out that a good many muslims would say that modern Christians aren't necessarily hell bound or evil in the sight of God, merely misguided for having beliefs that differ from their own.

Where a lot of the anger in many of the muslim community comes from (not all by any means, but a significant portion) towards some of the Christian community in many cases is that Christian wealthier, western governments treatment of islamic governments is often arrogant and high handed.

You can't be all things to all people. And there are other points of view within any community. All any person can do is to struggle towards what they percieve as the truth and do the best they can in life with what tools they have been given to get through it.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
With all due respect, you've appeared to invest almost no critical thought into religion in general yet still somehow managed to arrive at the conclusion that it's central to your being. How does one do that?
I've critically thought about it. Just I don't think that are reasonable to come to apart from experiences of life which you've made clear that you don't share. So I just don't think my reasons or experiences in life would be compelling to you, so I really didn't feel the need to bother trotting them out.
But you did say that unless a person did x, y, and z, mental gymnastics, then they couldn't have faith in light of a, b, and c arguements. So I entered the discussion because I found both the video presenter's conclusions and the assumptions about what alternative we msut start at both to be unsatisfying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
As I pointed out earlier, the omnibenevolent god myth is not some fringe concept within religion, so it's not as though the author it trying to appeal to some radical sect of christianity. You've apparently decided at some point to adopt a worldview that crappy things happen and it's all part of god's plan. I can't help but think that has to foster a profound sense of apathy ("nothin' I can do about it - god's plan" *shrug*) which with seem to fly in the face of the the parts of the new testament you attempted to point me towards earlier. And furthermore, this is somehow better than "the life I advocate" (?).
There have been a lot of people that have gone that direction with it. That is true. I try to never take a defeatist direction in that in that our effort has to have been planned for as well. And both crappy and good things happen all the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
The point remains that we're still left with mental gymnastics. I'm sorry to hear that the author's point passed you by, but hopefully you at least got an enjoyable discussion out of it.
I did. Thank you for an enlivening debate.

Edit: I just had it pointed out to me the point about christian mariages. You make the assumption that I believe that by becoming a Christian, God makes a person a better person than they'd ordinarily be, and thus more dedicated to a marriage or making it work. No. That's not my assumption at all and never has been.

Being a Christian makes you forgiven and desire to pursue a relationship with God. The other is a separate issue. If that's not your question please clarify.
If that's not an answer to it, please tell me what exactly you're looking for.


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Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm trying to imagine what kind of individual would be attracted to this early christian church you're proposing. The results aren't flattering.
I really don't think it's that much of a reach.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
FWIW, you may or may not enjoy the PBS documentary From Jesus to Christ.
thanks. I'll get a look at it when I've got a bit more time and perhaps get back to you.
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Originally Posted by Achilles
This still doesn't address the point, but I suspect that doing so is not a priority for you.
Hopefully this post answers more of what you were getting at, but you're right. I really don't have any axes to grind other than seeing that my view is represented at least somewhat. Not that it has to convince any one.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Take care and thanks for the interesting discussion, sir.
Look forward to the next one. And thank you.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle

Last edited by Jvstice; 04-16-2008 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:00 PM   #51
Achilles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Just it may or may not be true. It's not a dogmatic thing to me on either side whether someone who hasn't at this point entered into a relationship with God is or is not loved by God.
I understand the argument that the nature of god is unknowable. What I don't understand are the subsequent arguments that presume to know god's nature (i.e. that he is in omnibenevolent in one camp and not in another, etc). Again, it seems like people wanting to have it both ways and doing so at the expense of intellectual honesty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Some theologians. And others not.
No doubt. Like any subject, there isn't likely to be consensus amongst the experts. I guess my question is: why is a petty god that plays favorites worthy of our worship? I can only assume that theologians and apologists have run into the same problem, hence why so many of them tend toward the omnibenevolence track that you have rightly cast aside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
And hopefully they'll be better off for facing their doubts. That's really the only way a person can make their faith their own. And it's really not until you've come out the other end of doubt that you can be said to have faith at all. (I differentiate faith from belief in this. Faith is trust. Belief is intellectual assent. Intellectually believing that a chair will hold your mass is a different thing than trusting your weight to it).
I still don't understand the thinking that congratulates accepting conclusions without evidence or in the face of contradictory evidence. *shrugs*

If I were to say that my life has been enriched by my faith in invisible pink unicorns, I doubt anyone would take me seriously. However if change the subject of that sentence to god, then suddenly you can get a doctorate degree in the subject from some accredited colleges and universities.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's why it's best to be extremely lenient what you advocate for other people's actions to be or how you judge them, and go with the stricter standard in regards to oneself. At least that's the way I try to see things.
I am afraid that doesn't answer my question. The statement was "I live my life as though [the bible] was the word of god". You seem to concede that the original content of the bible is unknown and raised the point yourself that the document we have today has been subject to numerous translations, scribal errors, politically-motivated revisions, etc. I'm not sure what happens inside the black box that allows one to put questionable material in one end and get "the word of god" out of the other.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Often. Though there are certain near universals that most major groups agree on.
So what criteria are those major groups using to deterimine those universals? Both the bible and the quran tell us to kill people that from opposing faiths. Both the bible and the quran tell us to be accepting of people different than us. Somehow most of us manage to determine that one of these messages is "better" than the other, even though the source for both message is the same. Clearly then we aren't using that source as a criteria for making that decision. Do you see my point?

So why bother? If we are capable of making moral judgements independent of our holy texts, then why not just make moral judgements without our holy texts? You can't argue that you might miss something important because you've clearly already accepted that ignoring certain parts is okay. You're already taking the risk. Once again it comes back to intellectual honesty.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Because my faith in God has and does bring increased meaning to my life.
You have already indicated that you conclusions about god are pretty much independently derived. You don't have the catholic version of god per se, nor do you have the baptist version or the mormon version, etc.

So what you have is some custom idea of god that you've developed yourself. So let's be honest here and acknowledge that the ideals you have set forth for yourself bring increased meaning to your life, not "god". In this respect my friend, you are absolutely no different than any athiest I have ever met, save the fact you still feel the need to believe in some external referee. The only difference between you, me, and a devout catholic is that the catholic has accepted a pre-packaged set of beliefs produced by someone else, you've created your own and decided to call it "god" and I've created my own without any such labels.


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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well the one thing I keep coming back to is grace. <snip>
While I do appreciate you sharing that with me, I have to point out that it's unrelated to the point that I was making.

Valid points about humility aside, I still argue that religion is a fundamentally "all or nothing" proposition.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Perhaps in terms of doctrine. Not to me in terms of actions matching their beliefs.
I disagree. You might not agree with literalists, but you can't say that they aren't literal.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I haven't tried to be dishonest.
Apologies if I inadvertently offered an offense. I did not mean "dishonest" in the "liar liar pants on fire"/"deceitful slouch" sense. Rather, I sought to point out that one has to be honest with one's self to understand my points. Unfortunately, so long as one maintains "faith" such honesty isn't possible, as "faith" is the willfull act of lying to one's self.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I largely entered this discussion because I didn't like the either or presented in the video and thought best to include enough of my own approach within Christianity to show that there is a vast segment to whom the guy in the video's thought process is largely irrelevant, though not wholely off the mark.
I still think you've missed the point of his video. And dispite your protests, I still argue that his points apply to you as well

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I disagree with the word "just." There is no mandate for a culture war.
I could spend the rest of the day quoting chapter and verse, however I'll just provide the one example for now:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 17:3-5
And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
Deuteronomy and Leviticus are a great resource for those wanting to learn more about god's ground rules for dealing with people with different beliefs.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Specific examples you're refering to?
Same as above; there are too many to list here, but here's my favorite:
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Originally Posted by Matthew 10:34-37
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally what do I think? <snip>
I'm afraid this doesn't answer the question. If the NT is the "ground rules" then what is the OT? I tried to anticipate your response by tacking on that 2nd question about the parts of NT that support the OT, however you seemed to ignore that part and argue that the NT was a break with the past anyway

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I haven't denied that anybody does a certain amount of that either consciously or unconsciously. But I do it to apply to my own life, or answer what I think when asked. Not all of them are willing to return the courtesy of leaving it at personal application. They betray a major principle to push a more minor one.
Unfortunately the only response I can think to craft is one that you quoted here. I think my previous argument still applies.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Orders from God to kill us? That doesnt' appear in the new testament any where, and I certainly don't recall seeing it as a general kill everyone thing in the old testament.
I quoted the applicable passage earlier. Yes, it is from the OT. No, that does not make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Actually, I look at if people use their faith primarily as personal application, or as a weapon or tool to control others as my main criteria. My main complaint against most fundamentalists and fundamentalist groups isnt' that they're fundamentalists. It's that they've thrown out the spirit of their interpretation of God's word for it's letter.
The point I raised, but unfortunately isn't acknowledged here, is that their choice to do so stems from their interpretation.

You interpret. They interpret. If you don't like their interpretation, that's fine, but you don't get to cry foul because they are guilty of interpretting

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
There's a twin danger. You point out that I get "murky" and cherry pick in that I don't look at as a letter of the law thing. There may be some justification to that. I'm more concerned with the opposite danger, and from my understanding a greater sin and does harm to more people.
And this, in turn, goes back to my point about criteria for selection. Clearly you're using some criteria other than the bible itself to determine which parts are good, which are bad, which should be accepted and which should be abandoned. If you know the source is unreliable, why do you continue to use it? The advances in moral philosophy that have taken place in the 2000 years since the NT was drafted don't meet some set of standards?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
People get more legalistic when they look for loopholes to excuse their own behavior and justify not giving others a benefit of the doubt. It does happen that people get legalistic for good reasons, but that's not the norm. As a society, we've lost our ability to differentiate between what is good, and what is our role? Should an organization do something that is good, if in the process it compromises it's role or capability of fulfilling its purpose which is a greater good?
All great points. The argument that some people use the bible to behave like jerks probably has some merit, but so does the argument that some people act like jerks because they are trying to do what the bible tells them to do. My point was that it is easier for me to understand the thought process of these individuals than it is to make heads or tails of the thought process that goes into "moderate" or "liberal" theism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I have nothing wrong with people who live by a literal interpretation of the bible as far as personal application goes. I do, however, think that the whole cultural movement often do more harm than good by focusing on the political at the expense of the spiritual. <snip>
I agree with what you are saying, however I would like to suggest that there is an angle that you might be missing your analysis. Fundamentalists take a look at passages that discuss the penalties for wickedness and see cause for "legitimate" concern (I use quotations because it is genuinely legitimate to them, however others might not agree). So it may be that it's a play for power for power's sake, or it may also be that their motivations are more altruistic (from certain perspectives).

For example, I often think of these "clashes of ideology" like two groups of people trapped in a boat on the ocean. Unfortunately, one of these groups believe it is their moral duty to drill a hole through the bottom of the boat. Quite understandably, this is rather distressing to the other group.

To me, theists represent the group that likes to put holes in things however I can very easily understand that the opposite is true for theists (they see people like me as the ones doing the drilling). The difference is perspective. Of course, I will argue that reality is on my side, however that matters little so long as the "other group" believes that reality is on their side (nevermind that their reality has no evidence and is therefore a product of their imaginations).

The rest of your comments here don't address the point I raised for reasons I have explained elsewhere, so I snipped them for length.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I resist emotional manipulation from within Christian groups too. Don't get offended that I don't think highly of it.
*shrugs* I'm not sure how you're taking "emotional manipulation" out of what has been a series of arguments built almost entirely on reason. I'm really struggling with how to reconcile that.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Whether a Christian is protestant or catholic, they believe they are called to faith, if they are serious about their religious beliefs at all.<snip>
I promise that I'm not intentionally being obtuse, but I really don't understand how this is related. Would you mind coming at it from another angle?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
What is gained in undercutting the faith in the relationships that matter to you?
If you're in a boat and your neighbors are trying to drill a hole in the bottom, then I imagine there is quite a bit to be gained (or perhaps it would be more approriate to say "lost"). The point of the analogy is to point out that "personal" beliefs can (and do) have very real consequences for the population.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I just didn't find them compelling and I found them to be manipulative.
Yes, using the literal definition of the word, the video was manipulative. The author is intentionally attempting to manipulate people in to thinking critically about their beliefs. I don't think that's the message you were trying to convey though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I think you advocate that religion and faith are dangerous, just like the video said the creator of the video believed as well. Was I wrong in this assumption or do you invest so much effort in disproving all faiths because it's a matter you're indifferent about?
Nope, you hit the nail on the head, but what this doesn't tell me what you assume that means in a broader sense. Your exact comment was: "I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless."

Without knowing what you assume I advocate as it relates specifically to "life" it's tough for me to know where to start. If it saves us time, I'll simply offer up that what I do advocate probably aligns the closest with Humanism. So if you think that living morally because it is right to do so and not because an invisible man is keeping score so that I can get a reward later (or avoid punishment) would make life "meaningless", I guess I'll need your help understanding why.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Then my beliefs would be wrong. I've already said that I am not that worried.<snip>
I don't get that though. One of the many possible consequenses is ETERNITY ROASTING IN A LAKE OF FIRE!! With this in mind, please do not begrudge me if I find your cavalier attitute more than a little alarming. Have you really thought this through? Like, all the way? It doesn't seem as though you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
There have been a lot of people that have gone that direction with it. That is true. I try to never take a defeatist direction in that in that our effort has to have been planned for as well. And both crappy and good things happen all the time.
Sir, this response entirely dodges my point. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't have predestination AND free will. You can't have a god that loves and protects *some* people and one that allows good and bad things to happen to bad and good people randomly. At some point, you have to come down on one side of the fence or the other. Or not, but we don't get to call the third option the product of critical thinking.

I'm going to end here with an apology for the length and my sincere thanks for the conversation. Take care.
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Old 04-17-2008, 03:08 AM   #52
Jvstice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I understand the argument that the nature of god is unknowable. What I don't understand are the subsequent arguments that presume to know god's nature (i.e. that he is in omnibenevolent in one camp and not in another, etc). Again, it seems like people wanting to have it both ways and doing so at the expense of intellectual honesty.
I agree that people doing that isn't intellectually honest. I think it's entirely possible for a person's faith to either be a crutch or something that holds you back from being all you can, just as I also think it can be a life jacket to keep a person from drowning. Faith that has as it's root living in denial that bad things happen to good people and vice versa, falls more into the area that definitely keeps people from their best, because they don't deal with the world the way events really happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
No doubt. Like any subject, there isn't likely to be consensus amongst the experts. I guess my question is: why is a petty god that plays favorites worthy of our worship? I can only assume that theologians and apologists have run into the same problem, hence why so many of them tend toward the omnibenevolence track that you have rightly cast aside.
As to the second part of that...

The thing to remember in Christianity, and I assume every other religion (and probably other philosophical institutions as well) is that in modern times, almost every church that exists was founded by people that were offended at the excesses of a prior group. They see something that is either morally wrong, or intellectually dishonest or in some other way doesn't meet the need of a large part of the congregation, and go out to create an organization where the same thing could never happen again, probably overstating things at least somewhat in the opposite direction.

Other than Catholicism, much of protestant theology has hinged on the question of whether God saves people from their sins, or people working in partnership with God save themselves.

Calvinist groups (Presbyterians, Reformed, and Puritans) came into existence because they were concerned that God get credit for salvation, and that nobody could take credit for saving themselves.

Armenian theology and groups were concerned that God not take the blame for bad stuff that happens or that God is omnipotent, but people go to hell anyway. The actual creator of the ideas freely admitted borrowing ideas from paganism and marrying them to Christianity (look up semi-pelagianism for the full arguement if you're interested). Methodists, Holiness churches, Churches of God, Wessleyans, Salvation Army, and many flavors of pentacostals and non denominational churches take their theology from this. Basically the idea is that while people are corrupt, they have just enough goodness to cry out to God. In their view, salvation is seen like a loaded gun, but you're responsible for pointing it at your head and pulling the trigger. The Holy Spirit is the gun powder that makes it happen.

Baptists refused to commit to either side in the debate, because they didn't want to embrace pagan theology, but didn't want to say there was no free will either. Instead they hedge saying that God knows whos getting saved, but doesn't specifically choose people to choose Him. They overlook the logical trap that for an omnipotent and omniescient being, which they admit that God is, to know the future would be to control the future to the extent that the future already exists.

The Catholic church sees themselves as above the fray and this just being infighting between protestant groups, and has avoided weighing in on the issue, but their theology tends to be based on the assumption that human beings are a tabula rasa, capable of being raised towards good or evil, so I imagine there's a good deal of variation within the church in assuming which way God would lean.

Add to that the demographic shifts within Christianity and that explains a lot of the uncritical acceptance of omnibenevolence. Baptists and Armenian theolgical positions both state that God wants to save everyone. Since Catholics don't universally hold an idea of original sin as such have tended to be more open towards omnibenevolence as they've tried to be more ecumenical.

God is worthy of my worship for saving my life and soul, pulling me through my health problems, and sending the people into my life whom I know and love. I really can't speak for anyone else other than to say that God has been benevolent to me, all in all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I still don't understand the thinking that congratulates accepting conclusions without evidence or in the face of contradictory evidence. *shrugs*
There is evidence against the hyper literalism that fundamentalist groups practice. There really isn't for points of view that see the purpose of the bible as something other than a natural history book or cook book on how to create a world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If I were to say that my life has been enriched by my faith in invisible pink unicorns, I doubt anyone would take me seriously. However if change the subject of that sentence to god, then suddenly you can get a doctorate degree in the subject from some accredited colleges and universities.
Really, so there's a religion that claims that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I am afraid that doesn't answer my question. The statement was "I live my life as though [the bible] was the word of god". You seem to concede that the original content of the bible is unknown and raised the point yourself that the document we have today has been subject to numerous translations, scribal errors, politically-motivated revisions, etc. I'm not sure what happens inside the black box that allows one to put questionable material in one end and get "the word of god" out of the other.
Well you ask what standard I use...

The books of the bible arent one source, but many sources that span over millenia, really touching on multiple cultures as well. In spite of the diversity of the authors, there is a remarkable cohesiveness. I know. Not flawless, but you do have to look at the contradictions and go with the preponderance.

Generally I don't believe things unless I see them in multiple sources, and unless I know that it was a priority to Jesus to put them into practice. Leviticus and Deuteronomy both talk about not believing things from just one source, sort of a lesser scientific method applied to religion, if you will.

Example:
So you see Paul condemning women preachers and says "he wants" them to be silent in 1 of the Epistles attributed to him. In all of this, there's no mention of what God wants, but Paul specifically saying that he wants women to be quiet. On the other hand, you see him greeting women in prominent positions within the church in his letters as though they were equals. Greeting women as equals was not the practice of either the hebrew or greek culture he came from. Both viewed women as property. Nor was it the practice of the Romans, which he was a Roman citizen. Again, they legally saw women as property.

Where did this behavior come from? It had to be a newly accepted practice in some christian circles for it to be done at all. To that you add Paul's saying that in Christ's fellowship "there is neither Jew, nor greek, male nor female, slave nor free..." Also that most of Jesus' followers were women. What do you really think was the message to take from a prohibition that's made in 1 book, but said is irrelevant another, and shown to be irrelevant in a third as well as the gospels? I'd go with the greater number of sources as well as Jesus' actions in what he supported in trying to derive a moral principle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So what criteria are those major groups using to deterimine those universals? Both the bible and the quran tell us to kill people that from opposing faiths. Both the bible and the quran tell us to be accepting of people different than us. Somehow most of us manage to determine that one of these messages is "better" than the other, even though the source for both message is the same. Clearly then we aren't using that source as a criteria for making that decision. Do you see my point?
I do, and I don't necessarily see that as the horrible thing you seem to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So why bother? If we are capable of making moral judgements independent of our holy texts, then why not just make moral judgements without our holy texts? You can't argue that you might miss something important because you've clearly already accepted that ignoring certain parts is okay. You're already taking the risk. Once again it comes back to intellectual honesty.
Informed judgements after being aware of all your options are better than ones made in ignorance, so knowing something of context of other decisions made in other cultures isn't wasted time or effort, whether you believe the same or not. Additionally, learning some of the context and reasons under which others acted can broaden your options instead of narrowing them as you seem to think can only come from religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
You have already indicated that you conclusions about god are pretty much independently derived. You don't have the catholic version of god per se, nor do you have the baptist version or the mormon version, etc.
Independently implemented, but that doesn't mean that I don't owe a bit of debt to thinkers and theologians who came before. I do borrow extensively from the thoughts of others to make more informed choices, I'm just not bound by their conclusions. I weigh the evidence myself after looking at the issues involved, and why they say what they think, and if the reasons behind the reasons they give are compelling sometimes I discard old conclusions in light of new evidence. Why's that so hard to understand happening in matters of faith?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
So what you have is some custom idea of god that you've developed yourself. So let's be honest here and acknowledge that the ideals you have set forth for yourself bring increased meaning to your life, not "god". In this respect my friend, you are absolutely no different than any athiest I have ever met, save the fact you still feel the need to believe in some external referee. The only difference between you, me, and a devout catholic is that the catholic has accepted a pre-packaged set of beliefs produced by someone else, you've created your own and decided to call it "god" and I've created my own without any such labels.
As to the part about the values I select and not God bringing meaning to my life, I'd disagree with. God brings meaning to my life. As do the values I live by. Each brings something irreplacable. And there is some correlation that one influences the other, but I'll admit that they're not one and the same if that's what you were looking for.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Valid points about humility aside, I still argue that religion is a fundamentally "all or nothing" proposition.
depends in what sense you mean that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I disagree. You might not agree with literalists, but you can't say that they aren't literal.
I can't say they aren't literal about certain things that's true. I can't say they aren't literal about how to interpret certain things described in the bible in story form. I can't say they aren't literal in they see a law, they implement the do's and don'ts without regard for context it was given in, or the ends it was trying to achieve. I can say that they aren't literal in adopting the priorities that Jesus said were important to adopt, because most people that describe themselves as literalists that I've seen have focused on things that he actually said should not be priorities.

Also see my earlier mention of semi pelagianism. A number of groups who are literalist about biblical events have grafted on semi-pelagianism theology and assumptions of morality anyway, so yeah in a way, you're right. In another you're not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Apologies if I inadvertently offered an offense. I did not mean "dishonest" in the "liar liar pants on fire"/"deceitful slouch" sense. Rather, I sought to point out that one has to be honest with one's self to understand my points. Unfortunately, so long as one maintains "faith" such honesty isn't possible, as "faith" is the willfull act of lying to one's self.
You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but you don't know me nearly as well as you think if that's your opinion.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I still think you've missed the point of his video. And dispite your protests, I still argue that his points apply to you as well
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Originally Posted by Achilles
I could spend the rest of the day quoting chapter and verse, however I'll just provide the one example for now: Deuteronomy and Leviticus are a great resource for those wanting to learn more about god's ground rules for dealing with people with different beliefs.
I still say that a different covenant for a different people. And I wouldnt say that this is a total break from history for me to take this view. But you see depicted in the old testament a number of practices that God says will interfere with a relationship with Him. He then suggests punishments to put in place on the assumption that it's a national theocracy.

By the time of the New Testament, God was done with blessing only one nation, and used the nation he'd created to bless the rest of the world. The time of national theocracy was done. The time of focusing on legislation was done. Jesus stressed things to implement in one's own life and said not to be concerned with what your neighbor is doing other than in a compassionate way. A lot of people who claim to follow him don't adopt the priorities he said were important, instead focusing on making sure all the minutae throughout all the Bible are observed, deemphasizing Jesus's words, mission, and example to go with points of view he specifically dispelled.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Same as above; there are too many to list here, but here's my favorite:
The matthew quote. I guess you could argue that Christians being belligerant towards non-Christians is a good thing based on this, and I'm sure that you can dig up some people that do. It could also be a reference to other's reactions to not hearing something they don't want to, which is my personal belief.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm afraid this doesn't answer the question. If the NT is the "ground rules" then what is the OT? I tried to anticipate your response by tacking on that 2nd question about the parts of NT that support the OT, however you seemed to ignore that part and argue that the NT was a break with the past anyway
Context for understanding how the original hearers would take things in large part. Additionally examples of how God fights for those whom he's covenanted to love, and does play favorites.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Unfortunately the only response I can think to craft is one that you quoted here. I think my previous argument still applies.
I don't know what to say to that other than I don't see how.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I quoted the applicable passage earlier. Yes, it is from the OT. No, that does not make a difference.
hopefully i answered that to your satisfaction this time.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
The point I raised, but unfortunately isn't acknowledged here, is that their choice to do so stems from their interpretation.

You interpret. They interpret. If you don't like their interpretation, that's fine, but you don't get to cry foul because they are guilty of interpretting
There's some truth to that to a point. But then the word Christian literally means follower of Christ. Not even being interested in trying to find the same priorities as he held is something different.

Back when I was in college, I've gone to a church before where the preacher literally both preached and asked congregation members to give sermons for four consecutive weeks on tithing to their church. That church practically turned it into it's own sacrament.

Jesus mentioned tithing once during his ministry. He was asked if it was right to tithe to his church by a man who wasn't even willing to see that his parents had food to put on the table after they were too old and infirm to do it for themselves and looking for an excuse to ditch them and still feel good about himself. Jesus responded that his first concern should have been mercy, but that tithing to his place of worship was a good secondary consideration after the fact.

Now if you look at the old testament, you run into 3 separate tithes of 10 percent. One of them was the temple tax that the Jewish people paid for the upkeep of the one place that was acceptable for practicing their religion. One was what they had instead of taxes for the upkeep of local roads and civic projects. A third was supposed to take care of widows and orphans and the like who couldn't do so for themselves.

I'd argue that while Christians are freed of the 10% rules of the old testament, we still should desire the same priorities. To be good citizens and carry our fair share when possible in society. To have a dynamic ministry of helping widows, orphans and others less fortunate, and if you're going to attend a church, you ought be willing to help provide funds to help support it.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
And this, in turn, goes back to my point about criteria for selection. Clearly you're using some criteria other than the bible itself to determine which parts are good, which are bad, which should be accepted and which should be abandoned. If you know the source is unreliable, why do you continue to use it? The advances in moral philosophy that have taken place in the 2000 years since the NT was drafted don't meet some set of standards?
A large part is multiple sources and authors within the bible each with a different experience of God as I said before. Also weighing Jesus' actions and words in context as quoted by multiple sources as carrying more weight than anything other parts of the bible both new or old testament.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
All great points. The argument that some people use the bible to behave like jerks probably has some merit, but so does the argument that some people act like jerks because they are trying to do what the bible tells them to do. My point was that it is easier for me to understand the thought process of these individuals than it is to make heads or tails of the thought process that goes into "moderate" or "liberal" theism.
I suppose I can see where you're coming from there. I was a biology major. I've seen evidence that things have evolved. I've seen evidence that the earth is older than the Creationists say.

When ID first came on the scene, it was a dynamic force in that it did prod scientists to go back and do more research. Unfortunately, it quickly turned into a political weapon to bring new versions of creationism into science classrooms, rather than simply criticisms of the scientific method designed to spark thought, discussion, and research. I still have admiration for John Polkinghorne, but Behe did a pretty big disservice Christianity and humanity in general by using his speculations as a political wedge.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I agree with what you are saying, however I would like to suggest that there is an angle that you might be missing your analysis. Fundamentalists take a look at passages that discuss the penalties for wickedness and see cause for "legitimate" concern (I use quotations because it is genuinely legitimate to them, however others might not agree). So it may be that it's a play for power for power's sake, or it may also be that their motivations are more altruistic (from certain perspectives).
I'm sure that altruism is the predominant reason of those who vote the power hungry fundamentalist rhetoric speaking politicians into office. I'm equally as sure that those running aren't motivated by the same thing at all in most cases.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
For example, I often think of these "clashes of ideology" like two groups of people trapped in a boat on the ocean. Unfortunately, one of these groups believe it is their moral duty to drill a hole through the bottom of the boat. Quite understandably, this is rather distressing to the other group.
I guess I can see this in the stem cell debate at least.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
To me, theists represent the group that likes to put holes in things however I can very easily understand that the opposite is true for theists (they see people like me as the ones doing the drilling). The difference is perspective. Of course, I will argue that reality is on my side, however that matters little so long as the "other group" believes that reality is on their side (nevermind that their reality has no evidence and is therefore a product of their imaginations).
And I think you paint with too broad a brush as far as seeing theism as the source of all the world's ills and blind yourself to attrocities perpetrated by athiests as well. I mean yeah theists bring things like the spanish inquisition or the crusades, but Josef Stalin and Mao Tse tsung were hardly saints for their atheism either. And while many of Hitler's followers and suporters considered themselves Christians, he didn't believe in a God. So I'd say that there's a matter of level of dogmatism and obsession to be considered.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
*shrugs* I'm not sure how you're taking "emotional manipulation" out of what has been a series of arguments built almost entirely on reason. I'm really struggling with how to reconcile that.
the questions are written for shock value, and given in a context of catching complacent satisfied people off guard then quickly capitalizing on their moment of doubt by presenting the author's own point of view as solution to their dilema. At least that's what I gather is supposed to happen.

I take it you've never seen an altar call in some of the more country baptist or pentacostal churches? Some of them have the same people getting saved from their sins hundreds of times because they are brought to question whether any of the previous times were real and the hearers feel bad.

And yes, the video does carefully choose its words for shock value. Yes rationality is a factor, and it attempts to present a logical chain, but it does state how the maker of the video sees things starkly, and paints things very much in black and white.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I promise that I'm not intentionally being obtuse, but I really don't understand how this is related. Would you mind coming at it from another angle?
Both groups place faith that there is some merit to their traditions. To the individual books composing the Bible. How much to weigh tradition and the experiences of former generations? You'd seem to argue that they have zero value whatsoever. The Catholics and perhaps others would argue that there's no understanding to be gained without 100% of our understanding being in light of trusting former generations, and specific peolpe within former generations. Protestants somewhere in the middle in saying that the testimony of previous generations should have some weight in how we interpret the world. Some traditions and traditional understandings they held onto. Others went out the window, depending on the specific group. Likewise, Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Mormons, Budhists, Taoists, each have their own understandings of these issues and have their own evaluations of how to decide this issue.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
If you're in a boat and your neighbors are trying to drill a hole in the bottom, then I imagine there is quite a bit to be gained (or perhaps it would be more approriate to say "lost"). The point of the analogy is to point out that "personal" beliefs can (and do) have very real consequences for the population.
It happens, but I don't think it's anywhere near as common as you seem to.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Yes, using the literal definition of the word, the video was manipulative. The author is intentionally attempting to manipulate people in to thinking critically about their beliefs. I don't think that's the message you were trying to convey though.
Not into thinking critically. Into coming to the same conclusion as he already had. But I see your point that he probably saw his intentions as more benign as you described, than predatory to prove he was right and other people wrong and taking the opportunity to demonize his philosophical opposition while they weren't there to defend themselves.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Nope, you hit the nail on the head, but what this doesn't tell me what you assume that means in a broader sense. Your exact comment was: "I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless."
Life without a relationship with God and in which there is no higher purpose in suffering, the relationships we form, what we learn, where we came from, or where we go when we die. True there would still be some meaning in the relationships we form and if we're lucky what we accomplish in life just as with my view of things. But if we come from nothing go back to nothing, how do you get something from nothing?

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Without knowing what you assume I advocate as it relates specifically to "life" it's tough for me to know where to start. If it saves us time, I'll simply offer up that what I do advocate probably aligns the closest with Humanism. So if you think that living morally because it is right to do so and not because an invisible man is keeping score so that I can get a reward later (or avoid punishment) would make life "meaningless", I guess I'll need your help understanding why.
Reward and punishment have little to do with my motivation for my approach to God. Gratitude, a desire to be a better person in my own eyes, in God's eyes, and in those of my loved ones is closer to the mark. Perhaps to make a positive difference in life, to learn many worthwhile things as well.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I don't get that though. One of the many possible consequenses is ETERNITY ROASTING IN A LAKE OF FIRE!! With this in mind, please do not begrudge me if I find your cavalier attitute more than a little alarming. Have you really thought this through? Like, all the way? It doesn't seem as though you have.
I'm not convinced that Hell is a literal place. I think it's more likely a state of being in eternal separation from relationships to loved ones and God after death, with eternity to only look back in regret for opportunities missed. But even it when I believed it was literal in its description of sheol, hades, the lake of fire, and gehena as places (it never actually says hell anywhere) avoiding that wasn't my main motivation. If your actions of placing faith in God is not based on a sincere desire for a relationship with God rather than fear, then the bible itself says many times that you really haven't done anything for yourself or gotten delivered from sin.

So if you're sincere at all, and it's a real commitment at all, escaping punishment can't be your motivation.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Sir, this response entirely dodges my point. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't have predestination AND free will. You can't have a god that loves and protects *some* people and one that allows good and bad things to happen to bad and good people randomly. At some point, you have to come down on one side of the fence or the other. Or not, but we don't get to call the third option the product of critical thinking.
Sorry. I am trying to reconcile two things into my life that the bible tells me are true, and that I've seen some evidence for in both the sheer levels of organization and simultaneous chaotic nature of the nature of the particles in the string and quantum physics laws.

from the bible: We are told that God is soveriegn over salvation. There are no qualifications given for this. Check romans 8 & 9, also ephesians if you want to verify for yourself. We are also told that we are free moral agents held responsible for our behavior.

The reconciliation I've come to is that God chooses some of us, and in the context of whether we've been chosen or not, those people that God chose have a desire to choose a relationship with God because of this. I'll admit my thinking is a bit murky on separating these separate strands of thought in much better detail than this.

So is all history predestined before it unfolds in my view? I don't know. I suspend judgement on things like that. I'll say that what I said earlier about the Baptist point of view. That if there is a God, and that God is omnipotent and omniescient as attributed by most branches of Christianity and as traditionally understood, to know the future is to control the future. So if the future is something that already exists, then there is predestination of all events.

With the discovery of quantum uncertainty and the whole concept of self organizing systems that function on a foundation of chaos, I'd argue that it's not a necessary assumption that there is a future in existence before it actually arrives.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm going to end here with an apology for the length and my sincere thanks for the conversation. Take care.
it's ok. Now I owe you an appology for the length of my response as well. Thanks. It's been fun.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:07 AM   #53
Achilles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I agree that people doing that isn't intellectually honest.
But you yourself have drawn conclusions regarding his nature, have you not? If you are making the argument that his nature is knowable, then I don't think it unfair for us to expect for you to be able to produce definitive answers to the questions raised in the original post.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I think it's entirely possible for a person's faith to either be a crutch or something that holds you back from being all you can, just as I also think it can be a life jacket to keep a person from drowning. Faith that has as it's root living in denial that bad things happen to good people and vice versa, falls more into the area that definitely keeps people from their best, because they don't deal with the world the way events really happen.
Okay, however what you've shared here indicates that you don't really know why events really happen either. We've already established that you're conclusions regarding god are your "best guess" have we not? "Guessing" and "knowing" are not the same thing.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to the second part of that...<snip>
A lot of good information here, but nothing that addresses the point. I am well aware of the expansive menu of mental gymnastics variations that are available to anyone looking to select which variation of "absolute truth" is right for them. What I'm still left to reconcile after reading this part of your post is how god is perfect but not perfectly good. Maybe your underlying point was that god isn't perfect, but that would bring me back to my question of "why worship him then?". You offer a personal appeal below, but I was hoping for something with less subjective underpinnings.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
God is worthy of my worship for saving my life and soul, pulling me through my health problems, and sending the people into my life whom I know and love. I really can't speak for anyone else other than to say that God has been benevolent to me, all in all.
What evidence to you have that supports any of these claims? I understand that you have opted to believe that god is responsible for these things, but I think you'd be hard pressed to provide evidence for the "hand of god".

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
There is evidence against the hyper literalism that fundamentalist groups practice. There really isn't for points of view that see the purpose of the bible as something other than a natural history book or cook book on how to create a world.
Let's broaden our scope a little while addressing the entirety of the point that I raised:

What do we gain for accepting things without evidence?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Really, so there's a religion that claims that?
That god enriches lives? Yes, sir there are several (all of them?), but you yourself said it which prompted my comment.

Or were you hoping to bat away my point regarding invisible pink unicorns? I certainly hope this second scenario isn't the case, because then I might be inclined to believe that you intend to argue that beliefs are only legitimate if signed off on by a "bona fide" religion. In which case, I would ask which "bona fide" religion signed off on your personal belief system?

In the mean time, I think my point still stands: "God enriches my life" and "invisble pink unicorns enrich my life" really are equivocal statements. You probably wouldn't feel comfortable making one, yet you seem to have no problem making the other. Why?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well you ask what standard I use...

The books of the bible arent one source, but many sources that span over millenia, really touching on multiple cultures as well. In spite of the diversity of the authors, there is a remarkable cohesiveness. I know. Not flawless, but you do have to look at the contradictions and go with the preponderance.
Really? Why? Again, you've already acknowledged that edits have been made. What if "the preponderance" is what was added and not what was intended. So once more, why bother? If we can use our own moral judgment to select "the good stuff", then what do we gain by using this source at all?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Generally I don't believe things unless I see them in multiple sources, and unless I know that it was a priority to Jesus to put them into practice. Leviticus and Deuteronomy both talk about not believing things from just one source, sort of a lesser scientific method applied to religion, if you will.
And your evidence for knowing what Jesus wanted put into practice? The bible. The same bible that you've acknowledged is not extant. Circular reasoning, my friend.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Example:
So you see Paul condemning women preachers and says "he wants" them to be silent in 1 of the Epistles attributed to him. In all of this, there's no mention of what God wants, but Paul specifically saying that he wants women to be quiet. On the other hand, you see him greeting women in prominent positions within the church in his letters as though they were equals. Greeting women as equals was not the practice of either the hebrew or greek culture he came from. Both viewed women as property. Nor was it the practice of the Romans, which he was a Roman citizen. Again, they legally saw women as property.

Where did this behavior come from? It had to be a newly accepted practice in some christian circles for it to be done at all. To that you add Paul's saying that in Christ's fellowship "there is neither Jew, nor greek, male nor female, slave nor free..." Also that most of Jesus' followers were women. What do you really think was the message to take from a prohibition that's made in 1 book, but said is irrelevant another, and shown to be irrelevant in a third as well as the gospels? I'd go with the greater number of sources as well as Jesus' actions in what he supported in trying to derive a moral principle.
This is a case study in mental gymnastics. On one hand you have what Paul *said* (which is rather clear) and on the other you have what Paul did (I'd love to see your sources on this, btw) and then you're left to reconcile them. And why are you left to reconcile them? Because you feel it important to do so. One that did not feel so inclined might simply recognize that people are sometimes inconsistent, either because they lack self-awareness or because they playing politics, and then conclude that time trying to reconcile what Paul *really* thought is time wasted. Paul has as much or as little significance you choose to assign to him.

PS: you also forgot to consider that Paul was attempting to establish his new church in many different areas with many different cultures. So while your "nose-count" method of determining reality, a more critical approach might conclude that he was telling one group one thing and another group something else, knowing that the likelihood of the two groups coming together to compare notes is small. Yes, you might conclude that only makes sense if Paul had an agenda, but then you might also be able to determine what it is I think of Paul (hint: snake oil salesman).

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I do, and I don't necessarily see that as the horrible thing you seem to.
Truthfully sir, your response implies that you don't (not sure how "horrible" has any context in the point I was making).

The point is it is impossible to use a holy text as the criteria for determining which parts of the holy text are "correct" and which are not. Similarly, a police officer would not use a suspect's response to the question "are you lying to me?" as the sole criteria by which to determine if the suspect is lying. So if the holy text itself cannot be used because it is inconsistent and therefore unreliable, then clearly you have to be using some other criteria to determine which parts you're going to accept and which you're going to reject.

Somehow "good" christians figure out that they want to follow the love your neighbor part. Somehow "good" muslims figure out how to follow the "islams means 'peace'" part. Arguably they are coming to these conclusion by cherry-picking from their texts, but my point is to emphasize that the *real* moral judgment comes from the cherry-picking, not from the texts. Once you acknowledge that (*REALLY* acknowledge that), the texts have no more significance (any more so than 2000 year old dating guide for singles would).

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Informed judgements after being aware of all your options are better than ones made in ignorance, so knowing something of context of other decisions made in other cultures isn't wasted time or effort, whether you believe the same or not. Additionally, learning some of the context and reasons under which others acted can broaden your options instead of narrowing them as you seem to think can only come from religion.
Again, I think you miss the point of the argument. Yes, informed decisions are better than uninformed ones, but by limiting oneself to sources that are known to be inconsistent and unreliable, how "informed" are you really? You're going to have to convince me that the moral guidance offered in the bible is somehow superior to the moral guidance offered by the 2000 years of advancement in moral philosophy that has taken place since it was drafted. And you're going to have to show me how you are not using those advances yourself while cherry-picking which parts of the bible we're supposed to ignore if you want me to believe that you really think that the bible is the important moral resource you seem to be arguing for here.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Independently implemented, but that doesn't mean that I don't owe a bit of debt to thinkers and theologians who came before. I do borrow extensively from the thoughts of others to make more informed choices, I'm just not bound by their conclusions. I weigh the evidence myself after looking at the issues involved, and why they say what they think, and if the reasons behind the reasons they give are compelling sometimes I discard old conclusions in light of new evidence. Why's that so hard to understand happening in matters of faith?
Of course you do and I don't think I implied otherwise (in fact you appear to be repeating what I said using different words ).

What is hard to understand is apparent boundary that you set up for the outcome. You've repeatedly stress that the outcome of a crisis of faith *has to be* (or *should be*) a strengthened resolve. Why? Because that's the boundary you've placed there.

I have no doubt that you do examine certain aspects of your belief and replace parts as needed, etc. But let's be honest and acknowledge that you're doing so with the understanding that the result still has to meet certain criteria (i.e. being a christian, etc).

So please do not confuse my critique of your conclusion as a lack of understanding in your process. I hope that helps.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to the part about the values I select and not God bringing meaning to my life, I'd disagree with. God brings meaning to my life.
How? You've already acknowledge that *you* select which characteristics god has, etc. *You* do that, sir. The result is not "god", it is your take on "god". And I'm not saying that you aren't allowed to do that. What I am saying is that I don't think you're being very honest if you turn around and ignore that fact so that you can say "god brings meaning to my life".

I have no doubt that "the idea of god" brings meaning to your life, but that isn't the same thing and that was my point.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
depends in what sense you mean that.
Only that if you are going to accept religion as part of your life, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to do it less than fully. This is my continued point about fundamentalists. At least their actions make sense within the context of what they claim to believe. I can't say the same is true for moderate and liberal theists.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I can say that they aren't literal in adopting the priorities that Jesus said were important to adopt, because most people that describe themselves as literalists that I've seen have focused on things that he actually said should not be priorities.
Except that you yourself are cherry-picking jesus, just as they are. You are judging their actions through the lens you've selected. Again, not wrong or bad, but let's be honest about it and try really hard not to be hypocritical.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but you don't know me nearly as well as you think if that's your opinion.
I would suppose that it would foolish for me to claim that I know you at all. However I think I know faith very well. It's like saying that I don't know ice cream because I've never seen *you* eat it.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I still say that a different covenant for a different people.
And you're entitled to that opinion sir. I would ask you to consider this though:
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Originally Posted by Matthew 5:17-19
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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Originally Posted by Jvstice
By the time of the New Testament, God was done with blessing only one nation, and used the nation he'd created to bless the rest of the world.<snip>
Please see the first part of this post where we discuss knowing god's nature.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
A lot of people who claim to follow him don't adopt the priorities he said were important, instead focusing on making sure all the minutae throughout all the Bible are observed, deemphasizing Jesus's words, mission, and example to go with points of view he specifically dispelled.
Except when he was also advocating them (compliments of a different gospel author or Paul)

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
The matthew quote. I guess you could argue that Christians being belligerant towards non-Christians is a good thing based on this, and I'm sure that you can dig up some people that do. It could also be a reference to other's reactions to not hearing something they don't want to, which is my personal belief.
Again, the author's point

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Context for understanding how the original hearers would take things in large part. Additionally examples of how God fights for those whom he's covenanted to love, and does play favorites.
Okay. And this is fact, or your opinion?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I don't know what to say to that other than I don't see how.
Because you are still trying to begrudge others for cherry-picking while you are cherry-picking as well. Your contention would seem stem from them not cherry-picking the same parts that you have. I say, "Tough. That's life. How about *everybody* stop cherry-picking and let's have a serious dialog instead?".

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'm sure that altruism is the predominant reason of those who vote the power hungry fundamentalist rhetoric speaking politicians into office. I'm equally as sure that those running aren't motivated by the same thing at all in most cases.
I am still undecided. One one hand I want to believe that people that are capable of obtaining those positions are smarter than that (meaning that they are holding false views to gain power for power's sake), but then I see one of them do something really stupid and I have to go back to considering that they really do buy into it.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I guess I can see this in the stem cell debate at least.
"At least", yes. As well as every other social issue I can think to discuss...besides maybe gun rights.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
And I think you paint with too broad a brush as far as seeing theism as the source of all the world's ills...
Maybe not "theism" per se, but definitely dogmatism.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
...and blind yourself to attrocities perpetrated by athiests as well.
Oh lordy, here we go...

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
I mean yeah theists bring things like the spanish inquisition or the crusades, but Josef Stalin and Mao Tse tsung were hardly saints for their atheism either.
Except that atheism had nothing to do with their actions. The flavor of authoritarianism that these men adopted just happened to also be atheistic, but as atheism has no central tenets to be interpreted dogmatically, their atheism is completely unrelated. Please see numerous examples of theistic authoritarian regimes and their atrocities if you don't believe me. And if you're feeling especially froggy, feel free to explain why largely non-theistic *and* non-authoritarian countries, such as Norway, have somehow managed to consistently top the human development index rather than mirror Russia or China.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
And while many of Hitler's followers and suporters considered themselves Christians, he didn't believe in a God. So I'd say that there's a matter of level of dogmatism and obsession to be considered.
Right. Except there are no "central atheist tenents" which one could interpret dogmatically. Heck, most times you can't even get atheists to agree on what it is to be an atheist.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
the questions are written for shock value, and given in a context of catching complacent satisfied people off guard then quickly capitalizing on their moment of doubt by presenting the author's own point of view as solution to their dilema. At least that's what I gather is supposed to happen.
Looking at the questions, I can only see a few that *might* possibly be taken this way (and conceding those is a stretch). Again, it seems that you're seeing this how you *want* to see it, but you appear at least partially willing to acknowledge this, so...

You know, it may also just be that these are really important questions that need to be answered by people that claim to believe in a righteous and caring god. You've already indicated that you believe he is neither, so clearly you're not part of his audience. I'd like to think that I've raised equivalent questions that are specific for you, but you're not really answering those either
(In all fairness, you have been more than gracious in accepting several of my points, but I guess the question is what are you going to do with that?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I take it you've never seen an altar call in some of the more country baptist or pentacostal churches? Some of them have the same people getting saved from their sins hundreds of times because they are brought to question whether any of the previous times were real and the hearers feel bad.
No, I have not see that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
And yes, the video does carefully choose its words for shock value. Yes rationality is a factor, and it attempts to present a logical chain, but it does state how the maker of the video sees things starkly, and paints things very much in black and white.
I submit that's because it's because it is black and white. Either god does care or he doesn't. He audience is those that say that he does. You feel that he doesn't, therefore you are not part of his intended audience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Both groups place faith that there is some merit to their traditions.
Apologies, but that did not help at all. I still maintain that whether you believe he should appear to you or not is completely irrelevant to the point that he hasn't. The traditions of each individual flavor of christianity seems to have little bearing on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
It happens, but I don't think it's anywhere near as common as you seem to.
It happens all the time. Some other guy's belief that it's okay to drive drunk might cause and accident or death. Some other guy's belief that "global warming" is a fad/hoax is directly impacting our environment. Some other guy's belief that it's acceptable to steal other people's lunches out of the office fridge is causing someone to break their diet. And according to Pat Robertson, some other guy's homosexuality is causing hurricanes and tsunamis. We do not live in a vacuum. The beliefs of "some other guy" can and do have consequences for others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Not into thinking critically. Into coming to the same conclusion as he already had. But I see your point that he probably saw his intentions as more benign as you described, than predatory to prove he was right and other people wrong and taking the opportunity to demonize his philosophical opposition while they weren't there to defend themselves.
And if he arrived at those conclusions via critical thinking? Right, hence why he posted it on youtube and invited responses

You're going to have to do better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Life without a relationship with God and in which there is no higher purpose in suffering, the relationships we form, what we learn, where we came from, or where we go when we die.
But you already said suffering was random. If it is random, then how can it serve a higher purpose? You're trying to have it both ways again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
True there would still be some meaning in the relationships we form and if we're lucky what we accomplish in life just as with my view of things. But if we come from nothing go back to nothing, how do you get something from nothing?
You ever just go for a drive? Or a walk? "Purpose" is an illusion just as the concept of "destination" is an illusion. Your life has as much or as little purpose as you decide it has. If you've convinced yourself that accepting an idea about god gives you purpose then that self-deception can be useful, just as Dumbo's belief in magic feathers "gave" him the ability to fly. But that doesn't change what it is.

The point I made earlier still stands: we've all created our "purpose", some just recognize that a little more clearly than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I'm not convinced that Hell is a literal place. I think it's more likely a state of being in eternal separation from relationships to loved ones and God after death, with eternity to only look back in regret for opportunities missed.
That's great, but you're still completely screwed if you're wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
But even it when I believed it was literal in its description of sheol, hades, the lake of fire, and gehena as places (it never actually says hell anywhere) avoiding that wasn't my main motivation. If your actions of placing faith in God is not based on a sincere desire for a relationship with God rather than fear, then the bible itself says many times that you really haven't done anything for yourself or gotten delivered from sin.

So if you're sincere at all, and it's a real commitment at all, escaping punishment can't be your motivation.
Do I need to point out here that children are typically indoctrinated into their religion at a very young age when they still believe in things like "Santa" and "the boogeyman"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Sorry. I am trying to reconcile two things into my life that the bible tells me are true, and that I've seen some evidence for in both the sheer levels of organization and simultaneous chaotic nature of the nature of the particles in the string and quantum physics laws.<snip>
Glad to hear that you're still hashing things out and that you're more willing than most to keep an open mind. Keep plugging away at it and I'm sure you'll find resolution at some point...just try not to artificially limit your selection of outcomes

Take care.
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:29 AM   #54
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Heck, most times you can't even get atheists to agree on what it is to be an atheist.
Must be really difficult to agree on the concept that there is no/are no gods.


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Old 04-21-2008, 10:23 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Must be really difficult to agree on the concept that there is no/are no gods.
There are Budhists who say they believe in a higher power, but that since it has no mind, that higher power isn't God. Therefore since they don't believe in God, they are atheists, though they still believe in a higher power.

Much like many of the Jedi and the force in star wars..


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:49 PM   #56
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Or they're merely self-deluded/confused. Still your comment doesn't really address mine, which was that by definition, athiests believe in no god/gods. That, at least, isn't nuanced.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:37 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
There are Budhists who say they believe in a higher power, but that since it has no mind, that higher power isn't God. Therefore since they don't believe in God, they are atheists, though they still believe in a higher power.

Much like many of the Jedi and the force in star wars..
Right. Similarly there can be some disagreement as to whether atheism is the belief that there is no god (which is no better than theism in my opinion) or the belief that since there is no evidence to support the existence of god, then there is no reason to believe he exists. The former group tends not to appreciate the comparison to theists, even though the thinking process is the same, so clearly you can see how some of these discussions can get heated.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:16 PM   #58
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Is "to believe in no god" a phrase that makes sense anyway? "To believe in no gods" sounds even more useless to me.

I think the definition of the Atheist pretty much comes down to that he does not believe in a god or that he believes there is no god at all, both mainly due to lack of supportive evidence.


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Old 04-22-2008, 06:11 AM   #59
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A thiest believes in one god (at least), a polythiest in many and an athiest in neither one nor many (hence god/gods). Afterall, a polythiest does not believe in a god, but many gods. Just being thorough.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:33 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Or they're merely self-deluded/confused. Still your comment doesn't really address mine, which was that by definition, athiests believe in no god/gods. That, at least, isn't nuanced.
That is true, for a given value of what the term atheist means. But as Achilles also just pointed out, there are some people that point to what they define a god to be, and say they don't believe in one as classically defined by the world's religions and that proves they themselves are an atheist because they aren't willing to apply the term god to the most powerful being in the universe, creator of the universe (if they hold to some kind of entity without intelligence as we understand it), or even the sentient universe itself (if they happen to go with those that hold the Gaia hypothesis). Budhism doesn't really have any central dogmas as to the nature of the higher power, so you will find individuals with each of these points of view calling themselves athiests, as well as others calling themselves theists with very little else about their views of things.

Others look at their definitions, say they might as well be theists because they're merely hairsplitting in their criticism of established groups anyway, and lump them in with the theists. So yeah. I would say that it's nuanced when you starting looking at it beyond the individual level and how people get along together. Not so much if you take a person at face value of what they themselves claim to be.


"If force is the game, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." Ayn Rand

"Justice is the midpoint between being treated unjustly, and treating others unjustly." Aristotle
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:53 AM   #61
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Sounds like convoluted thinking. In his first group he claims that they don't "believe" in a god or gods, though doesn't elaborate on exactly how that's significantly different from the other saying that in the absence of empirical evidence there's no reason to believe in god (b/c w/o evidence he can't really exist anyway), which is the same as saying I don't believe in god b/c no one can prove he exists. Both ultimately rest on the belief that if you can't show empirical evidence of something, it's simply imaginary.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:54 AM   #62
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You can not prove there is or is not a god, just like you can't prove or disprove that we are all the dream of an individual in another dimension.

Though, there is far more evidence to support false claims in the Bible then evidence to support that they actually happened.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:42 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by han sala
You can not prove there is or is not a god, just like you can't prove or disprove that we are all the dream of an individual in another dimension.
Exactly. People who claim unequivocably that there is no god are just as irrational as those that say they KNOW he exists.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:29 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
YT clip

For those of you that want to skip the video (not recommended) and go straight to the questions, here they are:

#1 Why won't god heal amputees?
#2 Why are there so many starving people in our world?
#3 Why does god demand the death of so many innocent people in the bible?
#4 Why does the bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
#5 Why is god such a huge proponent of slavery in the bible?
#6 Why do bad things happen to good people?
#7 Why didn't any of jesus' miracles in the bible leave behind any evidence?
#8 How do we explain the fact that jesus has never appeared to you?
#9 Why would jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?
#10 Why do christians get divorced at the same rate as non-christians?
I'm in a hurry now but when I'll have time I will answer your questions.
I'm a christian and I believe on evolution too(this is just for some people that think that religion and science can't be together)and for what I've read, you look against this religion. However, I've found some inconsistencies on your questions: If you don't believe in God why you ask this type of questions?(some here give you answers but you just "refuse" them) And why do you say that God demand the death of many innocent people in the Bible? It's clear that you hadn't read the bible, or you just read what it's necessary to criticize. Just an advice: If you read the entire Bible (don't take it all literally, some things are methafores among other things) you'll find the answers for those questions and maybe learn something more.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:14 PM   #65
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I'm a Christian too, however.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
However, I've found some inconsistencies on your questions: If you don't believe in God why you ask this type of questions?(some here give you answers but you just "refuse" them)
"The unexamined life is not worth living". - Socrates

Achilles has his burden of proof, I don't think its a matter of refusing them, so much as the answers, he does not feel have answered his questions, or have failed to meet the said burden of proof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
And why do you say that God demand the death of many innocent people in the Bible? It's clear that you hadn't read the bible, or you just read what it's necessary to criticize.
A rather arrogant presumption, how do you know he hasn't read the whole Bible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
Just an advice: If you read the entire Bible (don't take it all literally, some things are methafores among other things) you'll find the answers for those questions and maybe learn something more.
This is based upon the above presumption; I know athiest theologians (I'm sure Achilles would think their jobs pointless ) they have read the whole Bible, but wouldn't think as you do.



"Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation." - Rabindranath Tagore

"Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth." - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:51 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I'm not sure if this statement is quantifiable; I mean lets assume you randomly meet a man called Fred on the street; and Fred claims he used to have no legs but God healed him, what are you going to say?
Does Frank have pictures from when we was legless? Does Frank have medical records that would contain evidence of a double-amputation procedure? Financial records showing the purchase of a wheel chair, etc? Does Frank have any friends or family members we could simply ask?

It's not as though there aren't ways to verify Frank's claims. And even if, for some reason we couldn't for Frank, then Fred, Francis, or Fredo might surely have something we could use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Assuming if God where to heal him properly, everything would be back as it had been; so unless you knew Fred for a long duration, there would be no way to check the varacity of his claims.
You're either trying too hard or not hard enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I did HEAR the following story. (I am unsure as to its truth, as I don't know those involved, however it makes an interesting anecdote).

Here is the brief version; there was a que in a supermarket, with a recent convert to Christianity; he asked if he could pray for a partially blind person behind him in the que. The said partially blind person had lost an eye; the story goes that there and then the blind person grew a new eye having been prayed for. As said I don't know if its true but had heard it from a friend; my jury is out.
...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Is God at fault or are we?
Please don't side-step the question. If god is omnibenevolent and omnipotent, why doesn't he solve the hunger crisis?
(hint: possible answers include: he's not omnibenevolent, he isn't omnipotent, or he doesn't exist).

Anways; here is one of my facebook notes as an offering; I think that there is enough resources in the world, for everyone to be well fed and educated; unfortunatly the rich steal from the poor and there aren't enough Robin Hoods....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
First question, is anyone innocent?
Babies?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
As for as I understand the commandments they were only for Jews,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew 5:17-19
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus thinks they are for everyone. *shrugs*

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
the people who were killed in the land are recorded in the Bible as sacrificing their Children to their Gods;
And god did what with his only son?

PS: Love the fact that his son had to die (as a sacrifice to himself) so that he could forgive his creation for doing what he allowed them to do in the first place. Where do I sign up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
so don't think they were a nice bunch.
Christians shouldn't throw stones in glass houses

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Please show me places in the NIV where there is anti-scientific nonsense.
How about Genesis 1 and 2 for starters

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Please do not use beliefs of fundementalists to portray all Christians as thinking the same...the fact that Genesis is written in the style of a Hebrew poem seems to be conveniantly forgotten by many people. It is at least in my interpretation not meant to be taken literally.
Emphasis added

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I haven't checked the verses used, but the wider context is needed, and this reply is already getting very long!

Why do you think he is? As I understand it the kind of Slavery in the old testament required the master to treat the slaves well. In the new testamanet, Paul orders that slaves should be treated well. And indeed asks for Philemon to free Onesimus from slavery.

Slavery is and was barbaric, but a fact of life still today; are you really free or are you a slave to your work or country? The Bible as far as I understand it demands slaves to be treated well...
Yes, according to Exodus hebrew men sold into slavery had to be freed after 6 years and hebrew women could not be worked like the men, however:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exodus 21:20-21
And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
Beat your slaves with rod but don't kill them or you'll be punished. If they live for a couple more days then die, then don't sweat it; they were your property anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke 12:45-48
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Just in case you wanted to argue that Jesus didn't advocate slavery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Ahh, the age old question... Suggested reading if anyone is up for it; the Book of Job; I can return to this question if anyone wishes, there is not an easy answer to it, but I do have Peter Vardy's excellent book 'The Thinkers Guide to Evil' which has a whole chapter devoted to this question. Interesting reading, I would reccomend the book
And the answer is...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Please indicate to me from the said miracles any evidence that should have stayed behind?
Irrelevant point. Our expectations regarding evidence has absolutely no bearing on the fact that there isn't any.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I have a friend in the middle east (due to the sensitive nature cannot post here, some of you I will trust with the details (Achilles)... Basically I have a friend who was a Muslim, but became a Christian because of a dream he had about Jesus. Please do not think this was an easy decision on his part; he was thrown out of his family and persecuted by the state. But he would say he has seen Jesus.
In a dream. I've seen a lot of famous people in my dreams. Doesn't mean I've actually ever met any of them. Similarly, when I was a kid, a lot of scary monsters appeared to me in my dreams. Is this evidence of their existence as well? Why or why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
The above in literal form is a catholic thing. I eat bread and wine in rememberance of what Jesus did for me. Much the same as we may have a 1 minutes silence to commemorate what those who died in the WW2 had done for us.
This doesn't answer the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Same reason many Christians don't behave like Jesus; 'Love your neighbour' and 'Turn the other cheek' maybe said alot but when are they done?
This doesn't answer the question

Thanks for your response, J7!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
I'm in a hurry now but when I'll have time I will answer your questions.
Sounds good. I look forward to your response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
I'm a christian and I believe on evolution too(this is just for some people that think that religion and science can't be together)and for what I've read, you look against this religion.
I'm against irrational thinking. If there was evidence for religion, I would be very much for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
However, I've found some inconsistencies on your questions: If you don't believe in God why you ask this type of questions?
My belief or non-belief has nothing to do with it. This is akin to saying that we can only discuss your favorite sports team if I like that sports team too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
(some here give you answers but you just "refuse" them)
I'm assuming you mean "refute" them? FWIW, I don't think anyone here has answered any of these questions. Several people have offered responses, but none of those responses were answers to the questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
And why do you say that God demand the death of many innocent people in the Bible?
Because in the bible he advocates and/or demands the murder of men, women, and children. Not just onesy-twosy stuff, but entire towns, cities, and nations. Perhaps is it you that clearly hasn't read the bible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
It's clear that you hadn't read the bible, or you just read what it's necessary to criticize.
I've read the bible, the book of mormon, parts of the qu'ran, and well as dozens of books on religion, mythology, and philosophy. I hope that addresses your concerns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrdias
Just an advice: If you read the entire Bible (don't take it all literally, some things are methafores among other things) you'll find the answers for those questions and maybe learn something more.
Do you have some sort of crib sheet that will help me distinguish which parts are figurative and which are literal? If you do, would you mind telling me how you've verified it's reliability? In other words, how do you *know* that the parts you've arbitrarily decided were figurative weren't supposed to be taken literally (like the part about killing disobedient children in the middle of street with rocks while all your neighbors watch)?

Last edited by Achilles; 04-24-2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: response for alexrdias
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:19 AM   #67
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In the end, does it really matter? I mean, seriously, all Christianity (or any religion, for that matter) preaches is be a good person. I've never understood why so many people attatch dogma to such a simple concept. I realize that some of it comes from wanting to believe that there is some sort of 'higher being' that watches over you and keeps you safe, but why build an entire belief (in some cases, government) around such a intangible thing?

I believe it comes from fear; to be more precise, the fear of death. After years of toiling and suffering in life, spending eternity in a hollowed out oak box doesn't come off as well as 'spending eternity in paradise with God by your side'. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to spend my eternity in said box, but without tangible evidence of the contrary, how am I to believe that anything else exists for me? And don't start with the whole 'but many near-death people have seen the pearly gates and blah blah' stuff either. To me, thats simply the mind easing the consciousness into nothingness. I don't know why the mind would do that, or why it would reveal others a fiery inferno, and I don't really care. I'll care when I see either things. Which reminds me, where in the world did Hell get this description of a lake of fire and everlasting torment at the hands of demons? Isn't Hell actually just seperation from God? To me, thats the 'holier than thou' people trying to scare children into their flock.

In any case (and a bit more on topic), I would like to pose another question that I feel all Christian's must answer: Why are you right? Why aren't the Jews (whose religion laid the foundation for yours) right? Why aren't the Muslims (who acknowledge your religion but lay claim to the 'true prophet) right? Why weren't the Greeks or the Romans or the Egyptians right?
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:58 PM   #68
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I believe reasons for genocide of entire towns etc were similar to the reasons of even noble heroes such as Tassadar for wiping out entire human colonies at the beginning of the Terran Campaign. Sometimes the problems associated with a group of people grown deep into perversion and violence are so deeply ingrained that its best to start over as in Fahrenheit 451. Keep in mind there are examples in the Old Testament where before a town is demolished God arranges for the escape of the few good people that are in the area (Lot and Rahab and their families come to mind even though Rahab was supposedly a harlot, she was still held in regard). These were uber pagan groups such as Baal and Molech worshipers who are known for laying children as the foundation of buildings and other forms of child sacrifice. It wasn't simply a fight for land either, the Bible also recounts how an overzealous section of Israel wipes out a peaceful settlers around the region of Canaan and they were dealt with and cursed for this action.


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Old 04-25-2008, 11:59 PM   #69
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I believe reasons for genocide of entire towns etc were similar to the reasons of even noble heroes such as Tassadar for wiping out entire human colonies at the beginning of the Terran Campaign.
Huh?

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Sometimes the problems associated with a group of people grown deep into perversion and violence are so deeply ingrained that its best to start over as in Fahrenheit 451. Keep in mind there are examples in the Old Testament where before a town is demolished God arranges for the escape of the few good people that are in the area (Lot and Rahab and their families come to mind even though Rahab was supposedly a harlot, she was still held in regard).
This doesn't explain how or why an omnibenevolent and omnipotent god isn't able to avoid the slaughter of innocents.

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These were uber pagan groups such as Baal and Molech worshipers who are known for laying children as the foundation of buildings and other forms of child sacrifice.
According to what source? The bible?

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It wasn't simply a fight for land either, the Bible also recounts how an overzealous section of Israel wipes out a peaceful settlers around the region of Canaan and they were dealt with and cursed for this action.
Seems that not even his chosen people found the arguments for his existence very persuasive
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:02 AM   #70
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Exactly. People who claim unequivocably that there is no god are just as irrational as those that say they KNOW he exists.
I take the angle of.. I don't know.

Though, I tend to lean more Atheist, since I have not seen a religion that doesn't contradict itself and resort to barbaric beliefs and practices.

I do believe God could exist, but as far as the Bible goes...

Keep in mind, I'm starting the Bible.. Reading it as I would a Harry Potter book.
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:14 PM   #71
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Huh?

This doesn't explain how or why an omnibenevolent and omnipotent god isn't able to avoid the slaughter of innocents.

According to what source? The bible?

Seems that not even his chosen people found the arguments for his existence very persuasive
Sorry the first part was a Starcraft reference :P. If it was just this physical body that existed and the slaughter of innocents would be their final end then I concede to your point, but there is also the spiritual life that goes on after this, God looks not just at how to prolong and make these temporary shells as happy as possible. Obi-Wan let Vader strike him down so he could serve a greater purpose in a more powerful way :P. As to the sources of Molech and Baal worshipers, these include the Bible and many others such as classical Greek and Roman texts, a quick wiki of Molech and Baal can confirm this. As to the overzealous Israelites, maybe, but they were also plain idiots and terrorists of peaceful communities.


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Old 04-26-2008, 12:45 PM   #72
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If it was just this physical body that existed and the slaughter of innocents would be their final end then I concede to your point, but there is also the spiritual life that goes on after this
This is speculation. You have no evidence to support this.

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God looks not just at how to prolong and make these temporary shells as happy as possible.
Like so many of the other posts in this thread, this doesn't answer the question, rather provides a rationalization for why you don't feel the need to answer it.

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Obi-Wan let Vader strike him down so he could serve a greater purpose in a more powerful way :P.
Obi-Wan and Vader are fictional characters in a fantasy.

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As to the sources of Molech and Baal worshipers, these include the Bible and many others such as classical Greek and Roman texts, a quick wiki of Molech and Baal can confirm this.
I think you misunderstood my point. Your source is biased.

Suppose I kill my neighbor. While investigating the murder, the police come across my journal and take note of every perceived infraction that I documented within it. At some point, the officer might be tempted to say, "Gee, no wonder he killed his neighbor; that guy was a real ***hole!". That may or may not be true, but unfortunately he's basing his opinion on my interpretation of events alone.

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As to the overzealous Israelites, maybe, but they were also plain idiots and terrorists of peaceful communities.
Speculation is tricky indeed
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:57 PM   #73
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Like so many of the other posts in this thread, this doesn't answer the question, rather provides a rationalization for why you don't feel the need to answer it.

I'm not sure why it needs an answer, an omniscient God would have access to all factors that seem variable to limited beings and not every action of God would make sense to us, but you are right about these things being speculation on my point.


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Old 04-26-2008, 01:17 PM   #74
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Think of it this way: if there is no higher purpose to the suffering these people are subjected to, then don't you think they deserve an answer as to why they must suffer anyway? If you are ambivalent to their plight because of your perceptions of an imagined deity, aren't you morally obligated to be correct about those perceptions? You and a few others might not think that the question of religion is a very important one, but from a moral philosophy standpoint, it's hard to imagine there being very many questions that are more important.
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:25 PM   #75
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I do think the question of religion is an important one, and I do believe I am obligated to be correct about my perceptions, especially when it influences how I respond to the plight of others. My perceptions were shaped on what I've seen and what I've sensed, my relationship to God and other instances in my life. Its my perceptions that have led me to to my views and faith.


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Old 04-26-2008, 02:24 PM   #76
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Even though you've already acknowledged that your perceptions are nothing more than speculation. My point was that these people deserve better than that conclusion that you've come to based a guess. We have a duty to do better than guess.
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:01 PM   #77
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Well speculation based on perception, I infer based on evidence I've seen.


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Old 04-26-2008, 07:07 PM   #78
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Well speculation based on perception, I infer based on evidence I've seen.
What concrete evidence have you seen, to support your belief?
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:08 PM   #79
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Aside from the various anecdotal evidence from close trusted family members I had a dream, not coincidentally the night I accepted Christ where He spoke to me in a dream with a coherent plot and symbolisms (no other dream I've had has had that). I've also seen people's lives completely transform from the time they actually receive Christ, a good friend of mine was completely anti-Christian and now after both of us got into GT, he decided to become sort of a pastor instead, other people I've known completely either changed perspectives, habits, outlook, lifestyles etc almost over night based on a single decision.


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Old 04-26-2008, 09:35 PM   #80
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I had a dream, not coincidentally the night I accepted Christ where He spoke to me in a dream with a coherent plot and symbolisms (no other dream I've had has had that).
Have you ever thought about the possibility that it was just that... a dream?
Is it not possible that there is a reason it was the night you "accepted Christ?".

I once had a very detailed dream about my ex-girlfriend the night we broke-up. I wouldn't draw the conclusion that she was some sort of savior attempting to contact me in my dreams.

Also, why haven't I had a dream about Christ? Is it because I haven't accepted him? If that's the case, why do other people that accept him not experience a dream where he is talking to them?

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I've also seen people's lives completely transform from the time they actually receive Christ
That could be contributed to willpower... Many born-again Christians choose to be so because that's the only way they feel the could stop their problem (whichever it may be).

My father was an Alcoholic since the age of 13, he one night got a DWI, quit, and still goes to AA regularly.

My father quit his addiction because he found his family and AA. Fairly equal to finding Christ is it not?
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