PDA

View Full Version : The Big Religion Thread



Static_Martyr
06-04-2009, 02:22 PM
FORENOTE: I'm doing this for a sort of independent study, so if I seem a little too hand-holdy, that's why. Thanks in advance for reading (and responding, if you do that too)!

Hey BBS, I've been hanging around this forum for awhile, and I realized that I really don't know everyone that well....so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and start this topic about religious beliefs. I know, I know, religion and politics, right? But all I ask is that you hear me out before we get started....

Premise, premise....okay, I've been hanging out at some hardcore Christian/conservative/Evangelical type forums for the better part of a year now (as part of an ongoing social experiment), and I feel like I'm getting a much better understanding of how the more fundamentally religious mind works....but there is still a lot I don't really understand, mostly because I only seem to be talking with the *extremely* zealous bunches. Seeing that a lot of fairly intelligent discussion goes on here, I figure this might be a good place to ask some questions about religion where people won't take them to heart or get too offended. So if you're interested, then read on and I'll try to get things started.

Couple things first:

Yes, I am basically an atheist, but I do consider myself open-minded about religion; I'm not looking for a religion, per se --- I'm actually quite content for the most part without one --- but I am not opposed to people who want to express their views about why they think their religious views are better, and I'm not hostile towards folks who think they might have a case for their particular religion. So if you're religious and want to make your case, then feel free; just try to keep it basically civil if you don't mind; I'm not really good at internet flame wars :( Seriously, though, I spend nearly all of my alone-time thinking about stuff like this, so I never turn down food for thought. If you have anything even mildly provocative to say, then fire away~

So I'll start simple, as there are literally hundreds of thousands of directions we could go with this....I guess the best place to start would be, which worldview do you most identify with, and why (i.e. Christian, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, etc.)? Does anyone else want to introduce themselves? Just a short paragraph would be fine; you don't have to go on as long as I did (although if you have a lot to say, that's great, too)~

Al Coholic
06-04-2009, 04:06 PM
I'm agnostic. Which is ok - don't have a belief, or answers to life's greatest questions - and I don't believe I'll ever find any. I believe religion is too man-made and there isn't a set of scripture that in one book describes the beginning of the world, it's purpose, afterlife, etc. The idea of some kind of points system that rewards morality and punishes immorality with very fluid rules to total up where you wind up in the afterlife seems a bit silly. Though things like the beginning and end of the universe, the infinity of time, and the evolution of conciousness gets me thinking there's a lot science is yet to explain or even grasp the concept of. So I could accept that there was some kind of supernatural force behind it all, though not necessarily a single, benevolant being.




PS what do you call an agnostic homosexual?

Fagnostic.

Rooster
06-04-2009, 04:28 PM
I was raised as a Christian (Roman Catholic). When i was a kid i didn't believe in God. Then for some period i convinced myself that there might actually be something in this whole thing, and started to believe. But then in the later years, when i started to think more critically about the politics, religion and stuff, i started to form my own opinions, i began to loose my faith again.

There are more reasons for what i think about the whole religion (and Church) matter.

They say God has a master plan for all of us. Now i'm not saying you shouldn't believe in him, but just think about this: what master plan are all the terrible diseases, like cancer? In my family there were 2 cases of the illness: first my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in 2003, and then a year and a half ago my grandfather was diagnosed with bowel cancer. They have both been successfully cured, but that's not my point, the point is that many people don't get cured. I also know of a 14 year old girl (she lives a few kilometers away from my home), who was diagnosed with the worst possible form of leukemia. That was about a year ago. I don't know how she is doing now, but the doctors said there is no hope for her to get better, as the treatment didn't work as they hoped. There are quite a lot of cases of deaths caused by cancer where i live. Not to mention all the other cases of deaths caused by this disease allover the world, and not to mention all the other lethal diseases. Maybe i could understand when old people would die from cancer (but it's still hard to understand), but why all the kids, who have all life in front of them? I'm asking you, what master plan is this?

Not to mention all the wars and crusades in the name of God. They were caused not by religion itself, they were caused by the greedy men who wanted to take control, who wanted to gain wealth and land, and justified their wrongdoings that it was "God's will." Bullshit! I realise that this wasn't directly caused by religion, but what religion IS anyway?

I'm looking at the religions very differently now. Back in prehistoric times when our ancestors didn't know how to explain all the things that seem natural to us now - storms, lightning,..., they needed some explanation, and the best way to explain them was that they were caused by some higher power, some higher being who controlled the way of their lives, someone who had power over them. That's how religions formed. But later religions became only the way of controling masses, and thus having power over them, and to gain wealth. Why on Earth would we otherwise need priests to tell us God's word, when we could just believe in God without the need to go to church? The best proof that this is only the source of power is Vatican. I've been there, and saw all the incredible wealth in churches and cathedrals, all the art... And then i thought about all the hungry and poor people out there. If the Church would sell just one quarter of everything they have, it would help a lot to those people, they could buy enough food to stop the famine in Africa and so on. But they don't. No, they rather care for their rich asses.

When i used to go to church i also learned a lot about people - normally the most greedy people i know, the most selfish ones were in the front rows, praying with the priest (who is a great person, a really great personality), and when the mass ended those people talked behind the priest's back (he has a problem with drinking) and planned how to get rid of him (they threw dead rats in his mailbox, and they told to the people on higher positions in the Church about him, but that backfired on them - the newsparers were critisizing those hypocrites instead of praising them, the media were on the priests side). I know that those people are in the minority though, there are many good Christians out there, and i can't and shouldn't judge all the Christians by those hypocrites i wrote about before.

A lot of people find The Bible and the religion as some sort of a code, as something that tells them how to live a good life, be a honest person, and respect another human being as equal. Many Christians are good in their hearts and live that way because they feel it's right, but then again, many live that way only because of the fear of going to hell, and that is the wrong reason. Why not just forget about the whole religion thing, and just live honestly because of yourself? I don't need some book to tell me how i should live, i'll live the way i want. I consider myself an Atheist, i ignore the Bible and what Church is teaching people, but one of my friends told me that i'm still one of the best and most honest people he knows. I know a lot of people who chose to live honestly, to be good persons because of themselves, not because of religion, and that's the path i'm taking too.

I think that religions are just what's left from prehistory, and i treat them as such. Everyone can choose his or her own beliefs, but my belief is what i've written here.

So, to sum up: i think of religion as solely the way to control people. I don't believe in God. Religion is just the way in which our ancestors who lived hundreds of thousands years ago tried to explain the things they didn't understand, and now it's being used more as a way to gain power and wealth, and not a way to explain things anymore (perhaps to some extent it's still being used in this way also), science is taking care of that nowadays (and while science didn't give us all the answer yet, some day perhaps it will - just think of how much progress happened in the last 100 years).

Peace

edit: sorry, i know this is too long, but i wanted to explain and justify my point of view properly...

Static_Martyr
06-04-2009, 05:37 PM
The only hope for religion, as I see it, is their moral character. Very good, that.

Hmm....I have a theory that the main reasons religion is still thriving today are:

-) Consciousness (there is no real definition for this in the scientific sense, in that it's not something that can be communicated, only experienced first-hand, and so science hasn't really been able to approach this, at least not from what I've seen);
-) Morality (people like to have an external moral law that they can refer to to assure them that they are moral, and that there is something they can present to people to convince them to be "moral" by something like a Biblical definition....although I have my problems with this);
-) Purpose (for some reason I have yet to grasp, a lot of Christians seem to think that atheists live hollow, purposeless lives simply because they don't live for a single unified purpose...or, if they do, it's not directed towards God, and that confuses them for some reason).

Those three things tie in pretty tight with our daily lives; I think that people who have a harder time finding these things in "secular society" tend to drift towards more religious leanings. The hard part is that there's really no common correlation between people who are religious and who aren't; for example, I can't say that "people are only religious because they go through hard times and they need someone to assure them that one day it will be better," because not all people who experience hard times think that way. Also, not all conversions fall on hard times.

[I]edit: sorry, i know this is too long, but i wanted to explain and justify my point of view properly...

No, not at all! It's quite encouraging to read an actual, coherent train of thought attached to religious concepts :)

PS what do you call an agnostic homosexual?

Fagnostic.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e264/prisoner_of_today_926/peter.jpg

Outerspaceman21
06-04-2009, 05:40 PM
I'm a deist, which mean I believe in good but I do not associate with any kind of organized religion. I was raised in a secular household because my mom stopped going to church after my sister died.

The entire side of my mom's family (aside from us) is really religious. I have three other aunts and they all have 3 kids a piece and they all go to church on a regular basis. Makes me feel like a black sheep.

Rooster
06-04-2009, 05:47 PM
You made a lot of good points here, Static_Martyr.


The hard part is that there's really no common correlation between people who are religious and who aren't; for example, I can't say that "people are only religious because they go through hard times and they need someone to assure them that one day it will be better," because not all people who experience hard times think that way. Also, not all conversions fall on hard times.


Well, in case of going through hard times: turning to religion just doesn't work. Trust me, i know, i tried it, and it didn't help. On the contrary, things got better when i lost my faith.

Anyway, it looks like this is going to be an interesting conversation...

NGNM85
06-04-2009, 09:14 PM
Although I had the misfortune of being raised catholic (The whole purpose of a catholic upbringing being to make you feel guilty for having been born.) but I overcame and am now an unabashed Atheist. It's really the only reasonable position. It comes down to a couple basic questions: Have you ever met God? do you consider yourself to be a reasonable/rational person? How can you possibly be a reasonable/rational person and be absolutely certain of something of which you have no proof? Case closed.

Moreover, contrary to this popular PC nonsense about religion and science being compatible:horseshit. Religion is fundamentally antithetical to rationality. Martin Luther said it best himself "Reason is the greatest enemy faith has." More blood has been spilled in the name of religion, especially the christian so-called "god of love". (Erm, they seem to have forgotten that part about "bringing not peace but a sword.")

Look at Al-Qaeda, the KKK, Christian Identity, Scientology, the Irgun, etc., etc. It's POISON. And people say, 'oh those are just the extremists', but religion BREEDS extremism, and you can hardly say that it's just the fringe groups that are extreme, I mean, it is the official position of the catholic church that all Jews, Muslims, Homosexuals, etc., are all going to burn in hell forever. Thats' a really bigoted and awful idea. It's because of this nonsense that Americans are so dumb, something like half our schools (Predominantly in the south.) don't even teach evolution! More than half the country believes in the devil as a literal entity! This is seriously depressing and inspires grave concern over the future of this country. Religion is one of the primary sources of misery and suffering on earth, we'd be better off without it.

IamSam
06-04-2009, 09:56 PM
I just want to argue and say that I don't believe that religion breeds extremists, but rather human nature in certain individuals breeds extremists. ie, not all that are religious are extremists and not all extremists are religious.

NGNM85
06-04-2009, 10:40 PM
I just want to argue and say that I don't believe that religion breeds extremists, but rather human nature in certain individuals breeds extremists. ie, not all that are religious are extremists and not all extremists are religious.

Is it human nature, or the nature of those specific individuals'? This is an enormously important distinction.

I also, obviously contest you're statement. I mean, the belief that all Jews will burn forever in the lake of fire, thats' the official doctrine, unless of course they convert on their deathbed or on "judgement day" (A frightening extremist concept in itself.) they are forever damned. Or take a look at the old testament which is also the Jewish Torah, it promotes virtually every sort of barbarism one can conceive of. Take Sodom and Gomorrah, which is used to justify the church's bigotry against homosexuals, what they usually don't mention is that Lot, the one virtuous guy surrounded by the horny homosexuals of Gamorrah, to protect the two angels who have visited him from being raped, offers them his daughters instead. There are numerous statements in support of selling your daughters into sexual slavery, and a number of other things.

Take this one for example:"..But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded.... Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves. " Theres' Moses very clearly promoting, in fact demanding, rape, slavery, and murder. Theres' many more where that came from. Thats' from the bible, the central focal point of the religion, not some heretic, not somebody's interpretation. Theres' hundreds of statements like this, even as I mentioned from the supposedly peaceful Christ "I bring not peace but a sword." How can we then be surprised when religious people blow themselves up on buses or murder innocent doctors as just happened, recently?

Also take a look at the catholic church, the official embodiment of christianity. They were torturing imprisoning and killing people in Rome for saying the sun revolved around the earth. Then the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition.. The burning of Witches, thousands, mostly women, brutally murdered throughout Europe and in the early colonies right around my home. The Vatican was I believe the first foreign power to establish friendly diplomatic relations with the newly elected German chancellor, Adolf Hitler. Pope Pious was especially enamored of Hitler. He did NOTHING while the Italian Jews were rounded up for extermination, he could see it from his window, not a WORD. Then after the war the church helped probably hundreds of Nazis escape prosecution, including real monsters like Klaus Barbie. (Who was later protected by the CIA.) They also held onto some of the riches the Nazis stole from their pillaging for safekeeping, even pocketing some of it afterwards, resulting in a lawsuit not too long ago. Lastly, the documents that have surfaced, written in part by now Pope, Benedict (He wasn't Pope at the time.) strongly suggesting (As if there was any doubt.) an OFFICIAL POLICY of covering up the victimization of children.


and not all extremists are religious.

Of course not, theres' Neo-Nazis, etc.

T-6005
06-04-2009, 11:34 PM
Man, here we go bashing Christianity. You had to know it was coming.

I might not take the time to respond to this with any depth later, so I figure I might as well do a little something now, since I'm up due to an upset stomach and some slight nausea anyway.

For me, the largest concern concern with religion starts way before the belief in a God, in an anthropomorphic, white, Freedom-loving superbeing who created us all. It's more in believing that there could, in fact, be a spiritual element to everyday life, or that humans have some connection to something greater than the world we perceive and understand.

I mean, I'm sure it's great that people consider Christianity, Judaism, and Islam immediately when talking about religion, (though I'm really not sure why) but Buddhism, Hinduism, Ba'hai, Shinto, and numerous other belief systems have an immediate tendency to get ignored when discussing the inherent evils in religion.


Religion is one of the primary sources of misery and suffering on earth.

I mean, come on, it's stuff like this that drives me mad. I won't deny that there have been lots of wars begun by people who follow religions, but ascribing so many conflicts directly to religion is to ignore other historical elements - take imperialist-colonial activities, for example, which resulted in the white man's "civilizing mission." Conversion was not the reason for imperialist policies - it was a method of control. That's not to say there weren't multiple conflicts which were directly influenced by religion, but don't go labeling every conflict with people who identify with one or the other as a religious war.

Now, I'm just spitballing here, but when considering the very basic question of faith, people tend to throw Pascal's Gambit in your face a lot - Wikipedia's got a fine list of the basic criticisms on that one, but you don't really have to go past the first one to understand that "believe in God just in case" becomes invalidated when you have more than one God to choose from.

I don't want to sneer at people who feel that they are in touch with their spiritual side, and will for once refrain from a rant at the Bible belt (to which I have never been) and about Muslim extremists - who are a tiny, tiny, rejected group of a religion which has just as many factions as the umbrella of Christianity. Instead, I'll admit that, logic aside, I truly wish I could believe in God. I'm terrified of death, and knowing that there was something out there for me afterward would be an undescribeably soothing feeling. Unfortunately, I've yet to find any good reason for making any sort of leap or faith. Perhaps I'll find it when the reaper gets a little closer, who knows.

My point in bringing this up is simply this - those of you who scoff at those who hold to a belief in God should look ahead to your own futures and to your lonely graves, and perhaps some of you younger rebellious types should think a good long while on whether you truly believe that nothing exists out there for us, or whether it's just a nice little phase.

Moving on - I've come to think about religion as a kind of spectrum. I can agree in part with whoever said that religion began as a method of explanation for events which at that point had none. However, (in the Semitic religions, at least) it's also important to view religion as an important method of mass societal control - you've got Marx saying it's the "opiate of the people," while Freud argues (In either Civilization and its Discontents or Future of an Illusion, I'm afraid I don't remember) that civilization needs to set up authoritative systems if people are to be locked into societies to prevent them from following their primal urges. Denying those urges is "rewarded" by religion.

Used to be that science was just an exercise in reason - Aristotle loved to tell you that rocks flew straight until they ran out of energy, then dropped to the ground, but he never went outside and tried it for himself. It took hundreds of years for the scientific minded to finally break free and makes some real progress, get some real answers. We're not so lucky breaking free of the cycle of religion - it holds a lot of us back even today, and we're caught halfway through the process of changing from one belief system to the other.

In closing, I'm sorry if this is a little deranged and confusing. There's an insane amount of stuff to say about religion and faith, and I just picked a little bit from each sort of main question I could think up on the topic and wrote a little blurb on each. Also, that whole thing about the spectrum was kind of something I came up with - perhaps someone much smarter somewhere else has a much better explanation with some great background documentation and a much better writing style.

But as long as we're discussing this, I'd like it if we could keep from disrespecting people who do believe. It's rude, it belittles others (which is in most cases hypocritical), it prevents discussion from progressing, and worst of all it promotes a mode of discussion in which we pretend to know what people think and why they think it.

NGNM85
06-05-2009, 12:21 AM
For me, the largest concern concern with religion starts way before the belief in a God, in an anthropomorphic, white, Freedom-loving superbeing who created us all. It's more in believing that there could, in fact, be a spiritual element to everyday life, or that humans have some connection to something greater than the world we perceive and understand.

This goes to the heart of the problem, although I think you’re description of the God of the Abrahamic God is a lot nicer than he is in the texts themselves. Like I was saying, how can anyone POSSIBLY seriously be absolutely certain of something of which there is no evidence. It’s the antithesis of reason, which is why science (aka reason) and religion are diametrically opposed. Reason involves working with observeable phenomena, what you can substantiate. The idea that there should be some cordoned off area where reason shouldn’t be applied is absurd. This is one of the most frightening things about religious extremists, they literally cannot be reasoned with.


I mean, I'm sure it's great that people consider Christianity, Judaism, and Islam immediately when talking about religion, (though I'm really not sure why) but Buddhism, Hinduism, Ba'hai, Shinto, and numerous other belief systems have an immediate tendency to get ignored when discussing the inherent evils in religion.

Well, most of the planet belongs to or was raised in the Abrahamic faiths. (partly because they’ve spent hundreds of years killing and torturing anybody who disagreed.) However the same rules generally apply, Scientology is just as scary and insane as say Christian Identity or whatever. Also while Buddhism may be one of the nicer religions, Buddhists DO kill people, just look at Sri Lanka. Also, while I firmly support the movement for a free Tibet, before they were annexed they had a brutal caste system.


I mean, come on, it's stuff like this that drives me mad. I won't deny that there have been lots of wars begun by people who follow religions, but ascribing so many conflicts directly to religion is to ignore other historical elements - take imperialist-colonial activities, for example, which resulted in the white man's "civilizing mission." Conversion was not the reason for imperialist policies - it was a method of control. That's not to say there weren't multiple conflicts which were directly influenced by religion, but don't go labeling every conflict with people who identify with one or the other as a religious war.

I said it was ONE of the primary sources of human suffering. There are three: nation-states, corporations and financial consortiums (IMF,WTO, etc.), and, as I mentioned: religion.


I don't want to sneer at people who feel that they are in touch with their spiritual side, and will for once refrain from a rant at the Bible belt (to which I have never been) and about Muslim extremists - who are a tiny, tiny, rejected group of a religion which has just as many factions as the umbrella of Christianity.

I usually refrain from anti-Islam tirades because it’s so popular right now, it’s perfectly acceptable to spew all kinds of hate and racism. I despise all religion. However, it’s not nearly so tiny a sect as you say, that ideology is official policy in Saudi Arabia, and practically dominates Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as a number of other countries.



Instead, I'll admit that, logic aside, I truly wish I could believe in God. I'm terrified of death, and knowing that there was something out there for me afterward would be an undescribeably soothing feeling

I completely disagree. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like there to be a big purpose to all this and a magic land to go to afterwards, but to elevate the blind fanatical belief in fairy tales to a virtue is a sickness.


My point in bringing this up is simply this - those of you who scoff at those who hold to a belief in God should look ahead to your own futures and to your lonely graves, and perhaps some of you younger rebellious types should think a good long while on whether you truly believe that nothing exists out there for us, or whether it's just a nice little phase.

As far as I can tell I’m one of the older members here, but I don’t see that makes much of a difference. As one of my professor’s once said “It’s not the death, it’s the dying.” I don’t fear being dead, as an atheist theres’ no reason to, it’s the time just prior that concerns me.


..religion as an important method of mass societal control - you've got Marx saying it's the "opiate of the people,"

Very true.


while Freud argues (In either Civilization and its Discontents or Future of an Illusion, I'm afraid I don't remember) that civilization needs to set up authoritative systems if people are to be locked into societies to prevent them from following their primal urges. Denying those urges is "rewarded" by religion.

This is very much like current policy makers and their influnces like Neibhur and Lasswell, that the “bewildered herd” need to be controlled by the elites because we’re too stupid and irrational to take care of ourselves. This is a really fascist viewpoint.


Used to be that science was just an exercise in reason - Aristotle loved to tell you that rocks flew straight until they ran out of energy, then dropped to the ground, but he never went outside and tried it for himself. It took hundreds of years for the scientific minded to finally break free and makes some real progress, get some real answers. We're not so lucky breaking free of the cycle of religion it holds a lot of us back even today, and we're caught halfway through the process of changing from one belief system to the other.

I think given enough time Nietzsche’s prophecy will come to pass, he just greatly overestimated the tenacity of religion.


But as long as we're discussing this, I'd like it if we could keep from disrespecting people who do believe.

What’s disrespectful in demanding proof? I mean if I’m supposed to accept the notion of a telepathic daddy figure in the sky and worship him is it SO rude of me to question it? And if by people we mean bigots and hatemongers, then I have absolutely no problem disrespecting them, nor should I. It is the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Catholic church that Homosexuals, Jews, etc., burn forever. THAT is disrespectful, and then some.


It's rude, it belittles others (which is in most cases hypocritical), it prevents discussion from progressing,….

I’m always game., but the burden is to produce cogent, informed arguments, something the other side, on this issue at least, isn’t very good at.

IamSam
06-05-2009, 12:30 AM
Are you a robot or a Vulcan? Just out of curiosity...

Static_Martyr
06-05-2009, 02:31 AM
How can we then be surprised when religious people blow themselves up on buses or murder innocent doctors as just happened, recently?

I have to concur that sometimes specific beliefs can be ingrained with extremism....I think that regardless of one's position on abortion, to regard supporters of pro-choice (or whatever you'd prefer to call it) legislation as "murderers" is inevitably going to lead to violence at some point, and just about everyone I know who opposes abortion rights believes this on the basis that it is "murder."

Taking a step back from that....if you believed that someone was being murdered, would you be willing to kill their murderer to save them?

Even if you believe that's a "wrong" position to take, that abortion is murder....if we accept that someone thinks that, then it's very easy to see how they could become violent over it. I think that's a very dangerous way to believe, because it actually encourages (or seems to, anyway) violence towards political dissidents.

Although I don't think that belief in spiritualism or deism is necessarily ingrained with extremism; yes, they're often trotted out as defense mules for bigger groups like Christianity or Islam --- and from what I've seen, it's true that a lot of former Christians, Jews and Muslims, especially, tend towards "spiritual agnosticism" more than most other religious, although there are some purported atheists in the bunch as well --- I think that the problem itself comes more from the interweaving of belief in transcendence (i.e. "truth, love and justice, purpose," and things to that effect) with the requirements of literal church doctrines that are basically political at heart. In that way, official religious "beliefs" are basically an incarnation of church and state; if all of your beliefs come from a set roster, including the belief that you are required to enforce those beliefs (or face a hefty penalty), then you can bet that there will be some motivation to act politically.

I wonder how many people really think of transcendence as something that can exist separately from god and religion. There are times when I wonder how many people are religious for the sole reason of transcendence; like, if they understood what that meant apart from religious doctrine, would they still believe in it? I don't usually say that out loud, though, because oftentimes people do understand it as a separate concept, they just think that there is only one way to truly find it.

but you don't really have to go past the first one to understand that "believe in God just in case" becomes invalidated when you have more than one God to choose from.

I always like to point out that, um, HE'S GOD, and if he's real then he'll know if your belief is candid or not. So why pretend just to please god? I also like to say, "I'd rather be honestly atheistic than dishonestly pretend to be Christian." The fact is that I don't believe, and the only thing that will compel me is some form of evidence, not fear of hell. If someone has already basically rejected religion in the simplest sense, then fear of hell has lost its impact in that person's mind because they don't believe it exists and therefore there is no risk.

My point in bringing this up is simply this - those of you who scoff at those who hold to a belief in God should look ahead to your own futures and to your lonely graves, and perhaps some of you younger rebellious types should think a good long while on whether you truly believe that nothing exists out there for us, or whether it's just a nice little phase.

I wish more people would do that more often. The way I see it, though --- as you seem to be pointing out here in a way --- is that whether or not the idea of god is pleasing to me is not really relevant to whether or not he exists. Personally, the idea of death isn't really scary to me because it's a necessary component of life, like up is a necessary component to down; an object has a shape, and that shape ends, and so we can define the shape. If it didn't have a border, it wouldn't have a definition, so to speak. Given that, I feel that I've pretty much come to terms with the idea of my own existence eventually coming to a halt; in fact, I don't think I would want to live forever. I would get tired of life after a long time. Hell, in some ways I've been tired of it for years. But I keep going because I think, "Hey, I'm here, I might as well give it my best shot because I won't likely get another one." I mean, I'm not Hindu, ya know :D

But for a person who is afraid of death, I can see that as a barrier. I used to feel the same way before I stopped believing in objective morality; it always used to bother me. What could I say to someone if I thought they were wrong? If I couldn't point to an objective source and say, "That's why you're wrong," then doesn't that basically mean I have to permit any action whatsoever, even atrocious crimes like killing? The idea that there existed no real reason to oppose those things was quite terrifying to me, because I DID oppose them, and if there was no reason to, that meant that I was wrong.

Then it hit me one day....these things are basically irrelevant to actions themselves. I mean, think about it: What does "should" mean? Assuming that there is an outside standard of "shouldness" that we're supposed to live by. What does that really mean? Let's say you kill someone that you "shouldn't have." Well, you did. But you "shouldn't have." Does that have any effect on reality? Shouldness isn't a quality; a quality is detectable, has a visible outcome or effect, and can be described. Shouldness can't; if we look at it as basically real or having some form of avatar outside of human consciousness, then what it amounts to is a divine suggestion.

And it also hit me....that if there is no "objective reason" to be disgusted by certain behaviors, there is no "objective reason" not to, either. That was an empowering realization; it brought me to my current belief that we, as individuals, are ultimately responsible for our own actions, that we answer to ourselves before anyone else. Think about that for a second, if you care to....the only thing that's really keeping people from walking out of their homes right now and killing each other for the fun of it is not religion, or external law of any kind, although those things may influence them to a degree. Rather, it's those people's own willpower or personal beliefs. Not the things the beliefs are directed towards --- not gods or demons --- but the beliefs themselves.

0.0 [/rant thingy]

But as long as we're discussing this, I'd like it if we could keep from disrespecting people who do believe. It's rude, it belittles others (which is in most cases hypocritical), it prevents discussion from progressing, and worst of all it promotes a mode of discussion in which we pretend to know what people think and why they think it.

I think that's a good place to start; nothing can derail an otherwise intelligent conversation in a second like accusations about who believes what and why. I have a policy that I adhere to, that I always suggest in situations of heavy interfaith dialogue --- if you don't know, just ask, don't tell. It's nothing to be ashamed of; it's a huge world and there are tons of religions, nobody expects you to know everything about all of them right off the bat!

ad8
06-05-2009, 05:09 AM
I just want to argue and say that I don't believe that religion breeds extremists, but rather human nature in certain individuals breeds extremists. ie, not all that are religious are extremists and not all extremists are religious.
QFT

I was raised as an evangelic christian and I don't have any problems with the christian ideals and most christian people here. But still, I never really believed in god and consider myself an atheist now. I think religion is not a bad thing. It's rather the stupidity of people/human nature that makes them become religious extremists. I admit that there is a problem about religions: People might take it literally, which could evoke problems and false views. But that's also a problem of human nature again.

wheelchairman
06-05-2009, 06:13 AM
..religion as an important method of mass societal control - you've got Marx saying it's the "opiate of the people,"
You're abusing this quote and I hate it. Marx didn't hate religion, he made that statement in a time when opium was used as a pain killer to ease suffering. This quote in its entirety makes that clearer:

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the soul in soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people

And until that pain-killing, ease-suffering use for religion is gone, I find it hard to be against it. That and I'm agnostic and I feel absolutely no desire to control other peoples beliefs or try and convince them that mine are better.

T-6005
06-05-2009, 09:28 AM
This goes to the heart of the problem, although I think you’re description of the God of the Abrahamic God is a lot nicer than he is in the texts themselves. Like I was saying, how can anyone POSSIBLY seriously be absolutely certain of something of which there is no evidence. It’s the antithesis of reason, which is why science (aka reason) and religion are diametrically opposed. Reason involves working with observeable phenomena, what you can substantiate. The idea that there should be some cordoned off area where reason shouldn’t be applied is absurd. This is one of the most frightening things about religious extremists, they literally cannot be reasoned with.
True as the latter statement may be, the assumption that people who have faith refuse to apply reason kind of belies a little superiority complex in you. That's not meant to be offensive, but surely you realize that if you invalidate all religious peoples' faith, you are making judgments about their motivations which may or may not be true. Many scientists, though presumably fewer than the general population, do share a belief in an organizing spiritual force and have that impression reinforced by studying the complexities of the physical world.




I completely disagree. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like there to be a big purpose to all this and a magic land to go to afterwards, but to elevate the blind fanatical belief in fairy tales to a virtue is a sickness.
So... you disagree with the idea that I would like there to be a God out there. Again - don't be offended - you're trying to take the high ground here, although I clearly don't believe and merely express a sentiment that it would be nice to have a religious presence in my life.




This is very much like current policy makers and their influnces like Neibhur and Lasswell, that the “bewildered herd” need to be controlled by the elites because we’re too stupid and irrational to take care of ourselves. This is a really fascist viewpoint.
Not saying I was for it. Just saying it does exist in that capacity.



What’s disrespectful in demanding proof? I mean if I’m supposed to accept the notion of a telepathic daddy figure in the sky and worship him is it SO rude of me to question it? And if by people we mean bigots and hatemongers, then I have absolutely no problem disrespecting them, nor should I. It is the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Catholic church that Homosexuals, Jews, etc., burn forever. THAT is disrespectful, and then some.You will find extremists everywhere, and religious intolerance is widely prevalent - atheists, unsurprisingly, are some of the most militantly aggressive people when it comes to religious tolerance.

There is nothing wrong in demanding proof. And there is nothing wrong in acting upon your dislike for bigotry and systematic hatred - but again, you're lumping all religious people into the same mix because you assume that they don't think about what they're told, and while that may be true for some it is by no means true for all religious people. People with faith are, in the main, more than capable of critically interacting with their own religion and deciding whether or not it fits them. In attacking those people for their eventual choices, you invalidate any critical process they themselves may have gone through to determine their own faiths and simply assume that they have been brainwashed or are simply too dumb to question anything they are told.



You're abusing this quote and I hate it. Marx didn't hate religion, he made that statement in a time when opium was used as a pain killer to ease suffering.
Sorry. Though to be sure it's kind of fallacious to argue that religion hasn't been used as a method of control at times. And I personally have nothing - or at least very little - against the idea of religion.



And until that pain-killing, ease-suffering use for religion is gone, I find it hard to be against it. That and I'm agnostic and I feel absolutely no desire to control other peoples beliefs or try and convince them that mine are better.
Pretty much contains quite a bit of what I wanted to say.

T-6005
06-05-2009, 02:06 PM
Fair enough, Maria - except that you're, for the most part, completely wrong.

Running with just one or two articles I've read from this year, starting with Lila Abu-Lughod's "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?" and Daniel Price's "Islam and Human Rights: A Case of Deceptive First Appearances."

...

I was going to write a breakdown of each article but then I got too lazy. The first explains that the significance of the veil/burqa is culturally situated - that it doesn't signify a repression of liberty, but rather that choosing when and where to wear the veil sets the tone for the social interactions which are going on there. That's not to mention that women had access to employment, the right to property, and a right to education much, much earlier than any European counterparts.

That's not to say that you don't have a point and that there aren't men who control the women they live with by forcing them to wear the veil at all times, but you're exaggerating the situation by making it seem as if the culture is to blame - which, quite frankly, it isn't. Women find themselves surrounded by men who utilize harsh methods of control - from economic to physical - just as easily in France as in Syria. People who run home and beat their wives don't hail specifically from one religion or one area, and putting that on their cultural background is just damn ignorant.

The second article, just to quote from the abstract -

In this article, I test the relationship between Islam and human rights across a sample of 23 predominantly Muslim countries and a control group of non-Muslim developing nations, while controlling for other factors that have been shown to affect human rights practices. I found that the influence of Islamic political culture on government has a statistically insignificant relationship with the protection of human rights.

To be honest, I just realized that your third sentence was "And they're towelheads." I suppose I should not have bothered.

In any case, if anyone's interested, I don't think I'm supposed to download from JSTOR and give the articles to others, but I think it'll be alright if it's just one or two, for anyone who wants to read the articles.

NGNM85
06-05-2009, 08:21 PM
True as the latter statement may be, the assumption that people who have faith refuse to apply reason kind of belies a little superiority complex in you.

Because reason IS superior. I have beliefs, but my beliefs are based in observable phenomena, I can cite historical examples, studies, philosophy to support them And while some might doubt me on this I maintain that i would reverse all of my positions, become a jesus-loving neoliberal conservative hawk, IF I encountered an ironclad case for it. Like I said, like Martin Luther said, reson and religion are diametrically opposed to one another. One studies observable phenomena, what can be proven, and then draws inferences, always testing, questioning. The religious position is to wholly accept the answer without doing the homework and then interpreting reality to fit a preconceived notion. I don't know how the universe formed, at least, before the big bang, and I don't claim to, but I'm not going to grab onto some wild assumption because it's popular or comforting. Thats' the difference.


That's not meant to be offensive, but surely you realize that if you invalidate all religious peoples' faith, you are making judgments about their motivations which may or may not be true. Many scientists, though presumably fewer than the general population, do share a belief in an organizing spiritual force and have that impression reinforced by studying the complexities of the physical world.

Not really. if you took a census most scientist would probably just barely qualify, as believing in some sort of force or something, but certainly not the telepathic daddy figure. Stephen Hawking and Einstein talked about "God", but they were using it as a metaphor, they were/are both atheists.


So... you disagree with the idea that I would like there to be a God out there. Again - don't be offended - you're trying to take the high ground here, although I clearly don't believe and merely express a sentiment that it would be nice to have a religious presence in my life.

No, what I find offensive is that "faith", IE believing something absolutely without question for which you have no evidence is a laudable trait. We shouldn't make a virtue of irrationality.


You will find extremists everywhere, and religious intolerance is widely prevalent - atheists, unsurprisingly, are some of the most militantly aggressive people when it comes to religious tolerance.

Theres' a huge difference. First, it's only been since fairly recently that you could even publicly admit to being an atheist without becoming a pariah. Even now there are studies that atheists are one of the most discriminated minority groups. We have religion FORCED DOWN OUR THROATS on a daily basis, Jehovah's witnesses, on the TV, in popular culture, shit a guy actually stopped me at work to hand me pamphlets saying if I don't accept christ as my lord and savior I will burn forever. He said "Take a moment for Jesus Christ?" I crumpled it up and said "Nope." It's even in the pledge of allegiance, and, historical fact, it was only added in the mid-50's to combat "Godless Communism" it's not supposed to be in there. You should read what Jefferson and Paine said about religion, christianity in particular. Theres' this myth that the founding fathers were devout christians, not so.
John Adams: "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion...", from the treaty of tripoli unanimously passed by the senate.


There is nothing wrong in demanding proof. And there is nothing wrong in acting upon your dislike for bigotry and systematic hatred - but again, you're lumping all religious people into the same mix because you assume that they don't think about what they're told,

How could they? if you apply the scientific method it doesn't last five minutes. first of all, as I think I mentioned, theres' essentially no evidence Christ actually existed, in fact going by the evidence it's likely he didn't. thats' not even counting resurrections, floods, burning bushes, etc.


and while that may be true for some it is by no means true for all religious people. People with faith are, in the main, more than capable of critically interacting with their own religion and deciding whether or not it fits them. In attacking those people for their eventual choices, you invalidate any critical process they themselves may have gone through to determine their own faiths and simply assume that they have been brainwashed or are simply too dumb to question anything they are told.

See above.

NGNM85
06-05-2009, 09:05 PM
Are you a robot or a Vulcan? Just out of curiosity...

I would consider either a compliment.

"Live long and Prosper."/"Danger, Will Robinson!"

IamSam
06-05-2009, 11:35 PM
I would consider either a compliment.

"Live long and Prosper."/"Danger, Will Robinson!"

Touche. Well played. :)

Vera
06-06-2009, 03:12 AM
God, militant atheism is so tiring to me. It's the opposite side of the same coin as Christian missionary/conversion efforts; it's raving about other people's faith, which frankly shouldn't be anybody's business, as if it somehow tramples all over your own religious freedoms. Newsflash: it doesn't.

Now, if you want to talk hard facts about the unsuccessful separation of state and church in the Judeo-Christian world, let's talk. But if you're going to continue this tired line of debate (science vs religion), get your facts straight first.

Not all of religion, and not all of Christianity is against science and discoveries made about the world through the scientific process. The ones who are, are extremists of a certain kind, the kind I'd rather not touch, because to try and convert them is virtually impossible. And pretty much everybody else is not trying to suffocate science.

All of these militant atheist "science uber alles" statements are usually made from a highly privileged, Western, Christian perspective. Religion is not organized and centralized in all places of the world. People's faith is not necessarily tied down to texts and rigorous dogma as much as it's a set of customs and beliefs. To reduce a vastly varying world-wide phenomenon, discovered in literally every community throughout time, to the horrific acts of a few is grossly unfair. It's like saying nobody should have a moustache because Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan had one, and look at what awful things they did.

Religion breeds conflict in people; wrong. People will get in scuffles, brawls and wars over anything and everything. Be it race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or just the fact that guy A stepped on guy B's toes at the queue to a night club. Tribes in Africa might've warred with each other for generations despite the fact that they seemingly had everything in common; religious practises, source of livelihood, language. To look at even the conflicts between religious groups as purely born out of religious differences is turning a blind eye to the real reasons why the conflict was born - religions can and have lived peacefully side by side.

One thing that is new is the popularity of extreme identity politics, where politicians put the blame of everything that is wrong on one group. The rise of Hindu nationalism, for example, has brought increasing tension between Hindu's and Muslim's in India. You can witness extremist views in both parties. And still, I doubt the great majority of Hindus or Muslims seconds the views of these extremists. But fear's a powerful thing..

In summary: look at the world outside your bubble, learn about the great variety in religions, customs and non-organized faiths, have a chat with a Hindu biologist. And be honest to yourself; nobody, and I mean nobody, has a purely scientific worldview. Science is as vast as religion and none of us can cite scientific research every time we make a statement we believe in.

Static_Martyr
06-06-2009, 07:53 AM
One thing that is new is the popularity of extreme identity politics, where politicians put the blame of everything that is wrong on one group. The rise of Hindu nationalism, for example, has brought increasing tension between Hindu's and Muslim's in India. You can witness extremist views in both parties. And still, I doubt the great majority of Hindus or Muslims seconds the views of these extremists. But fear's a powerful thing..

I've noticed that, as well, this "identity politics" thing; the whole "teh liberals" versus "teh conservatives" deal being a good example in America. Bill O'Reilly is a perfect example of this (I know, we all know about Bill O'Reilly and it's pointless to trot him out, but I'm only making a point); on the air and in his books he talks a lot about "the liberals" and "the secular progressives" and all of these groups of people that are Out To Get Everybody, but he very rarely cites any actual people. It's always groups, and they always seem to be "in the shadows" in some way or another. I always wondered if any real people actually belonged to any of those groups....

In a related story, I want to add to this:


Religion breeds conflict in people; wrong. People will get in scuffles, brawls and wars over anything and everything.

I think that's partially true and partially untrue. On the one hand I think you are right that people who want to fight, will find a reason to fight. And I don't think that it's reasonable to blame religion for *all* of the problems in the world, or even *most* of them, because as you said, it's entirely theoretically possible for those beliefs to not cloud people's relationships to the point of violent conflict. However, I also think there's something to be said that there are certain kinds of belief that foster an environment that is hostile to basic reasoning --- FTR, I'm not talking about Sound Science Reasoning or Citing Facts To Prove A Point, I'm talking about basic, common-sense rationality, such as "you can't kill everyone in the world who disagrees with you;" regardless of whether it's "okay" or not, it simply isn't practical. I don't think it's strictly the domain of religious/spiritual belief to foster this kind of environment, but I do think that it's an unfortunate side effect of people's desire to achieve personal contentness moreso than to understand what it is they are placing their faith in.

Not to say that "nobody thinks about what they believe;" that's actually not even the biggest problem I find that I have with most hardcore fundamentalists. They actually do think about what they believe. The questioning isn't the problem; when one accepts something like the Bible's Old Testament as literal, God-given moral truth, then he/she is accepting a lot of strange things that aren't particularly easy to conclude otherwise; that in itself isn't so much of a problem, either....but when you stack that acceptance of strange premises on top of a determination to understand the world based on those premises, you have a subsequent logical breakdown that leads to some particularly twisted views.

Simpy put: any worldview needs a stripped-down definition of "reality" in order to operate. Whatever you accept as ultimately "real" forms the basis of what you believe --- if you're spiritual, you might think that transcendence is really real, that it's the core of our beings, and that our physical forms are just temporary even though our transcendent aspects live on; or if you're more materialistic, you might think that transcendence is an illusion brought about by complex interactions of different aspects of our physical forms. Either way, most people seem to generally agree that (A) The physical world is basically real, and it does matter, and (B) that there are things which cannot be fully quantified in a strictly materialistic sense; a good example of this is consciousness, which I mentioned earlier.

Any worldview has aspects that it supresses, I find; religions tend to advise us to repress our more primal instincts and form a society that is basically antithetical to our immediate, innate desires, whereas more casual lifestyles (such as people who prefer to just not bother with things like philosophy because it's ultimately subjective, anyway --- I mean, nobody's found the One Big Answer To Philosophy Yet, and it's been going for how long?) tend to advise us to just ignore the questions that we might secretly have about things like life and significance and morality.

The problem arises when, in a society like America (that is at times fervently divided on religion), people's personal views on reality don't gel with each other. Take abortion, for example; Dr. George Tiller, a well-known abortion doctor from Kansas, was recently murdered by a lunatic who believed he was "saving lives" by killing this man. Now I have all the respect in the world for someone who wants to consider themselves "pro-life," even though I strongly disagree....but I also have no problem calling someone completely fucking insane when they murder someone based on that belief. I don't understand how people can act like anything --- especially something as complex as abortion --- is such a simple, one-sided issue; I still don't entirely know how I feel about it, and I find myself in conversations about it on a daily basis. On the one hand I feel like I understand my position and that I believe it's right, but on the other hand, I can't help but wonder what drives so many people to be so religiously opposed to it. I figure there must be *something* I'm missing, so I look it over again, and I come up empty.

tl;dr version: I don't think it's religion that causes extremism, per se, but rather the idea that one is personally exempt from mistakes. Given that, I don't think it's unfair to point out that the vast majority of world religions do assert, in some way or another, a state of "infallibility" that assures their followers that they are doing the right thing, and that if they keep doing the right thing, then they have nothing to worry about. And so while "religion" as a whole does not really flat-out tell people to go kill each other, it is quite capable of establishing a precedent that allows people to run their personal beliefs with further and further abandon and less and less consideration for the opposing side (or any consequences), snowballing until it gets bigger and bigger until it finally hits something and makes a huge mess. That is the part of religion that, frankly, scares the shit out of me.

I also feel that any hasty attempt to blame religion for all of the world's evils does a disservice to the reason why we blame it for what we do in the first place; if we falsly blame religion and then do away with it, without acknowledging what it is about religion that causes problems, then we're just going to experience the same problems again, and we've solved nothing.

P.S. Here's the NYT article about Tiller, for anyone who's interested:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/us/01tiller.html?_r=1

mynamewastaken
06-06-2009, 07:52 PM
I was raised as a Christian (Roman Catholic). When i was a kid i didn't believe in God. Then for some period i convinced myself that there might actually be something in this whole thing, and started to believe. But then in the later years, when i started to think more critically about the politics, religion and stuff, i started to form my own opinions, i began to loose my faith again.

pretty much the same with me

AllIn All It's Not So Bad
06-06-2009, 07:58 PM
Yes, I am basically an atheist
there you go son. that's the way to go
i'm an atheist too
all my family is religious. father, mother, aunt, grandparents, you name it.
i've come to realize that religion is for hypocrites and making money. i've realized that religion(ANY RELIGION) is a waste of time. i looked at all the religions and thought;"wow. all of these religions all around the world. which one is correct and right." they all just tie you down to some book, or a person that has been dead for thousands of years now. they try to control your life. i'm free of things like that. religion has caused more deaths than any other war and that's why i said they are hypocrites. they endorse peace and love but since the beginning of time, they've been trying to get rid of their enemies. An example would be the crusades. they fought to recover holy land from the muslins. another example would be killing hitler killing all the jews. modern day examples are catholics vs. protestants, shinu and shias.

IamSam
06-06-2009, 08:31 PM
I'm essentially a secular humanist, although I have had my Facebook as Pagan for a week now without anyone noticing.

b0red
06-06-2009, 08:56 PM
I am an atheist. I was raised with no words about any type of god/God/gods by my mom, and taken to church by my grandpa. I used to believe until I was about... 6. And I don't lie, cheat, murder, steal, etcetc and I'm not a bad person; people tell me I must be because I was raised with no faith.

I don't have a problem with religious people, unless they try to cram it down my throat. But even then, I think you have some ..well issues.
I understand people need a crutch and need to feel like living here is not all for nothing, that we just don't stop living and there is nothing after death. It is a very scary concept that is too big for mankind.
Primitive man used faith and religion to explain things they did not understand. Science can explain these things today.
Early man used faith and religion to control the populations. And well...look at the most religious populations. Still holds strong.

If you need it to make yourself feel better about your past (like my aunt) or because you don't like the feeling of nothing being after death (like my friend) or you feel the need to go for social reasons (like my great aunt) or whatever..... that is fine and is your business. But I think we are too far advanced and too smart of a species to still need a crutch like religion to cling to. And we are being held back by the extremists of all religions.
And, obviously, I say extremists because I know some people who have faith just have faith but believe in evolution, want gay marriage, are alright with abortions.....why they believe baffles me but, hey! whatever. :)



Anyone see Religulous?

NGNM85
06-06-2009, 11:04 PM
God, militant atheism is so tiring to me. It's the opposite side of the same coin as Christian missionary/conversion efforts;

No, because I can PROVE my ideas about human development and the formation of the universe, they are based on rigorous examination and documentation. I believe things because there is evidence to believe them, while religious people do it the other way around. Also atheists are decidedly less likely to assault or murder the opposition.


it's raving about other people's faith, which frankly shouldn't be anybody's business, as if it somehow tramples all over your own religious freedoms. Newsflash: it doesn't.

Nonsense. Theres' millions of examples. I mentioned the amendment to the pledge of the allegiance, the ban on stem-cell research, it's why millions of homosexual Americans are denied equal rights, because of christianity depending on what state you live in you could very well lose the most fundamental right over you're own body. Reliable polls prove that Americans are the least likely to vote for an atheist than any other minority, even homosexuals or muslims, we're at the bottom of the list. there are NO self-proclaimed atheists in the house or the senate. Why? Because it's political suicide. I garuntee theres' at least a few, but they can't possibly admit it.
Organizations, like the Boy/Girl Scouts, openly do not allow atheists as scout leaders, or members, if I have a child he or she will not be allowed. This is actually even illegal as they receive public funds. Thats' just the tip of the iceberg.


Not all of religion, and not all of Christianity is against science and discoveries made about the world through the scientific process. The ones who are, are extremists of a certain kind, the kind I'd rather not touch, because to try and convert them is virtually impossible. And pretty much everybody else is not trying to suffocate science.

Everybody, no? But the catholic church has always, and continues to stand against science and reason. They're not the only ones, either. In the last presidential race three of the ten finalists stated that they do not believe in evolution. another example, in 1999 the Kansas state legislature removed evolution from the public school system, as well as any mention of the big bang, and the age of the earth. Roughly 19 American states either don't teach evolution at all, or only mention it in passing, or teach it alongside creationism as if there was some kind of equivalency. This hurts the country. It makes Americans dumb. Also because of religious nonsense Stem Cell research which holds the promise of real cures for people suffering from paralysis, parkinsons, alzheimers, etc., was effectively blocked under the Bush administration. Even if religious people are not deliberately trying to attack or suppress science, they're doing it unconsciously by promoting unscientific (Read: "irrational") beliefs. like i said, science and religion are diametrically opposed. I mentioned the basic question, how can someone believe in god and claim to be a rational person when no proof of god exists? I don't know what happened just before the big bang or how it came to be, but I don't claim to.


All of these militant atheist "science uber alles" statements are usually made from a highly privileged, Western, Christian perspective.

You were right about western and Christian, "priveleged" definitely not.


Religion is not organized and centralized in all places of the world. People's faith is not necessarily tied down to texts and rigorous dogma as much as it's a set of customs and beliefs.

The dogma is the foundation of those beliefs, the bible is pretty essential to christianity, I don't think thats' a controversial statement.


To reduce a vastly varying world-wide phenomenon, discovered in literally every community throughout time, to the horrific acts of a few is grossly unfair.

Even if you take the more radical groups the KKK and it's affiliated groups, Muslim and Jewish extremist groups, you're talking a couple million people.


It's like saying nobody should have a moustache because Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan had one, and look at what awful things they did.

No comparison, for a number of reasons. First being that they didn't kill people BECAUSE they had moustaches. While millions have been murdered and continue to be in the name of religion. 9/11, the KKK and it's affiliated groups, etc. Shit, stoning and decapitating people in saudi Arabia is like a national sport, and now american doctors have to walk under armed guard lest they be shot by some inbred fuck.


Religion breeds conflict in people; wrong.

Nonsense.


People will get in scuffles, brawls and wars over anything and everything. Be it race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or just the fact that guy A stepped on guy B's toes at the queue to a night club. Tribes in Africa might've warred with each other for generations despite the fact that they seemingly had everything in common; religious practises, source of livelihood, language.

I never said religion was behind all the violence in the world, just one-third of the majority. And a hell of a lot more people have been slaughtered over christ than over nightclub altercations, I would say.


To look at even the conflicts between religious groups as purely born out of religious differences is turning a blind eye to the real reasons why the conflict was born - religions can and have lived peacefully side by side.

Theres' often a multitude of factors, the troubles in Northern Ireland are often erroneously portrayed as being a religious conflict. It was really about colonialism and inequality. I also believe that groups like A-Qaeda are using Islam politically, they use religion to express and define political objectives. However, religion is a key ingredient, and often makes the violence all the more extreme, fanning the flames. There may be examples of religions coinciding peaceably, but I'd say thats' the exception, not the rule.


In summary: look at the world outside your bubble, learn about the great variety in religions,

I find mythology interesting from a purely objective perspective, but I'm horrified by what it's doing to the world.


customs and non-organized faiths, have a chat with a Hindu biologist.

If he actually believes in Hinduism he's a shitty biologist.


And be honest to yourself; nobody, and I mean nobody, has a purely scientific worldview. Science is as vast as religion and none of us can cite scientific research every time we make a statement we believe in.

Not every one, but thats' sort of a nonstatement.

wheelchairman
06-07-2009, 06:16 AM
If we didn't have religion, would we still have those nice films that the Jews who control hollywood made?

That_Guy91
06-07-2009, 08:05 AM
If he actually believes in Hinduism he's a shitty biologist.

So Ken Miller is just completely full of it when he writes textbooks?

Static_Martyr
06-07-2009, 08:10 AM
there are NO self-proclaimed atheists in the house or the senate.

Ah, not true! There is one I know of:

http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/09/22/non-religious-congressman-pete-stark-at-harvard/

Congressman Pete Stark is self-described as "openly non-theistic."

That_Guy91
06-07-2009, 08:11 AM
there are NO self-proclaimed atheists in the house or the senate.

Ah, not true! There is one I know of:

http://friendlyatheist.com/2007/03/12/behind-the-scenes-of-congressman-pete-starks-announcement/

Congressman Pete Stark is self-described as "openly non-theistic."

He's actually the only one lol.

wheelchairman
06-07-2009, 08:33 AM
Fuck you, Per.

In all honesty that wasn't a jab at you, I had forgotten that that post was in this thread.

It was however a jab at the notion that the Jews control hollywood.

Vera
06-07-2009, 12:43 PM
No, because I can PROVE my ideas about human development and the formation of the universe, they are based on rigorous examination and documentation. I believe things because there is evidence to believe them, while religious people do it the other way around. Also atheists are decidedly less likely to assault or murder the opposition.

I meant similar in terms of equally annoying, which you're doing a great job of proving.



Nonsense. Theres' millions of examples. I mentioned the amendment to the pledge of the allegiance, the ban on stem-cell research, it's why millions of homosexual Americans are denied equal rights, because of christianity depending on what state you live in you could very well lose the most fundamental right over you're own body. Reliable polls prove that Americans are the least likely to vote for an atheist than any other minority, even homosexuals or muslims, we're at the bottom of the list. there are NO self-proclaimed atheists in the house or the senate. Why? Because it's political suicide. I garuntee theres' at least a few, but they can't possibly admit it.
See, this is what I'm talking about: your beef is with the actions of a radical minority (or minorities), not religion in and of itself. When you argue against religion as a whole, it's offensive to those many who believe and support gay rights and abortion and whatnot. To label all people of faith - worldwide - in all religions and religious practises, the kind of loonies whose actions and meddling in the governmental affairs of your country under the same heading, people are going to be pissed. Not just people who have faith and are NOT loonies, but the people who don't have faith but respect those who do.



You were right about western and Christian, "priveleged" definitely not.
White, Western, Christian people are privileged. Small facts of life, ask Ricky etc.


The dogma is the foundation of those beliefs, the bible is pretty essential to christianity, I don't think thats' a controversial statement.
Read about the variety of religions and religious practises around the world, not just the US or Europe. Widen your perspectives, please.



Even if you take the more radical groups the KKK and it's affiliated groups, Muslim and Jewish extremist groups, you're talking a couple million people.
Out of billions who believe and who you're labelling with your anti-religion bs.


I find mythology interesting from a purely objective perspective, but I'm horrified by what it's doing to the world.
And how much of this mythology have you actually studied? And your perspective is never objective.



If he actually believes in Hinduism he's a shitty biologist.
That's what thickhead atheists can't get through to their heads; religion and science can co-exist. You can pay respect to your ancestors', say a prayer to a higher being and then go study cell mechanisms in your lab or teach evolution. Just because some dumbfuck Christians say you can't, the two aren't globally seen as mutually exclusive. In some Asian countries, ancient herbal medicine tied to long-held spiritual beliefs, continues to live on next to Western medicine. If you deny this, you're being as close-minded as the Christians you oppose.

NGNM85
06-07-2009, 08:37 PM
I meant similar in terms of equally annoying, which you're doing a great job of proving.

Thats' irrelevant. I'm really not interested in feelings, I'm interested in ideas.


See, this is what I'm talking about: your beef is with the actions of a radical minority (or minorities), not religion in and of itself. When you argue against religion as a whole, it's offensive to those many who believe and support gay rights and abortion and whatnot. To label all people of faith - worldwide - in all religions and religious practises, the kind of loonies whose actions and meddling in the governmental affairs of your country under the same heading, people are going to be pissed. Not just people who have faith and are NOT loonies, but the people who don't have faith but respect those who do.

So I guess THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is just some tiny fringe group? Asinine.
Again you invoke this word "faith." it is NOT a virtue, it is NOTHING to be proud of. "Faith" in this context means blind, total certitude in things without a shred of evidence. "Gullibility" would be more accurate.


White, Western, Christian people are privileged. Small facts of life, ask Ricky etc.

Compared to tribes in Africa, yes, I'm privileged, but in this country I'm working class. However this is beside the point...


Read about the variety of religions and religious practises around the world, not just the US or Europe. Widen your perspectives, please.

The abrahamic faiths cover the majority of the planet, thats' just the truth, so thats' what I tend to focus on. I've read the Tao Te Ching, Dianetics, the Satanic Bible, I've read about various forms of Paganism/Wicca/Shamanism, Rastafarianism, and a little about Kabbalah. Most of my criticisms apply to most of these, my chief criticism applies to ALL of them. They are all ANTI-reason and rationality.


That's what thickhead atheists can't get through to their heads; religion and science can co-exist. You can pay respect to your ancestors', say a prayer to a higher being and then go study cell mechanisms in your lab or teach evolution. Just because some dumbfuck Christians say you can't, the two aren't globally seen as mutually exclusive.

Either you're being intentionally dense or you didn't understand me the first time. It's very simple. Science is based on analytical reasoning, gathering evidence, and then trying to disprove the results, what stands the test of time is ultimately truth. If you apply the same criteria applied to Newtonian Dynamics to Christianity it doesn't last five minutes. Like I said by historical evidence Christ was just made up. To believe in any of this you have to willfully suspend logical thought, but thats' dangerous because it becomes habit forming. We should ALWAYS think critically and analytically. Again, as Martin Luther said it, "Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has."


In some Asian countries, ancient herbal medicine tied to long-held spiritual beliefs, continues to live on next to Western medicine.

Homeopathy doesn't work. Theres' voluminous scientific data to back this up, Michael Brooks (Who has a PHD in Quantum Physics.) devotes an excellent chapter in his latest book to this subject, check it out if you don't believe me.


If you deny this, you're being as close-minded as the Christians you oppose.

No, no, no. I can show that Newtonian Dynamics, or the laws of thermodynamics, or evolution are true, you can prove entanglement, etc., unlike resurrection, unlike heaven, unlike prophecy. I don't accept any of these things on "faith", I accept them because they have been subjected to critical analysis and been proven to be absolutely true. Also, as i've said, I'm willing to revise my ideas based on evidence. If science were to discover CLEAR, IRREFUTABLE evidence of a supreme creator, I would accept it because it would be true (Thus, requiring no "belief.") because I’m rational. However even if scientists were to document every particle in this and any other possible universe, document all of existence, and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt there is no god, religious people STILL wouldn't accept it because they don't care about trivialities like reason, or facts. Thats' the difference.

NGNM85
06-07-2009, 08:42 PM
So Ken Miller is just completely full of it when he writes textbooks?

How can you consider yourself an honestly rational person and believe in magic, resurrections, and telepathic parent figures in the sky, etc? SOME scientists do, but only because on that subject they shut down their rational mind.

Vera
06-08-2009, 07:29 AM
Sigh. Dude, I've taken classes in Chemistry, Biology, Physics and plenty of Philosophy classes on the nature of scientific study. I know how that shit works. I believe and trust in its methods. You don't need to explain it to me as if I'm some sort of person who's lived under a rock for the past 20 years.

What I'm trying to get through is that religion is not some great big evil, and people can and do balance the two systems in their heads. Even the most rational beings have superstitious thoughts sometimes, and that's okay, so long as they don't let it interfere with their scientific conclusions and evaluations. Like, a meteorologist can go to church and give science based weather reports. The only real problem is if they believe X hurricane is caused by people's sins, and writes a report saying so. However, nobody would do that.

This debate is already making me feel like banging my head against a wall so I'm just going to stop. I read The God Delusion, I've heard all your arguments before, and I just don't feel like wasting any more energy on this.

PS. Middle class is still quite privileged, for what it's worth.

That_Guy91
06-08-2009, 04:06 PM
How can you consider yourself an honestly rational person and believe in magic, resurrections, and telepathic parent figures in the sky, etc? SOME scientists do, but only because on that subject they shut down their rational mind.

But that doesn't mean that as a rule, if the guy's Hindu, he's a bad biologist.

NGNM85
06-08-2009, 10:26 PM
Sigh. Dude, I've taken classes in Chemistry, Biology, Physics and plenty of Philosophy classes on the nature of scientific study. I know how that shit works. I believe and trust in its methods. You don't need to explain it to me as if I'm some sort of person who's lived under a rock for the past 20 years.

Apparently I do.


What I'm trying to get through is that religion is not some great big evil,

It absolutely is. It is the source of so much misery and ignorance and destruction, the damage it's doing to this world not only in the third world, but in the United States is appalling. It continues along it's long bloody track record as a source of bigotry, violence, and an impediment to social progress.


and people can and do balance the two systems in their heads. Even the most rational beings have superstitious thoughts sometimes,

Then they aren't that rational.


and that's okay, so long as they don't let it interfere with their scientific conclusions and evaluations. Like, a meteorologist can go to church and give science based weather reports. The only real problem is if they believe X hurricane is caused by people's sins, and writes a report saying so.

It absolutely has to interfere, thats' the point.


However, nobody would do that.

Not unusual, as I stated in many American schools creationism , the idea that a magic man in the sky made everything, is a staple of the curriculum. Religious people and groups frequently interpret natural phenomena as having religious significance. I'm reminded of Jerry Falwell who had over a million followers and had very close relationships with prominent politicians stated 9/11 was punishment from god for tolerating homosexuality. This is from a mainstream religious leader. So horrid.


This debate is already making me feel like banging my head against a wall so I'm just going to stop. I read The God Delusion,

You obviously missed Dawkin's points.


PS. Middle class is still quite privileged, for what it's worth.

I didn't say middle class, I said working class, I wish I was middle class.

NGNM85
06-08-2009, 10:34 PM
But that doesn't mean that as a rule, if the guy's Hindu, he's a bad biologist.

At BEST he'd have to be an incredibly dishonest biologist. Where does Ganesha or Vishnu fit on the evolutionary scale? What phylum do they belong to? What are their physiological properties? Do they honestly believe the first single-celled organism or the big bang were created by Lord Brahma, or whatever? This is completely irreconcileable with reason. The suspension of reason, especially in this case the indefinite suspension of reason is not just unscientific it's harmful, and unfortunately habit forming.

IamSam
06-09-2009, 12:14 PM
There is no middle ground with you, is there? Only black and white. No gray. How long have you been living in this world to not realize that this world isn't a monochromatic organism and that there is gray areas throughout all of society and philosophy? And while you're calling people "religious bigots" you are quite hypocritical because you are a bigot yourself.

Static_Martyr
06-09-2009, 03:43 PM
In light of this most recent exchange, I have a couple of questions for NGNM85. Please don't misinterpret this as hostile; if it comes across that way, apologies in advance. It's a sincere inquiry; these are all questions that were asked of me in my early days of blogging (and are still asked from time to time), and I'd be interested in hearing any sincere responses you have to them.

I just came from one of the conservative (SUPER conservative) blogs where I normally hang out in my free time. We were talking about morality and the nature of it, whether it is subjective or objective. Now, given your commitment to (what seems to me to be) rationalism, or a form thereof, I'm interested in hearing what your response to these questions will be, if you want to answer them:

1) Do you believe that morality is something that we experience subjectively, something that varies from person to person? Or do you believe that there is an objective standard of morality that exists outside of us? And in either case, how do you reach that conclusion?

2) Judging from the depth of your opposition here, I assume you have either taken some classes on philosophy and logic, or read up on them extensively. So you must be aware of the idea of the "First Premise," or the basic logical premise on which all subsequent deductions are made. If so, you must also be aware that the First Premise cannot be accepted based on rational thinking, or else it is not the "First Premise" (for the first premise precedes any attempt at logic or rational thought; it is the first premise in the series from which all other premises stem).

So then, if we take anything that anyone says, and follow their reasoning backward until the very beginning, it's assumed that we will eventually arrive at the "first premise," the core foundation of that person's belief. In that case, the FP is basically chosen for no reason, or based on a process that defies reason, such as emotions --- which are often credited as the source of "illusions of spirituality, transcendence, and/or a desire to act in a way that is otherwise (apparently) irrational or illogical."

Given the necessary existence of the First Premise in order for logic to happen, on what grounds do you accept the premise on which you base all of your logic? If you answer me as I suspect you might (as I answered the same way the first time I was asked this question), that you base it on what you can see, test, or otherwise verify using your senses, then I'd like to follow up with another:

3) Are you familiar with Rene Descartes' statement that "our senses are are capable of deception....and we should never trust fully in that which has deceived us even once?" If so, given your response to #2 (whatever it may be), do you affirm or deny this statement?

If you answered to #2 that you rely on your senses to perceive your First Premise, and you also accept Descartes' idea....then how do you justify placing complete trust in your senses to show you "final truth" about the universe?

If you did not answer to #2 and/or #3 as I expected, then what do you believe is the qualification for defining something as "absolute truth?" i.e. what is the "final reality" of reality, in your perspective?

4) Regardless of your above answers, if any, do you believe that we are capable of perceiving "absolute truth?" And do you believe that we can know that we are so capable, if in fact we are?

Thanks for answering (if you do), and thanks to everyone for keeping the conversation spirited :D

NGNM85
06-09-2009, 09:20 PM
[QUOTE=Static_Martyr;1314508]In light of this most recent exchange, I have a couple of questions for NGNM85. .....1) Do you believe that morality is something that we experience subjectively, something that varies from person to person? Or do you believe that there is an objective standard of morality that exists outside of us? And in either case, how do you reach that conclusion?

Well I clearly don't think it comes from religion, in fact I think the suggestion is ridiculous. I mean, has anybody actually read 'thou Shalt Not Kill' and had to take notes? Fundamentally, I think, and theres' plenty of research to back this up that most of what we deem moral behavior derives from ingrained, evolved behavior patterns. These are traits we find throughout the animal kingdom. Most creatures don't kill their own kind at least not in large numbers, most creatures, even most aggressive predators, care for their young. The great white which will actually eat it's babies is thankfully more the exception than the rule. Theres' a basic logic to it, like Nash's Game Thoery, coexistance and cooperation increase the odds of survival and growth and everybody's needs being met. So I would say that the moral sense is ingrained in us. That said, how does one create a philosophical system? Well I see the major secular competitors as being deontology as expounded by Kant, or Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, JS Mill, etc. I lean more towards utilitarianism, I think most people do. The greatest happiness for the greatest amount of people. You weigh the benefits versus the costs and you make a decision. Generally really atavistic antisocial behavior invokes negative results, etc. But I don't think many people are pure utilitarians, for instance, if you could prove say a child molester experienced incomprehensible ectasy, joy never before experienced by a human being, and that this joy was so great it outweighed the suffering of his victims it would be alright, or you could get away with murder by giving candy to enough children. Ok, we see the limits. Now Kant was the most hardcore deontologist, say the Nazis are at the door, jews in the basement, Kant would say lying to save their lives in unacceptable because you're treating people as ends not means. Thats' pretty radical, I think most people would judge lying as acceptable to save a life. So I don't think anyone can or should completely adopt either system, but rather a space in-between. That we should strive for the greatest good for the greatest amount of people while retaining a critical perspective. I think most people perform these processes pretty much unconsciously.

Questions 2, 3, and 4 all seem interrelated, generally having to do with the problems/limitations of human knowledge.

Ok....you're talking about metaphysics. What is reality? "Matrix" kinda thing. Yeah, well, obviously taking the pure scientific perspective my mind is my brain which is interpreting the world through electrochemical processes which could be altered or malfunctioning. If say the Matrix were real and there was a computer giving my brain all the impressions of reality would it qualify as real, and if all this is true how can we really know anything? Uhh, this is pretty interesting stuff, especially to debate while passing around a hookah, but I think we're all pretty much on the same page. It's good to acknowledge the limitations of human understanding, to question, but as far as I know I'm sitting here at this desk at this moment and thats' pretty satisfactory to me. All we can do is our best, accepting the biological limitations of human knowledge.

NGNM85
06-09-2009, 09:43 PM
There is no middle ground with you, is there? Only black and white. No gray.

.........On a number of issues, just not really on this one, at least not so far. There are some differences, for example Buddhists tend to murder less people than Jews or Christians, but all religions are socially destructive in that they are fundamentally antithetical to reason, which is fundamental to human progress,…human existence.


And while you're calling people "religious bigots" you are quite hypocritical because you are a bigot yourself.

Wrong, and I'll tell you why. Ok, first of all we have to outline the essential characteristics of prejudice. Bigotry involves a singling out. For example if I was a neo-Nazi and I hated Jews intensely simply because they are Jews, or the very commonplace bigotry against Muslims that’s infected American society. THAT is bigotry. I object to ALL religion, I take greater issue with the Abrahamic faiths because they are the largest and have the biggest bodycounts, however, it's all game. Second because bigotry is a hatred without reason, completely irrespective of the target. Racism, anti-semitism, hatred of homosexuals, they are all based on an arbitrary characteristic, a state of being, just by virtue of existence that PERSON is hatedThey are hated simply for being born into the wrong category, whatever the category is, it's really unimportant. My disdain for catholicism is based on what they DO, which is promote hatred/intolerance, and prevent logical thought. It’s also directed towards an institution, rather than persons. There are very despicable religious people, take Jerry Falwell or Rev. Phelps, etc., but again that’s based on their actions. I don't loathe it because it exists, I loathe it for what it does, that’s very different, fundamentally. It doesn’t meet the sufficient conditions.

IamSam
06-09-2009, 10:33 PM
Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

You have your opinions and you're prejudices. You treat members of a group (those that are religious) with hatred and intolerance.

If it walks like a duck...

NGNM85
06-10-2009, 12:45 AM
"Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance "

You treat members of a group (those that are religious) with hatred and intolerance.

I wanted to answer these together. Again.... I do not hate religious people, at least not all or even most of them, I hate religion, there’s a difference. Nothing I've said fits the criteria. Also, again, bigotry means hating people for what they ARE not what they DO.

I’ve made my objections VERY clear, but let’s go through it again.

All religions revolve around magical beings, a god, or several gods or goddesses. About 1,000 years ago that made sense, society was very primitive, early man turned to magic. In the year 2009 to believe, not just believe but be absolutely certain of things like an omnipotent creator in the sky, resurrection, reincarnation, or the afterlife is impossible because there is no such thing. It flies in the face of reality. It’s dangerous because it gets people accustomed to irrational and contradictory beliefs. It’s making Americans stupid, that’s true. I mentioned three of the final candidates for president of the united states said they absolutely did not believe in evolution. Is such a person really fit to deal with issues like global warming and nuclear proliferation? What does that say about our country that three men who have such bizarre misconceptions and can’t understand very basic simple scientific principles can get to almost be the president?

There is no benefit to believing in things that are blatantly false that does not outweigh the harm. You can’t possibly posit my ideas about creation as equally valuable or in any way equal to a Muslim’s or a Christian’s because mine are TRUE. The Big Bang ACTUALLY happened, there’s millions of pages of documented evidence, you can actually see it, touch it, that’s’ a huge difference.

Also, because all religions claim sole ownership of “the truth.” (See above.) Which very quickly leads to violence and bigotry against non-believers or different faiths (“Infidels”, “Heathens”, etc.) presently there are thousands (Perhaps more.) being murdered every day in the name of god or gods. (Interestingly, atheism is unique in it’s pronounced lack of atrocities.) There are wars being fought over it presently. From Saudi Arabia, to Israel, to Sub-Saharan Africa, to the American south. The catholic church officially teaches that homosexuals burn forever. (Along with Muslims, Jews, etc.) I’ve never said anything so hateful in my life.

Religion is damaging the country. In the thousands of schools that don’t teach evolution, to abortionists being murdered to legislature being passed to deny homosexuals equal rights or restrict a woman’s basic rights over her own body, to stem cell research which could save millions of people suffering horribly to be cut off… all in the name of religion.

While not every single religious person may exhibit all of these traits, these things are inseparable from the institution of religion.

I am intolerant of children being brainwashed with mythology over established scientific fact.
I am intolerant of any belief system that says a certain group of people should suffer forever because they were born.
I am intolerant of backward myths standing in the way of science, medicine and basic human rights.
I am intolerant that I am expected to treat mythology as if it were somehow equal to scientific truth.
I am intolerant of all the bloodshed murder and oppression that continues to be carried out in the name of mythology.
…..because these are intolerable things.




You have your opinions and you're prejudices.

There’s a world of difference between having prejudices (Which everyone does.) and being prejudiced.

b0red
06-10-2009, 10:38 AM
It’s making Americans stupid, that’s true.
It is true. America is falling behind in producing scientists and making advancements in science (among many other things).

I went to a public school that REFUSED to teach evolution. To which some of the other kids said to me "see, there is a god. otherwise they would teach that lie of evolution"


Someone the other day told me I needed mental help, I am ignorant, I am immature, and I am naive.
Because I said I don't believe in any god.

ad8
06-10-2009, 12:58 PM
I think the main problem is the interpretation of the religion. I never had any problem with mine and as the stories of like Jesus being resurrected lost their credibility to me I just tried to keep the values that came along with the religion. I think there are muslims, christian people, hindus and several other religious people that know how to understand the messages from their religion.

The problem is that there's also a huge group of religious people that is too naive, ignorant or stupid (thinking that only their religion is right and that the others are wrong) to use their religion in a productive and peaceful way.

Also, many people feel supported by the large number of other people with the same opinion/religion and don't think it's necessary to think about the correctness of the thing that they practice anymore. (imo)
That being said, I think the problem is rather the human nature than the religion although religion was created to satisfy needs caused by the human nature.

IamSam
06-10-2009, 01:55 PM
I wanted to answer these together. Again.... I do not hate religious people, at least not all or even most of them, I hate religion, there’s a difference. Nothing I've said fits the criteria. Also, again, bigotry means hating people for what they ARE not what they DO.

I’ve made my objections VERY clear, but let’s go through it again.

All religions revolve around magical beings, a god, or several gods or goddesses. About 1,000 years ago that made sense, society was very primitive, early man turned to magic. In the year 2009 to believe, not just believe but be absolutely certain of things like an omnipotent creator in the sky, resurrection, reincarnation, or the afterlife is impossible because there is no such thing. It flies in the face of reality. It’s dangerous because it gets people accustomed to irrational and contradictory beliefs. It’s making Americans stupid, that’s true. I mentioned three of the final candidates for president of the united states said they absolutely did not believe in evolution. Is such a person really fit to deal with issues like global warming and nuclear proliferation? What does that say about our country that three men who have such bizarre misconceptions and can’t understand very basic simple scientific principles can get to almost be the president?

There is no benefit to believing in things that are blatantly false that does not outweigh the harm. You can’t possibly posit my ideas about creation as equally valuable or in any way equal to a Muslim’s or a Christian’s because mine are TRUE. The Big Bang ACTUALLY happened, there’s millions of pages of documented evidence, you can actually see it, touch it, that’s’ a huge difference.

Also, because all religions claim sole ownership of “the truth.” (See above.) Which very quickly leads to violence and bigotry against non-believers or different faiths (“Infidels”, “Heathens”, etc.) presently there are thousands (Perhaps more.) being murdered every day in the name of god or gods. (Interestingly, atheism is unique in it’s pronounced lack of atrocities.) There are wars being fought over it presently. From Saudi Arabia, to Israel, to Sub-Saharan Africa, to the American south. The catholic church officially teaches that homosexuals burn forever. (Along with Muslims, Jews, etc.) I’ve never said anything so hateful in my life.

Religion is damaging the country. In the thousands of schools that don’t teach evolution, to abortionists being murdered to legislature being passed to deny homosexuals equal rights or restrict a woman’s basic rights over her own body, to stem cell research which could save millions of people suffering horribly to be cut off… all in the name of religion.

While not every single religious person may exhibit all of these traits, these things are inseparable from the institution of religion.

I am intolerant of children being brainwashed with mythology over established scientific fact.
I am intolerant of any belief system that says a certain group of people should suffer forever because they were born.
I am intolerant of backward myths standing in the way of science, medicine and basic human rights.
I am intolerant that I am expected to treat mythology as if it were somehow equal to scientific truth.
I am intolerant of all the bloodshed murder and oppression that continues to be carried out in the name of mythology.
…..because these are intolerable things.


.

There’s a world of difference between having prejudices (Which everyone does.) and being prejudiced.

Now don't get me wrong, there is much that I agree with you on. However, you can't qualify your argument that you are not a bigot because you skew what the actual definition of what a bigot is. By pure definition, and not by your skewed view of what a bigot is, you are a bigot.

As for the
"three of the final candidates for president of the united states said they absolutely did not believe in evolution. Is such a person really fit to deal with issues like global warming and nuclear proliferation? What does that say about our country that three men who have such bizarre misconceptions and can’t understand very basic simple scientific principles can get to almost be the president?"

Why would they not be set to deal with issues like global warming and nuclear proliferation? Does believing in a god suddenly make you unable to make environmentally friendly decisions? Does believing in a god suddenly give you the inability to deal with weapons of mass destruction? No. Now you're just being silly and placing issues on religion that does not belong to it. It's like blaming homosexuals for the current economic problems. They do not correlate.

Now, that being said, this is my last post in this thread direct at you. It's not because I don't think you're an intelligent person or that you don't have some good points. But rather it is your skewed sense of self and inability to recognize the rather hypocritical nature of your argument.

Static_Martyr
06-10-2009, 02:13 PM
"Matrix" kinda thing. Yeah, well, obviously taking the pure scientific perspective my mind is my brain which is interpreting the world through electrochemical processes which could be altered or malfunctioning.

That is one oft-cited possibility, yes, but I was referring less to the idea of the "mass illusion/Matrix" theory (i.e. that our understanding is "wrong") than I was to the idea that our understanding may simply be incomplete. There are a lot of things that, philosophically speaking, we can theorize about but cannot explain. Consciousness, my favorite example, has long been a HUGE roadblack for the purely materialistic worldview, as it is rooted in first-hand experience. I mean, how do you know if someone else is truly conscious? We believe that humans are because we are conscious, ourselves, and so it follows that other humans are almost certainly conscious. But look at wild organisms; insects are alive, and in some sense they are aware of their lives in that they have senses....but in what sense are they "conscious?" Do we say that they aren't conscious simply because they function as a hive with no real independent thought? Or do we say that they are conscious even in light of this? A simpler way of phrasing it: how do we define consciousness when referring to another person? How do you detect another "consciousness?"

Keeping in mind that life itself isn't necessarily "consciousness;" trees are alive but they don't seem to be conscious, nor do they have the capacity for synaptic responses that humans have. Something can be alive without being conscious, so saying that it's alive and therefore conscious isn't really accurate. Same goes for the aforementioned synaptics; brain activity doesn't necessitate consciousness by definition, either. Brain activity can be equivocated with extremely, extremely complex computer coding; based on that, it's theoretically possible to create an artificial entity that functions identically to a human, with the same degree of variables, by creating a rational interface that parallels the activity of the human brain....but that does not necessitate consciousness, because that does not necessarily mean that there is a conscious mind that experiences these synaptic sensations --- rather, it'd be an elaborate illusion aimed at mimicking consciousness. So where, then, does consciousness exist, and how?

Also keep in mind, I'm not saying that consciousness "proves" materialism wrong. I just concede that it (thus far) has no purely rational explanation (although I am open to being swayed on that). I know it's "real" in the best sense that I can understand, because I am conscious....but I cannot explain why I am conscious, or why I am able to feel what I am able to feel, or what it means that I am able to feel those things. Why am I not just a robot that experiences synaptic reactions? Why am I aware of these reactions? If humans are purely materialistic, complex computer life-forms, then how does the experience of consciousness fit into the equation? What does consciousness mean?

More food for thought: If consciousness is something that exists beyond basic material computation, then where does it go when our bodies die? It's rational, I think, to conclude that consciousness probably ceases at death; but the fact is that there is no way to quantify what exactly that means. We know that things like memories and emotions are chemically-based and will die off when your body dies, but what does that say of the conscious entity that experiences those emotions and memories? Or do you perhaps believe that there is no such entity?

(Again, I don't mean this to sound like a "gotcha!" question, nor do I mean to automatically apply "God of the Gaps" to force a supernatural conclusion; it's just another question that has been asked of myself and others before, and I'm interested in hearing your angle.)

Bottom line here: When I "challenge" your definition of "reality" (purely for debating purposes, of course), I mean not to imply that what you and I perceive with our senses "isn't real," or "is an illusion," but rather that it might not be all that is really there. It is my belief, as you seem to have acknowledged, that we cannot truly know beyond our capacity to know --- that includes whether or not our capacity to know is limited; how it is limited, if it is; and if it isn't, that it isn't. If we could somehow know these things, then that would be essentially a contradiction; if we could know them, then that would imply that we could observe them from a somewhat objective standpoint (from "outside" our limits, so to speak), which would imply that the limits we'd be seeing were not, in fact, limits at all.

I also believe that it's both naive and unwise to simply assume that humanity is and always has been all there is to the universe. The universe is HUGE, and its dimensions are awesome. There is still much we don't know about the universe --- any professional scientist will tell you that there is likely much more that we don't know than there is that we do --- and so to assume that what we experience right here and now, in this particular setup, is the "true final ultimate" experience that trumps all other possible definitions of real "experience," would be a bit hasty in my book, simply because I don't think we can ever truly know that that is the case.

AllIn All It's Not So Bad
06-10-2009, 02:49 PM
i know that uncyclopedia is not a good source, but it is funny and it is putting it in the simplest form, so people can understand. very true.
muslms die in the name of ala(see jihad (http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Jihad_My_Ride))
other people die in the name of god(s)
http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Religion

That_Guy91
06-10-2009, 06:19 PM
At BEST he'd have to be an incredibly dishonest biologist. Where does Ganesha or Vishnu fit on the evolutionary scale? What phylum do they belong to? What are their physiological properties? Do they honestly believe the first single-celled organism or the big bang were created by Lord Brahma, or whatever? This is completely irreconcileable with reason. The suspension of reason, especially in this case the indefinite suspension of reason is not just unscientific it's harmful, and unfortunately habit forming.

Keep in mind that just as you can't prove the existance of God, you can't disprove it, either. He'd have to alter his beliefs from the original dogma to fit what we know for a fact, but there's no reason that belief in God (or whatever you would call it for any particular religion) would make someone a bad scientist all on its own.

WebDudette
06-10-2009, 06:37 PM
I am an Atheist, but I sometimes I think that knowing that there is no God is about as ridiculous as knowing that there is. So I feel like I should be an Agnostic. But I can't really bring myself to believe that there is a possibility of there being a God.

That_Guy91
06-10-2009, 06:46 PM
I am an Atheist, but I sometimes I think that knowing that there is no God is about as ridiculous as knowing that there is. So I feel like I should be an Agnostic. But I can't really bring myself to believe that there is a possibility of there being a God.

I look at it more in terms of the supernatural as a whole, instead of the omnipotent, omniscient "God" figure.

WebDudette
06-10-2009, 06:52 PM
Supernatural as in karma, luck, and what ever else?

That_Guy91
06-10-2009, 07:51 PM
Supernatural as in karma, luck, and what ever else?

I personally don't name any specifics, because I have no real basis in which to define them. I just can't consider myself an atheist because of the possibility that supernatural events occur, even if I doubt it.

NGNM85
06-10-2009, 09:09 PM
Keep in mind that just as you can't prove the existance of God, you can't disprove it, either. He'd have to alter his beliefs from the original dogma to fit what we know for a fact, but there's no reason that belief in God (or whatever you would call it for any particular religion) would make someone a bad scientist all on its own.

This is a classic argument, although ultimately false. This isn't how science works. Just because I can't 100% prove that the universe wasn't created by a magical omnipotent being is not sufficient reason to believe it to be so, thats' not the scientific approach. Also, such a person would at best be a diest, not a christian, or a muslim, etc., because none of the creation myths fit with what we actually know about the formation of the cosmos. But to say "Well I can't prove a magic man in the sky didn't snap his fingers and make everything so it's probably true." is bad logic and definitely not scientific. I have no idea what preceded the big bang, and I don't pretend to, but I'm not going to then leap to far fetched assumptions. As for the other reasons why science and religion are incompatible, see the former.

NGNM85
06-10-2009, 09:36 PM
That is one oft-cited possibility, yes, but I was referring less to the idea of the "mass illusion/Matrix" theory (i.e. that our understanding is "wrong") than I was to the idea that our understanding may simply be incomplete. There are a lot of things that, philosophically speaking, we can theorize about but cannot explain.

There are obvious limits. We are beings with a limited capacity for awareness and understanding and limited lifespan trying to make sense of an infinite universe. The human brain cannot conceptualize infinity, we can't see all of the light spectrum, and if string theory is true there are as many as eleven dimension, only a fraction of which we can actually perceive. That said, we just have to apply rigorous analysis and simply act to the best of our ability.


Consciousness, my favorite example, has long been a HUGE roadblack for the purely materialistic worldview, as it is rooted in first-hand experience. I mean, how do you know if someone else is truly conscious?

Yeah, if you go all the way down the metaphysics rabbit hole the only thing that is actually real is your thoughts, and only for you, alone. However what choice do you have, I mean, you can be paralyzed by that, or...


We believe that humans are because we are conscious, ourselves, and so it follows that other humans are almost certainly conscious. But look at wild organisms; insects are alive, and in some sense they are aware of their lives in that they have senses....but in what sense are they "conscious?" Do we say that they aren't conscious simply because they function as a hive with no real independent thought? Or do we say that they are conscious even in light of this? A simpler way of phrasing it: how do we define consciousness when referring to another person? How do you detect another "consciousness?"

Other organisms are conscious, but not sentient. The human race is the only species on earth that fit that criteria, as Kant would say "Judges of the universe."


Keeping in mind that life itself isn't necessarily "consciousness;" trees are alive but they don't seem to be conscious, nor do they have the capacity for synaptic responses that humans have. Something can be alive without being conscious, so saying that it's alive and therefore conscious isn't really accurate. Same goes for the aforementioned synaptics; brain activity doesn't necessitate consciousness by definition, either. Brain activity can be equivocated with extremely, extremely complex computer coding; based on that, it's theoretically possible to create an artificial entity that functions identically to a human, with the same degree of variables, by creating a rational interface that parallels the activity of the human brain....but that does not necessitate consciousness, because that does not necessarily mean that there is a conscious mind that experiences these synaptic sensations --- rather, it'd be an elaborate illusion aimed at mimicking consciousness. So where, then, does consciousness exist, and how?

Uhh... Theoretically artificial intelligence might be possible someday, but that day is pretty far off. Even the "smartest" machines we have, like say, Deep Blue, aren't even as close to sentient as my cat. The real problem with artificial intelligence is machines can be programmed with lots of complex subroutines and commands, calculate large data sets, perform physical tasks, oftentimes better than a person,..but it doesn't understand why it's doing it. It lacks even the most basic intuition or comprehension. It may not be possible to create artificial intelligence ever, but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. If you factor in our growing understanding of what makes the brain tick and rather simplistic attepmts at merging the brain with technology, to get paralyzed people or amputees to move prosthetics and such, along with our increased computing power which according to Moores' law essentially doubles every year and a half. (Although this is expected to peter out around 2020.) Or Quantum Computers, which could eventually make modern supercomputers look like pocket calculators, (If we could get them to really work.) might just have enough computing power to make it happen. Even more interesting, I think, are the ethical and moral ramifications.


Also keep in mind, I'm not saying that consciousness "proves" materialism wrong. I just concede that it (thus far) has no purely rational explanation (although I am open to being swayed on that). I know it's "real" in the best sense that I can understand, because I am conscious....but I cannot explain why I am conscious, or why I am able to feel what I am able to feel, or what it means that I am able to feel those things. Why am I not just a robot that experiences synaptic reactions? Why am I aware of these reactions? If humans are purely materialistic, complex computer life-forms, then how does the experience of consciousness fit into the equation? What does consciousness mean?

I'm not a biologist but I don't think consciousness, which by what it sounds like is how you're defining sentience, is as inexplicable as you say. I mean, we're really just (comparatively) intelligent mammals. Our closest relatives, chimpanzees and Gorillas are fairly close, there are some Gorillas that know over 500 words, I believe. As for what does it mean I'm not sure I follow. In like a big picture philosophical sort of way, I think it's up to us to give our lives meaning.


More food for thought: If consciousness is something that exists beyond basic material computation, then where does it go when our bodies die? It's rational, I think, to conclude that consciousness probably ceases at death; but the fact is that there is no way to quantify what exactly that means. We know that things like memories and emotions are chemically-based and will die off when your body dies, but what does that say of the conscious entity that experiences those emotions and memories? Or do you perhaps believe that there is no such entity?

Thats' pretty much my belief, and hardly mine alone. Our consciousness is a biochemical/electrical network of neurons and such and when we die it simply shuts down.


I also believe that it's both naive and unwise to simply assume that humanity is and always has been all there is to the universe. The universe is HUGE, and its dimensions are awesome. There is still much we don't know about the universe --- any professional scientist will tell you that there is likely much more that we don't know than there is that we do --- and so to assume that what we experience right here and now, in this particular setup, is the "true final ultimate" experience that trumps all other possible definitions of real "experience," would be a bit hasty in my book, simply because I don't think we can ever truly know that that is the case.

Oh I'm virtually certain, as certain as I can be, of extraterrestrial life. It's really arrogant bullshit to think we are the greatest thing in the universe. That said, will we ever make contact with extraterrestrial lufe and how, thats' complex. Honestly I think "first contact" will not be made with a sentient species, but rather some form of alien bacteria, perhaps fossilized. The Russians are planning a mission to Deimos, it's not completely out of the realm of possibility they'd find fossilized bacteria or something, which would have awesome implications, by itself.

That_Guy91
06-10-2009, 09:44 PM
This is a classic argument, although ultimately false. This isn't how science works. Just because I can't 100% prove that the universe wasn't created by a magical omnipotent being is not sufficient reason to believe it to be so, thats' not the scientific approach. Also, such a person would at best be a diest, not a christian, or a muslim, etc., because none of the creation myths fit with what we actually know about the formation of the cosmos. But to say "Well I can't prove a magic man in the sky didn't snap his fingers and make everything so it's probably true." is bad logic and definitely not scientific. I have no idea what preceded the big bang, and I don't pretend to, but I'm not going to then leap to far fetched assumptions. As for the other reasons why science and religion are incompatible, see the former.

The man might consider himself a Hindu because, although a deist, his idea of God is the Hindu one. And my point was never that it was reasonable to believe so, it was that it isn't difinitively unproven, and therefore is thus far open to any interpretation. Nothing about this would make someone a bad biologist.

NGNM85
06-10-2009, 09:59 PM
Now don't get me wrong, there is much that I agree with you on. However, you can't qualify your argument that you are not a bigot because you skew what the actual definition of what a bigot is. By pure definition, and not by your skewed view of what a bigot is, you are a bigot.

That definition is really inadequate. For example, because I detest neo-nazis, or child molesters, I could be classified under that definition of bigotry, along with virtually everyone else. Thats' incomplete. What is prejudice? (Again you have to seperate this from having prejudices, we all have biases towards things we tend to like or dislike like chocolate, jazz, etc.) Well, first of all it's irrational. Malcolm X's dislike of white supremacists was not bigotry because he had actual, legitimate reasons to despise them, his house was burned down by klansmen as a child, etc., they are a group whose sole purpose is to injure others. You have to see the fundamental difference between that and say, anti-semitism. Prejudice is an irrational hatred. Also prejudice, again, means hating people for what they are, not who they are. If you kick me in the balls and I dislike you afterwards that does not make me a bigot, even if everyone of you're ethnic group does the same, because it's not about what you/they are, it's about what you've done. I don't arbitrarily decide to dislike religion. It's based on observations of recurring behavior, that last part is important. Religion is illogical, it is hostile to reason and science which are fundamental to human progress. Religion also has a unique tendency to inspire and encourage the worst kinds of barbarism and hatred. like al-Qaeda, the KKK, or the vatican saying all homosexuals will suffer forever because they had the misfortune of being born. These things are true, note, I'm not talking about individuals, I'm talking about an institution. Lastly, prejudice MUST involve a singling out. The old joke "I'm not prejudiced, i hate everybody." Goofy, but it's actually true, think about the converse. If I had said I don't descriminate, I love all religions you wouldn't question it, why is it descrimination to dislike all of religion? In short, it isn't.

[QUOTE=IamSam;1314917]Why would they not be set to deal with issues like global warming and nuclear proliferation? Does believing in a god suddenly make you unable to make environmentally friendly decisions? Does believing in a god suddenly give you the inability....etc.

It doesn't help. But you're misconstruing what I said. The issue was not just that these men were religious, they said they do not "believe" in EVOLUTION. Thats' like saying you don't believe in gravity, or like the flat earth society. Now if someone is so deluded they won't accept or can't understand such a simple and basic scientific fact how could they possibly clearly judge and understand global warming? Thats' the problem.

NGNM85
06-10-2009, 10:03 PM
The man might consider himself a Hindu because, although a deist, his idea of God is the Hindu one. And my point was never that it was reasonable to believe so, it was that it isn't difinitively unproven, and therefore is thus far open to any interpretation. Nothing about this would make someone a bad biologist.

Well to truly be a Hindu would mean not just believing the world was created by magic beings, but karma, Ganesh, Vishnu, etc., which is obviously problematic. Again, just because it is not 100% proven so does not constitute proof in itself. I can't "prove" you don't have fairies dancing in your garden, but based on all my knowledge and understanding I can't seriously entertain the notion. The scientific position on the origin of the universe or the origin of life is "I don't know."

Static_Martyr
06-11-2009, 03:53 AM
Uhh... Theoretically artificial intelligence might be possible someday, but that day is pretty far off. Even the "smartest" machines we have, like say, Deep Blue, aren't even as close to sentient as my cat. The real problem with artificial intelligence is machines can be programmed with lots of complex subroutines and commands, calculate large data sets, perform physical tasks, oftentimes better than a person,..but it doesn't understand why it's doing it. It lacks even the most basic intuition or comprehension. It may not be possible to create artificial intelligence ever, but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out.

Well, my point wasn't so much that it's possible now as it was that it's theoretically possible in a purely materialistic worldview. If we are all just synaptic reactions in a biological environment, then that's what we basically are: EXTREMELY complex computers. There is no "spirit" or other outside force/influence that makes our consciousness, sentience, or otherwise-named self-awareness unique or true; it's basically an illusion. If that is in fact the case, then I believe it must follow that a like entity could, even if only theoretically, be constructed from basically non-living matter (much in the way that the simplest life was made from non-living matter, like sugars and minerals) in such a super-complicated way as to resemble human behavior.

For example, it's then theoretically possible to create a "robot" with synaptic responses complex enough to mimic human behavior, feeling and decision. There is nothing in hard materialism that places emotions or perception above the biological functions of our bodies. Which means they are controlled by variables in our brains --- which are theoretically reproducible.

And the point of making that point was that, going on a purely materialistic worldview, there is no way to differentiate between such a theoretical "super-complex machine" and a living human, because they share the same biological synaptic processes.

I guess I should ask before I go on: Do you believe that there is anything about human behavior (from a biological standpoint) that absolutely cannot ever be manually reproduced by any means?

That_Guy91
06-11-2009, 08:48 AM
Well to truly be a Hindu would mean not just believing the world was created by magic beings, but karma, Ganesh, Vishnu, etc., which is obviously problematic. Again, just because it is not 100% proven so does not constitute proof in itself. I can't "prove" you don't have fairies dancing in your garden, but based on all my knowledge and understanding I can't seriously entertain the notion. The scientific position on the origin of the universe or the origin of life is "I don't know."

I didn't say that there was prrof of the supernatural. Quit putting words in my mouth (er, keyboard). I'm talking about the possibility, and you're acting like it's impossible.

wheelchairman
06-11-2009, 05:54 PM
I'm just going to post here to sum up my views as to why I think NGMN85 is completely wrong. I haven't read every post in this thread I'm afraid, but I've read more than a handful. I wasn't planning on posting or engaging in a debate, but well I'm an intolerant man when it comes to intolerance.

I think the most important flaw in the argument so far has been the idea that science and religion are contradictions, or competing factors. This is a common misconception but it seems rather simple to avoid. The main factor behind this misconception is that it was a contradiction in the past, a rather large one. Now it is only a contradiction in certain 3rd world countries, and in a minority of the Republican party, a minority that has lost significant steam in the last years.

For most of the western world religion and science are not competing in the same field, and perhaps this is true even in much of the 3rd world as well. The functions of science and religion are not even the same anymore. Religion is no longer used as an end-all explanation for the majority of the faithful. Far from it, the majority of the faithful find comfort in religion in ways science never could offer. Dealing with the death of a loved one for instance, or struggling through what would to oneself be an otherwise meaningless existence. This seems to me to be the primary function of religion. The Catholic church even recognizes evolution as a fact.

Science on the other hand is a tool for understanding the physical world around us. However NGMN85, it seems to me that you have a very dogmatic view of science as absolute fact. Any scientist will tell you that what we know now as 'fact', may become fiction when more knowledge and data has been ascertained. This of course has been the history of science until now. As scientific methods change, so does our understanding of the world.

Of course there are groups who wish to create and maintain this contradiction between science and religion. The religiously dogmatic and the atheist dogmatists (those for example who take science as absolute fact, as opposed to what it really is, a work in progress.) It also seems to me that the religious vs. atheist debate is significantly more polarized in the US than it is in much of Europe.

Its great, NGMN85 that you do not need nor want religion to find solace in. However I take issue with your inability to understand or really tolerate those who do choose to take solace in their religion. Yes I read that you come from a catholic upbringing, and I can understand how that would suck. From what I gather most people from a Catholic upbringing don't really appreciate it. (That was a joke).

Now this is where I've never appreciated the anarchist view on religion. The Marxists at least relied on dialectic materialism to guide their approach (a sociological method in itself). Anarchists seem to lack a methodology, which then seems to lead many of them to extremist absolutist views towards many sociological issues. I'm not saying there aren't extremist Marxists, or dogmatic Marxists, of course there are. Far far too many of them. However I have always found the core of Marxism to be far more sympathetic to religion than that which was put into practice. As I quoted before in this thread, Marx viewed religion as the heaving sigh of the oppressed masses, the opiate of the people, during a time when opium was a medicinal painkiller, not an addictive drug. (which it also was, but they didn't know that.) In fact this was during a time in medicine when surgeries had to be performed quickly because there was no knowledge of real painkillers, nor did they know of bacteria, which meant they often used the same unwashed instruments. With new knowledge in the field of medical science, the methods of medicine radically changed for the better. The previous methods now seem barbaric to us.

Without understanding the social role of religion, and its roots it is no surprise to me that there are these atheist dogmatists.

They also easily overlook the good that religion has done. An interesting anecdote that I enjoy is why Poland is so ridiculously and overtly religious compared to the rest of both Eastern and Western Europe. The Polish church and its clergy were actively working against the Nazi occupiers, often at great risk to their own lives. Much of the clergy itself was rounded up and put into concentration camps for their efforts to help their countrymen. There are examples of priests who did collaborated, but they are not representative of the majority of the Polish church at the time.

I'm through, end of argument. You're all wrong and I'm right as usual.

wheelchairman
06-11-2009, 08:18 PM
On a completely different note I also wish to address the common claim that 'religion' is the cause of so many evils in this world.

This in my own opinion is far too simplistic a view. Simply because it lacks context in most cases. This could be an acceptable world view if you were to subscribe to Samuel Huntington's 'clash of civilizations' outlook, however I find that to be oversimplified as well.

Religion more often than not functions as the banner call for a group action, it in itself is rarely the catalyst or even the main motivation. The motivations, will and power in pushing forth the 'religious wars' or whatever other ill you wish to bring up has a far deeper root than religion, usually there are historical, cultural, economic and sociological factors at play, where the religious are simply exploited to serve a means. Are they exploited because they are faithful? Similar to industrial workers being exploited for whatever reasons they have, or poor people being exploited by their landlords. Soldiers follow orders, employees follow orders, tenants follow orders, etc. Any argument you raise against the religious for being tools can be raised against the working class for their acceptance as well.

On top of that such a view of religion paints religion as a monochrome entity, where every religion has their hard-liners and their reformists. Not to mention the fact that there are a number of religions in the first place.

Essentially in a jumbled and fatigued manner I am trying to say that religion is not the sole cause of any action taken by men, there are always other factors and to ignore this is simply to be ignorant.

p.s. According to Max Weber, its religion that is to blame for why the Germanic peoples are always so punctual. That's a good thing I guess. :/

T-6005
06-12-2009, 07:30 AM
Thanks, Per. As usual you take what I want to say and make it understandable.

Focusing on any one element as a defining factor is a methodological and intellectual faux pas. Everything needs to be situated in terms of historic/social/economic/cultural context.

Offspring-Junkie
06-12-2009, 09:52 AM
I read that someone who studies biology MUST in fact be sure that something godlike cannot exist, simply because you cannot verify it.
In my opinion it's exactly the other way around.
As a scientist, you know how complex life is. Gravity, human interactions, animals, the orbit, metalbolism, the golden section, evolution, history, anatomy, molecules, languages, technology, fonts, arcitecture, time, sports and so on. They seem too complex to happen spontanious, out of nowhere. Believing there is a higher being behind this as a scientist sounds more reasonable (to me) than saying it's just coincidence.
I hope this doesn't sound too dump.

That_Guy91
06-12-2009, 01:43 PM
I read that someone who studies biology MUST in fact be sure that something godlike cannot exist, simply because you cannot verify it.
That's not really how science works. Just because something isn't provable, doesn't mean it's disproven. The supernatural is sort of out of the scope of science. And either way, science doesn't require atheism, so whoever told you that was full of it.


In my opinion it's exactly the other way around.
As a scientist, you know how complex life is. Gravity, human interactions, animals, the orbit, metalbolism, the golden section, evolution, history, anatomy, molecules, languages, technology, fonts, arcitecture, time, sports and so on. They seem too complex to happen spontanious, out of nowhere. Believing there is a higher being behind this as a scientist sounds more reasonable (to me) than saying it's just coincidence.
Well, a good amount of the things you mentioned are man-made, and therefore not "out of nowhere". Also, very little about science is spontaneous. Keep in mind that the universe is about 14 billion years old.

I'm not sure what you mean by "coincidence". Do you mean that it's a coincidence that all of these things happened and we exist now? I've heard that point before, and I thought it was rather arrogant. It's like assuming the universe exists just for us to populate it, and that's not the case at all. The past didn't occur to make the present possible, the present is an extension of the past.


I hope this doesn't sound too dump.
lol

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 05:36 PM
...in a purely materialistic worldview. If we are all just synaptic reactions in a biological environment, then that's what we basically are: EXTREMELY complex computers. There is no "spirit" or other outside force/influence that makes our consciousness, sentience, or otherwise-named self-awareness unique or true; it's basically an illusion. If that is in fact the case, then I believe it must follow that a like entity could, even if only theoretically, be constructed from basically non-living matter (much in the way that the simplest life was made from non-living matter, like sugars and minerals) in such a super-complicated way as to resemble human behavior.
...
And the point of making that point was that, going on a purely materialistic worldview, there is no way to differentiate between such a theoretical "super-complex machine" and a living human, because they share the same biological synaptic processes.
...
I guess I should ask before I go on: Do you believe that there is anything about human behavior (from a biological standpoint) that absolutely cannot ever be manually reproduced by any means?

Well, this is all very theoretical and subjective. Tje equivalence would depend on creating true sentience, consciousness, as you say, thats' the trick. How to even program such a thing is fraught with complications. All the other basic processes are mostly pretty easy to create, machines that self replicate, umm, they would need some kind of power source which would be roughly analagous to feeding, conduits carrying energy to different parts, not wholly dissimilar to our circulatory system. Real emotions would also be tricky, even if a sentient machine were to be created, our instincts toward sympathy and empathy, which are essentially developed survival imperatives, would be most likely absent. Also, such an entity might not even want to reproduce, though it would probably be capable. I think it would have a natural sense of self-preservation, though. Again, this is highly speculative. So, my best answer would probably be "not really", or "not necessarily."

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 05:43 PM
I didn't say that there was prrof of the supernatural. Quit putting words in my mouth (er, keyboard). I'm talking about the possibility, and you're acting like it's impossible.

It's impossible until there is reason to believe it's possible. Again, thats' not how the scientific method works, simply because i can't prove there aren't fairies in your garden, doesn't mean I should seriously entertain the possibility. I fully admit one cannot fully disprove the existence of god (or gods) however the value of that fact is often overstated. A scientific person, again, like me, says "I don't know." The word "supernatural" is also highly dubious. It's a nonstatement. Like I said before I don't have to "believe" in gravity, because it's true, it's a matter of verifiable fact. Anything that is actually real would have real properties. Say Zeus, or Quetzelcoatl, or Horus (The egyptian god on whom the character of Christ is probably based.) were to land tomarrow out of the sky. Then religion would become science, because we'd be dealing with things that actually exist. You'd have physicists with PHD's figuring out exactly how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin. So, "supernatural" essentially means "not real", or "made up."

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 06:37 PM
I think the most important flaw in the argument so far has been the idea that science and religion are contradictions, or competing factors. This is a common misconception but it seems rather simple to avoid. The main factor behind this misconception is that it was a contradiction in the past, a rather large one. Now it is only a contradiction in certain 3rd world countries, and in a minority of the Republican party, a minority that has lost significant steam in the last years.
For most of the western world religion and science are not competing in the same field,

I completely disagree. Unless you say you believe I god as a metaphor or something, in which case you’re not actually religious. No mythological figure meets the criteria set forth by the scientific method, which is also the philosophical method.

Also you understate the size and power of the radical religious right, believe me they are major players in American politics.


and perhaps this is true even in much of the 3rd world as well. The functions of science and religion are not even the same anymore. Religion is no longer used as an end-all explanation for the majority of the faithful.

I’m quite aware that in the west fewer people believe religious texts 100% literally, although there are some very frightening figures regarding America which is much more like third world nations in terms of religious fanaticism/fundamentalism. The simple truth however remains, you can’t be a rational person and be 100% sure of that which you have no proof. The object of science is to look at what you can prove, and then to even subject that to rigorous testing, and what survives is truth.


Far from it, the majority of the faithful find comfort in religion in ways science never could offer. Dealing with the death of a loved one for instance, or struggling through what would to oneself be an otherwise meaningless existence. This seems to me to be the primary function of religion.

I think Atheism generally gets a bum rap on this. I think it’s possible to have a life-affirming atheism. If you believe, as there is reason to, that this is the only life there is, it becomes more precious. I think the majesty of the universe is plenty significant and awe-inspiring without needing magical beings.


The Catholic church even recognizes evolution as a fact.

Barely. They’ve stopped vehemently attacking it, but they don’t really endorse it either. I think they’re just taking a pragmatic approach because it’s generally understood to be the truth. Sadly, again, the US is unique in the amount of our population who does not believe in evolution, including, as mentioned, three finalists in the presidential primaries.


As scientific methods change, so does our understanding of the world.

Absolutely. For example dark matter and dark energy which are all the rage right now might be based on faulty premesis. There is a competing theory called Modified Newtonian Dynamics, however dark matter and dark energy seem to have a little more weight, hence the greater acceptance by the scientific community. Hey, neutrinos used to just be an idea, rejected by some, now they can be made in a lab. The difference is science generally does the homework first, unlike religion, and also, scientists will admit they are wrong and change the paradigm if it is disproven, while religious types often dismiss any factual evidence that contradicts their preconceived notions.


Of course there are groups who wish to create and maintain this contradiction between science and religion. The religiously dogmatic and the atheist dogmatists (those for example who take science as absolute fact, as opposed to what it really is, a work in progress.)

I think every rational person acknowledges science is a work in progress.


It also seems to me that the religious vs. atheist debate is significantly more polarized in the US than it is in much of Europe.

Yes, absolutely. There are reliable polls, the difference is astounding. I have a feeling this has to do with cultural differences, as well as economic differences. For being the global superpower in terms of homelessness, unemployment, and infant mortality, we’re closer to the third world in many respects.


Its great, NGMN85 that you do not need nor want religion to find solace in. However I take issue with your inability to understand or really tolerate those who do choose to take solace in their religion.

Well, if they could keep it entirely to themselves I’d be more accepting. But either way, it involves suspending logical thought, which I think is generally a bad thing. Someone might discover something great or be inspired to do something by not thinking logically, but I don’t see it as beneficial in the long run.


Now this is where I've never appreciated the anarchist view on religion. The Marxists at least relied on dialectic materialism to guide their approach (a sociological method in itself). Anarchists seem to lack a methodology, which then seems to lead many of them to extremist absolutist views towards many sociological issues. I'm not saying there aren't extremist Marxists, or dogmatic Marxists, of course there are. Far far too many of them. However I have always found the core of Marxism to be far more sympathetic to religion than that which was put into practice. As I quoted before in this thread, Marx viewed religion as the heaving sigh of the oppressed masses…

Anarchists are generally materialists on the whole with some exceptions, some of the earlier proto anarchists or fellow-travelers were religious (Tolstoy, for example.), generally believing that god’s law had primacy over man-made law, and made such law redundant. The chief difference is for his understanding of class, Marx fully embraced monolithic power structures. The dictatorship of the proletariat, not unlike Plato’s “philosopher king.” Anarchists are more likely to support the adage “absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” This was the central thesis of Bakunin’s split with Marx, and I think Bakunin’s perspective is on more solid ground, looking back. Anarchism is critical of all monolithic concentrations of power, seeing them as the primary source of inequality and human suffering. Rather than proletariat/bourgeoisie, although Anarchists are commited to class struggle, Anarchists generally view the forces of oppression/exploitation as more of a triumvirate: state/church/financial institutions. If one analyzes these institutions they function in virtually identical ways, fundamentally, and are intrinsically linked. This is a really insufficient treatment, if you're interested in discussing Anarchism I'd suggest a switch to the Anarchist threads, although I'd recommend you read my previous posts I've expounded on this at some length.

Yes, Marx as an ideologue, would probably have been horrified by most of what was done in his name.


Without understanding the social role of religion, and its roots it is no surprise to me that there are these atheist dogmatists.

“Dogma” could be applied to my Anarchist beliefs, although I’d debate that, however any rational scientific perspective is inherently skeptical, whereas “dogma” is more rigid. I’d have no problem with god if he showed up tomorrow, I just refuse to absolutely accept fantastical premesis.


They also easily overlook the good that religion has done. An interesting anecdote that I enjoy is why Poland is so ridiculously and overtly …etc.

Yes, that’s’ true. The CIA essentially went to war against the catholic church in South America, because they were championing the poor, while we were arming the military juntas which were tied to foreign interests and moneyed classes. The most notable being Archbishop Romero, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide. There are other examples, like Bishop Belo, or that priest who tried to kill Hitler. However, the Vatican was very supportive of the third reich, and has often sided with the oppressor over the oppressed. I fully acknowledge that religious organizations have done good, but that religion was not the essential ingredient, there are many secular human rights groups, it’s not vital, in that case I think it’s superfluous.

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 06:45 PM
Some good videos expounding atheism/secular humanism.

Richard Dawkins Interview (2 Parts)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNHo00gjHRk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFChwyJEc4g&feature=related

Sam Harris: "Misconceptions About Atheism"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLIKAyzeIw4

Christopher Hitchens

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8fjFKAC5k

IamSam
06-12-2009, 07:54 PM
Well, if they could keep it entirely to themselves I’d be more accepting.


I promised myself to not say anything else, but this is nonsense.

Do you see how hypocritical you are? You think that it's okay to push your beliefs off as complete fact regardless of the audience yet as soon as someone tries to tell you their beliefs, based on religion, it's not okay?

Let's just throw the First Amendment out, shall we?

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 08:19 PM
Do you see how hypocritical you are? You think that it's okay to push your beliefs off as complete fact regardless of the audience yet as soon as someone tries to tell you their beliefs, based on religion, it's not okay?
Let's just throw the First Amendment out, shall we?


Well, it depends on what you're talking about. First of all, say, evolution, the big bang, and gravity are facts, not ideas, and I claim no special ownership of them. Gravity is just as much yours or mine or anybody else's, thats' mostly been the topic of this conversation. As for my actual beliefs about say, Anarchism, or human nature, I'm fully willing to debate them, however these are largely informed by studies,etc., empirical observation. This is radically different from the way religion operates. I am a firm believer in the freedom of ideas and freedom of speech, however this is often misunderstood. A perfect example is this Miss Prejean, who may be a very physically attractive female, bit is a bit of an airhead, and obviously, something of a bigot as well. (Imagine if she'd said she was morally opposed to interracial marriage or something, theres' no difference.) she has every right to that idea, so does Tom Metzger, or Ted Kacyzinski, or whomever,.. HOWEVER just because someone is entitled to have an idea certainly doesn't mean it isn't total horseshit, and does not obligate me to pretend it isn't total horseshit. Interestingly the biggest censors are the religious groups, it's the thing you're not allowed to question, and certainly not to criticize, so I'd say I'm much more open about free speech than they are.

IamSam
06-12-2009, 08:23 PM
Once again you sidestep accusations by rambling about something not tied to what I was saying at all. Good job.:rolleyes:

NGNM85
06-12-2009, 08:40 PM
Once again you sidestep accusations by rambling about something not tied to what I was saying at all. Good job.:rolleyes:

What wasn't addressed? I thought it should be clear I have no objection with the establishment clause, I don't think I gave any reason to believe otherwise.

That_Guy91
06-13-2009, 08:19 AM
It's impossible until there is reason to believe it's possible.

Now, that's just not true. Things don't suddenly become possible when we know they're possible. Copernicus didn't invent heliocentrism, he just verified it. I would agree that there's no reason to believe in god or anything of the like, but you can't say it's not possible.

lucys_bad_habit
06-13-2009, 08:27 AM
I would agree that there's no reason to believe in god or anything of the like, but you can't say it's not possible.

agree with that as well

IamSam
06-13-2009, 03:13 PM
What wasn't addressed? I thought it should be clear I have no objection with the establishment clause, I don't think I gave any reason to believe otherwise.

'Wir sind gewohnt dass die Menschen verhöhnen was sie nicht verstehen.'

NGNM85
06-13-2009, 08:33 PM
'Wir sind gewohnt dass die Menschen verhöhnen was sie nicht verstehen.'

I know a little german but I had to look up a few words, that seems really counterproductive. I really don't know what you're problem is. I was multitasking while breezing through you're post before last so I thought you we're talking about the fifth amendment instead of the first, but the same argument applies. Freedom of religion also equals freedom from religion, in fact this is most likely it's intention, the founding fathers were extremely critical of organized religion. We really have a uniquely secular government, at least in theory. In fact I think the establishment clause helps atheists more than anybody else because atheists are the most, or one of the most marginalized minority groups, which is interesting because we outnumber a lot of others who have substantial lobbies. Anyhow, the same principle applies. Everyone has the right to believe, but that doesn't mean it isn't bullshit or deserves respect. Scientologists have every legal right to believe we're haunted by the spirits of dead aliens, just as I'm free to dismiss it because it's nonsense.

ad8
06-14-2009, 01:07 AM
'Wir sind gewohnt dass die Menschen verhöhnen was sie nicht verstehen.'

Why the fuck is half of the forums speaking russian and german all of a sudden?:D That scares me a bit:o

NGM85: That sentence means: "We are used to people mocking things they don't understand."

Grimesy da Offspringfan
06-14-2009, 10:35 AM
I think i've never posted here before so...here it goes...Genereally, i think it's perfectly okay to believe in some kind of "God", especially after something bad happened to a person, because sometimes people just need to have faith in something that protects them or something like that, but religion, as an institute, is probably about the most dangerous thing ever invented. Every religion seems to be good at first, based on the Bible or the Koran, people are supposed to be nice and live in peace with each other, but eventually people are going to twist these rules and use them for their own benefit, simply because that's human nature. I bet most of those arabic guys who are killing people have no idea what "Jihad" and "Infidel" actually means

Jesus
06-14-2009, 02:45 PM
Hi I'm me.
I grew up mostly without religion, although I went to catholic schools all my life (well what passes for catholic education here). So I'm pretty much an atheist by default. I'm unable to comprehend religion, but I have the same thing with nationalism or institutionalised multiculturalism. It's irrational group behavior to me. That stuff simply makes no sense to me, as much as someone tries to explain it to me. Faith I can understand though. Because faith is an individual aspect. Anyway I quickly skimmed through the topic and what Maria said made the most sense to me, minus some throwaway comments like that towelhead thing.



I was going to write a breakdown of each article but then I got too lazy. The first explains that the significance of the veil/burqa is culturally situated - that it doesn't signify a repression of liberty, but rather that choosing when and where to wear the veil sets the tone for the social interactions which are going on there.
Yup, just like women in the early twenty century in the West, lacked rights (voting, job, divorce, ...) and had to behave a certain way. That had nothing to do with a repression of liberty. It was more culturally situated. It helped them to get acceptance in society. Not surprising that a lot of those women had to be convinced a lot (it was against their own short term interest) by upperclass retarded women and other rationally based enlightment idiots who argued that they were repressed. Those women surely didn't need "saving" either.


Seems like a brilliant article, probably not as brilliant as anything written by Edmund Burke though!


That's not to mention that women had access to employment, the right to property, and a right to education much, much earlier than any European counterparts.

Had is the correct word. Heck even the scientific method was first developed by Ibn al-Haytham. Good stuff came from there, while Europe was still being dumbed down and wrecked apart by totalitarian religion and nationalism. The middle east had the focus more on the individual (faith), while the west was focused on group identity (religion and nationalism). Stuff got confusing somewhere along the way though.


People who run home and beat their wives don't hail specifically from one religion or one area, and putting that on their cultural background is just damn ignorant.


I agree, and that's why the trend towards multiculturalism in jurisprudence is frightening me. Cause it appoints group rights over individual rights. I don't think an Iraqi muslim immigrant should get a lighter punishment for beating women compared to when a "local" man here does (group identity shouldn't matter for the judgement). Sadly a lot of people think differently.

NGNM85
06-14-2009, 08:51 PM
Why the fuck is half of the forums speaking russian and german all of a sudden?:D That scares me a bit:o

NGM85: That sentence means: "We are used to people mocking things they don't understand."

I figured that out, it just seems counterproductive.

Extremizator
06-16-2009, 12:39 AM
Jesus, where do you draw the line between nationalism and institutionalised multiculturalism?

Offspring-Junkie
06-16-2009, 10:59 AM
Well, a good amount of the things you mentioned are man-made, and therefore not "out of nowhere". Also, very little about science is spontaneous. Keep in mind that the universe is about 14 billion years old.
It's basically an idea out of nowhere, literally, that brings science to success. How do you define an idea? A development of synapses that bring you an image you translate into action? Sounds still "out of nowhere" to me.


I'm not sure what you mean by "coincidence". Do you mean that it's a coincidence that all of these things happened and we exist now? I've heard that point before, and I thought it was rather arrogant. It's like assuming the universe exists just for us to populate it, and that's not the case at all. The past didn't occur to make the present possible, the present is an extension of the past.

I don't know what atheists think, but they must believe in coincidence if nothing else is left, right? Why are we here? No reason/purpose = coincidence. Big bang till now = coincidence. I can't handle that. Call me religious or superstitious, but believing in nothing is harder for me than to believe in something I can't understand/proof.
I hope my point of view is a bit clearer now.

Static_Martyr
06-16-2009, 03:01 PM
GOOD GOD this post is long, so I've bold-faced the important parts for anyone who doesn't want to read all of it. Sorry, I'm quite long-winded once I get started :cool:


I don't know what atheists think

Ah, then allow me to explain from my own perspective. Keeping in mind, of course, that I don't speak for all atheists (or even most, or any, other than myself)~

To start off, there is no one thing in any sense of the word that *all* atheists universally "believe in." Generally, the only thing we share is lack of belief in a supernatural origin of the universe (although some atheists do lean towards supernatural explanations, as confusing as that may sound). But the one thing about myself which I consider to make me an "atheist" is that I don't believe in god or the concept of a god as traditionally understood by religious sources. Also keep in mind, this does not necessitate that I am hostile to the idea of the existence a god; quite the opposite. If someone can open a hole in my reasoning big enough to necessitate belief in god (either "mostly" or "entirely," as in, "beyond a reasonable and fair doubt"), then I would gladly change my mind. So even then, you wouldn't really be able to say that I "believe in" what I believe. Rather, I just "believe" it.

(That's one of the things that always catches my attention in more conservative forums, when people say that atheists "believe in evolution." I'm not entirely sure what they mean by that; do they mean that we look to it in the same way that Judeo-Christian followers look to their god/respective prophets? Honest question, here.)


but they must believe in coincidence if nothing else is left, right? Why are we here? No reason/purpose = coincidence. Big bang till now = coincidence.

Well, for one, as I see it you seem to be making a mistake by equivocating "purpose" and "reason." There can be a "reason" we are here, even if there is no "purpose" for our existence. For example; if we could, hypothetically, explain the sequence of events that caused the universe to begin to exist in the state that it does now (or that caused it to begin an entropical cycle, if you prefer the "cyclical universe" theory), then we would have the "reason why" we exist; we could say that "we exist because [X event] happened." That's a reason. However....a reason does not presuppose an all-ending purpose. A reason says we are here because X happened; a purpose says, "we are here to accomplish [X goal]," whether that goal be "to collect stamps" or "to love one another" or "to experience things." So basically, even if there is no "objective meaning to life," there can still be a reason for our existence.

Secondly....I don't really see the events of the universe's origin, or humanity's origin (from an atheistic perspective) as being a "coincidence" and therefore "meaningless." I can see how you might think that, but ultimately, I think it's a fallacy resulting from taking the idea of "objective perspective" to the ultimate degree. If we commit the same fallacy but assume that god does exists and that we do have an "end-all purpose," we can still make the case that our lives are meaningless. Example:

-) Assume that god exists.

-) Assume that the reason we exists is because god exists, and he decided to create us.

-) Now, assume, as many fundamental Christians/Evangelicals assert, that the purpose for our existence is to glorify god; that, if we worship god and follow all of his tenets, that our lives will naturally lead to happiness because that is how the universe was meant to be, and so if we act "how we were meant to act" then we will experience "what we were meant to experience." Think of humans as cogs in this machine that all contribute to a single end, unquestioning of their ultimate goal (hear me out --- more on that one in a moment), content in their fulfillment of their individual lives' purposes.

-) Now we have a reason for existence, and a purpose.

-) So, committing the same fallacy regarding objective perspective....take a step back and question the purpose of glorifying god. It leads to only good things, right? But why are those things good? Because we were built to experience them, some would say. But why does that make them good? Because they make us feel good? No! According to our stated principles, we don't do things because they make us feel good, we do them to glorify god --- satisfaction and pleasure only come as a by-product result of that. So if we do anything for the sake of self-gratification, we are not fulfilling our purpose, we are becoming "tempted" by worldly desires such as pleasure and contentness. Keep in mind that it's never stated in our premise that the things we are ordered to do by god are necessarily pleasant in themselves; it's only stated that, if we do those things, we will ultimately receive pleasure and satisfaction. Those things might include killing someone for behaving in a way that does not glorify god, or bringing unspeakable pain on someone who has done no harm to someone else, but has violated a ceremonial tenet. They might also include pleasant things, but keep in mind that there is nothing inherent in the stated premise that prevents that definition from encompassing something that an atheist (or even certain other Christians/religious folks) may consider morally reprehensible.

So based on these three factors:

-) If we follow god, we will achieve happiness
-) We may be required to experience unhappiness in order to follow god
-) We do not follow god because he will lead us to happiness, but rather because following him is the right thing to do. We should not expect to feel happy; and if we do not, then we should not cease in our efforts to obey god --- even if he orders us to do something terrible to ourselves or our loved ones, causing us great (and possibly permanent) emotional turmoil and pain --- because to obey god is right, moreso than to feel happiness is right

...we can conclude that human happiness and service is not only not the goal of belief in a god, not the purpose of our belief in one....it is completely irrelevant to our belief in one! It has nothing to do with it at all. So why, then, is believing in god "good," If it does not necessarily bring about positive results? The only reason, based on our stated premise, that believing in god will make us happy, is because we will be believing in god (who is good), and he made us for that purpose, and so we will be happy if we follow that purpose! It's apparently a single giant circle --- believe in god because you should, and it's good, because god said so, because god is good, and so on and so forth. In which case, even the "purpose" that this belief affords us is ultimately meaningless. For what reason does god exist? There may be one; there may not. We can never know because god is supposedly greater than our comprehension affords us to know (and really, what could be greater than god, if he exists? What transcends even god's nature such that he has a purpose in existence? It can only be circular, if we accept the nature of god as being truly infinite, truly final and all-encompassing such that there is nothing beyond him).

So my conclusion to this point, for the tl;dr-ers: if we assume that purpose is something that only a god (or belief in the supernatural) can give us, then it is meaningless, because it is circular. I find that the reasons people express to me as to why they are believers in a god is because their belief compels them to help others, or to strive for peace, or to live morally. Not to worship god. It's not the worship itself that compels them (if this is wrong in your case, then I heartily apologize, as I am only speaking from experience), it's the sense of community with their fellow humans, the desire to help others and to work towards a common, productive and positive solution --- all things that can be obtained without a god, in a perfectly atheistic world.

As for myself, I'll say that my "purpose" is solely dictated by what fulfills me, emotionally and mentally, as this concept of myself is connected directly with my immediate senses, which are my only way to relate to the world around me. Hurting people does not fulfill me; I feel bad when I hurt someone's feelings, although I do it occasionally without realizing (and sometimes even realizing it, only rationalizing it to myself). But when I do, I always feel bad about it afterward, even in situations where I feel it was justified. Even though I cannot directly feel their pain, I understand that they do feel pain, and it troubles me if I know that I have the power to stop it and I choose (or chose) not to, or to make it worse. It troubles me because it contradicts what I feel, that making others happy brings me happiness as well.

I don't mean to imply that any of this is not true of you or anyone else, of course; if I came across as elitist here then I do apologize. I was just trying to give an example of how I've managed to strive for purpose in what many consider a "purposeless world." I find the belief that purpose is only meaningful if it is "objective," or "binding to all people" in some way, to be a bit silly.

cont'd in 2nd post

Static_Martyr
06-16-2009, 03:07 PM
(second half....again, sorry, I'm really fucking long-winded :o)


I can't handle that. Call me religious or superstitious, but believing in nothing is harder for me than to believe in something I can't understand/proof.
I hope my point of view is a bit clearer now.

It may make me sound like a jackass to say it, but I completely understand what you mean. Interestingly, although I was Christian as a child (I was raised Baptist), the reason I stuck with it for as long as I did had nothing to do with purpose --- it was just what people told me, people I trusted, and so I had no reason to disbelieve them. It had simply never occurred to me to think about it.

Purpose is something that I only began to struggle with after I left religion behind, but before I had ever even considered it (i.e. I never really thought of my Christianity as giving me a purpose or a reason to live, it was just something I believed). It took me years to sort out my thoughts until I "truly deconverted," such that I began using the label "atheist," but in that time I was gradually working my way into an understanding of my place in the universe, which eventually lead me to ask, "what's the point of this?" As I studied science more and more, read philosophy, rehearsed religious history, and spoke with people on all sides of the religious spectrum --- from moderate to fundie to extremist --- I tried to figure out what the basic, fundamental difference between a Christian and an atheist was, so I could examine it myself, "in person." All the fundies told me it was that atheists just don't want to be accountable for their actions, so they don't believe in an objective moral law, but that's always seemed like a load to me. There have been too many smart, respectful, accountable atheists in my life (even before my "deconversion") to allow me to accept that.

No, I find that the most-cited reason (as far as civil debate/conversation is concerned) seems to be purpose --- purpose, and community. For the longest time, atheists have generally been loners, as far as the community is concerned. Christians have church on Sundays, gatherings, events, trips, etc., whereas atheists only have the ties that they maintain through their own ventures. In Christian communities, it's very easy to meet new people because most people go to church, and so if there's a new face, it's easy to tell them apart and introduce them. In an atheist community, there isn't really any one place that links the whole community together. As a friend put it to me recently, "there could be a hundred atheists in the same building, and 99 of them don't know about any of the others." This is changing now as atheism is becoming more acceptable in the mainstream, but it's still a fairly disorganized system. There are no "atheist churches" that I am aware of. As such, a lot of people feel the same way about religion that you say you do here --- they would rather believe in it than not, because it gives them a sense of familiarity with the world, a sense of purpose that is very easy to find in religion (or any other kind of belief in god).

Another thing I've come to realize, that I want to point out here, is that fundamentally --- as far as our purposes in life are concerned --- I don't think there is a real difference between believers and atheists. I think we both share mostly common goals; assuming we're both honest with ourselves and what we feel about morality, we're both just trying to pursue what we feel is right. It just leads us to different places. But ultimately, we're following our hearts, so to speak. A believer just interprets it as the voice of a god, or some spiritual thing (sorry if that sounds condescending, but the spectrum of belief here is a bit too wide and detailed to account for in a short sentence), whereas I interpret it as my own conscience. I don't really question where it comes from, for two main reasons: (1) I don't know, and I don't think I will ever really know, because I will never be able to step beyond that part of me and "objectively observe" it because it's what makes me "myself" (if that makes sense), and it would be a contradiction for "myself" to step beyond the limits of "myself" and look at "myself;" and (2) if I try to do that, I return to the cycle of meaninglessness that is "pure logic."

Whew....going on a bit long here. On a closing note, I'd like to add that I think too many people rely on logical premises alone to provide them with meaning and purpose in their lives (even believers in god do this to an extent; applying precedents that they believe god has established, comparing them to actions to determine if they are moral in the same way that you measure something against a ruler to determine if it is long or short, and how much so). I think it's important to remember that logic is a tool, a means, not an end (and, to some degree, I think the same can be said of religious law/doctrine). Logic is circular; it takes a precedent and says, "IF this is true, THEN this is true," or vice-versa (and a particular precedent in a particular logical equation must be provided independently of question within that equation, as if we question it then we cannot accept it as a precedent in that same equation....oftentimes, it's accepted as a precedent because it was proven in another such logical equation, but that equation had to rely on previous givens just to establish the one as a given....you see where I'm going with this).

Anyway, that's pretty much all for now. If anyone actually reads this whole thing, I will be very surprised....sorry for all the wordiness; it's just really, really hard to funnel 20 years of experience into a single (or in this case, two) postings on an internet forum with a posting character limit :o

Offspring-Junkie
06-17-2009, 10:38 AM
I do basically agree with this two posts, those points I don't agree with I don't want to discuss any further. It won't lead to anything than "I believe this - you believe this - both is OK."

Static_Martyr
06-17-2009, 01:54 PM
I do basically agree with this two posts, those points I don't agree with I don't want to discuss any further. It won't lead to anything than "I believe this - you believe this - both is OK."

That's fine with me --- I mean, there are worse ways to arrive at a stalemate, aren't there? :D

Static_Martyr
06-18-2009, 05:53 PM
Ah, in retrospect I'd like to make one brief alteration/clarification to my earlier LONG-ASS posting.

When I said this:


...we can conclude that human happiness and service is not only not the goal of belief in a god, not the purpose of our belief in one....it is completely irrelevant to our belief in one! It has nothing to do with it at all. So why, then, is believing in god "good," If it does not necessarily bring about positive results? The only reason, based on our stated premise, that believing in god will make us happy, is because we will be believing in god (who is good), and he made us for that purpose, and so we will be happy if we follow that purpose! It's apparently a single giant circle --- believe in god because you should, and it's good, because god said so, because god is good, and so on and so forth. In which case, even the "purpose" that this belief affords us is ultimately meaningless.

I didn't mean to say that purpose derived from spirituality or religious belief is necessarily meaningless, which is how I feel that I came off. What I meant was simply that deferring the matter of purpose to a god in order to satisfy oneself doesn't solve the dilemma of purpose in a truly final sense --- it only "passes the buck." Those who question the purpose that can be found without god choose to believe in god in order to achieve what they see as a "higher purpose," and I didn't mean to say that I necessarily have a problem with that. I only meant to point out that I feel it's inaccurate to say that the "purpose given by god" is somehow "more relevant" than the purpose given by man; if we accept the purpose that we can find without god, then we (of course) won't need the purpose "given by god." But if we do not accept the purpose that we can find without god, and we yearn for something more, then we defer to god to assign us that purpose. But either way, we don't really understand why our purpose is what it is, and we are basing it on our refusal or inability to question the source of our purpose. I don't think that's a bad thing, really, for reasons I already explained. But I never see this comparison drawn in religious debate, so I'm always a bit antsy to point it out before we get too deep into the subject.

Sorry for droning on again, I'll stop now until something else comes up ;)

jaxter9000
06-28-2009, 11:56 PM
Ok, so I was just browsing this forum seeing as I just came back from The Offspring's concert in Michigan, and I found this thread, and I created an account to discuss this.

Ok, so I was raised Roman Catholic and I'm 14 years old now.

Up until a few months ago, I was extremely close-minded and when I think back I'm really ashamed of myself.

So basically now I'm an agnostic, but my mother and my grandmother would both skin me alive if I really told them about my beliefs. (Especially my grandma) I have had all of these thoughts in my mind and no one to really tell them to because I was afraid of what they would say. So basically this post is what has been brewing in my mind for a while now.

I'm sorry that this is such a long post.

I have found quite a few things that have convinced me to be an agnostic.


Ok, so let's take the story of Adam and Eve. God is all knowing and all powerful, correct? If God is all knowing, he knew ahead of time that Adam and Eve would disobey him before he even created them. He also knew that Satan would tempt them before he even created them. So, if God knew all of this, why did he create them then?


Second, discrimination and ignorance. The Bible promotes anti-gay. Besides this, the Catholic Church strongly opposes any marriage other than heterosexual marriage.

In my opinion, no one chooses their sexuality. I don't remember ever receiving a magical paper in the mail that had 5 buttons on it that said Heterosexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Asexual. I didn't choose to be heterosexual, I JUST AM. Personally, I think it's the same way with everyone else, too.

So if no one chooses their sexuality, why then is only a single sexual preference given the privilege to marry? Homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals experience love too; they're human beings too.

Let's jump back to Adam and Eve for a second, God punished EVERYONE for the actions of 2 people with Original Sin. So, we're being blamed for something we had no control over. That's like blaming someone for shooting your grandfather when it was actually their grandfather who shot your grandfather, it makes no sense at all.

Oh, and I find it absolutely hysterical how the pope wants to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, but at the same time opposes the use of condoms. I means seriously, people are going to have sex regardless if they have condoms or not, so it's probably a good idea to promote protection.


As some others have also said, I don't like this idea of a tally of your good and bad actions. If this system was real, people who did very bad things in their lives would probably do even worse things because they would figure that they are beyond redemption.


Ok, so now God's Divine Plan, Free Will, and All Knowing-ness. God has a divine plan for us. So, if he has a plan for us, everything is already set in stone, and everything we do we have no control over because God already knows what happens with his plan. Same thing with God being all knowing. If God is all knowing, he already knows everything that will EVER happen, so much for us having control in our lives. Also, he already knows whether or not we are going to Heaven or Hell if he is all knowing, so we basically have no control over our own destiny.


Let's talk about creationism. Everything was made out of nothing! Please explain??? Oh, and man creationists the Earth is 10,000 years old even though there is scientific proof that Earth is in fact billions of years old. But I guess they think that all of those silly scientists are making everything up with their years of constant research and new discoveries , right?


And isn't it ever so convenient that so many religions of the world have events that took place so long ago with all of those miraculous miracles? And today we see none of these miracles. I guess God liked our ancestors better than us.

I'm getting sort of tired because it's 2:39 AM here so I'll just mention one more thing: Politics.

Many Christians are Conservatives and Republicans. Many of the teachings of Christianity are on par with Republican views. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when someone triess to convince you of an ideal or opinion based upon religious beliefs. Not everyone subscribes to that belief!! How stupid would I sound if I tried tell a homosexual person that they couldn't marry because the Bible said so? I would look REALLY stupid. Oh and then some of these conservatives try and use their religion to say that Liberals are sinful, satanic, evil, etc. because their opinions are different from that of the Bible. According to some, you can't have an opinion against the Bible because it's sinful to have an opinion like that.

In my opinion, religion should have NO role in political beliefs whatsoever. It's dangerous. It has started wars in the past.

I would like to let everyone know that I am very aware that there are Conservatives and Republicans who don't try and use God as a justification for their position and to make the other side look satanic. I have nothing against Republicans and Conservatives. All I'm trying to say is that I feel that it is wrong to justify your beliefs with religion.

Static_Martyr
06-29-2009, 07:09 PM
I'm sorry that this is such a long post.

Not at all! Any discussion is welcomed.


So basically now I'm an agnostic, but my mother and my grandmother would both skin me alive if I really told them about my beliefs. (Especially my grandma) I have had all of these thoughts in my mind and no one to really tell them to because I was afraid of what they would say. So basically this post is what has been brewing in my mind for a while now.

That's a sad/happy story to hear; it reminds me of this guy, whose blog I've been reading for a year or two now; his name is Hemant Mehta, and he deconverted from Jainism when he was 14.

http://www.friendlyatheist.com



In my opinion, no one chooses their sexuality. I don't remember ever receiving a magical paper in the mail that had 5 buttons on it that said Heterosexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Asexual. I didn't choose to be heterosexual, I JUST AM. Personally, I think it's the same way with everyone else, too.

I still think this is the strongest case made against churches' attempts to ban gay marriage; when debating gay marriage with someone, I often just ask them, "Can you make yourself into a homosexual right now?" Or perhaps, "Can you prove to us that being gay is a choice, by choosing to be homosexual for us right now?" So far, nobody's gotten past that one 0.0


Let's jump back to Adam and Eve for a second, God punished EVERYONE for the actions of 2 people with Original Sin. So, we're being blamed for something we had no control over. That's like blaming someone for shooting your grandfather when it was actually their grandfather who shot your grandfather, it makes no sense at all.

The biggest problem (that I see) with proving any validity whatsoever to the idea of "original sin" is that people generally make no effort to show what and how original sin is and how it supposedly came to be; even the most carefully-spoken evangelical figures that I've found myself arguing with tend to stumble over this one; it goes something like:

-) God created man perfectly, with the choice to sin;
-) Man chose to sin (eat from the tree of knowledge);
-) ????
-) Therefore, the descendants of man have to suffer.

The reason this doesn't make sense to me (aside from the missing link that shows why one man/woman's decision to sin is linked to everyone's fate of suffering) is because it views "man" as a singular entity. We use the phrase "mankind" to describe our species as a whole in conversation, but we don't literally refer to a being called "mankind" that operates as a single entity. The only way that it makes sense for god (or anyone else) to blame future descendants of man for the crimes of his/her ancestor would be if "mankind" was in fact a singular entity of which we were all a part....and I simply don't think there's a whole lot of weight to that theory; it's like these rednecks we have down here that think of "Black People" as a singular entity, like they all get down in some bunker every week to discuss what's on the Black People agenda for this week.


Oh, and I find it absolutely hysterical how the pope wants to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, but at the same time opposes the use of condoms. I means seriously, people are going to have sex regardless if they have condoms or not, so it's probably a good idea to promote protection.

I asked a hardcore Evangelical on another forum to explain this to me awhile back (it was basically the same question, but leaning more towards abortion than HIV); I asked him, "If you want to reduce the number of abortions, wouldn't the most productive way to do that be to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies?" By which method I suggested we use comprehensive sex education, birth control, etc. etc. He told me that he thought it would be "sinful" to sacrifice his ideals for results; he said that his ideals were taken from god in his perfection, and that we should trust in the perfection of god's law *moreso* than we should try to figure out the solution to the world's problems on our own. And his proposed solution, of course, was abstinence --- complete, 100% universal abstinence before marriage, all over the world.

Needless to say, while the abstinence-only approach may be a noble cause and all, I don't think it's practical simply because people are going to have sex; the sheer mathematical presence of humans on the earth, on top of the likelihood that humans will sometimes be overcome by their more primal desires, says (to me, at least) that somebody, somewhere, will be having premarital or casual sex just about every second of the day. I'm not saying that makes it "okay" (or that it's "not okay"), I'm just saying that it's not a feasible approach --- it'd be like solving the bug problems here in the south by killing every single cockroach on the planet. Simply not gonna happen.

But on top of that, even, most anti-gay activists prefer to opt for the biblical solution, which can make an already unrealistic solution that much harder to swallow (no pun intended...). So in a way, I think they're alienating potential political allies just by sticking *so* firmly to their roots.


All I'm trying to say is that I feel that it is wrong to justify your beliefs with religion.

I get where you're coming from; although I wouldn't say "wrong" so much as "unrealistic" or perhaps "inconsistent." If you justify your beliefs with religion, you're basically setting an impossible goal --- you'll never convert everybody, you'll never be able to adhere to a standard of pure perfection, etc. etc., and so to say that you're willing to dedicate your life to a cause that you simply *must* know is impossible (given the diversity of human opinion) is just a bit unrealistic.

Although I still stand by my original assertion --- that the single most dangerous thing about religion is the sentiment of infallibility that it gives so many people --- "I'm doing it for god, so it's right, and I just need to grit my teeth and do it, even if it's really far-out."

[/LONG]

jaxter9000
06-30-2009, 01:00 AM
Thanks for that blog link, it's a great site! :)

Also, thanks for responding , I really had to get that off my chest :p:p

Static_Martyr
06-30-2009, 04:19 AM
Thanks for that blog link, it's a great site!

Jah, I no rite? :D


Also, thanks for responding , I really had to get that off my chest

:D

Jojan
06-30-2009, 09:17 AM
All religion är skit.

Static_Martyr
06-30-2009, 06:54 PM
^I have a feeling I know what that means....but could someone perhaps translate it for me just to be on the safe side?

DexterWannabe
07-01-2009, 07:08 AM
"All religions are shitty"

Static_Martyr
07-01-2009, 12:47 PM
Okay, so I was right :cool: Thanks!

Hombre
07-12-2009, 11:25 PM
"If you believe in God-burn the Church!"Jello Biafra

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-17-2009, 04:42 AM
Great posts, Static Martyr. Pretty much exactly how I am as well. I just wanted to clarify a few things for people: When someone asks you about your beliefs and you say "I'm agnostic" you aren't answering their question. Agnosticism deals with knowledge, not belief. There are basically four ways of breaking this down:

Gnostic Theism - Belief in a god(s) and thinking that belief is provable or knowable.
Agnostic Theism - Belief in a god(s) but thinking there's no way to prove it and be sure.
Agnostic Atheism - Lack of belief in god(s) but not thinking that belief is provable or knowable.
Gnostic Atheism - Lack of belief in god(s) and thinking that it is knowable.

Agnosticism/Gnostism deals with degrees of knowledge, rather than faith. The common misconception about agnosticism is that people try to use the label as a sort of means to not make a decision on what they believe. Trying to play it safe, so to speak. The thing is, if there's doubt in that belief, or you don't know what you believe, then it's the same thing as not believing which by virtue makes you an atheist. You can be an agnostic atheist (which is what I am) but not just an agnostic.

wheelchairman
07-17-2009, 06:32 AM
Though Mime, in every day conversation if you say agnostic people are going to know what you mean. As opposed to your verbose attempt at confusing everyone.

Now in my mind this thread was over with my last post. What the hell happened?

Jules69
07-17-2009, 08:12 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNy6ziOyxoA Here ya go!!!!! We will always miss this genius!!!! RIP!!!!

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-17-2009, 01:58 PM
People who say they're agnostic are the people who don't want to admit they're atheists, or are too scared to admit they're atheists. It softens the blow when you tell a religious friend or family member that you're agnostic rather than an atheist. Because people still view atheism pretty negatively, it's more comfortable for one to claim agnostic so they won't really face as much scrutiny.

That_Guy91
07-18-2009, 06:42 AM
People who say they're agnostic are the people who don't want to admit they're atheists, or are too scared to admit they're atheists. It softens the blow when you tell a religious friend or family member that you're agnostic rather than an atheist. Because people still view atheism pretty negatively, it's more comfortable for one to claim agnostic so they won't really face as much scrutiny.

I don't think Huxley was scared of anything.

Agnostics are people who admit that things are unknowable.

wheelchairman
07-18-2009, 08:39 AM
People who say they're agnostic are the people who don't want to admit they're atheists, or are too scared to admit they're atheists. It softens the blow when you tell a religious friend or family member that you're agnostic rather than an atheist. Because people still view atheism pretty negatively, it's more comfortable for one to claim agnostic so they won't really face as much scrutiny.

You're an idiot.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-18-2009, 02:05 PM
Very compelling argument, wheelchairman.

I'm not trying to attack anyone. I'm just saying that saying you're agnostic says nothing about your beliefs. It's in regard to knowledge. It was completely rude, uncalled for, and unnecessary to call me an idiot.

And to the poster above wheelchairman, why would one be afraid to admit to be theist? Theists aren't scrutinized nearly as much as atheists. More often than not, if one says they're agnostic, they're atheist leaning.


http://www.atheist-community.org/faq/



Q: What's the difference between an atheist and an agnostic?

A: It has to do with the difference between what you believe and what you think you know. For any particular god that you can imagine, a "theist" is one who has a belief in that god. In contrast, an "atheist" is one who does not have a belief in the god. A "gnostic" is one who knows about the existence of god and an "agnostic" is one who thinks that god is unknowable.

Notice that the terms "atheist" and "agnostic", by these definitions, are not mutually exclusive. You could be an agnostic atheist, meaning you don't think that the existence of gods is knowable, but you don't choose to believe in one without further proof. Many people assume that atheists believe that gods can be proved not to exist, but this isn't strictly true and there is no proper word to describe this. You could call such a person an "untheist", perhaps. Or, you could just call such a person a "gnostic atheist", one who doesn't believe in a god and thinks that his non-belief can be proved.

So there are four possible ways one could be.

1. Agnostic-Theist: believes god exists, but the existence of a god is knowable
2. Gnostic-Theist: believes in a god for which he claims knowledge
3. Agnostic-Atheist: does not believe god exists, but it can't be proved
4. Gnostic-Atheist: believes it can be proved that god does not exist

Case 3 is sometimes referred to as "weak atheism" and case 4 is sometimes referred to as "strong atheism". Only strong atheism positively asserts that there are no gods.

Finally, it should be pointed out that when a person is asked about their beliefs and replies that they are agnostic, they are avoiding the question and answering a different one. Someone who can't positively say he/she believes in a god is an atheist.

Seriously. Educate yourselves before calling people idiots.

wheelchairman
07-18-2009, 02:28 PM
Very compelling argument, wheelchairman.

I'm not trying to attack anyone. I'm just saying that saying you're agnostic says nothing about your beliefs. It's in regard to knowledge. It was completely rude, uncalled for, and unnecessary to call me an idiot.



Yeah I read your first post. That doesn't change the fact that everyone knows what agnostic means.

The stupid part was about atheists being afraid to say they were atheists. I'm saying thats retarded. It's retarded that you can't seem to understand that there are more than atheist and faithful people. I mean really, that's just stupid.

So you're an idiot.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-18-2009, 03:29 PM
Fine. That was worded poorly. There are many people who are simply apathetic when it comes to the whole "believe/don't believe" dichotomy, but it still doesn't change the fact that you either believe or don't believe. There is no middle ground when it comes to what one believes. If one is not sure of what they believe, it's the same thing as not believing. I'm an atheist, but I don't care if others believe. I personally don't feel that what happens after this life is relevant to this life. I take back the whole "being afraid to admit" comment. That was stupid. But it was still rude and uncalled for for you to attack me like that. Criticize the post, but don't attack me personally for it, especially if you weren't going to elaborate on why I was being an idiot. Seriously, you were acting like a fucking dickwad.

AllIn All It's Not So Bad
07-18-2009, 04:04 PM
I AM A MOTHAFUCKING ATHEIST AND I'M NOT AFRAID

thank you very much

Human
07-18-2009, 04:17 PM
I think that perhaps some people, when they say they are agnostic, are really atheists, but are hesitant to say so not wanting to completely bind themselves to 'nonbelieving', or however you want to put it.

Not all, but some I think sway back and forth from having some sort of faith to not having any at all, and that is why some refer to themselves as adnostic, not all people, but I think it might be a middle ground label or religion between having faith and not having faith for some said agnostics. Or being afraid to admit to themselves that they really don't have any faith, but wish to. (Following Shutupmime's post about agnostics being afraid to say they're atheists.)

wheelchairman
07-18-2009, 04:58 PM
There is no middle ground when it comes to what one believes. If one is not sure of what they believe, it's the same thing as not believing.

Another stupid line. How is that the same as not believing? That's only the same if you're forced to fill out a census form and they don't leave an option open for agnostic. I mean there is a clear difference between not contemplating or not pursuing a complex belief system and not believing in anything. The difference is obvious. It's why we have two words that are spelled and pronounced differently (atheist/agnostic)


I'm an atheist, but I don't care if others believe. I personally don't feel that what happens after this life is relevant to this life. I take back the whole "being afraid to admit" comment. That was stupid. But it was still rude and uncalled for for you to attack me like that. Criticize the post, but don't attack me personally for it, especially if you weren't going to elaborate on why I was being an idiot. Seriously, you were acting like a fucking dickwad.

If you don't say stupid things you won't have to worry about getting all offended and ninny-winny. I'm sorry I should have said "you are acting like a fucking dickwad." Ooooh big difference there.

T-6005
07-18-2009, 05:29 PM
Treating any extant knowledge on the esoteric and the intangible as a concrete opinion is moronic.

Also, Per is a pretty cool gentleman.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-18-2009, 07:00 PM
Another stupid line. How is that the same as not believing? That's only the same if you're forced to fill out a census form and they don't leave an option open for agnostic. I mean there is a clear difference between not contemplating or not pursuing a complex belief system and not believing in anything. The difference is obvious. It's why we have two words that are spelled and pronounced differently (atheist/agnostic)

Just because people widely accept the term agnostic as a sole belief still doesn't change the fact that it's inaccurate to say so. Take a court room setting for example: you as the member of a jury have to either say the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If you don't know, meaning there isn't enough evidence to convince you that the person is guilty, then you have to say not guilty. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND. Faith works in the same way.



If you don't say stupid things you won't have to worry about getting all offended and ninny-winny. I'm sorry I should have said "you are acting like a fucking dickwad." Ooooh big difference there.

But all you did was assert that I'm an idiot. You never gave a reason why. You didn't say why you thought what I said was stupid until after I responded. Instead, without any justification to do so, you attacked me. If you simply said "That's stupid." I would simply ask why, and we could have a fruitful discussion about it instead of tossing insults like a fucking 5 year old. So, yeah, there actually is a big difference with what I said, because you were attacking me rather than addressing my point. I didn't call you a dickwad, I said you were acting like one. Grow the fuck up, please.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-18-2009, 08:22 PM
I bet you are. Have anything substantive to say? No? Didn't think so. Check out these links to see what I'm trying to get at. Perhaps I'm just not being clear.

http://www.reasonablecomics.com/detail.php?comic=33

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acn7m_jwCbI

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-19-2009, 04:28 AM
That question you proposed doesn't make any sense because colors aren't associated with taste. There's no way to appropriately answer that. You can't taste a color. That was a moronic question. Saying you believe whether or not there is a god IS answering the question of belief. Saying you're agnostic isn't answering that question of belief. It's answering a question of knowledge. Dawkins' model is flawed because knowledge and belief are two different things. The thing you are assuming is that atheism is the outright denial of a god. It's not. All it is is the absence of a belief in a god. Well, agnostics don't claim belief, since they say they don't know, so there's an absence of a belief in god, thus making them atheist even if they don't want to claim the title. You could argue that there isn't disbelief either since they don't know. That's great and all, but many agnostics don't seem to try to pursue any sort of faith. Even if they dropped it and simply don't care, it's the same as not believing. You may not be a dogmatic atheist who constantly asserts there's no god, but you aren't claiming there is one either, and by not claiming there is one, you're still an atheist. I worded my statement of being afraid to claim atheism a little too hastily, I think. People may not be afraid to claim atheism, but in a world (or at least the United States, which may be why you guys think what I'm saying is so ridiculous if you're from other countries) where atheism is for the most part despised and people look at one funny when someone mentions he/she is atheist, people are more reluctant to claim that title and instead go for a less extreme and less chastised approach by labeling themselves agnostic. You can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist but you can't simply be agnostic. You may fluctuate between agnostic theism and agnostic atheism, but you can't simply be agnostic. I don't care what questionnaires say, it's not accurate when it comes to answering a question of faith. When I stopped believing in God, I at first claimed to be an agnostic, thinking it was some sort of middle ground answer and that atheism was as dogmatic as theism because I just didn't want to be involved in any of it either way. But by definition, since atheism is the lack of belief, I am and always have been since my faith wavered an atheist. I might be an agnostic atheist, but I'm still an atheist without that belief. You either have something or you don't. You don't maybe have something. If you're non-committal, then you're not actively believing in something. Not all atheists are like Richard Dawkins who asserts there's no God and thinks that everybody who believes in god is a stupid moron. You're starting to get into territory that claims atheism in and of itself is a religion, which it's not. The only thing all atheists have in common is the lack of belief in a god. Some outright deny god, others simply don't hold a belief until further evidence comes to light. But it's all atheism.


EDIT: http://www.atheists.org/Agnosticism:_The_Basis_for_Atheism

Read that. The most driving point is that if you're waiting to believe, then you are currently not believing. If you are not actively a theist, then you are passively an atheist. Though it also claims that one can't be an agnostic theist, which I disagree with.

wheelchairman
07-19-2009, 05:42 AM
Just because people widely accept the term agnostic as a sole belief still doesn't change the fact that it's inaccurate to say so. Take a court room setting for example: you as the member of a jury have to either say the defendant is guilty or not guilty. If you don't know, meaning there isn't enough evidence to convince you that the person is guilty, then you have to say not guilty. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND. Faith works in the same way.

How is it inaccurate if everyone understands what you mean, are you retarded? I mean are you acting like a retard?





But all you did was assert that I'm an idiot. You never gave a reason why. You didn't say why you thought what I said was stupid until after I responded. Instead, without any justification to do so, you attacked me. If you simply said "That's stupid." I would simply ask why, and we could have a fruitful discussion about it instead of tossing insults like a fucking 5 year old. So, yeah, there actually is a big difference with what I said, because you were attacking me rather than addressing my point. I didn't call you a dickwad, I said you were acting like one. Grow the fuck up, please.
Oh gay. I'm sorry. You're acting like a faggy bitch who can't take any sort of negative feedback. And now you're acting like you're going to cry about it all the time and I'm acting like that you're acting like you're super pathetic.

You're right. The difference is huge. Dumbass.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-19-2009, 05:55 AM
I can take negative feedback just fine. "you're an idiot" isn't negative feedback. Its childish namecalling. And the fact that you continue to throw insults instead of arguing in a civilized manner just leads me to the conclusion to not waste any more time discussing this. Knowledge and belief aren't the same exact thing. Beliefs are knowledge if the belief is true and if there is justification for said belief. If your simple mind can't grasp that then I don't know what else to say. If there is a God, he or she will not see the difference between the agnostic and the atheist because neither are believing in him or her. Its just one is actively choosing to disbelieve whereas the other simply just disbelieves without making a conscious decision to do so. Just because most people accept something doesn't make it correct. You're placing a value on notoriety, that because something is a commonly held view that makes it correct. It does not. It was a commonly held view that the earth was flat too. We now know that it is not. So just because many people view agnosticism as a religion or as an alternative to theism/atheism doesn't make it so. It doesn't change the fact that agnosticism/gnosticism goes by what you KNOW and faith goes by what you BELIEVE. Nothing I said warranted any personal attack. You're rude and childish because you cannot seem to manage arguing without throwing insults. Once again, grow the fuck up.

For the record, nothing you said personally offended me. I'm just pointing out that attacks are not productive in discussions. To be honest, all of your posts have been quite laughable, because you can't seem to make a point without throwing insults like a 5 year old. It certainly doesn't make me take your posts seriously. If you can present your argument in a civil and adult manner, perhaps I'll take what you have to say into consideration; maybe even rethink my position. Until then, I'm just going to assume that everything you have to say lacks any merit.

wheelchairman
07-19-2009, 12:21 PM
Idiooooooot.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-19-2009, 01:29 PM
Well, I tried to give you an opportunity to provide your argument in a civil and adult manner. Since you're clearly incapable of doing this, we're done here. I win by default because I don't have to resort to childish namecalling when trying to make a point. Welcome to my ignore list, douche.

(I can say that now that we're done. Besides, you've tested my patience long enough.)

wheelchairman
07-19-2009, 01:40 PM
You call me childish but you just said you "won".

lol. idiot.

Jules69
07-19-2009, 01:42 PM
Per you are hot!!!! Guys stop fighting!!!:D

Jules69
07-19-2009, 01:43 PM
An take off that dumb santa hat on ur avatar!!!:eek:

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-19-2009, 02:05 PM
Before I finally ignore you, yes arguments can be won. Nothing childish about that. I'm not the one calling people idiots and saying nothing to justify that claim. Whatshisname said you we're a gentleman. I haven't seen that. All I've seen is a dense childish troll who likes to instigate fights. And now with that, consider yourself officially ignored.

wheelchairman
07-19-2009, 03:18 PM
Ignore List: 0
Wheelchairman: 1

I guess I won.

IamSam
07-20-2009, 03:27 PM
http://www.flashasylum.com/db/files/Comics/Matt/i-did-a-google-image-search-for-vagina-for-this.png (http://www.explosm.net/comics/1312/)
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net (http://www.explosm.net/)

rise_and_fall
07-20-2009, 05:17 PM
I think an agnostic is a more intelligent person then a athiest. An athiest completely denies that there could be a supernatural being in our universe, which just seems completely arrogant. An agnostic rather can be persuaded by evidence that a supernatural being exists.

Static_Martyr
07-20-2009, 05:46 PM
^That's not entirely true. As an atheist, I can tell you that while I do currently, fervently believe that god does not exist (ESPECIALLY the Christian god), I am not in complete denial of the possibility. It's more like, I see no reason to believe he is real other than that a lot of people WANT him to be real (i.e. desire moral centers, etc.), and so I just don't believe he is real. But if something were to happen that could obviously only be attributed to divine intervention (and not un/fortunate coincidence, which DOES happen frequently), I would of course be willing to reconsider.

Just for the record, things that will not work to that end:

--The Ontological Argument
--The Argument From Morality
--The Origin of the Universe Argument
--The Fear Of Hell Argument

That's not all of them, just a few off the top of my head. I'm looking for something much more specifically mind-blowing than any of those things can offer.

rise_and_fall
07-20-2009, 09:46 PM
Would you agree that a certain amount of morals is required by those in a society to maintain the society?

rise_and_fall
07-20-2009, 09:53 PM
fervently believe that god does not exist (ESPECIALLY the Christian god).

If you don't believe in any god, then why do you distinguish between them?


I see no reason to believe he is real other than that a lot of people WANT him to be real (i.e. desire moral centers, etc.), and so I just don't believe he is real.

There are a lot of people who DON'T WANT him to be real, as they don't like the idea that their actions during their life here on earth will be judged and therefore they will have some form of responsibility with how they carried out their actions.

Static_Martyr
07-21-2009, 04:25 AM
If you don't believe in any god, then why do you distinguish between them?

Well, like I said, I'm open to interpretations and whatnot....and so if there is ANY god, then it can't be ALL gods. It's either one in particular or something that could be misconstrued as one of many different gods. So there's a special need to show that some gods are "less likely" to exist than others.


There are a lot of people who DON'T WANT him to be real, as they don't like the idea that their actions during their life here on earth will be judged and therefore they will have some form of responsibility with how they carried out their actions.

Yes, there are people on both sides who want him to be real or to not be real. But I think that whole "so they don't have to be responsible" thing is more of a talking point than a real statistic; if the thought being accountable to god (i.e. trying to avoid punishment or get a reward) is the only thing that makes a person moral, then I don't think they're that moral to begin with.


Would you agree that a certain amount of morals is required by those in a society to maintain the society?

Of course. What we need to understand, though, is that a formal society like ours is very different from the natural course of human interaction; it's born from surpressing our natural ways. We are animals, remember. If we allowed our world to function the way it would naturally, then there would be chaos. Basically; naturally, there *are no* laws. It's only that we choose to believe in and support morals and values that we see these things in society. They are subjective by nature.

Take, for example, our constitution and preamble (I'm American, FTR). A lot of people make the case that it was established on moral principles, and for the most part, yes, it is --- it's established on principles that have no real standing in the natural world, like humans have value to their lives, and that we should all be entitled to things like life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But a lot of people take it a step further and say, "They attribute it to a Creator, they value life....those morals had to come from somewhere! So they came from the Bible." And from that they make the case that religious morality is the only way to found a stable society.

Catch is....EVEN IF we took some of those ideals FROM the Bible (which I don't doubt is possible, even if I don't literally think that), that doesn't mean our government is BASED ON religious morality. If it was, we wouldn't need a constitution or preamble; we'd just use the Bible and quote parts of it. The fact that we felt the need to establish a separate document apart from a book like the Bible says to me that the Bible itself wasn't good enough; the "morality" present in the OT/NT was modified and altered by our forefathers (and later amended by us) in such a way that it was a practical foundation for a stable, civil and mostly reasonable society. So really, our ideas of morality and civility are based not on religious pretenses, but on the stated intent of our constitution; that's what makes it so notable to me, is that it does something that few documents do --- it says, "We're going to pretend that these things are true --- that people deserve life, liberty and happiness --- based not on some other pretense as evidence, but on itself ("we hold these truths to be self-evident"), and we're going to defend the hell out of it." It doesn't matter if these things are "objectively true" or not; we are going to enforce them because that is the kind of society we want. Is it perfect? No, no government is. But is it the best system out there? I firmly believe so.

Point being....yes, I think we need some basic moral idea to run a society, some common ground on which for people to operate. However, I disagree that religious beliefs are the only place to find such morality.

rise_and_fall
07-21-2009, 04:54 AM
How can you consider yourself an honestly rational person and believe in magic, resurrections, and telepathic parent figures in the sky, etc? SOME scientists do, but only because on that subject they shut down their rational mind.

Why is it so ridiculous and irrational to think that something that you can't see exists? That something in a higher order of existence is there?

Smash_Returns
07-21-2009, 12:50 PM
Atheism is not arrogance or denial of a god. If shown any undeniable evidence of a divine force, I would be willing to believe in one (or multiple, if given proof of polytheism), but as is, there is no solid basis or evidence to convince me. While I understand evidence is not required to believe, I personally don't choose to blindly follow a belief, nor do I have any qualms with those that do.

In fact, in most arguments I've seen, Theists are far more arrogant than atheists. They tend to disregard logical argument, and insult others for not agreeing with their belief. They can't comprehend that it's possible that there is no divine being.

There are no know occurrences that cannot be explained by physics and logic.
(And the origin of the universe does not count, there are many theories other than creation that hold weight, and it also is possible that there is a higher physics concept that we do not yet understand. For example, gravity still existed before being accepted as a scientific law.)

wheelchairman
07-21-2009, 04:43 PM
Amazing how atheists think Christians are arrogant pricks, and people of religion think atheists are arrogant pricks.

I wonder if it has anything to do with how certain members of these groups feel the need to preach to others.

It always amazed and bothered me that atheists were so similar to evangelists.

Smash_Returns
07-21-2009, 06:49 PM
The entirety of the human race are arrogant. I am, you are. EVERYONE.

wheelchairman
07-21-2009, 06:53 PM
I am in my own way, and you are perhaps. I wouldn't make the claim that the entire human race is.

In fact, that's a retarded claim that only a person who hasn't met enough people, lived long enough, or even AT LEAST read about other cultures would make.

That kind of universal statement about mankind just sucks. What the hell do you know about the entirety of mankind? Less than I do, and I don't know jack shit about other cultures.

rise_and_fall
07-22-2009, 01:56 AM
Ok, so let's take the story of Adam and Eve. God is all knowing and all powerful, correct? If God is all knowing, he knew ahead of time that Adam and Eve would disobey him before he even created them. He also knew that Satan would tempt them before he even created them. So, if God knew all of this, why did he create them then?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that God allowed this evil to happen in order to bring about a greater good, and that greater good was the redemption which the death of Jesus Christ brought about.



Second, discrimination and ignorance. The Bible promotes anti-gay. Besides this, the Catholic Church strongly opposes any marriage other than heterosexual marriage.


Marraige in the Roman Catholic Church was institutionalised as between one man and one woman, I don't see how it is ignorant for the Catholic Church to want to protect what marraige is to them. They believe that a heterosexual relationship is the only positive form of a sexual relationship for society, because a heterosexual marraige brings new life into the world.



In my opinion, no one chooses their sexuality. I don't remember ever receiving a magical paper in the mail that had 5 buttons on it that said Heterosexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Asexual. I didn't choose to be heterosexual, I JUST AM. Personally, I think it's the same way with everyone else, too.

This is true however this is off-topic? The Roman Catholic tradition says there is nothing wrong with being homosexualy inclined, just when a person engages in this form of sexual activity.



So if no one chooses their sexuality, why then is only a single sexual preference given the privilege to marry? Homosexuals, lesbians, and bisexuals experience love too; they're human beings too.

Yes they are human beings, however marriage was formed to be between a man and a woman in order to protect the family, the basic building block of society. With advances in technology (ie IVF) and adoption, a homosexual relationship can have a 'family', however in order to do this they must go outside the relationship in order to have 'their own' children.



Let's jump back to Adam and Eve for a second, God punished EVERYONE for the actions of 2 people with Original Sin. So, we're being blamed for something we had no control over. That's like blaming someone for shooting your grandfather when it was actually their grandfather who shot your grandfather, it makes no sense at all.

Adam and Eve, according to the Bible, WERE the entire human race at this point in history, and again the Catholic Church teaches that this was in order to allow Jesus to sacrifice himself in order for our redemption.




Oh, and I find it absolutely hysterical how the pope wants to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, but at the same time opposes the use of condoms. I means seriously, people are going to have sex regardless if they have condoms or not, so it's probably a good idea to promote protection.

Protection from what, pregnancy or HIV? The Pope said "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem". Would you have sex with a person with AIDS, even if you used a condom? I don't know too many people who would answer yes. The pope means if people didn't have the access to sex that has no responsibilty to it (ie little or no chance of falling pregnant) then maybe people wouldn't be having sex with anyone. If abstinence was followed until marraige and people only had sex with one partner only, then we would not see this HIV/AIDS epidemic. The only way AIDS is passed is by sexual transmission, or by birth. But first comes the sexual transmission. If we stop people having sex with someone who already has AIDS, then it will die out with the people who have it.



As some others have also said, I don't like this idea of a tally of your good and bad actions. If this system was real, people who did very bad things in their lives would probably do even worse things because they would figure that they are beyond redemption.

The Catholic Church teaches that as long as someone is contrite for any sin, regardless of size, even out of fear of hell instead of love of God, then they can be redeemed, however before they can enter Heaven, they must be 'sanctified' in purgatory.




Ok, so now God's Divine Plan, Free Will, and All Knowing-ness. God has a divine plan for us. So, if he has a plan for us, everything is already set in stone, and everything we do we have no control over because God already knows what happens with his plan. Same thing with God being all knowing. If God is all knowing, he already knows everything that will EVER happen, so much for us having control in our lives. Also, he already knows whether or not we are going to Heaven or Hell if he is all knowing, so we basically have no control over our own destiny.

But do you know what is going to happen? You do have control, if you choose to not try and live the life the Catholic Church preaches, then you won't go to Heaven. It is up to you.



Let's talk about creationism. Everything was made out of nothing! Please explain??? Oh, and man creationists the Earth is 10,000 years old even though there is scientific proof that Earth is in fact billions of years old. But I guess they think that all of those silly scientists are making everything up with their years of constant research and new discoveries , right?


Ah, well literal biblical creationism isn't actually the official Catholic stance on the origins of the universe. The Catholic Church doesn't actually have one, but says you must believe in the special creation of man with a unique soul.



And isn't it ever so convenient that so many religions of the world have events that took place so long ago with all of those miraculous miracles? And today we see none of these miracles. I guess God liked our ancestors better than us.


Well according to the Catholic Church, miracles are needed in order to canonize a saint, saints are still being canonized today, so miracles are still occurring today.



Many Christians are Conservatives and Republicans. Many of the teachings of Christianity are on par with Republican views. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when someone triess to convince you of an ideal or opinion based upon religious beliefs. Not everyone subscribes to that belief!! How stupid would I sound if I tried tell a homosexual person that they couldn't marry because the Bible said so? I would look REALLY stupid.

Would a Buddhist look stupid if he told you before you had to enter his temple you had to remove your shoes? Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you pork wasn't available at KFC because you were in a Muslim nation (or at a KFC 15 minutes away from my place in sydney australia).



Oh and then some of these conservatives try and use their religion to say that Liberals are sinful, satanic, evil, etc. because their opinions are different from that of the Bible. According to some, you can't have an opinion against the Bible because it's sinful to have an opinion like that.



Well you're not the only one in the audience listening to these people. Other people share their beliefs, and according to their beliefs what some political parties do are sinful according to their belief.



In my opinion, religion should have NO role in political beliefs whatsoever. It's dangerous. It has started wars in the past.





All I'm trying to say is that I feel that it is wrong to justify your beliefs with religion.

Well a religion is the basis for a person's beliefs isn't it? A religion dictates its adherents beliefs to an extent, so its logical to do so.

Static_Martyr
07-22-2009, 04:19 AM
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that God allowed this evil to happen in order to bring about a greater good, and that greater good was the redemption which the death of Jesus Christ brought about.

This whole bit about "god let it happen because it's the greater good" just reeks of copping-out to me....it's really easy to say that about just about anything. I mean, any time we say this, we aren't acknowledging the more important questions; such as, why did god feel the need to create a race that HE KNEW was going to deviate and "sin?" Why did he create a race that was imperfect, that had the choice to "sin?" A lot of people say, "Because he wanted to give us free will." But then we're threatened with punishment for using that free will? We're expected to perform a rigid set of actions throughout our lives that have been deemed "moral" by the religious communities and if we deviate in any real way from those norms, we're considered "immoral" and "a threat to society." So I don't see how a god who respects or desires free will for his followers can create such a system. What we have now (assuming god is real for the duration of this comment) is not free will, it's a system of cohersion; god's "morality" is not a moral code at all but a rigid system of laws (remember, laws are *not* the same thing as morals).


Marraige in the Roman Catholic Church was institutionalised as between one man and one woman, I don't see how it is ignorant for the Catholic Church to want to protect what marraige is to them. They believe that a heterosexual relationship is the only positive form of a sexual relationship for society, because a heterosexual marraige brings new life into the world.

If there were some small corner of the world where Catholics lived away from everyone else, I would have more respect for this belief. As it stands, Catholics want to deny other people rights based on their beliefs. That's where I think religion does the most wrong --- not the little tenets like not eating meat or dressing a certain way, but taking other people's right away because they believe it's "immoral" for some weird circular reason; it doesn't actually *hurt* anyone, but it's "immoral," so it has to go? I've never understood that. What does immoral even mean if it has no real detriment in any form?

As for the "straights make babys" argument....the *only* way one can accept that as a valid case is if one also believes that the government should have the right to force people to reproduce. Here's my favorite example:

Let's say there's a tiny society of the last remaining humans on earth -- 15 men and 15 women. Now....let's say that half of these men (7, anyway) are gay, just by pure chance, and let's say that 4 of the other 8 are straight, but don't want to have children. Given this, do you believe that the people who govern this society have any real "right" to tell these 11 men that they MUST have sex with a woman and produce children? If not, then there is no reason to care that they are gay; either way, straight or gay, the issue is the choice not to reproduce. I don't see how the choice to be straight and yet not have children (which is casually accepted even by Catholics) is any different from the choice to be gay. Only when gay folks become involved does reproduction suddenly become an issue, and I think that's a shame because it appears to be hiding a deeper bias against gays.


This is true however this is off-topic? The Roman Catholic tradition says there is nothing wrong with being homosexualy inclined, just when a person engages in this form of sexual activity.

That kind of defeats the purpose, though, doesn't it? Gays don't want the right to think about being gay, they want to actually be gay.


Yes they are human beings, however marriage was formed to be between a man and a woman in order to protect the family, the basic building block of society. With advances in technology (ie IVF) and adoption, a homosexual relationship can have a 'family', however in order to do this they must go outside the relationship in order to have 'their own' children.

....which other straight people have produced and then left behind. I'd rather a child have a loving gay couple for parents than no parents at all (although that's just my personal bias).


Adam and Eve, according to the Bible, WERE the entire human race at this point in history, and again the Catholic Church teaches that this was in order to allow Jesus to sacrifice himself in order for our redemption.

This defense doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me; if Adam and Eve were the entire race at that time, then it should only have affected them. The argument is that WE are the entire human race at THIS time, and supposedly it still affects us, and the question is, why? We did nothing to deserve a nature of "sin" and "temptation." Is the act of being descended from someone enough reason to punish that descendant for the actions of the ancestor? In any other aspect of society we would not consider that just.


But do you know what is going to happen? You do have control, if you choose to not try and live the life the Catholic Church preaches, then you won't go to Heaven. It is up to you.

Gonna be a little tongue-in-cheek for a moment, here....but let me say this: If the Catholic Church's heaven is full of the kind of people that use arguments like this to sway people to or from Catholicism, then I think I'll take my chances that Hell is real :)


Well according to the Catholic Church, miracles are needed in order to canonize a saint, saints are still being canonized today, so miracles are still occurring today.

Well, it's more that the Catholic church *believes* that miracles are still happening. I'm not aware of any documentation of "miracles" that is readily accessible or verifiable.


Would a Buddhist look stupid if he told you before you had to enter his temple you had to remove your shoes? Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you pork wasn't available at KFC because you were in a Muslim nation (or at a KFC 15 minutes away from my place in sydney australia).

Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you that he had to kill you because you aren't Muslim yourself, and so he'll automatically get into heaven if he takes your life in the name of Allah?

Would a Christian look stupid if he murdered an abortion doctor because "murder is wrong?"

wheelchairman
07-22-2009, 05:59 AM
Many Christians are Conservatives and Republicans. Many of the teachings of Christianity are on par with Republican views. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when someone triess to convince you of an ideal or opinion based upon religious beliefs. Not everyone subscribes to that belief!! How stupid would I sound if I tried tell a homosexual person that they couldn't marry because the Bible said so? I would look REALLY stupid.
Fortunately Jaxter, you are wrong. Just because the Evangelical right wing in America believes it, does not make it representative of Christendom as a whole. Certainly not.


Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you that he had to kill you because you aren't Muslim yourself, and so he'll automatically get into heaven if he takes your life in the name of Allah?

Would a Christian look stupid if he murdered an abortion doctor because "murder is wrong?"
And you certainly look stupid for writing dumbass tripe like this. How is this even a response to what Jaxter wrote? What the hell is wrong with you?

Static_Martyr
07-22-2009, 12:29 PM
And you certainly look stupid for writing dumbass tripe like this. How is this even a response to what Jaxter wrote? What the hell is wrong with you?

Wow....somehow, I knew that if I kept talking, you'd eventually insult me as well....you seem kinda sensitive :( It's cool, though.

Although you're right, it's not so much a "response" as it is a twist on the question. For one, I wasn't responding to Jaxter, I was responding to Rise_and_fall. Second, his (her?) comment seemed to be saying that religious tradition shouldn't be ridiculed on the grounds that it's religious tradition. And while I don't support blindly ridiculing religious traditions just for being religious traditions, I still felt the need to point out that there are acts often touted as religious tradition that are not really worth defending as such --- killing in the name of a religion is something I think we can all agree should not be tolerated "for tolerance's sake," IOW "out of respect for the faith." I mean, I try to respect religion as much as I can, but as with anyone, I feel there are lines that can be crossed that violate any pretense of respect that I'm obligated to hold.


Just because the Evangelical right wing in America believes it, does not make it representative of Christendom as a whole. Certainly not.

I like that you point that out, just because so few people do. Are you Christian by any chance? (No real reason, just trying to avoid stepping on too many toes today...)

wheelchairman
07-22-2009, 01:26 PM
Wow....somehow, I knew that if I kept talking, you'd eventually insult me as well....you seem kinda sensitive It's cool, though.

Although you're right, it's not so much a "response" as it is a twist on the question. For one, I wasn't responding to Jaxter, I was responding to Rise_and_fall. Second, his (her?) comment seemed to be saying that religious tradition shouldn't be ridiculed on the grounds that it's religious tradition. And while I don't support blindly ridiculing religious traditions just for being religious traditions, I still felt the need to point out that there are acts often touted as religious tradition that are not really worth defending as such --- killing in the name of a religion is something I think we can all agree should not be tolerated "for tolerance's sake," IOW "out of respect for the faith." I mean, I try to respect religion as much as I can, but as with anyone, I feel there are lines that can be crossed that violate any pretense of respect that I'm obligated to hold.
No one was arguing that ritual sacrifice or killing in the name of a religion was acceptable. You were taking his argument to an illogical conclusion and then acting as if it were the same argument. It's as logical as saying Marching Bands are pseudo-fascist organizations because the Nazis marched too. Or people who uphold the constitution are trying to bring back slavery. It was a mean dirty trick you pulled, and on an intellectual level, it was retarded.

And yeah I guess I'm a Christian. It's not something I dwell on or care about though so I wouldn't put much stock into that as a motivation for my posts. What I dislike is that pseudo-intellectuals use atheism as a weapon to promote their anti-religious sentiments. What a waste of time.

Static_Martyr
07-22-2009, 02:03 PM
No one was arguing that ritual sacrifice or killing in the name of a religion was acceptable. You were taking his argument to an illogical conclusion and then acting as if it were the same argument. It's as logical as saying Marching Bands are pseudo-fascist organizations because the Nazis marched too. Or people who uphold the constitution are trying to bring back slavery. It was a mean dirty trick you pulled, and on an intellectual level, it was retarded.

I'm sorry you feel that way, but it was not my intent to pull any "mean dirty tricks," nor do I feel I have done that.

Yes, I'm aware that nobody was explicitly arguing that. The point of bringing up killing in the name of religion (for example) was not to imply that anyone had said that it was okay. It was to show my opinion, which I feel was reflected in exactly what I said: That *just because* something is religious should not excuse it from criticism IF there is a reasonable criticism to be had. How does this apply? Well, the point that I gathered from Jaxter's original comment was that there are politicians who align their religious beliefs with their political policies, and that he thought this was wrong (which, for what it's worth, you may notice that I tried to address in a much earlier post). Rise_and_fall responded by bringing up some things that weren't immediately related to Jaxter's comment (such as taking off your shoes before entering, or not eating pork in a Muslim country), which made what (you may or may not agree) could be construed as a statement that *because* something is religious, then consideration of that should be given before criticism.

Now perhaps it's unfair to put it that way, so I'll grant you that in retrospect, it could possibly have also been interpreted as saying, "something isn't necessarily wrong JUST BECAUSE it is based on a religious tenet," which of course I agree with. But when I responded by saying that there are religious tenets that are clearly wrong (according to anyone who is not an especially extremist member of that particular religion), my point was that no, something isn't "necessarily wrong" JUST because it's based on a religious tenet, but it's also not "necessarily worth considering" based on that same reason. I meant it not so much as an accusation as a warning; yes, we should consider people's religious convictions and not immediately dismiss them....but we should also be careful. That was my point. If I presented it in an unclear way then please excuse me; I have a hard time talking about subjects like this in ways that sound pleasing and conversational, as it's rare that such a discussion gets very far before somebody jumps the gun or gets offended (and so I get very little practice....).

To reiterate....I don't think that it's fair to dismiss religious convictions completely out of hand solely based on the idea that they are rooted in religious beliefs. However, I also don't think there is a specific obligation to consider beliefs that result from religious tenets. Rather, I think that such ideas basically "float in the middle," and it's up to the parties discussing/presenting/opposing them to make a case for which side they think we should be leaning towards.

wheelchairman
07-22-2009, 06:05 PM
I have a had hard time trying to understand what you are trying to say. It might be my short attention span, or maybe you just get your message garbled up in longer sentences and paragraphs, so I'm going to try and cut this up a little.


I'm sorry you feel that way, but it was not my intent to pull any "mean dirty tricks," nor do I feel I have done that.
It's called a straw man argument, and it's a common logical fallacy. I didn't want to state this explicitly because only douche bags use terms like logical fallacy in an internet debate. But there you go.




Yes, I'm aware that nobody was explicitly arguing that. The point of bringing up killing in the name of religion (for example) was not to imply that anyone had said that it was okay.
Well then you probably shouldn't have quoted the guy directly above you, and then used the exact same wording he used in his post, in your examples. It wasn't an accident so quit trying to act like it was one.



It was to show my opinion, which I feel was reflected in exactly what I said: That *just because* something is religious should not excuse it from criticism IF there is a reasonable criticism to be had. How does this apply? Well, the point that I gathered from Jaxter's original comment was that there are politicians who align their religious beliefs with their political policies, and that he thought this was wrong (which, for what it's worth, you may notice that I tried to address in a much earlier post). Rise_and_fall responded by bringing up some things that weren't immediately related to Jaxter's comment (such as taking off your shoes before entering, or not eating pork in a Muslim country), which made what (you may or may not agree) could be construed as a statement that *because* something is religious, then consideration of that should be given before criticism.

I'm sorry, I don't think anyone interpreted what you did from Rise_and_fall's post. He was showing examples of good manners, and respect. You were talking about the actions of religious extremists, and yet we still don't know why. Why did you bring them up out of context? How is that possibly related to taking your shoes off in a temple or not being able to buy pork at a KFC in Medina?






But when I responded by saying that there are religious tenets that are clearly wrong (according to anyone who is not an especially extremist member of that particular religion), my point was that no, something isn't "necessarily wrong" JUST because it's based on a religious tenet, but it's also not "necessarily worth considering" based on that same reason. I meant it not so much as an accusation as a warning; yes, we should consider people's religious convictions and not immediately dismiss them....but we should also be careful.
No shit. But if that was your point you somehow used words and examples that were completely irrelevant. In fact if that was your point, you completely missed every single possible way of explaining that in a fashion people would understand. It would be like if I tried to explain to you how gravity works by punching my girlfriend in the vagina. She might fall over, who knows, but it will sure as hell confuse everyone.



That was my point. If I presented it in an unclear way then please excuse me; I have a hard time talking about subjects like this in ways that sound pleasing and conversational, as it's rare that such a discussion gets very far before somebody jumps the gun or gets offended (and so I get very little practice....).

It looked to me like you got miffed by RaF's examples, and took extreme opposites to try and prove a point. That's not very logical, nor is it pleasing and conversational. Personally I try and drop pleasing and conversational and attempt to get my point across in a focused and logical manner. I don't always succeed, but that is my goal.




To reiterate....I don't think that it's fair to dismiss religious convictions completely out of hand solely based on the idea that they are rooted in religious beliefs. However, I also don't think there is a specific obligation to consider beliefs that result from religious tenets. Rather, I think that such ideas basically "float in the middle," and it's up to the parties discussing/presenting/opposing them to make a case for which side they think we should be leaning towards.
I don't understand the last sentence. I think I understand the first two but now I'm no longer sure.

I'd sum up my views on this. People of a different faith and background can practice what they want to their hearts desires as far as I care. As soon as they enter a new area of culture or religion, they should conform their beliefs into the mainframe of the local law. It should be understood that they have different beliefs and customs, but those which run contrary to the laws of the land or the spirit of the locals should be criticized and discussed in a constructive manner (and if they are illegal obviously should be banned). Which we see often enough, I don't think honor killings, forced marriages or female circumcision are tolerated in any western nation. Nor are the assassination of abortion doctors or the killing of infidels. Which you seemed to be under the belief they were.

Static_Martyr
07-22-2009, 06:50 PM
It's called a straw man argument, and it's a common logical fallacy. I didn't want to state this explicitly because only douche bags use terms like logical fallacy in an internet debate. But there you go.

What "straw man" was that?


Well then you probably shouldn't have quoted the guy directly above you, and then used the exact same wording he used in his post, in your examples. It wasn't an accident so quit trying to act like it was one.

I'm seriously not sure what you mean by this. If I'm going to quote the guy directly above me, shouldn't I use the exact same wording in his post? Isn't that the point of quoting him? Or are you saying something else entirely?

Second, I never used the word "accident" and I honestly don't know what you are referring to when you say that. What did I "accidentally" do, in your view?


I'm sorry, I don't think anyone interpreted what you did from Rise_and_fall's post....How is that possibly related to taking your shoes off in a temple or not being able to buy pork at a KFC in Medina?

Look....here's the original post that Rise_and_fall responded to:


Many Christians are Conservatives and Republicans. Many of the teachings of Christianity are on par with Republican views. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when someone triess to convince you of an ideal or opinion based upon religious beliefs. Not everyone subscribes to that belief!! How stupid would I sound if I tried tell a homosexual person that they couldn't marry because the Bible said so? I would look REALLY stupid.

And here is the response that Rise_and_fall offered:


Would a Buddhist look stupid if he told you before you had to enter his temple you had to remove your shoes? Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you pork wasn't available at KFC because you were in a Muslim nation (or at a KFC 15 minutes away from my place in sydney australia).

If we go by your logic here, then I'm not really sure what the point of Rise_and_fall's post was. When I read it, what I see is this: Jaxter is saying that people look stupid when they try to tell others that they should do things based on religious beliefs, specifically laws. Rise_and_fall is responding by bringing up examples of "good manners" (to use your phrasing) and asking if people look stupid if they are told to abide by the customs of other religions.

Now forgive me if I simply don't see how those two are related in the way you seem to think they are/should be. Jaxter's post pertained primarily to people who try to pass laws in a country (most likely referring to America specifically), saying that religion alone is not a good enough reason to legislate how people should live their lives. The way you explained Rise_and_fall's response, it is referring to laws that have already been passed, in countries where religious customs operate as the primary source of law and order.

Where my response comes in is that, abiding by your explanation of RAF's post, he (she?) is saying that "we should obey customs that are already in effect out of respect to that religion." Which had nothing to do with the original statement --- that the formation of those customs in the first place should not be influenced by religion alone. My response pertained to what I perceived as a criticism of the original point --- that religion alone should not be used as a basis for creating public policies, particularly referring to America as it concerns me directly (as opposed to the Middle East or a Buddhist temple). So if your explanation of RAF's posting is correct, then I don't see how it addresses the original point at all, in which case my confusion over your sudden hostility is at least a little bit justified.


No shit. But if that was your point you somehow used words and examples that were completely irrelevant. In fact if that was your point, you completely missed every single possible way of explaining that in a fashion people would understand. It would be like if I tried to explain to you how gravity works by punching my girlfriend in the vagina. She might fall over, who knows, but it will sure as hell confuse everyone.

Would you perhaps care to be more specific? What part of what I said confused you? Your criticisms are pretty vague; I don't see how what I said is like that analogy at all.


It looked to me like you got miffed by RaF's examples, and took extreme opposites to try and prove a point. That's not very logical, nor is it pleasing and conversational. Personally I try and drop pleasing and conversational and attempt to get my point across in a focused and logical manner. I don't always succeed, but that is my goal.

Oy....I'm not "miffed" at all; if I was, I would be calling names and accusing people of wrongdoing. Call me an idiot, but I'm just trying to figure out what's going on....as far as I could tell, RAF and I were having a mostly peaceable discussion until you responded. If anyone's acting miffed, I'd say you fit the bill more than I do....

I mean, I'm not trying to get in your face. I just don't understand what your problem is with what I said. If you just want to leave it at that, then that's fine with me, but if you honestly want to make a point to me, then all I'm asking you to do is point me through the rhetorical jabs and towards your point, specifically. So sorry I'm making this so difficult for you....:(

And as for "dropping pleasing and conversational," I was just trying to be polite. I can have a pissed-off angry debate anywhere; I just figured we could at least *try* to be civil here, given that everyone seems to know each other relatively well....I won't blow you off or anything if you insist on being this aggressive, but let it be known that I really don't care to start any of this name-calling/ad-hominem shit.


I don't understand the last sentence. I think I understand the first two but now I'm no longer sure.

It's like this; by "float in the middle" I mean, it's in-between, ideologically speaking; we shouldn't automatically respect religious tenets, but we shouldn't automatically discount them, either. They simply exist, and if someone wants to push his/her religious tenets on others, then it's up to him/her to make a case why we should all obey their beliefs, and it's up to the people who think otherwise to make a case for their argument as well. I concede the argument to whoever has the better case; I think that's a reliable way to make policy.


As soon as they enter a new area of culture or religion

I understand what you're saying, sort of like, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." But that was not the point that was being addressed by the original statement; your statement here assumes that "the Romans" already have a policy in effect, and that when in Rome, we should abide by the policy that has already been set forth. The original point (that RAF's comment was in response to) was that such policy shouldn't be made *in the first place* based on religious tenets; now there's not much we can do about that in foreign countries, aside from have an opinion on it. But in our own country, we influence policy, and so that statement makes a lot of sense (that we shouldn't rely on religion alone to make policy) if you look at it that way.

Basically...the point had nothing to do with obeying other countries' laws. I really don't think Jaxter was exactly campaigning for us to go in and correct other countries' laws; I think it was a fair criticism that it's silly to base laws on religious tenets alone, and that we can see this by looking at countries who have done just that, and hopefully use what we see to prevent the same thing from happening here in America.


It should be understood that they have different beliefs and customs, but those which run contrary to the laws of the land or the spirit of the locals should be criticized and discussed in a constructive manner (and if they are illegal obviously should be banned).

Yet our democracy encourages debate and questioning of the "laws of the land" and "spirit of the locals." If we always respected the spirit of the locals and the laws of the land just because they were the traditional beliefs, we'd still have slavery in America. It's because we occasionally challenge strongly-held beliefs that our society has managed to grow to become what it has.

I'm not saying we should all go around the world attacking religious communities and forcing them to change their ways. I'm saying that in our home countries, where we directly influence policy, it's prudent to question the foundation of our beliefs, and consider that not everyone holds the same belief, and so it might be unfair if we try to use one person or group's religious tenets as the basis for laws that everyone has to obey.


Which we see often enough, I don't think honor killings, forced marriages or female circumcision are tolerated in any western nation. Nor are the assassination of abortion doctors or the killing of infidels. Which you seemed to be under the belief they were.

When I referred to Islam extremists, I was referring to the Middle East. Of course America doesn't allow honor killings, I am aware of that; the point behind that was that it's *because* people in those countries respect their traditions based on the fact that they are traditions, they still allow things like genital mutilation and honor killings; what I said was meant to show that this is an extreme (yet very real and present) example of what happens when we allow "traditions" to run unchecked just because we're afraid to oppose someone's religious ideals.

wheelchairman
07-22-2009, 08:05 PM
Oh christ this got long fast and I fear its my fault. Oh fuck me it's 2000 characters too long. Sorry for the double post.


What "straw man" was that?
You just explained, so I will show you with your examples:

As you said:
Jaxter wrote:

Many Christians are Conservatives and Republicans. Many of the teachings of Christianity are on par with Republican views. I cannot tell you how annoying it is when someone triess to convince you of an ideal or opinion based upon religious beliefs. Not everyone subscribes to that belief!! How stupid would I sound if I tried tell a homosexual person that they couldn't marry because the Bible said so? I would look REALLY stupid.
to which RaF said:

Would a Buddhist look stupid if he told you before you had to enter his temple you had to remove your shoes? Would a Muslim look stupid if he told you pork wasn't available at KFC because you were in a Muslim nation (or at a KFC 15 minutes away from my place in sydney australia).
to which you say your point was:


If we go by your logic here, then I'm not really sure what the point of Rise_and_fall's post was. When I read it, what I see is this: Jaxter is saying that people look stupid when they try to tell others that they should do things based on religious beliefs, specifically laws. Rise_and_fall is responding by bringing up examples of "good manners" (to use your phrasing) and asking if people look stupid if they are told to abide by the customs of other religions.

Now forgive me if I simply don't see how those two are related in the way you seem to think they are/should be. Jaxter's post pertained primarily to people who try to pass laws in a country (most likely referring to America specifically), saying that religion alone is not a good enough reason to legislate how people should live their lives. The way you explained Rise_and_fall's response, it is referring to laws that have already been passed, in countries where religious customs operate as the primary source of law and order.

Where my response comes in is that, abiding by your explanation of RAF's post, he (she?) is saying that "we should obey customs that are already in effect out of respect to that religion." Which had nothing to do with the original statement --- that the formation of those customs in the first place should not be influenced by religion alone. My response pertained to what I perceived as a criticism of the original point --- that religion alone should not be used as a basis for creating public policies, particularly referring to America as it concerns me directly (as opposed to the Middle East or a Buddhist temple). So if your explanation of RAF's posting is correct, then I don't see how it addresses the original point at all, in which case my confusion over your sudden hostility is at least a little bit justified.

Now you responded to RaF, not Jaxter, since you clearly quoted RaF. I don't think RaF was stating that extremists should vanguard our behavior, but you seemed to think that was the logical conclusion of his post. In fact you built your response up on that, and acted as though that was a proper rebuttal, when it clearly was not and made no sense. RaF was not saying that religion alone was a basis for public policies, and I don't understand why you seem to think so. In fact his examples were a house of worship, and apparently a muslim run restaurant establishment. (I didn't even know you could get pork at KFC).

So you tell me how your response was the logical conclusion of RaF's logic, because I do not see it.


I'm seriously not sure what you mean by this. If I'm going to quote the guy directly above me, shouldn't I use the exact same wording in his post? Isn't that the point of quoting him? Or are you saying something else entirely?

Second, I never used the word "accident" and I honestly don't know what you are referring to when you say that. What did I "accidentally" do, in your view?
No but from what I gathered by this quote:

Yes, I'm aware that nobody was explicitly arguing that. The point of bringing up killing in the name of religion (for example) was not to imply that anyone had said that it was okay.
That you were making a principled argument in general, except that your phrasing and the fact you quoted him did not make it look like a principled general argument, but a direct response. A response that still seems to have little relevancy.


Would you perhaps care to be more specific? What part of what I said confused you? Your criticisms are pretty vague; I don't see how what I said is like that analogy at all.
It was your attempt to explain this to RaF:


That *just because* something is religious should not excuse it from criticism IF there is a reasonable criticism to be had.
You'll have to forgive me in that I did not read RaF and Jaxter's exchange. I don't have the freetime nor will to read this entire thread. I read yours and RaF's, and specifically that one portion did not seem to pertain at all to your point. I still don't think it does because you just took two completely bizarre acts and acted as if they were common religious sentiments.

End of post 1.

wheelchairman
07-22-2009, 08:07 PM
Oy....I'm not "miffed" at all; if I was, I would be calling names and accusing people of wrongdoing. Call me an idiot, but I'm just trying to figure out what's going on....as far as I could tell, RAF and I were having a mostly peaceable discussion until you responded. If anyone's acting miffed, I'd say you fit the bill more than I do....

I mean, I'm not trying to get in your face. I just don't understand what your problem is with what I said. If you just want to leave it at that, then that's fine with me, but if you honestly want to make a point to me, then all I'm asking you to do is point me through the rhetorical jabs and towards your point, specifically. So sorry I'm making this so difficult for you....

And as for "dropping pleasing and conversational," I was just trying to be polite. I can have a pissed-off angry debate anywhere; I just figured we could at least *try* to be civil here, given that everyone seems to know each other relatively well....I won't blow you off or anything if you insist on being this aggressive, but let it be known that I really don't care to start any of this name-calling/ad-hominem shit.
I actually went through my last post and tried to see if I was over board mean or anything. I wouldn't say it was nice, but I didn't think I was directly mean so I just posted it un-edited. I do have short thrift with stupidity though. So I will explain what I thought was stupid about what you said.

He talked about taking off shoes in a temple, you talked about killing abortion doctors. These aren't related. It seemed like a cheap shot at religion. It still does. I don't know why you think anyone needs it explained to them why religion shouldn't be the founding basis for public policy. No one thinks that. I get where the argument came from, the idea that public morality comes from religion. But it's been taken to a practical extreme that no longer works. It makes no sense at this level. Especially when you take the examples of a few deranged extremists. And you did, you took the examples of crazed christians killing abortion doctors, and Muslims killing infidels as this was common in either religion, or an accepted practice in either of these religions. It's not. So how this is a rebuttal at all to why religion shouldn't be the basis of social practice, I don't see it.

And it's not related to how religion affects public morality.


I understand what you're saying, sort of like, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." But that was not the point that was being addressed by the original statement; your statement here assumes that "the Romans" already have a policy in effect, and that when in Rome, we should abide by the policy that has already been set forth. The original point (that RAF's comment was in response to) was that such policy shouldn't be made *in the first place* based on religious tenets; now there's not much we can do about that in foreign countries, aside from have an opinion on it. But in our own country, we influence policy, and so that statement makes a lot of sense (that we shouldn't rely on religion alone to make policy) if you look at it that way.

Basically...the point had nothing to do with obeying other countries' laws. I really don't think Jaxter was exactly campaigning for us to go in and correct other countries' laws; I think it was a fair criticism that it's silly to base laws on religious tenets alone, and that we can see this by looking at countries who have done just that, and hopefully use what we see to prevent the same thing from happening here in America.

Not quite, but close. My point was that religious criticism has a context. Who, what and where. But it's not really an important point.

However pertaining to your original discussion I don't see how the actions of other countries would be relevant. You're not going to have an American Ayatollah or anything. Nor would the majority of Americans support religious doctrine governing laws, in fact from what I've read the conservative movement has been split and the evangelical right has lost a lot of the power it had in the 1980's. In fact they were disgruntled over the lack of power they had in the Bush administration.

As for why this discussion came about I'm assuming it has to do with "why people should be religious, oh because religion is the foundation of public morality". But that does not mean laws, that means how to treat your neighbor. Christianity is not a religion of laws, it is a religion of behavior for those who chose to follow. The morality argument is used because those who use it believe that without christianity or the fear of god, people would go on killing and raping sprees. Laws are irrelevant to this argument, they believe soundly that it was the fear of God that prevents much of this.


Yet our democracy encourages debate and questioning of the "laws of the land" and "spirit of the locals." If we always respected the spirit of the locals and the laws of the land just because they were the traditional beliefs, we'd still have slavery in America. It's because we occasionally challenge strongly-held beliefs that our society has managed to grow to become what it has.

I'm not saying we should all go around the world attacking religious communities and forcing them to change their ways. I'm saying that in our home countries, where we directly influence policy, it's prudent to question the foundation of our beliefs, and consider that not everyone holds the same belief, and so it might be unfair if we try to use one person or group's religious tenets as the basis for laws that everyone has to obey.
You did it again. I was hardly arguing for the fact that slavery should still exist in America. Or that laws shouldn't be changed. In fact I find it hard to believe that that could be interpreted from what I said. I was arguing about religious criticism. Specifically of immigrants who practice a different religion and move to your country. A problem that is very topical here in Europe. Not of slavery... Which as far as I know, has little to do with religion or tradition.

However I would say that it's not unfair when an overwhelming majority passes a law that everyone has to obey, this is how democracy works. Or at least a representative democracy. Does that mean you shouldn't criticize the laws you disagree with? Of course it doesn't, I never said that.


When I referred to Islam extremists, I was referring to the Middle East. Of course America doesn't allow honor killings, I am aware of that; the point behind that was that it's *because* people in those countries respect their traditions based on the fact that they are traditions, they still allow things like genital mutilation and honor killings; what I said was meant to show that this is an extreme (yet very real and present) example of what happens when we allow "traditions" to run unchecked just because we're afraid to oppose someone's religious ideals.
This has little to do with religion though, and has everything to do with the development, education etc. of those who practice this. Female circumcision and honor killings are most common in backwards agricultural communities that have very weak infrastructural and administrative ties to the capitals of their respective nations or regions. Education is usually poor or non-existant even. These kinds of things become rarer in industrialized, metropolises.

Anyways, I hope I was coherent. I'm very tired, and this was confusing to say the least.

Static_Martyr
07-23-2009, 03:41 AM
He talked about taking off shoes in a temple, you talked about killing abortion doctors. These aren't related. It seemed like a cheap shot at religion. It still does.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, then. I feel I've explained as well as I can how the two were related in the context of the discussion. One 'nice' example (regarding mannerisms) was cited as a defense of religious customs, and one 'mean' example was cited as a warning against allowing them to run unchecked. It's not that I "think anyone needs it explained to them;" I think very little of what has been said in this (or any similar) topic overall "needs to be explained" to anyone. That was not the point. The point was simply to hear what people think on various issues and why.


And you did, you took the examples of crazed christians killing abortion doctors, and Muslims killing infidels as this was common in either religion, or an accepted practice in either of these religions. It's not. So how this is a rebuttal at all to why religion shouldn't be the basis of social practice, I don't see it.

I didn't imply anywhere that it was common or mainstream-accepted practice. It is *fairly* common in, say, certain middle-eastern countries, to encourage Jihadist activities (unless you mean to imply that THAT is wrong as well, in which case, again, we'll just have to agree to disagree), but that was not my point; my point was that religious beliefs CAN be taken overboard, and occasionally ARE. They may be extremists that don't represent the whole of religion, but we're not talking about the whole of religion. We're talking about how SOME ideas CAN be taken to an extreme.


As for why this discussion came about I'm assuming it has to do with "why people should be religious, oh because religion is the foundation of public morality".

Not really. It was a simple, passing commentary about how it's not wise to found public policy on religious doctrine, and how easy it is to see that.


. The morality argument is used because those who use it believe that without christianity or the fear of god, people would go on killing and raping sprees. Laws are irrelevant to this argument, they believe soundly that it was the fear of God that prevents much of this.

For reasons I've explained elsewhere in this topic, I don't think that argument is true....but it's not really relevant to the point either, so I'll skip it for now.


You did it again. I was hardly arguing for the fact that slavery should still exist in America.

I never said you were....I think this would be much easier for both of us if you would stop reading so many accusations into my words. I pointed OUT that if we didn't challenge customs then we wouldn't have overcome the ordeals of slavery and misogyny, because it seemed to me that you were arguing that local customs should be respected SOLELY on the grounds that they were "the will of the people" and therefore deserving of respect. If that's not what you were saying then fine; all you have to do is say so. But your words are particularly confusing at times.


However I would say that it's not unfair when an overwhelming majority passes a law that everyone has to obey, this is how democracy works. Or at least a representative democracy. Does that mean you shouldn't criticize the laws you disagree with? Of course it doesn't, I never said that.

Well obviously I would agree that if a law was passed, then we don't have much choice BUT to obey it for the time. The comment about fairness was directed at the process of forming that law; it's important, I think, to consider that certain laws might not be truly fair in practice. For example....if Congress passed a law saying that only people with black hair can go outside on Fridays, that wouldn't be fair. In fact, it would be completely outrageous. But if the law was passed, although many people would feel obligated to obey it, there would be protests and the like. It's not that people are saying, "I shouldn't have to obey this law because I don't like it." It's more that they are saying, "This law is founded on stupid principles and should be repealed." Those are very different arguments.


This has little to do with religion though, and has everything to do with the development, education etc. of those who practice this. Female circumcision and honor killings are most common in backwards agricultural communities that have very weak infrastructural and administrative ties to the capitals of their respective nations or regions. Education is usually poor or non-existant even. These kinds of things become rarer in industrialized, metropolises.

Still, though, religion is used as a tool to control these uneducated people. Could it still happen without all of those factors, as well? Probably not. But would it happen without religion as well? I think, definitely less so.


Now you responded to RaF, not Jaxter, since you clearly quoted RaF. I don't think RaF was stating that extremists should vanguard our behavior, but you seemed to think that was the logical conclusion of his post.

No no no....I didn't say that was the conclusion of his post. I pointed out that, BASED ON THE REASONING of his post, one consequence of respecting ideas "for the sake of respect" was that we could allow them to go unchecked. I assumed that was NOT what he was thinking when I typed it; that's why I typed it in the first place, because it did not seem that he had considered this as a possible ramification of what he was saying --- and yet I see it as just that.


That you were making a principled argument in general, except that your phrasing and the fact you quoted him did not make it look like a principled general argument, but a direct response. A response that still seems to have little relevancy.

I'm not sure what you mean by "general principled argument;" without the text I quoted from RAF's post, my post wouldn't have made much sense. Hence the quote. It was a response to what he/she was saying. If you disagree with my reasoning that's one thing, but in order to understand the connection between the two posts you will need to at least acknowledge what it is.


You'll have to forgive me in that I did not read RaF and Jaxter's exchange. I don't have the freetime nor will to read this entire thread. I read yours and RaF's, and specifically that one portion did not seem to pertain at all to your point. I still don't think it does because you just took two completely bizarre acts and acted as if they were common religious sentiments.

Once again, I don't see where I *ever* implied that killing people in the name of god was a "common religious sentiment." I think that is an assumption that you yourself read into my comment. The fact that it IS an EXTREME sentiment is what makes the point of my post; that IF we allow religious ideas to go unchecked for the reasons that you APPEARED to be citing (the ones that I have responded to, as I have explained), then we COULD end up with dangerous, extremist ideas that are accepted as relatively "okay."

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-24-2009, 02:10 PM
WCM, what the fuck? You're perfectly capable of engaging in actual conversation but weren't willing to do that with me? What did I do to you to make you act the way you did to me?

Anyway, I was reconsidering my whole argument and I think that I went too deep into definitions. By definition, a person is an atheist if they lack a belief in God, so that includes the answer of "I don't know". However, I do see the point that you were making, regardless of the definition's accuracy, people typically know what someone means when they say they're agnostic. I get it, and I kept overlooking it. I didn't mean to sound so rigid. There's plenty of fluidity when it comes to faith or lack of faith. A person who claims agnostic may fluctuate back and forth between belief and disbelief or they may simply not care. Different people attribute different levels of importance when it comes to faith. Some may be heavily devoted, others not so much. As far as rigid definitions go, I'm an agnostic atheist, but as far as...well...life goes, I suppose, I'm a pragmatist. For me, personally, I feel that this life is too short and precious to worry about what comes next, it's all irrelevant to me. I just want to make the most of my time here, enjoy the ride, and try to make as many people happy as I can before I go.


You're un-ignored.

IamSam
07-24-2009, 03:13 PM
This thread is a clusterfuck.

Static_Martyr
07-24-2009, 03:17 PM
^Oddly, I agree 0.0

Ka1n
07-25-2009, 10:30 PM
WCM, what the fuck? You're perfectly capable of engaging in actual conversation but weren't willing to do that with me? What did I do to you to make you act the way you did to me?
Read your famous statement that agnostics are automatically atheists again and tell me you wouldn't say: "Oh, god I'm an idiot.".

SM, you should have quoted the first guy and offer less extreme example.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 05:13 AM
Read your famous statement that agnostics are automatically atheists again and tell me you wouldn't say: "Oh, god I'm an idiot.".

SM, you should have quoted the first guy and offer less extreme example.

Um, did you read anything beyond what you quoted? Because I was conceding. I admitted that yes, I was being a little extreme.

Static_Martyr
07-26-2009, 05:18 AM
^I think the "extreme" comment was aimed at me ("SM").

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 05:31 AM
Oh I know, I'm just saying that I was being a little extreme in my statement in question.

I just wish that WCM would have engaged in actual conversation with me, like he did with you, and give me a substantive comment rather than just "you're an idiot."

Static_Martyr
07-26-2009, 06:30 AM
^Well, if it makes you feel any better, I think I pissed him off, too :o

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 06:45 AM
Oh well. I don't really think it's worth getting into discussions with people who can't refrain from using ad hominem arguments, anyway.

It's all cool. :)

Ka1n
07-26-2009, 10:09 AM
Um, did you read anything beyond what you quoted? Because I was conceding. I admitted that yes, I was being a little extreme.
Yeah, but you are still like "WCM, WTF?". Stop it.

I just wish that WCM would have engaged in actual conversation with me, like he did with you, and give me a substantive comment rather than just "you're an idiot."
I had a serious conversation with you as 84U. I explained everything to you almost sentence by sentence.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 11:24 AM
Yeah, but you are still like "WCM, WTF?". Stop it.

Why? Why am I at fault because he couldn't seriously discuss something with me? If I made a stupid statement, he should have pointed that out from the beginning, and not simply call me an idiot. I'm just saying I didn't do anything to warrant being lashed out at like that. It's not hard to refrain from childish namecalling. The exchange between WCM and myself didn't have to end up the way it did, and I tried everything in my power to direct it to respectful conversation but he wasn't having it. He wasn't giving me the opportunity like he gave SM. THAT was the "WTF?" moment. And you told me to reread my statement about agnostics/atheists and see if I thought I was being stupid there, as if to imply that you didn't read anything beyond my "WCM WTF" comment. What's the point of making such a statement if I already conceded? My concession and pointing out WCM's dickitry were two unrelated statements. Just because I admitted that my controversial statement was stupid and extreme doesn't change the fact that WCM was being an asshole about it. I don't know, maybe I am making a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. I don't want to sound like I was brutally offended over the internet, because that's not the case. I was merely hoping for a good deep conversation.


I had a serious conversation with you as 84U. I explained everything to you almost sentence by sentence.

Oh, that's you? Sorry. I appreciated what you had to say because you weren't rude about it. You just kind of disappeared and hadn't returned to what I said afterward so I forgot about you. Sorry about that, but I did want to express that the exchange between us was far more respectful and adult than what WCM had to say. So thank you for that.

Ka1n
07-26-2009, 12:08 PM
Why? Why am I at fault because he couldn't seriously discuss something with me? If I made a stupid statement, he should have pointed that out from the beginning, and not simply call me an idiot. I'm just saying I didn't do anything to warrant being lashed out at like that. It's not hard to refrain from childish namecalling. The exchange between WCM and myself didn't have to end up the way it did, and I tried everything in my power to direct it to respectful conversation but he wasn't having it. He wasn't giving me the opportunity like he gave SM. THAT was the "WTF?" moment. And you told me to reread my statement about agnostics/atheists and see if I thought I was being stupid there, as if to imply that you didn't read anything beyond my "WCM WTF" comment. What's the point of making such a statement if I already conceded? My concession and pointing out WCM's dickitry were two unrelated statements. Just because I admitted that my controversial statement was stupid and extreme doesn't change the fact that WCM was being an asshole about it.

Oh, that's you? Sorry. I appreciated what you had to say because you weren't rude about it. You just kind of disappeared and hadn't returned to what I said afterward so I forgot about you. Sorry about that, but I did want to express that the exchange between us was far more respectful and adult than what WCM had to say. So thank you for that.
That statement was as stupid as 1+1=3, so, don't be so surprised if there are short-tempered people who don't tolerate it. You were so overwhelmed by your stance. You have to give it a time and be open to more theories especially in such complicated issue. Also, your stance was aggressive/offensive towards agnostics.

I'm unwanted on here. I'm constantly deleted. You can report it if somebody's rude. Under current board rules his offensive posts could be easily deleted. Also, funny thing is that people like you pressure me to learn something new. So, thank you. :D

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 12:21 PM
Yeah, I didn't mean to be aggressive and offensive towards agnostics. So I apologize to anyone who was offended. My arguments did pile up into a clusterfuck of a mess. I was an idiot. Now that I have recognized this, we can move on. Thanks, Ka1n! :)

wheelchairman
07-26-2009, 04:05 PM
I call Mime names because he literally writes pages about how much he hates.

What a great motivation, pussy.

Now let's continue discussing who "pissed me off" and when. Lame.

I'll reply to whatever I have to at some point further away from the weekend.

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 04:15 PM
I call Mime names because he literally writes pages about how much he hates.

What a great motivation, pussy.

Now let's continue discussing who "pissed me off" and when. Lame.

I'll reply to whatever I have to at some point further away from the weekend.

What? No I don't. I don't HATE anything. What are you talking about? And just so you know, I don't even have a problem with you personally. I mean, how could I? I don't even know you. I just didn't care for the tone you took with me is all I'm saying.

wheelchairman
07-26-2009, 04:23 PM
Whine more, Christ. If you would just let it go, I'd probably stop doing it. Were you home-schooled or something?

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-26-2009, 04:27 PM
Look, all I want to know is what you mean by "he literally writes pages about how much he hates." Where the hell did I ever give such an impression? Examples, please. If I gave such a vibe, I apologize, but you shouldn't have given a response based on an assumption of my character.

Static_Martyr
07-26-2009, 05:34 PM
Now let's continue discussing who "pissed me off" and when. Lame.

Don't take this the wrong way, but....DAMN you are easy to offend...0.0

In my defense, you've pretty much seemed pissed off since your first post in this topic. So if you aren't, maybe you'll forgive me if I got that impression :confused:

[[Meli.x]]
07-26-2009, 05:34 PM
i dont know what this argument is about, so i will go ahead and put my own religious thoughts on the table.

I am athiest, i do not believe in anything.
I dont believe in karma, i dont believe in God, i dont believe in heaven or hell.
i dont begrudge anyone else their views, and i get why people are religious. it just isnt for me. i have various reasons for not believing, but i would be typing for a very long time if i went into them all.
I will never criticise someones personal beliefs, i may question them, ask why they believe certain things, but i will never criticise them. everyone needs their own beliefs, its just that mine are far more material than others.

wheelchairman
07-27-2009, 01:22 PM
Alright, I've caught up. SM I'm only going to reply to one paragraph of your long post as I thought it was the one paragraph left with something to discuss and is the crux of our disagreement. If you disagree, please point me to which sections I should've focused on.



Once again, I don't see where I *ever* implied that killing people in the name of god was a "common religious sentiment." I think that is an assumption that you yourself read into my comment. The fact that it IS an EXTREME sentiment is what makes the point of my post; that IF we allow religious ideas to go unchecked for the reasons that you APPEARED to be citing (the ones that I have responded to, as I have explained), then we COULD end up with dangerous, extremist ideas that are accepted as relatively "okay."
I guess my point is, is that your point sucks. Everyone agrees that extremist actions should not govern social behavior. I mean its in the word extremist. That's why I don't think its relevant. Its the same with the slavery thing. It's such an obvious point that I don't understand why you're making it.

I mean you obviously must've known that no one on here would support jihadist death actions (or whatever). Why do you think it was relevant?

I vaguely get where you are coming from, that just because its religious doesn't mean it should be accepted but as I've said 1000x times so far. That point is so obvious that why were you pointing it out in the first place? Even in the context of the argument it still doesn't make sense.

I mean unless you can't differentiate between extremist religious behavior, and traditional religious customs. But most people can. So as I said before, your point just seems to come out of the blue and point out the obvious.

I would counter with that religious customs as long as they conform to local law, and do not directly hurt anyone who isn't a consensual member of the religion should be accepted and respected. I think this point is obvious too, except its not phrased that often, its generally the sentiment of most people, and I believe its also your sentiment. So we can leave it at that.


WCM, what the fuck? You're perfectly capable of engaging in actual conversation but weren't willing to do that with me? What did I do to you to make you act the way you did to me?

Anyway, I was reconsidering my whole argument and I think that I went too deep into definitions. By definition, a person is an atheist if they lack a belief in God, so that includes the answer of "I don't know". However, I do see the point that you were making, regardless of the definition's accuracy, people typically know what someone means when they say they're agnostic. I get it, and I kept overlooking it. I didn't mean to sound so rigid. There's plenty of fluidity when it comes to faith or lack of faith. A person who claims agnostic may fluctuate back and forth between belief and disbelief or they may simply not care. Different people attribute different levels of importance when it comes to faith. Some may be heavily devoted, others not so much. As far as rigid definitions go, I'm an agnostic atheist, but as far as...well...life goes, I suppose, I'm a pragmatist. For me, personally, I feel that this life is too short and precious to worry about what comes next, it's all irrelevant to me. I just want to make the most of my time here, enjoy the ride, and try to make as many people happy as I can before I go.


You're un-ignored.
Good for you, good for me. I kept ragging on you because you kept whining, like I said earlier. Besides who wants to waste their time arguing about whether or not agnostics should count as atheists or not, I have better things to do than address points that most people won't agree with anyways. Don't take it personally.



Oh well. I don't really think it's worth getting into discussions with people who can't refrain from using ad hominem arguments, anyway.

It's all cool. :)
Yet you did, then you talked about it a lot. Then you came back and un-ignored me. This isn't a debate club, relax.


Why? Why am I at fault because he couldn't seriously discuss something with me? If I made a stupid statement, he should have pointed that out from the beginning, and not simply call me an idiot. I'm just saying I didn't do anything to warrant being lashed out at like that. It's not hard to refrain from childish namecalling. The exchange between WCM and myself didn't have to end up the way it did, and I tried everything in my power to direct it to respectful conversation but he wasn't having it. He wasn't giving me the opportunity like he gave SM. THAT was the "WTF?" moment. And you told me to reread my statement about agnostics/atheists and see if I thought I was being stupid there, as if to imply that you didn't read anything beyond my "WCM WTF" comment. What's the point of making such a statement if I already conceded? My concession and pointing out WCM's dickitry were two unrelated statements. Just because I admitted that my controversial statement was stupid and extreme doesn't change the fact that WCM was being an asshole about it. I don't know, maybe I am making a bigger deal out of it than it needs to be. I don't want to sound like I was brutally offended over the internet, because that's not the case. I was merely hoping for a good deep conversation.



Oh, that's you? Sorry. I appreciated what you had to say because you weren't rude about it. You just kind of disappeared and hadn't returned to what I said afterward so I forgot about you. Sorry about that, but I did want to express that the exchange between us was far more respectful and adult than what WCM had to say. So thank you for that.
This is an example of you whining too much about me calling you an idiot. I write 5 letters, you write several posts in detail about this. I'm like Will.I.Am and you're like Perez Hilton, except this is online and totally gayer.


Don't take this the wrong way, but....DAMN you are easy to offend...0.0


I think the issue here is I'm about as good at conveying my tone as you are at explaining your thoughts in a manner that isn't convoluted.

Like take that sentence for example, you'll probably hear it as angry, whereas I hear it as me just being a smart ass.

Static_Martyr
07-27-2009, 02:09 PM
I guess my point is, is that your point sucks. Everyone agrees that extremist actions should not govern social behavior. I mean its in the word extremist. That's why I don't think its relevant. Its the same with the slavery thing. It's such an obvious point that I don't understand why you're making it.

I mean you obviously must've known that no one on here would support jihadist death actions (or whatever). Why do you think it was relevant?

Yes, you're right in that I don't believe for a second that anyone on here would support jihadist death actions/etc. It might help to simplify the flow of the main point of discussion so far as I have understood it, so you can see how I draw the conclusions I do from what I read. Maybe that will clarify my reasoning some:

-) POINT (Jaxter): "It would look stupid if we used religious beliefs as a basis for public policy."
-) COUNTERPOINT (Rise_and_fall): "Does it look stupid when someone fulfills based solely on religious beliefs?" i.e. "There are religious customs that do not necessarily look stupid."

-) POINT (Static Martyr): "Yes, but there are also religious customs that most people agree look stupid; ."
-) COUNTERPOINT (Wheelchairman): "People's beliefs should be respected because they reflect the will and spirit of the locals and their customs."*

-) POINT (Static Martyr): "Even the example I mentioned a moment ago?"

Now, the reason for that last "point" comment of mine was that you came in [I]immediately after the comments were made regarding "good" and "bad" examples of religious behavior (mine and RAF's, respectively), claiming that my example was a bad example. Maybe so, maybe not, but MY point in making an example was that I felt as though RAF was unfairly using a simple, easy, "friendly" religious tenet that most people would consider not worth thinking about (I mean, nobody's going to make fun of you for taking off your shoes to visit a temple unless they're just a culturally-insensitive jerk), and using that simple, easy example as though, if we just respect all people's beliefs on the basis that they are personal beliefs and should be respected, that would be the only thing to come of it. The way I see it, yes, that is most likely the way that *most* people will take religious values and use them (I don't believe that MOST people ever consider for a second killing in the name of religion). The problem I was trying to point out was that, *if* we were to just respect beliefs based on that line of thinking, we would be REQUIRED (by our own train of logic) to also respect more extreme beliefs, not just the "easy ones." What you seemed to be arguing to me was different from what you appeared to be saying, see.

What you APPEARED to be saying was, "We should just respect cultural beliefs because they reflect the spirit and will of the people and their customs."

What you ACTUALLY seemed to be TRYING to say, based on the way you were reacting to my assessments of your comments, was that nobody "in their right mind" would agree with those extremist beliefs, and so we should not so much respect the belief itself on the basis that it's a belief, but rather, we should judge the actions themselves based on a separate standard, and condemn or endorse them based on whether or not it seems reasonable." Which I would agree with most certainly.

So in the interest of reaching a conclusion, here....which of the two cases above, if either, is closer to what you were getting at?


[I]I vaguely get where you are coming from, that just because its religious doesn't mean it should be accepted but as I've said 1000x times so far. That point is so obvious that why were you pointing it out in the first place? Even in the context of the argument it still doesn't make sense.

Seriously? I think it was mostly a gross misinterpretation of what you meant when you first posted. The more I read what you write, the more I think I grasp your point.


I mean unless you can't differentiate between extremist religious behavior, and traditional religious customs. But most people can. So as I said before, your point just seems to come out of the blue and point out the obvious.

It's not that, it's more that from the words you used at first, you seemed to be defending "religious behavior" under an umbrella term. If that's not what you were doing, then I think I understand what you mean now.


I would counter with that religious customs as long as they conform to local law, and do not directly hurt anyone who isn't a consensual member of the religion should be accepted and respected. I think this point is obvious too, except its not phrased that often, its generally the sentiment of most people, and I believe its also your sentiment. So we can leave it at that.

Fair enough. Oddly, that's pretty much what I've been arguing....it just seemed that you were in opposition to this.


I think the issue here is I'm about as good at conveying my tone as you are at explaining your thoughts in a manner that isn't convoluted.

Like take that sentence for example, you'll probably hear it as angry, whereas I hear it as me just being a smart ass.

Sorry. I'm a verbose writer; I hate it but I always end up doing it anyway. I consider it somewhat of an...ah, "character flaw." And really, I don't have a beef with smart-assery; the only time it ever succeeds in getting my nerves up is when (A) it's rooted in something really, really stupid, and (B) it's in a situation that can affect me or my future, or that of someone close to me. Neither of which I tend to feel on internet forums~

ShutUpYouFuckingMime
07-27-2009, 06:22 PM
Thank you, Per, for taking the time to respond. Sorry for being so uptight. I'll try my best to not let that happen again. I was being a bit of a pretentious jackass, now I reviewed my earlier posts. From now on, if you ever make a smart ass comment, I'll take it with a grain of salt. No worries. :)

Paint_It_Black
01-22-2010, 11:59 PM
I'll admit that, logic aside, I truly wish I could believe in God. I'm terrified of death, and knowing that there was something out there for me afterward would be an undescribeably soothing feeling. Unfortunately, I've yet to find any good reason for making any sort of leap or faith.

This.


people tend to throw Pascal's Gambit in your face a lot

My problem with this is that an intelligent person cannot form belief just by desiring it. If I could believe "just in case" then perhaps I would. But I cannot. Also, I don't really see a need to believe it "just in case". I do not believe in anything. If I am wrong perhaps I will end up in Hell, a punishment for my lack of faith. However, that's still greatly preferable to what I actually am expecting. So I don't feel any attraction to believing "just in case". The attraction to me comes in the form of giving my existence a purpose.


As one of my professor’s once said “It’s not the death, it’s the dying.” I don’t fear being dead, as an atheist theres’ no reason to, it’s the time just prior that concerns me.

You don't fear the concept of simply ceasing to exist? I don't fear being dead. But I dread it. I despise knowing that I will cease to exist. For me, it puts a shadow over my life and all of existence. Because if I will cease to exist, and quite soon, nothing really matters. I will cease to exist, you will cease to exist, everything will cease to exist. If that is not terrifying I don't know what is. I would prefer eternal damnation in a lake of sulfur.



-) Purpose (for some reason I have yet to grasp, a lot of Christians [in particular] seem to think that atheists live hollow, purposeless lives simply because they don't live for a single unified purpose...or, if they do, it's not directed towards God, and that confuses them for some reason).

As an atheist you must believe that when you die you immediately cease to exist. All things will cease to exist eventually. So tell me, how is your life NOT hollow and purposeless? If all things cease to exist then all things are pointless. Any meaning you find, any value you place, it's all arbitrary and imaginary. Nothing matters. Nihilism is the only sensible conclusion.


I am an Atheist, but I sometimes I think that knowing that there is no God is about as ridiculous as knowing that there is. So I feel like I should be an Agnostic.

That's basically why I am agnostic. I'm almost an atheist, but I don't have the arrogance required to state that I know there is nothing with absolute certainty. I don't know ANYTHING with absolute certainty.

I really liked this thread, hence the bump. I've only got about a third of the way through it so far and I'm out of time unfortunately.

Static_Martyr
01-23-2010, 06:47 AM
As an atheist you must believe that when you die you immediately cease to exist. All things will cease to exist eventually. So tell me, how is your life NOT hollow and purposeless? If all things cease to exist then all things are pointless. Any meaning you find, any value you place, it's all arbitrary and imaginary. Nothing matters. Nihilism is the only sensible conclusion.

Au contraire, my friend :D *brace for poetic license*

The belief that what I have is limited makes it more valuable to me, not less. It drives me to make the most of my life and do as much as I can, because once I die I won't get to change my mind and come back or do anything over. It makes me think that, as much as I tend to fuck things up, as long as I'm still alive I have a chance to try to fix them or do better.

Sure, you could just deconstruct everything and say that, because it will go away, it's not worth having. And I guess that's technically not an invalid perspective. But it's also that --- a perspective, a *subjective* one, one particular way to look at it. Another way to look at it would be to say that pleasant experiences are nice and we like to have them, but we only have a limited time to enjoy them, so we should try to make them happen as often as possible for as many people as possible.

It's like this....let's say there really is just The Infinite Void after death and we all cease to exist. Assuming that your only ultimate option is to eventually cease to exist forever, would you rather:

(a) not exist forever
or
(b) have lots of experiences, make pleasant memories with family and loved ones, and enjoy a finite existence, and then not exist forever?

Any way I look at it, (b) seems better to me.

But again, that's just my angle. I think whoever said that humans crave purpose is right, but that doesn't mean that the alternative to objective or immortal purpose. Just because we won't be around forever to watch the final results of our actions through the generations doesn't make them any less impactful, because even though we will die, other people will live past us and feel the impact of what we've done. Now ultimately it's up to an individual person to decide if that matters or not, but thinking back on the people that came before me, I think the world could have been a lot worse if they had just decided on a nihilist "fuck everybody" routine and gone about maximizing their own personal fortune.

And seriously? The idea of eternal life always bothered me, anyway. I think I'd get tired of living after about 3459087345 years. The way I see it, life gives us a chance to go out and do things and tire ourselves out, and death is like resting up after that....except instead of a cycle of waking-sleep-waking-sleep, we do all our living at once and then go to sleep forever.

[/blathering]

Sorry, I was just surprised to see this topic awake again after like 5 months :cool:

Paint_It_Black
01-23-2010, 07:40 AM
once I die I won't get to change my mind and come back or do anything over.

But once you die, you won't care. That really nullifies the whole argument in my opinion. Once you die it will not matter whether you lived the greatest life or the most pathetic one.


Another way to look at it would be to say that pleasant experiences are nice and we like to have them, but we only have a limited time to enjoy them, so we should try to make them happen as often as possible for as many people as possible.

That is indeed my philosophy. Though I like to put it more like "we're here so we might as well enjoy it, even though it's all completely fucking pointless". Because I really like to use the word "fuck" as often as possible. Once I'm dead I won't be able to say it anymore, so fuck it. See what I did there?



(b) have lots of experiences, make pleasant memories with family and loved ones, and enjoy a finite existence, and then not exist forever?

Sure, you might as well, since you're already here. Doesn't change the fact that the whole thing is pointless if there is no God/afterlife. And I'm sorry to put this so bluntly, because honestly I don't usually like to be blunt in these kind of discussions, but if nothing lasts forever then everything is technically pointless. It's not just a point of view. It's the only logical conclusion.


Just because we won't be around forever to watch the final results of our actions through the generations doesn't make them any less impactful, because even though we will die, other people will live past us and feel the impact of what we've done.

Yeah. And then they will die. But wait, our actions will still live on in the memories of THEIR kids. And then they will die. But wait, our actions will live on in the memories of THEIR kids. And then they too will die. Do you see what I'm getting at? One day the last human will die and this pretense of meaning will finally stop. And yes, humans will become extinct. That's almost got to be considered a fact. The sun will explode, our planet will be destroyed. Oh, but maybe we will have left Earth by then? Doesn't matter. The entire universe will die eventually, by blinding fire or darkest ice. The whole fucking universe.

The only way anything matters is if you refuse to look at things from the universal scale that I'm obsessed with.

I'm not surprised that most people refuse to admit that absolutely nothing matters. It's not a nice thing to accept. But it is the truth. If there's no God, of course. And it's interesting to me how so many religious people are able to get this. That is why they assume an atheist's life is devoid of meaning. Because, honestly, it SHOULD be. But most atheists don't appear to be in the same philosophical place as me. And I can't help feeling it's because they find the idea so horrifying that they just can't stand to entertain it. It is horrifying. I don't like it and I wish this wasn't my belief. But I find it to be the only logical conclusion.

I'm actually one of a very small group of people who kind of wish that the human race would stop reproducing and essentially willingly let ourselves become extinct. Though my reasoning differs from most of them. They tend to have lame ecological reasons. My reason is that I think it would be fucking awesome to become so enlightened as a species that we consciously choose to opt out of the pointless cycle of existence. I do not propose suicide, because we might as well have fun while we are here. But let's stop reproducing and thereby essentially allow our species to commit suicide. And imagine if we did that and there is a God or gods or whatever. What a beautiful way to say "fuck you, we're not going to be pawns in your game any longer". Wonderful. I'm all warm and tingly just thinking about it.

I'm so committed to this that I actually wish I had never been born. Not in an emo "my life is so horrible" kind of way. My life is fine. But merely because it's all so pointless. I'd rather not play the game to be honest, it's rigged. I may sound like I'm giving a suicidal vibe, but that's really not the case. Suicide is lame. I'm here now and I will just enjoy the ride. But I wouldn't have gotten on if I'd been given the choice.



And seriously? The idea of eternal life always bothered me, anyway. I think I'd get tired of living after about 3459087345 years.

Yeah, maybe. Really the greatest thing would be having immortality that you can opt out of when you grow tired of it. I used to be quite a fan of Anne Rice's vampire novels. I loved the immortal characters that would grow weary eventually and just walk out into the sun to die. Awesome. Death would be great if it was always optional.



Sorry, I was just surprised to see this topic awake again after like 5 months :cool:

I was going to start a similar thread, but this was current enough and awesome enough to just jump in. I hadn't intended to really throw my deepest beliefs out here for scrutiny, but what the hell. Maybe I'll find someone on the same page as me. That's never happened before, but would be fascinating if it ever did.

Static_Martyr
01-23-2010, 08:21 AM
But once you die, you won't care. That really nullifies the whole argument in my opinion. Once you die it will not matter whether you lived the greatest life or the most pathetic one.

Yes, but who did it matter to, to begin with?


Sure, you might as well, since you're already here. Doesn't change the fact that the whole thing is pointless if there is no God/afterlife. And I'm sorry to put this so bluntly, because honestly I don't usually like to be blunt in these kind of discussions, but if nothing lasts forever then everything is technically pointless. It's not just a point of view. It's the only logical conclusion.

Speaking purely in philosophical objectives, yes, I'd agree that everything is objectively "pointless." But that's a given because meaning is subjective by definition. The kinds of meanings that we derive enjoyment from --- song meanings, story significances, messages in movies, etc. --- are subjective, put forth by other people. Those kinds of things didn't "objectively matter" to begin with, they only mattered because someone decided they did, and then someone else saw it and agreed with them. There doesn't have to be a god to come down and "decide" that those things are "objectively meaningful."

In any case, I don't think it's meaning, per se, that causes most people to pursue nihilism, but rather mortality. We can find meaning easy enough; it just doesn't last forever. To some people that means we can adopt a greedy reductionist point of view and say that nothing matters, so every man for himself, because we're all just atoms anyway. To other people it just means something different. That's what I meant by meaning being subjective.


Do you see what I'm getting at? One day the last human will die and this pretense of meaning will finally stop. And yes, humans will become extinct. That's almost got to be considered a fact. The sun will explode, our planet will be destroyed. Oh, but maybe we will have left Earth by then? Doesn't matter. The entire universe will die eventually, by blinding fire or darkest ice. The whole fucking universe.

Hey, I didn't say it was a penultimate solution. It was just another perspective :) But with regard to the type of meaning you're talking about, I never believed in that sort of meaning, anyway. Likewise, I don't think that kind of meaning is necessary to enjoy life.


I'm not surprised that most people refuse to admit that absolutely nothing matters.

To summarize....there are two ways that we can say something "matters," and there is a big difference between the two:

-) You can say it "objectively" matters, which is to say, it "matters" independently of any person (which is impossible, because to "matter" means "to hold value to someone," which requires a person or a mind and therefore cannot be "independently" of a person)

-) You can say it "subjectively" matters, which is what I'm saying that I do. Ultimately, I agree that it seems that nothing matters, which is to say, there is no grand penultimate unifying purpose for the universe, and it may well be true that this is the case. But what I'm arguing is that this has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how I live my life. So what if god doesn't exist? So what if a supreme deity doesn't externally inform me of my own validity? Why is that necessary? How does my life change in any way between now and death just because of that?


And I can't help feeling it's because they find the idea so horrifying that they just can't stand to entertain it. It is horrifying. I don't like it and I wish this wasn't my belief. But I find it to be the only logical conclusion.

I kind of know what you mean because, when I first went to atheism, I went through a similar line of thinking...but right now I don't find the idea of a ceased existence to be scary. I'm not exactly in favor of dying tomorrow, for example, nor am I suicidal in any way....but the idea of dying a natural death and ceasing to exist doesn't scare me for a couple of reasons; for one, life is hard. It sucks a lot sometimes. You have to work for what seems like endless hours to support people you care about, who you only get to see for a short time every day before you go to bed so you can get up and go to work again and pay off the debts that you've incurred because of things like doctor visits which you had to make because of injuries you incurred directly resulting from things you did at work but that your workplace wouldn't cover. Sometimes capitalism makes me feel like a slave to the system, and yes, it does cause despair sometimes. The other side of that coin, of course, is that if you care enough about the people you're supporting, then in a way it's still worth it that you still get to see them at all at the end of the day. It's like quitting a job --- a job is hard, but you get paid for it. Having no job is easy, but you don't get paid. It's not that one is bad and the other is good, but rather that they're two sides of the same coin.

But I digress. The way I see it, death is a way of balancing. Life is ups and downs --- you have fun and you get hurt --- and ultimately it all goes to nowhere. Some people have really shitty lives --- "negatives" --- and so a "zero" at the end looks a lot better than the negative they have to deal with. If people have a good life full of positives, then the zero looks bad because it's less than what they have. I've noticed, though, that no matter how much happiness or sadness I have to deal with every day, if I enjoy one for too long, I start to get bored with it. If I have too much time to do whatever I want, I stop feeling challenged and I start feeling bored and I want to work. If I have to work too much or be away from my friends and family too much and I never get to see them, then I get depressed and I want some time for recreation. Death requires neither of those things; you have no desire in death, but you also have no ambition. It used to sound scary to me, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'll be ready for it when it gets here (not like I have a choice; I could die tomorrow if something happened, whether or not I'm ready for it).

I mean, I think if I have another 50-60 years, I might start to burn out on ambition and depression and desire. I'll have a ton of experiences and I'll start to feel jaded. At that point, death will start to seem more comforting than scary.


I was going to start a similar thread, but this was current enough and awesome enough to just jump in. I hadn't intended to really throw my deepest beliefs out here for scrutiny, but what the hell. Maybe I'll find someone on the same page as me. That's never happened before, but would be fascinating if it ever did.

No, I mean, I think it's great that you did post here! I was just surprised. Last I'd heard, this topic degenerated into argument (surprise lol) and it just kinda died off.

Paint_It_Black
01-23-2010, 12:24 PM
I'm not going to directly reply to any particular thing you said because I feel we've both presented our perspectives well and it would be mostly repetition now. But I had to post again just to basically say that I really enjoyed reading your last post and this thread you created in general. You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into considering these kind of things, and I relate to that and respect it. You also obviously have a deep commitment to real understanding of all perspectives. That's pretty rare and is to be commended. Thanks for the pleasant discussion and writing such a well thought out response to my large post.

PS - I would usually send something like this in a pm, but honestly you impressed me so much I think you deserve my public display of respect.

WebDudette
01-23-2010, 01:28 PM
I'd planned on staying out of this thread, this type of stuff always gives me a headache.

I've been called a coward more times then I care to remember. The reason? I don't have the courage to have faith. Really? I lack the courage? Given my mindset, I'm forced to believe that my life will ultimately mean nothing. I'll have no memories, everything I've ever done will eventually pass, nothing matters. I believe it was mentioned earlier, but if I could believe, if I was capable of believing that my existence wasn't pointless, don't you think I would? But it isn't like you can fool God.

My best friend is fairly religious. I was over one night when her family had been talking about church and how God is omnipotent, I didn't really want to include myself, it was a family discussion about religion and I didn't want to get into any type of argument, but one thing really got me. If your God is omnipotent, if everything happens for a reason, if you believe in destiny, then he knows I am going to hell. He crafted me as an atheist. I asked if this is what they believe, and yes, it is. Now, they believe that it may be part of God's plan that they were put in my life to save me, but what about the countless other atheists, agnostics, humanists, muslims, and countless other beliefs? That is something that has always really bothered me.

I also get a little offended that people who find out I am an atheist are always surprised or... offended that I am a little knowledgeable about various religions. Just because I don't have a belief, doesn't mean I don't find it interesting, or am uninterested in learning about it.

Richard, I have very similar opinions, you just explained it far better then I've ever been capable of. I've considered the thought of never being born many times, in a similar way. I don't know how I feel about your desire to let the human race die out. Despite how meaningless and empty life really is, I feel everyone should be given the opportunity to live it. I realize I am contradicting myself, I suppose hmm... I'm happy I'm alive, I just think it'd be much simpler if I wasn't. I've hit that wall where I know what I am thinking, but can't find a way to explain it to save my life. But I wholeheartedly agree that it would be a glorious way to go out. I feel the way you explained it could make for a really interesting novel. Something, Vonnegut-esque.

So it goes.

offsrx
01-24-2010, 04:46 AM
I don't wanna read this whole thread, because its big as Soviet union. :P
But all I wanna say is:

-I'm Christian - Orthodox
-I Do believe in God,
-We're all gonna die someday/sometime. Have you guys ever had a thought about that?
Cause nobody knows what waits us on the other side, so technically our religion/atheism/opinion will be the only thing that we'll take with us in grave. And it will bother us until our time is out.
Also I'm trying to imagine how does it feels when my soul is out of my body - but I can't.


So anyway, I think that THAT is the main reason why religion exist - to show us that this miserable/unfair life is not all; this will be not the end; and our purpose is far more greater than we can imagine.

IamSam
01-24-2010, 07:23 AM
-We're all gonna die someday/sometime. Have you guys ever had a thought about that?


I have thought about it. A lot. I don't want all of this (my life) to just be a test.

Static_Martyr
01-24-2010, 08:22 AM
-We're all gonna die someday/sometime. Have you guys ever had a thought about that?
Cause nobody knows what waits us on the other side, so technically our religion/atheism/opinion will be the only thing that we'll take with us in grave. And it will bother us until our time is out.

This kind of comment is still kind of a popular scare tactic to convince people to believe in god (though I don't know if you meant it that way or not), but nowadays with religion being so openly discussed in the public circle, it's probably safe to assume that anyone who has thought enough about it to consider themselves an "atheist" has thought about it.

Secondly, even if I had thought about it and couldn't come up with a good reason to make it sound less bleak....would that change anything? The way I see it (given my [non]belief as an atheist), it's the truth, and whether or not it's bleak is irrelevant to that --- I don't disbelieve in god because I like the idea, I disbelieve in god because a lot of the things people commonly attribute to a higher power can be explained with biology or simple physics*. Bleak "truths" are perfectly capable of existing, and the fact that it's bleak isn't really a good enough reason to believe in something different to me.

My point being that it's not inconsistent to be an atheist, and to know that life is "objectively pointless," and not be driven insane by eternal despair at the idea of death. If I may blather for a moment again....that would be a lot like having a snack cake in front of you and saying, "I might as well not bother eating it, because once I eat it it'll be gone forever and the act will be pointless." When the whole point of the cake in the first place is not to last forever, but to provide a moment of tasty enjoyment :)


Also I'm trying to imagine how does it feels when my soul is out of my body - but I can't.

This is a hypothetical question I've always asked people who say they believe in souls, just because I'm curious. I don't have an answer for it or anything, it's just an open question....but what exactly does a soul DO? People used to attribute functions like emotions, artistic qualities, etc. to a "spiritual" counterpart to our physical being, but emotions are rooted in chemical responses in the brain --- such that, if you have a chemical disorder it can cause you to have strange and fleeting emotions; doesn't it seem odd that a chemical, physical reaction would be able to influence something "spiritual" that "transcends" physical matter? --- and our memories, experiences, thoughts, willpower and personal desire all die in our brains (as these are also attributable to complex chemical responses). So what is left when we die, that is not physical, that could be said to be "us?" We will have no memories; we will have no identity or willpower, we will probably not know who we are if we exist in any sense after our bodies are dead. So what will be left to "move on" to the next life?

offsrx
01-24-2010, 05:46 PM
This kind of comment is still kind of a popular scare tactic to convince people to believe in god (though I don't know if you meant it that way or not), but nowadays with religion being so openly discussed in the public circle, it's probably safe to assume that anyone who has thought enough about it to consider themselves an "atheist" has thought about it.

Secondly, even if I had thought about it and couldn't come up with a good reason to make it sound less bleak....would that change anything? The way I see it (given my [non]belief as an atheist), it's the truth, and whether or not it's bleak is irrelevant to that --- I don't disbelieve in god because I like the idea, I disbelieve in god because a lot of the things people commonly attribute to a higher power can be explained with biology or simple physics*. Bleak "truths" are perfectly capable of existing, and the fact that it's bleak isn't really a good enough reason to believe in something different to me.

My point being that it's not inconsistent to be an atheist, and to know that life is "objectively pointless," and not be driven insane by eternal despair at the idea of death. If I may blather for a moment again....that would be a lot like having a snack cake in front of you and saying, "I might as well not bother eating it, because once I eat it it'll be gone forever and the act will be pointless." When the whole point of the cake in the first place is not to last forever, but to provide a moment of tasty enjoyment :)



This is a hypothetical question I've always asked people who say they believe in souls, just because I'm curious. I don't have an answer for it or anything, it's just an open question....but what exactly does a soul DO? People used to attribute functions like emotions, artistic qualities, etc. to a "spiritual" counterpart to our physical being, but emotions are rooted in chemical responses in the brain --- such that, if you have a chemical disorder it can cause you to have strange and fleeting emotions; doesn't it seem odd that a chemical, physical reaction would be able to influence something "spiritual" that "transcends" physical matter? --- and our memories, experiences, thoughts, willpower and personal desire all die in our brains (as these are also attributable to complex chemical responses). So what is left when we die, that is not physical, that could be said to be "us?" We will have no memories; we will have no identity or willpower, we will probably not know who we are if we exist in any sense after our bodies are dead. So what will be left to "move on" to the next life?

Firstly - what's wrong with you?
Why are you arguing with me? You know that you can't convince me that I'm wrong, as I know that I can't convince you that you are wrong.
Secondly - WHAT SCINENCE AND "LOGIC" HAVE TOLD YOU THAT WE'LL HAVE NOTHING TO MOVE ON TO NEXT LIFE??
Has anyone died, and then got back and said " Hey, It feels like - you don't have nothing, and you don't excist". No. That didn't happend. So stop being a smart ass.
Also - Do you think a PERSONALITY is just a mixture of chemicals in brain?
Or do you think it's a mixture of events in personal life and some shit that our parents have teached us? If you do so then - It's WRONG!!

Static_Martyr
01-25-2010, 01:52 AM
Firstly - what's wrong with you?
Why are you arguing with me? You know that you can't convince me that I'm wrong, as I know that I can't convince you that you are wrong.

Wow. I'm not arguing with you, nor am I trying to convince you that you are "wrong." 0.0


Secondly - WHAT SCINENCE AND "LOGIC" HAVE TOLD YOU THAT WE'LL HAVE NOTHING TO MOVE ON TO NEXT LIFE??
Has anyone died, and then got back and said " Hey, It feels like - you don't have nothing, and you don't excist". No. That didn't happend. So stop being a smart ass.

That was the entire point, was that I don't know. Hence the question --- which you may have also noticed was hypothetical.


Also - Do you think a PERSONALITY is just a mixture of chemicals in brain?
Or do you think it's a mixture of events in personal life and some shit that our parents have teached us? If you do so then - It's WRONG!!

Now who's telling who that they're wrong?

WebDudette
01-25-2010, 02:03 AM
offsrx, why did your God make me an atheist?

offsrx
01-25-2010, 02:08 AM
offsrx, why did your God make me an atheist?

He did not make you a atheist, YOU make yourself an atheist because we all have a free choice where to belive in him or not.

offsrx
01-25-2010, 02:09 AM
Wow. I'm not arguing with you, nor am I trying to convince you that you are "wrong." 0.0



That was the entire point, was that I don't know. Hence the question --- which you may have also noticed was hypothetical.



Now who's telling who that they're wrong?

Okay sorry then, cause It sounded like you are trying 2 convince me, so that's why I tried to tell you that you are wrong. sorry.
What's a hypothetical?

WebDudette
01-25-2010, 02:16 AM
Is he not omnipotent? When he created me, did he not know I would be an atheist?

IamSam
01-25-2010, 10:17 AM
So God approves free will yet then punishes you for using it?

Superdope
01-25-2010, 10:34 AM
Does God approve of our fetus-fueled plans for the future? 'Cause it'd sure be swell to know before I get too far in my peparations.

IamSam
01-25-2010, 10:47 AM
Is he not omnipotent? When he created me, did he not know I would be an atheist?


So God approves free will yet then punishes you for using it?


Does God approve of our fetus-fueled plans for the future? 'Cause it'd sure be swell to know before I get too far in my peparations.


Yes, all of this. I would like to see all of this answered.

Llamas
01-25-2010, 10:48 AM
I also get a little offended that people who find out I am an atheist are always surprised or... offended that I am a little knowledgeable about various religions. Just because I don't have a belief, doesn't mean I don't find it interesting, or am uninterested in learning about it.
I have this same feeling. I am agnostic, and when religious people find this out, it's like they feel the need to tell me about Jesus or the Bible... and when I say I already know, or tell them something really specific, they get really quiet and shocked. I'm not agnostic because I don't give a shit about anything - I'm agnostic because I studied it all really hard and realized it's all too ridiculous.


Also - Do you think a PERSONALITY is just a mixture of chemicals in brain?
Or do you think it's a mixture of events in personal life and some shit that our parents have teached us? If you do so then - It's WRONG!!
I like the idea that we have souls. I really, really do. But, well, you (and many Christians) seem to say that a soul is a personality. Dogs have personalities. Rabbits do, too. Mice... even insects do. I've heard the argument that all creatures that have souls but aren't human automatically go to heaven. That makes less sense than ANYTHING. Why are humans the only thing that's judged and critiqued? Why do we have to obey and commit our lives to something we can't prove? But nothing else does... it makes no sense.

As far as all this goes... like I said, I am agnostic. I am the kind of agnostic who believes there is most likely some sort of God, and I believe that, in time, humans will likely be able to prove it. I believe that science is how we explain the things that "god" does, so religion and science are not mutually exclusive. I am open to the idea of an afterlife, but I am not open to afterlife as Christians tend to describe it. No omnipotent powerful all knowing god would be as petty as to divide everyone into two groups - good, and evil. Any half intelligent human knows there are far too many shades of grey. A lot of Christians claim that, all you have to is repent for your sins. If it's as easy as that, then I say any asshole can do whatever he wants as long as he apologizes to a god he doesn't believe in. But then the Christian tells you, no, he has to try to be good, try not to sin... and he has to actually believe - it can't be faked. Now we get into this huge heaping pile of subjective grey shit. And there's just no way that some god picks and chooses which are good and which are evil.

I also live under another thought process: if you have two people... both do nothing but good deeds. They are both devoted to helping others. One is committed to the church, and is doing good deeds to make up for his sins so that god will accept him into heaven. The other is an atheist or an agnostic, and is doing good deeds solely for the sake of helping others and being a good person while he's here.

The first person is trying to get something out of it - he wants to go to heaven. The second person believes that, no matter what he does, his life has no real meaning in the end, and it makes no real difference in the end if he does good or bad things - but he does good while he's just out of the kindness of his heart.

Anyone who will tell me that the first guy will go to heaven and the second guy will go to hell... needs his brain examined. If there is a god that operates in this way, I most certainly do not wish to be in his heaven.

Static_Martyr
01-25-2010, 02:31 PM
Okay sorry then, cause It sounded like you are trying 2 convince me, so that's why I tried to tell you that you are wrong. sorry.
What's a hypothetical?

No problem :D

A hypothetical is when you say, "IF [x] were true," and then you ask a question based on that --- it's just a thought exercise, so it doesn't require that you actually believe [x] is true. In retrospect, I probably phrased the question badly anyway :o It was probably unfair to ask because I assumed you would agree with me on the genetic stuff.


And there's just no way that some god picks and chooses which are good and which are evil.

That's actually a real problem that Christian philosophers have been trying to tackle for centuries, but I can't remember what the actual name of it is....basically, it says this:

-) If god's actions are deemed good because he is god (i.e. if anything god does is "good" just because he did it), then the distinction between "good" and "evil" is as completely arbitrary and subject to change as if it were left in the hands of humans and therefore no more valuable;

-) If god is deemed "good" because he adheres to another, higher standard of good, then it follows that god cannot be the "highest order of authority," because he is bound by a law higher than himself.

Recently Christian philosophers seem to have settled on the idea that god is twofold --- both jury and executioner, so to speak, in that he IS the Law *and* he UPHOLDS the law....so in a weird sort of way, that would make him this self-contained pretzel of inherent "goodness."

[warning, incoming word soup]

However, I still see one big issue with that --- we have two terms, "god" and "good." We take the word "good" and say, "What is good?" The answer given is, "good is god." So mathematically it would be sort of like "good = god." So what is god, then? "God is good." The terms defer to each other infinitely.

To show EXACTLY why that doesn't explain anything, we can show it as a mathematical phrase:


Solve for [y].

[x] = [y]

If God is equal to [x] and good is equal to [y], and we're told to "solve for [y]," we must first know what [x] is equal to. We know that it's equal to "god," but we don't know what "god" is because all we know is that it's equal to "good" (about which all we know is that it's equal to "god"...ad infinitum). We don't have enough information to define either one.


I have this same feeling. I am agnostic, and when religious people find this out, it's like they feel the need to tell me about Jesus or the Bible... and when I say I already know, or tell them something really specific, they get really quiet and shocked. I'm not agnostic because I don't give a shit about anything - I'm agnostic because I studied it all really hard and realized it's all too ridiculous.

I used to really dislike being preached to, but I feel like I've mellowed out over the years. Now I mostly take advantage of debating people openly to utilize the Socratic Method :) Also, I've developed a weird fascination with religion and rituals and things and I love hearing about them --- I never realized the many subtle ways that religious references pepper our pop culture, and even other religions. It's kinda neat, like a line running underneath everything that ties it all together~

[/blather]

DMelges
01-25-2010, 11:37 PM
I am a deist. I believe that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, I see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.

jacknife737
01-26-2010, 02:43 PM
Does God approve of our fetus-fueled plans for the future? 'Cause it'd sure be swell to know before I get too far in my peparations.

It's the question that's been on my mind.

Jules69
01-27-2010, 01:15 PM
I am a deist. I believe that a supreme being created the universe, and that this (and religious truth in general) can be determined using reason and observation of the natural world alone, without a need for either faith or organized religion. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, I see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNy6ziOyxoA I agree with you Dan!

DMelges
01-27-2010, 07:32 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNy6ziOyxoA I agree with you Dan!

I really enjoyed that! Thanks. :D

Paint_It_Black
01-28-2010, 07:26 AM
Yes, all of this. I would like to see all of this answered.

Guys, I agree with you obviously, but you're attacking someone who's obviously not your intellectual equal. Save it for the smart ones who deserve it.


what exactly does a soul DO?

I really like the concept of a soul, because I'm a bit of a romantic. But for me, it's just a prettier way of talking about the mind. The conscious self. From most descriptions this is clearly all a soul is. Or, less commonly, it is something inside of us that is almost entirely separate from us. Just something that is present. I fail to see the use in this concept, since I don't care if that lives on after my death any more than I care if my spleen lives on after my death. It's not actually me. My mind is me. So if you ever catch me talking about my soul, I'm actually referring to my mind.



Richard, I have very similar opinions, you just explained it far better then I've ever been capable of.

Thank you. I'm actually really pleased to have finally found someone who processes it in the same way. Though of course I'm also sad for you. It's not a pleasant perspective to hold.

Paint_It_Black
01-28-2010, 07:54 AM
That makes less sense than ANYTHING. Why are humans the only thing that's judged and critiqued? Why do we have to obey and commit our lives to something we can't prove? But nothing else does... it makes no sense.

Free will. If I remember correctly only humans are supposed to have it.


I am the kind of agnostic who believes there is most likely some sort of God, and I believe that, in time, humans will likely be able to prove it. I believe that science is how we explain the things that "god" does, so religion and science are not mutually exclusive. I am open to the idea of an afterlife, but I am not open to afterlife as Christians tend to describe it. No omnipotent powerful all knowing god would be as petty as to divide everyone into two groups - good, and evil. Any half intelligent human knows there are far too many shades of grey. A lot of Christians claim that, all you have to is repent for your sins. If it's as easy as that, then I say any asshole can do whatever he wants as long as he apologizes to a god he doesn't believe in. But then the Christian tells you, no, he has to try to be good, try not to sin... and he has to actually believe - it can't be faked. Now we get into this huge heaping pile of subjective grey shit. And there's just no way that some god picks and chooses which are good and which are evil.

I went through that exact phase. I believed there was probably some sort of God, maybe some kind of afterlife too. I felt the anger at Christians for their depiction of their God and who does and does not get to enter the ultimate postmortem VIP room. I reached the conclusion that that's not even a God I would want to believe in, and it's definitely not an afterlife I would want. But this isn't really agnosticism, in my opinion. It's one stop on the path. Because you still clearly have some strong beliefs. You believe there is probably a God, but that it couldn't be THEIR God. That's too much certainty for a committed agnostic, in my opinion. I eventually reached a place where I honestly believe nothing. I have theories, and it's endlessly entertaining to ponder, but I no longer really lean in any direction. Other than my whole everything is probably pointless stance, of course. Oh, and I suspect that ultimate answers are going to remain inherently unknowable to us, always. For me that's a key point of agnosticism. If such a being truly exists we couldn't comprehend it any better than an ant can comprehend us. And thus, unknowable. But I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually discover alien life. Which would then make it plausible that advanced aliens could have visited Earth. And of course, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. What I'm getting at here is that I feel it is quite possible we may discover beings eventually that fit many descriptions of "gods". But ultimately that would just lead to more questions with unknowable answers and still not really satisfy anyone. I just don't know anything and never will. That's all I really have faith in.



I also live under another thought process: if you have two people... both do nothing but good deeds. They are both devoted to helping others. One is committed to the church, and is doing good deeds to make up for his sins so that god will accept him into heaven. The other is an atheist or an agnostic, and is doing good deeds solely for the sake of helping others and being a good person while he's here.

The first person is trying to get something out of it - he wants to go to heaven. The second person believes that, no matter what he does, his life has no real meaning in the end, and it makes no real difference in the end if he does good or bad things - but he does good while he's just out of the kindness of his heart.

Anyone who will tell me that the first guy will go to heaven and the second guy will go to hell... needs his brain examined. If there is a god that operates in this way, I most certainly do not wish to be in his heaven.

I once shook someone's faith with that very argument. He then recovered before finally becoming an atheist in his own time. I'm not proud of that, though I used to be. But anyway, my point is that I think that's one of the great arguments against Christianity. It does nothing to disprove their faith, but it certainly makes them question whether their God is actually good and worthy of devotion. I try not to get into it anymore because it is just too cruel to try and break somebody of the greatest crutch ever invented, but sometimes I still get offended by their beliefs because obviously I am the second guy in your example. But then I remember I don't want to go to their heaven anyway, so it's all good.

Cock Joke
01-28-2010, 05:05 PM
Supersonic is one of their best songs of all-time! FUCK EVERYONE WHO DISAGREES!!!

Cock Joke
01-28-2010, 05:06 PM
Oh whoops...

Llamas
01-30-2010, 10:22 AM
An atheist meets God:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urlTBBKTO68&feature=player_embedded