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Do you believe a God exists? posted 22 Jul 2004, 18:07 by Grantaire, Moderator

And/or what are your religious beliefs? Why? view post


posted 23 Jul 2004, 01:07 by legatus, Auditor

I believe in the value of doubt. Most of my religious beliefs end up coming back to the same basic sense of uncertainty, since in the absence of compelling evidence, I have trouble putting a great deal of faith in any one religion over another; and I have an equally hard time dismissing them out of hand. I do like to entertain certain amorphous beliefs about the manner in which spirituality and science can coexist without conflict, but it's more an ever evolving way for me to look at the world as more than the sum of its parts than a religious creed of any sort. Edit: And to answer the topic question, I believe in the possibility of God, but not necessarily that he does in fact exist. I like to believe that the hand of creation put the big bang into motion, for example, but whether that creative force was the hand of God or the cataclysmic result of quantum fluctuations, I can't say for certain. I do enjoy the fact that it's currently a mystery though. view post


posted 23 Jul 2004, 02:07 by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

I'm not going to recite the Nicene Creed here, ya know ;) view post


posted 23 Jul 2004, 03:07 by Grantaire, Moderator

I believe in God, the father almighty Creator of heaven and earth.. and so forth? Ah, haha, at least you don't have to type it out :wink: view post


posted 23 Jul 2004, 15:07 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

The concept of a male god is really a more modern thing, if you look back into the ancient religions you'll find that the top dog is more a female deity. still each to thier own. If your talking christianity I just dont believe that a married woman had a "daliance" with a supreme being and gave us jesus. Dont swallow that one one bit. Look at it in modern terms with these people most of us regard as nut jobs saying that theyve had sex with aliens, could have been the same sort of thing back then. Religion I think is a personal thing that everyone comes to terms with in thier own ways, Im more of a follower of the pagan ways, I find them more believable and the stories that accompany them I feel add a certain romantasism with them. The problem you get is that history is written by the victors and the press that large numbers of pagans got was for that reason negative propeganda, so really you have to take things like history as just that. Few people are aware that there was a resistance fighting William the Conquerer for over five years after the 1066 battle. Still thats a little off the subject, as to one supreme being, I dont think so. As to the possibility that the earth is a science project for a more advanced sentient lifeform I could see that. view post


posted 23 Jul 2004, 17:07 by Grantaire, Moderator

Legatus- I agree with you. I'm kind of a doubting person, I doubt everything that I've been brought up being taught. I definately agree with you in that I attempt to console science and spirituality (which certainly brings up some interesting internal conflicts :wink: ). The fact that, like you said in the last paragraph, that those sort of matters (the moment of creation etc) are mysteries is a good thing to me. That means that we can't ever just accept something, we have to examine our beliefs, and we have to consider everything and argue over it, even though we can't know the truth. Larry- Why? :wink: Dros- I agree with you that religion is a personal thing that we each should come to terms with on our own, which is one of the reasons I'm against organized religion. I've been raised on Catholic beliefs, so no matter what new thoughts or beliefs enter me, they always have to struggle with what I have been taught to be correct. view post


posted 05 Aug 2004, 00:08 by Anonymous, Subdidact

Hi folks, I have been lurking here for awhile and decided to give my two cents on this topic. With most organized religions there have been people who have interpreted the word of their "God" or have said that there "God" says this and believes that. I beleive that this is the downfall of these religions and with religion itself. To me this act of relaying "God's" word or intent through man is not a reasonable way to set one's beliefs. It was an easy way to scare the living crap out of the illiterate population during the dark ages, but for reasonably intelligent human beings to rely on another "man" for their spiritual guidance is totally irresponsible of the entire race. Spirituality has never come from another, it has only come from within. This false sense of "faith' has led not toward enlightenment, which one would hope for, but towards self induced ignorance and the regression of the human mind. I will not pretend to speak for others, but life to me is [i:1weyligm]learning[/i:1weyligm]. And to adhere to an article of "faith" to the exclusion of any other seems to me to be the opposite of learning. How can one learn when one will not accept that they could be wrong? The dismissal of just some possibilties is the dismissal of [i:1weyligm]all[/i:1weyligm] possibilities. The teachings of organized religions may be noble, but in this day and age I think we have all seen just how much total faith has been turned into hatred and is now a game of who is right. Jihad, crusade, it is all ignorance in silver wraping. Back to the original question, I believe that a "God" does exist. I do not however, pick his/her/its brains in the evening. view post


posted 08 Aug 2004, 12:08 by DarkMatter, Peralogue

My thougts about this might be somewhat confusing (They are confusing for me anyway :wink: ) I think a god (or some kind of force) exist, this god/force created the universe and created other gods or showed itself for different people in different shapes therefore different belifes exist. I don't think it matters what you belive, you exist for a reason and you will understand the reason after your death. All religions are correct but slightly wrong. And there is an afterlife. Sorry for my unstructured thoughts. :) view post


posted 09 Aug 2004, 19:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

There are those who believe that what is termed as "life" is "training" for what exists after. Not so sure if I beleive that myself but it does offer an interesting perspective. view post


posted 12 Aug 2004, 04:08 by steve, Peralogue

I believe in God, I am a Lutheran Christian born and raised. view post


posted 12 Aug 2004, 22:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

In leymans terms and in a nut shell whats the difference steve between the doctrine of your church and say the church of england? view post


posted 14 Aug 2004, 05:08 by steve, Peralogue

I have no idea, I never paid much attention in sunday church school. Looking at my copy of Martin Luther's small Catechism the only difference I see is the sacrements, Catholisism has several more sacrements than Lutherans do, the difference in sacrements has to do with things in life that Luther considered holy like Baptism, Comfirmation, Communion, and Death, were Catholics believe in several more. The major difference is Luthers slightly different view of the bible and what he believed it meant. view post


posted 14 Aug 2004, 15:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Thanks for that Steve, some people get way too touchy when asked a question that isnt asked out of malice but of curiosity. Im more of a pagan than a christian as thats the closest system that I feel that I can relate too, plus theres a massive amount of feast days, opportunities to get drunk with other likeminded individuals, lol. Other than this I prefer thier concepts of death and the celebration of it as well as the concept of sharing a meal with the dead on All Hallows Eve. Still thats just me. view post


posted 20 Aug 2004, 06:08 by Orion_metalhead, Auditor

i belive in a god though i dont know what form it is. it may be nothing more than energy or an emotion we all feel. personally, i beleive religion and spirituality in general is a personal relationship between a person and thier god or gods, whichever you so believe in. i think we should encourage beliefs and faith though it should be practiced in our own households and not forced upon others as it so oftenly is in these days. what i beleive in is my own beleifs and i would shit to save someone who wants to force thiers upon me. i was raised lutheran, my dad is a methodist and my mom is catholic turned lutheran. me and my mom both beleive the same thing. neither of us agree with the church's ideas and theology. she always says "I have raised you with a religion. Your of age to decide if you believe it or not and i would never force you to change your views". me and my mom are very close, and i owe her a great deal since she really is the person who i can talk to about religion and the afterlife and all that sort of stuff. view post


posted 14 Dec 2004, 03:12 by Gable, Candidate

nope. Although, I can't say for sure, because hey--how would I know? I don't. And neither does anyone else. No one. Not one person has any idea. At all. Nobody. Not a soul. That old guy--with the white hair? He has no clue! How would he? No one can! So, basically..no, I don't view post


posted 14 Dec 2004, 04:12 by saintjon, Auditor

For me God is a process as much as anything. I've kind of bastardized ideas of chi and stuff and worked out that since everything's pretty cyclical in nature, in the revolution of planets, rise and fall of nations, life and death of organisms that there is something very divine about the continued revolutions of it all. If I had to symbolize this somehow I'd show a spinning yin-yang which according to the left hand rule sends movement out the one side, all the force involved in applying that to a universe and maitaining the equilibrium of it all is God for me. I can elaborate (although I forget this at about the same rate I puzzle it out) but that's the basic gyst of my faith. view post


posted 31 Jan 2005, 19:01 by Annabel, Peralogue

Yes. And I cannot defend it. Faith is anathema to logic and vice versa. Although I suppose Kierkegaard does a pretty rational job of defending religious belief and values. view post


posted 03 Feb 2005, 21:02 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

I do not beleive in god. I find it a concept which offers no explanatory power and no true comfort. view post


posted 17 Feb 2005, 16:02 by Echoex, Auditor

Worse than offering no comfort, it provides a false security and arrogance to those who believe. Religion is a series of excuses and violent licences created by insecure, powerful men to control everything they fear. Afterlife is the manifestation of our own smug inability to accept the fact that we're not the raison d'etre for all things. God is the one easy, all-encompassing 'veto' that mankind uses to negate the hard and horrible truth of existence. view post


posted 17 Feb 2005, 18:02 by AjDeath, Didact

Believing in God is lazy. Give your life to Him. :roll: It is lazy morality. view post


posted 22 Feb 2005, 07:02 by Faelcind Il Danach, Peralogue

Agreed AJdeath and Echoex. I wrote a paper, I wish I still had a copy of once called "The danger of faith" I think that spirituality is a natural human response though not an inate or drive or necessity. I think religion is social institution that has arisen to take advantage of that response, as well a human gullibility in order to aid the powerfull in controll of the less powerfull, and to circumvent morality. Religions love to claim credit for morality saying for instance that christ invented the golden rule never mind that human societies could hardly function without it. It seems much more significant to me that the same religions that tell you to treat thy neibhor as thyself, explains all the exceptions to that rule that might help those in power, love the neibhor, unless he is foreign, heathen, gay, a woman or anything else the religion proscribes. view post


posted 24 Feb 2005, 00:02 by Annabel, Peralogue

I don't mean to squash the convo here, but the question was do you believe in God not do you follow, espouse or support an organized religion. I think you can separate belief from dogma and received learning. As for religious folks being morally lazy, oh, I beg to differ. Some of the most passionate tracts on morality and right and wrong have been written by those who wrangle with their own deeply held religious beliefs. I already cited Kierkegaard but how about Peter Goodenough, T.S. Eliot, or St. Augustine. The list goes on and on. view post


posted 24 Feb 2005, 19:02 by AjDeath, Didact

My point in it being "lazy morality" is that it doesn't take a genius to see that most of the 10 commandments are beneficial to society and yourself. Logic can be used to see [i:34nh3nh7]why[/i:34nh3nh7] these things are good without believing in god. As I have stated in this thread, I was a born again christian in my teens. My experience with this was not good on a logical and intelligent level. People that say "I give my life over to you, oh Lord, do what you will with my life" are really not helping themselves. I know I didn't. So if you go out and kill someone because God said for you to do it you are doing God's will? Taking the Bible at face value and believing these commandments are good because God said so is really, really missing the point. Also believing in the Bible as it is today is very dangerous as it [i:34nh3nh7]has been changed.[/i:34nh3nh7] And there is no evidence (that I have read or heard of, I could be way off, but I have looked into it) that Jesus actually existed at all, and the fact that his Deification occured at the First Council Of Nicaea 3 and a quarter centuries after "death" leads me to look for morality elsewhere. view post


posted 25 Feb 2005, 13:02 by Echoex, Auditor

I come from a fairly religious background. My father is (was) a devout Catholic. My mother converted to Seventh Day Adventism when I was about 13. Both attend a Mormon church (because neither can stomach the other's religious subscription). My brother is Baptist because his wife told him to be Baptist. I'm an aethiest because I feel absolutely no desire to believe in a higher power. My wife is agnostic and I'm raising my son outside of any organized church. I will most likely be disappointed if he converts later in life, but it's his choice. My kin and contemporaries think less of me and are quite certain that I'm not a 'good' person. But, unlike them, I've never excused myself from an immoral act by exercising the "God will forgive me" clause. Rather, I strive to be a better human being and take responsibility for my downfalls and vices. The "God will forgive me" clause is "lazy morality". Why do I practice discretion and good will when I know it won't earn me any rewards in a hereafter? Because it makes our measly existence more enjoyable. This is the only life we have and we might as well enjoy it. view post


posted 25 Feb 2005, 22:02 by Annabel, Peralogue

Echoex: A friend once told me that you HAVE to raise your children with some sort of religion (buddhism, muslim, new age, wiccan, pentecostal, plant worshipping, moonie, whatever). He said a little religion acts as an "innoculation". Kids are always attracted to the forbidden - you don't want your little one running off and joining a freak religious cult at 16 just to spite you. (and I mean this as a joke!!) view post


posted 28 Feb 2005, 13:02 by Echoex, Auditor

Firstly, I would be a hypocrit if I raised my son with any religious leanings. Secondly, the exact opposite could be said about your friend's theory. One could say that one raised in religion would rebel against morality and discretion just to spite that religion. Progeny will rebel regardless of the environment. It's how you deal with that rebelion that will define your character as a parent and a leader. Ex. view post


posted 28 Feb 2005, 15:02 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Grantaire":2hkfbpzg]And/or what are your religious beliefs? Why?[/quote:2hkfbpzg] "God" or "god"...? Not sure. I don't believe in the supreme being held up by Christianity, though, but I don't believe in the interpretation of "God" held up by ANY religion, either. Still, I can't say that my own personal beliefs preclude the existence of a supreme being of some sort because they do. I just don't think that we can know the purpose of such a being and that it is pretty stupid to think that we can assign human values and traits to such an entity. I believe that there is something greater than us and that we are part of some purpose but I don't think that anyone can know exactly what that purpose is or can fully comprehend a being that is so much more than us. I don't think that the existence OR absence of a God or god or gods can be proven with logic, no matter how many people have attempted to do so. It is a matter of BELIEF more than anything else. view post


posted 01 Mar 2005, 00:03 by Annabel, Peralogue

[/quote]I don't think that the existence OR absence of a God or god or gods can be proven with logic, no matter how many people have attempted to do so. It is a matter of BELIEF more than anything else.[/quote] Agreed. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 13:03 by Echoex, Auditor

"I believe that there is something greater than us and that we are part of some purpose but I don't think that anyone can know exactly what that purpose is or can fully comprehend a being that is so much more than us." Can I ask why you believe that we're part of some purpose? Can we not be random and anomalous? I think the human ego is too fragile and soft to accept that our existence is really meaningless. view post


posted 02 Mar 2005, 15:03 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Echoex":3nvykzy0]"I believe that there is something greater than us and that we are part of some purpose but I don't think that anyone can know exactly what that purpose is or can fully comprehend a being that is so much more than us." Can I ask why you believe that we're part of some purpose? Can we not be random and anomalous? I think the human ego is too fragile and soft to accept that our existence is really meaningless.[/quote:3nvykzy0] Just a feeling. No logic involved. Can our purpose not actually BE to lead a random existence...? It doesn't really matter, anyway. Whether there is something greater or whether there is just randomness that we fortuitously arouse out of, we can't grasp the bigger picture or ever know for sure so the point is actually moot unless you just want to sit around and theorize (which is sometimes fun). view post


posted 14 Mar 2005, 03:03 by tellner, Peralogue

What do I believe? There's a G-d. I ain't Him. Beyond that, I'm Jewish and a Sufi (a difficult trick but if the Rambam could do it, I'll try) and the rest can mostly be extrapolated from there. view post


posted 24 Mar 2005, 18:03 by Alric, Auditor

[quote="tellner":cl6jo7im]There's a G-d. I ain't Him.[/quote:cl6jo7im] That is one of the fundamental realizations in philosophy and self-awareness. Of course, it only creates more questions, but they certainly are interesting questions. view post


posted 04 Apr 2005, 19:04 by Echoex, Auditor

I'm probably wrong, but don't Existentialists believe that they are the center of their own existences and, essentially, are their own gods? view post


posted 05 Apr 2005, 00:04 by Tol h'Eddes, Auditor

[quote="Echoex":3cynk7pn]I'm probably wrong, but don't Existentialists believe that they are the center of their own existences and, essentially, are their own gods?[/quote:3cynk7pn] Essentially, you're right. But I wouldn't say that they believe they are their own gods. I would say they believe in nothing but themselves and what they and others can do. I pasted a definition taken from google below for clarification purpose. [quote="Google says":3cynk7pn]More specifically, existentialism is the philosophical cult of nihilism, that is that each man exists as an individual in a purposeless universe, and that he must oppose this hostile environment through the exercise of his free will.[/quote:3cynk7pn] view post


posted 05 Apr 2005, 06:04 by tellner, Peralogue

The existentialists also believe that there is no external meaning. You have to create it for yourself through existentially significant acts. I wouldn't say that they worship themselves so much as believe at most in themselves. Moving a little further afield you get the Left Hand Path magical types. At the risk of oversimplifying they could be said to worship themselves and believe themselves to be the gods of their existences. view post


posted 05 Apr 2005, 12:04 by Randal, Auditor

Nope. I don't believe in a god, I don't believe in afterlife, I don't believe there's a purpose or meaning to life. (That is, no externally imposed one. Make your own purpose if you will.) I don't believe in supernatural forces, psychic powers, spirituality, homeopathy, the lot. Never have, and I strongly doubt I ever will. (Barring reliable scientific evidence indicating the existence of these phenomena.) That would make me an atheist. A third-generation one, at that. So I haven't had much to do with religion at all in my life. The subject does interest me on an intellectual level, though, probably because it's quite alien to me. As for things I do believe in, I rather like the philosophy of existentialism, but I haven't studied it enough to commit myself. Never heard of those "Left Hand Path" people, but that most definitely is not what I see as existentialism. Worshipping oneself as a god sounds rather pointless to me. (But then, most religions do.) view post


Re: Do you believe a God exists? posted 21 Apr 2005, 03:04 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote="Grantaire":31yng4pt]And/or what are your religious beliefs? Why?[/quote:31yng4pt] Yes, but then if i choose, can i divorce myself from such beliefs? I find that belief has become so intergrated in my thoughts it many times governs my actions. I find it has become the center of my moral self. In this my belief has become like a god. That resembles a cycle if you can grasp the idea of belief as a god of a god. There are other such cycles as well such as atheist belief in no god which is still belief and therefore thier religion. :cry: view post


Re: Do you believe a God exists? posted 21 Apr 2005, 11:04 by Echoex, Auditor

"such as atheist belief in no god which is still belief and therefore thier religion." I read somewhere that the true definition of an aethiest is someone who does not feel compelled to believe in a higher power. If this is correct, then your syllogism is incorrect. You've used a simple twisting of words to formulate a hypothesis. Try it the other way: Aethiests don't believe in God. And since they don't believe in god, they don't have a religion. Ex. view post


posted 21 Apr 2005, 20:04 by Scilvenas, Auditor

I have no tea. (forgive me if that's too obscure of a reference) view post


posted 24 Apr 2005, 04:04 by Cynadar, Candidate

I believe that the possibility of any higher being is a paradox in itself. First of all, take the concept of time. We say time is infinite, meaning it spans an incalculable amount both forward and reverse. How can a being simply come from the start of that which has no beginning? The universe is also limitless, so how can there be nothing preceding the existence of a supreme power? He had to come from somewhere, but nothing could exist before Him... Next point, how can an all-forgiving god send someone to eternal damnation for no wrong-deed; for just being raised different (such as Christians saying all Muslims (for example) will burn in hell. How can something all-forgiving send someone who was raised Muslim his whole life, and was otherwise a good soul to hell?) This next point is just toward religious refernces based on Christian beliefs. Noah's ark: Noah fits one of every animal onto his ark. Did he manage to get one of every species of whale, fish, shark and other sea organisms? Did he have knowledge enough to build an aquarium with the correct ratio of salt and water, while maintaining size enough to fit these animals? Why would there be any point in doing this? But why would the bible say "two of EVERY animal?" How does that make sense? And take all the recently discovered species of animals dwelling in the rainforest... did he also manage to discover them and load them up on the boat? Next attack on christianity: Lucifer. God creates Lucifer, knowing that he will be betrayed by this very being. WHY??? Or, you can take the other answer to this: he truly isn't God, he isn't omniscient and omnipotent. Can a god lie? Well, that's it for my religious rambling attacks... view post


posted 24 Apr 2005, 20:04 by Randal, Auditor

Most of those are not problems with the idea of a higher being as such, just a very specific variant judeo-christian-muslim god. I'm sure there are many christians (etc) out there who for these very reasons (or similar ones) hold to a slightly different but more internally consistent view of their deity. And others who have some sort of explanation for these apparent (or factual?) inconsistencies. As for time, it is a tricky concept; one that I cannot really understand, once you add in the theory of relativity. If time is relative to the observer, what does it mean for the universe as such? Or any hypothetical diety? Not a clue, really, although I do admit I find the concept of an eternal god creating all hard to accept. [/devil's advocate]. (Or should that be god's advocate in this particular context?) view post


posted 25 Apr 2005, 03:04 by Andrew, Peralogue

either nothing created everything or God created everything. And/Or either all matter is eternal and self-sustaining or God is eternal and self-sustaining. either nothing exploded and became infinite(or near infinite), or the Infinite God brought everything into existence in an act of creation. Are any of you to tell me that the first one of these is inherently more plausible than the second? Science is a gamble. 99% of science only describes WHAT IS ALREADY HAPPENING. What is gravity? IT's what happens when you fall down. Why does "what happens when you fall down" happen? BECAUSE OF GRAVITY. get my point? Science can tell you HOW FAST you will fall because the universe operates according to laws. Suppose a child in the largest library in the universe. He manages to decipher one book. It tells him marvellous things about what happens in the universe. It tells him that the earth spins around a star. It tells him that a star produces light and heat by crushing matter out of existence and converting it to energy. It tells him that obscene amounts of energy are present in a tiny speck of matter. He learns from this book how to make an atom bomb. What pray tell does this tell us about the library? What answer does the child have when asked, "who wrote the book?" What does this tell us about the EXISTENCE of laws of physics? Nothing we didn't know before we read the book. last comment - time isn't infinite. Time is an effect. as to the comment about Noah's Ark - i think it is pretty clear that one doesn't need to bring a whale/shark/fish into an ark if one's goal is to preserve life from a catastrophic FLOOD. Whether you believe the event existed or not. Genesis 7 contains a reference to the animals - clearly no fish. The comment about God creating lucifer is equally pertinent to the question of God creating people. Knowing they would reject him. view post


posted 25 Apr 2005, 12:04 by Echoex, Auditor

And it might be sufficed to note that -- when the Old Testament was written -- the authors had an INCREDIBLY limited worldview. For someone in a small village that had 2 dogs, a 4 cats, and a family of catepilliars, that very well could have been all the animals this author knew of. I'm going to disagree with the assertion that 99% of Science only describes what is already happening. It's more correct to say that Science uses precedence to predict what WILL HAPPEN. Scientists formulate hypotheses on the basis of what is already known. We [i:kykwgi0r]believe[/i:kykwgi0r] the universe is expanding. We t[i:kykwgi0r]hink [/i:kykwgi0r]the universe is expanding at a certain rate, and we [i:kykwgi0r]predict [/i:kykwgi0r]the area of expansion and the direction of galaxies and heavenly bodies based on that prediction. Infinity is a very difficult concept for us mere humans to comprehend or accept because everything in our lives is limited. One of the 5 postulates of the particle theorum tells us that matter can not be created from nothing or destroyed to nothing; it can only be altered. But this is a postulate, and our rules may not apply for the rest of the universe. view post


posted 25 Apr 2005, 22:04 by Cynadar, Candidate

[quote="Andrew":v1ey83rb]The comment about God creating lucifer is equally pertinent to the question of God creating people. Knowing they would reject him.[/quote:v1ey83rb] Exactly. Why the f*** would God create ANYTHING that he knew would betray him!? Makes no sense, huh? Time cannot be perceived of as an effect; rather, for our own understanding, it NEEDS to be thought of as a fourth dimension. Based on previous knowledge, the universe in infinite. The universe, in essence, contains everything, all previous 4 dimensions included. Therefore, the is no limit to the amount of space in the universe or the amount of time. Time is infinite; it has no beginning or end. Nothing can possibly precede that which is older then the age of the current universe itself. There is no possibility that a god (or any higher being) can exist once this knowledge is established. And what about my comment on God supposedly being a great forgiver, yet refusing all who have differing world views but manage to live a good life? And moving on to "Either nothing created everything or god created everything" argument: Not true. As I mentioned above, there is no beginning or end to time. Therefore, everything has been in existence for longer than this very universe has. It has simply shifted state due to certain effects such as the universe expansion. Science is not a gamble. It is a study of effects of what we already know in order to determine what we don't. For example, testing drugs on animals. We use the drugs on animals to determine the fundamentals of how the drug will work and affect the body. Once we establish these key basics of how the drug works, we attempt to study its effects on humans, knowing that they will be similar, but not exactly the same. So we find the final effects after months of testing on animals who share similary characteristics (one reason why we classify animals into groups such as Mammals. Is that a gamble? Relying on hundreds of years of work that animals can be classified into distinct groups to help with tasks such as this?). Let's take that child in the largest library in the universe example and make it truly useful. The child reads and understands everything presented in the text. He then sits down and thinks about everything the book has just taught him. He thinks this over in a new light that the author hadn't thought about. He then comes up with some a new hypothesis and puts it to the test. Working on countless experiments, he soon finds a new law that holds true for everything he has experimented with. Is this known as learning nothing that he didn't already know? view post


posted 28 Apr 2005, 17:04 by Randal, Auditor

We're talking about two different things here, confusingly both called "god". One can believe that the universe was created by some kind of external force or intelligence, and name that force "god." Let's call it a "creator." Or one can believe in the god of the bible who is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, etc, who rewards good people with heaven and bad people with hell, who poses rules of conduct for mortals, etc, etc. (there are, of course, a million variations on this theme.) Let's call this one "Jehova." I personally believe in neither of these things, but I do find the first one a lot more plausible than the second. I reject the first one because I do not think a universe created by a mysterious eternal "creator" is any more logical or clear than a universe that simply is eternal (and mysterious) by itself. I reject the second for the inconsistencies and contradictions listed here, and many similar ones. Anyway, arguments against the second kind of god do not apply to the first one at all. Now, on a completely different tangent (one is allowed to ramble on messageboards, right?) a question for the believers in the second kind of god: If I were to assume, hypothetically, that the bible is correct, and Jehova exist, why should I worship him? Besides the rather obvious reason I'll be punished with hellfire if I disobey (that's not a good reason, i.m.o. Worship out of fear would not be worship at all.) and rewarded with eternal life and happyness if I do, I can't think of any reason to do such a thing. view post


posted 28 Apr 2005, 21:04 by Andrew, Peralogue

1) prediction is based on observation and extrapolation. Take away observation and there is NO sound basis for extrapolation and no sound basis for prediction. "we attempt to study its effects on humans, knowing that they will be similar" ... yeah that's my point. we 'study' by observing, and we HOPE it will be similar because in the past we have observed similarity. 2) i see from cynader's comments that my previous posting was wholly inadequate in respect of conveying the thought i had in mind. My comment about the "child not knowing any more than he did before..." is not a reference to whether he learned anything from the book, but whether he learned anything MORE about the library than he knew before. Whether it is POSSIBLE for him to learn more about the Library FROM READING ITS BOOKS!!. Why is the library THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Who wrote the books? Why were they written? Why can I (after a certain amount of effort) understand them? Ie., Why is the data of the universe comprehensible to me? Studying and understanding that THERE IS such and such A LAW which allows the universe (or some tiny part of it) to be Understood, DOES NOT solve the question of WHY there is a Law. Why is the universe comprehensible? If you are looking to science to answer these questions, it is a gamble. 3) the statement that the universe is infinite seems incompatible with the statement that it is expanding. Whether WE NEED to understand time in a certain way is inconclusive as to its ultimate nature. Also, it would be to presuppose perfect knowledge of all attributes of God, to assert that God cannot exist because Time does. If one suspends disbelief for a moment, one would see that If God can create Time and the Universe, surely he will have a way of standing OUTSIDE his creation and not being Bound or subjugated to it. The assertion that Time and the Universe are infinite in duration, and therefore incapable of being created at a finite point in time is nothing more than an assertion. The expansion of the universe is necessary for it to be stable because of Gravity. For this reason, the expansion of the universe can't be taken as proof excluding God, nor as proof of the infiniteness of time or matter. If God created the universe, presumably he wouldn't want it to collapse in on itself. God might necessitate the expansion of the universe by creating physical laws which require it. Maybe i have missed your point though. 4) God does not refuse to forgive anyone. The notion which people have of the judeo-christian God on this posting are quite mis-conceived. A better understanding would be that those who chose not to ask God for forgiveness cannot enter into eternal communion with God. Or, how can those who reject the sovereignty of God in this life, have a complaint in the next? My own notions of forgiveness cannot quite encompass the situation where the person who has wronged me rejects the validity of my claim. (ie. is there such a thing as forgiveness where the aggressor has not asked for forgiveness and insists i have No Right to assert that he has wronged me). 5) the notion of Hell is quite a subject of dispute among christians. The Bible refers to Satan being cast into a lake of fire at the end of history, but beyond that things become far more obscure. Many people consider Hell (as a destination for humans) to be a state of eternal separation from God. Randal said: "I reject the first one because I do not think a universe created by a mysterious eternal "creator" is any more logical or clear than a universe that simply is eternal (and mysterious) by itself. " It is kind of pecular to reject the existence of God merely because you see an equally plausible alternative. Wouldn't it be more consistent to reject neither God, NOR an eternal universe? OR, you ought also to reject the existence of the universe. If you hold 2 things to be equally implausible (or that neither is more 'logical or clear' than the other), then to reject one and accept the other is pure prejudice. Cynadar said: "Exactly. Why the f*** would God create ANYTHING that he knew would betray him!? Makes no sense, huh?" In that case it similarly makes no sense for your parents to have conceived and raised you given that every parent knows that at some point their child will turn his back on them. Indeed any individual who soberly considers becoming a parent will realize that it is an awful lot of work, grief and frustration. It is expensive. It limits a parents options for life. It creates obligation. Somehow it's still worth it. When the child runs to his father and says "i'm sorry dad, i love you, please forgive me", all of a sudden it was worth it. How can anyone who has loved another person not comprehend this truth? Who reading this doesn't know that relationships can HURT so badly, and yet, given the choice we throw ourselves into them, we cannot be without them, we LONG for them. It is in the nature of God, which is reflected in his creations, to desire a relationship - to suffer the cost of betrayal and rejection in exchange for the rewards. Jesus came that the Reconciliation of God and People might be complete. That through him, people might come to know God, and to rejoice with God, and to stand in a relationship with God. This incidentally is why we ought to praise God. requiring nothing from us, but rather out of love for us, He sought us out and made himself knowable. It is naturally true that one ought not worship out of fear, and i believe that a correct conception of 'worship' is logically inconsistent with the goal of pain avoidance. I.E. you don't call it LOVE when you marry for MONEY. Why do spouses (who have a good relationship that is) constantly say "i love you", every day, maybe even many times a day? is it because the have forgotten what was said the day before? Is it because they think that their partner is so fickle that feelings may have changed? Of course they say it to rejoice with one another in their love. to re-affirm that they have chosen the other freely - to rejoice in their common bond. Similarly to praise God is to rejoice in a relationship with God - of course there's a bit more as well than simply re-affirming a relationship. There is also the communication of thanks to a benefactor, and praise to a king. So in short, for a believer there are a multitude of very natural and spontaneous reasons to praise God. view post


posted 29 Apr 2005, 15:04 by Randal, Auditor

[quote:1iucp1ld][quote:1iucp1ld]Randal said: "I reject the first one because I do not think a universe created by a mysterious eternal "creator" is any more logical or clear than a universe that simply is eternal (and mysterious) by itself. " [/quote:1iucp1ld] Andrew said: It is kind of pecular to reject the existence of God merely because you see an equally plausible alternative. Wouldn't it be more consistent to reject neither God, NOR an eternal universe? OR, you ought also to reject the existence of the universe. If you hold 2 things to be equally implausible (or that neither is more 'logical or clear' than the other), then to reject one and accept the other is pure prejudice. [/quote:1iucp1ld] No, I don't find that peculiar at all. The situation is like this: I have a question, namely: "Why does the universe exist, and how did it come into existence." Now, one could answer that question by saying "A creator did it." But that answer is equally implausible to me as the answer "it simply always existed." In the end, both answers come down to "Because!" So, I have two equally implausible answers. I like neither. But for the moment I'll go with the one that does not require additional outside agents, i.e. god. It's the old argument of Occam's razor. And as for prejudice? I don't think so. After all, god and the universe are not equal. The universe does exist, and we don't know whether it ever did not. There is no evidence for a creator. To me, just accepting the universe exists and may always have in one form or another is far less of a leap of faith than inventing a creator god to answer the question. Basically, I still don't have a real answer to the question, but I don't see a reason to believe in a creator either. (At least, as far as the origin of the universe is concerned.) Maybe we'll learn more some day in the future. view post


posted 29 Apr 2005, 18:04 by Andrew, Peralogue

Well Randall, i would say based on your answer that you basically AGREE with my point!! First you said "I REJECT" - now you say "But for the moment I'll go with the one that does not require additional outside agents". There is a vast difference between saying "I reject X, because X OR Y is true but equally implausible", and, "I accept Y exclusively because i don't currently see a reason to accept X as well as Y". Earlier you said the Former, now the latter. Clearly the biggest difference between us is that I take the existence of the universe as the greatest proof there could possibly be of God's existence, where as you assert that the existence of the universe provides absolutely no proof of God's existence. I would be curious to know what it would require for God to prove his existence to you if creating a universe of staggering complexity isn't enough! How about one human being of staggering complexity?? How about laws of nature and physics of staggering complexity?? evolution can only occur by operation of physical laws, no matter over how LONG a time period. Outside of the mind of men there is no such thing as "chance" or "random" or "unpredictable". You accept that I exist as a separate human being, with no evidence other than the words on your screen! might i not be a bit of cosmic radiation interfereing with the Net somehow? Or a rogue scrap of code turned sentient, or perhaps some kind of newly evolved internet life form which generated itself into existence via a random interaction of electrons and circuits and code and chips and 50 billion bytes and 3 billion spam messages sent daily and rogue microsoft engineers and all the power of the internet... etc... but of course that's absurd! that's rediculous! how can there NOT be an Andrew out there writing these absurd things... naturally you would have no problem accepting cosmic radiation as the explanation of ME if all you saw on your screen was line of meaningless jibberish - random letters, symbols large blank sections followed by more jumble mumble... etc. Somehow the existence of (semi) ordered sentences, thoughts, etc; the (bare) hint of some kind of intellect causing what you see on your screen provides sufficient proof that I exist. And yet an ordered, lawful universe you say provides "no evidence" of an ordered, thoughtful cause? view post


posted 30 Apr 2005, 03:04 by Cynadar, Candidate

Time to start chipping away... (damn these long posts) prediction/ extrapolation/ gambling is not how science works. If science was only guesswork, we would be nowhere farther than following animals, because we know they provide food. We would have no language, no religion. You refuse to accept this fact, yet fight for religion which is a product of scientific advancement. Quite interesting, don't you agree? First of all, I don't understand what the example of the library does to prove the existence of god, but here we go. We're saying that this child was (for no apparent reason) in a library. This child is able to read a book that describes (from what you said earlier) everything imaginable about science. This child understands everything presented in the text. But what does that tell us about the nature of the library? Everything and nothing. You see, you're taking a single moment in an infinite amount of time. We can assume the child doesn't miraculously die seconds after reading this (if he did, the whole argument would be useless). Therefore, the child continues living (and will continue to do as he is a CHILD). The reason I say everything and nothing, is because the book itself provides no example to these questions, but the example of the child as a whole gives us evidence that looking farther into time, we learn everything about the library. This child is smart enough to read and understand EVERYTHING in a book about physics, chemistry, astronomy and basically all forms of science. And then the next sentence you completely disregard this intelligence. The child would then THINK. He would realize he knows everything about the laws of physics and decide to either read more of what the library has to offer, or determine his current position. He would find the entrance/ exit of this library, or a references to the books contained in the library. One side of this, he reads the list of books and determines the reason of the libraries existance. Or he leaves the library (if possible) and determines its location and can use later resources to find its purpose. Third option, he continues reading, and determines the organization of the books in the library, the type of books this library offers and everything else he reads and learns from these books. You looked at one single moment throughout the scale of the situation, when there was so much more. You did not even look into the child's past, which may give reason for the library to exist. Perhaps this child was bred (with modern technology) to be a super-genius (of the likes this world has not seen). The library was a compilation of every single piece of writing ever written to give him abundant knowledge of what we (as humans) already know. You are refusing to take past or present events into account, and therefore, look over any event (past or future) aside from the child reading this book. You label them useless to further the point of your argument so you can attempt to crush any opposition towards it. The statement that the universe is infinite is completely in line with the fact that is expanding. We as humans cannot perceive anything infinite. When we decide to look at "End Behavior" of a graph (as in math), we draw it out to infinite. Can we actually perform a calculation with this number? NO! We substitute a very large (or very small) number that will cause the calculation to be so nearly equal to the "infinite" value of the function that we can say the two are "equal." Infinite is simply the state of rapid expansion (and decomposition) with no signs of slowing. And, as I said earlier, time in its infinite state will continue to progress in a positive and negative direction. The statement that "God created everything or nothing created everything" becomes a completely useless argument in this case. However, you already gave up this argument, so I'll move on. The law of conservation of mass/ energy states that mass (or energy) cannot be created or destroyed, simply transferred. Again, disproving god's existance. However, "suspending disbelief," god would (of course) have the power to manuever around his own laws... But that goes to the essential simpson's question: (assuming omnipotence of god) "Can god create a..." Burrito in this case, it is simpsons... "Burrito so hot that he can't eat it." How does an omnipotent being exist? It would be impossible for Him to create a burrito so hot that he can't eat it, becuase he can do anything (eat that burrito included). But perahps you can argue omnipotence and keep up with these discrepansies... I am not saying God does not forgive everyone, I'm saying he doesn't forgive you unless YOU ASK FOR IT (like you said, proving my own point). He claims to be a great forgiver. I am saying that you cannot call him forgiver, when he refuses to forgive all those who deny him. I'll write out the example one more time: A young man was born and raised muslim. This is all he knows. He hears about the Christian religion, but can't possibly convert (his nature and upbringing do not allow this). He manages to live a good life, making NO MISTAKE WHATSOEVER (which I actually think would be impossible, but for this example, he doesn't do anything that God would not want him to do, aside from being muslim). He dies and God deems him unworthy of acceptance to heavan because of one small thing against him: he was muslim. How can you call that forgiving!? That's cruelty at its worst. God refuses this man simply because he was born to the wrong people? How can anyone in their right mind call THAT forgiving? Finally, "Why does a parent raise a child, when they know that child will rebel sometime in their life?" My simple answer is this: (most) modern parents are complete idiots, who have kids simply because they want to fuck. They hold expectations for this kid, and destroy any sense of individuality that child will ever have. I use myself in this case. My mom basically refuses to accept the fact that perhaps her religion is wrong; God may not exist. That simple refusal destroys my sense of self. If and when I become a parent, I will hold no expectations, leave my children free to live how they see fit. A certain amount of structure will obviously need to be provided, but I will not say "I don't believe in God, so they CAN'T." I'll raise them aetheist, sure. But allow them to choose whether or not they believe in god, whether or not they want to dress a certain way, whether or not they want a certain career or not, etc (the list goes on, trust me). Parents raise kids with expectations, where they should allow the child to be a true individual. They always hold that expectation that he (or she) won't rebel. "She'll be my little angel" "He'll be a rocket scientist" They are crushed when they realize that the child has no motivation to be a beauty queen or rocket scientist. That causes them to lash out at the child. The child knows that the only way to get back is to rebel and try as hard as they can to go against how their parent (s) raised them. This didn't work so well in my case, because naturally school comes so easy to me (and that's just about the only expectation (aside from religion) that my mom had for me), that I literally can't fail (plus it'll only hurt me later when I attempt to live on my own). That's the only thing we, as teenagers, know how to do to fight it. You see what I mean, how the parent doesn't expect the child to rebel, but by holding that expectation, they allow the child to rebel against that expectation... view post


An essay on the existence of god... sorry, it's long. posted 01 May 2005, 23:05 by Randal, Auditor

[u:1nq10sw6][b:1nq10sw6]Preliminary notes[/b:1nq10sw6][/u:1nq10sw6] Interesting discussion, this, albeit one that has been held many times before. Still, this time I participate myself. It's a good mental exercise, I think, to really try and explain one's views to a stranger. I do wonder, Andrew, what your exact position in the debate is? You obviously believe that some intelligent creator made the universe. But I do wonder what your other beliefs are. Do you also believe in a more conventional god, i.e. judeo-christian-muslim? Or just a creator, a "first cause" of the universe? Anyway, your post. My reply is going to be a long one. (well, it's tricky to explain one's worldview in a few sentences. And you did ask...) To the other worthy members of this forum, my apologies for what basically amounts to something like a thread-hijack. I guess it was inevitable once this subject reared it's head. [quote="Andrew":1nq10sw6]Well Randall, I would say based on your answer that you basically AGREE with my point![/quote:1nq10sw6] Yes, my first assertion was not very logical. It was a bit of an afterthought, a casual reference to my position, but irrelevant to my argument. (That we were talking about two different ideas called "god".) It was a line I added at the last minute, and did not really clarify my beliefs. (well, I wasn't really expecting a debate like this.) I stand by the second post, as well as the gist of the first. I still reject X, because there is no reason to accept it, and it is less plausible than other, albeit equally unsatisfying answers. (as far as I can see.) Note that this does not mean I really accept Y either, just that I think it's a possibility, which I'll stick to until new evidence is forthcoming. [b:1nq10sw6][u:1nq10sw6]Onto the main issue[/b:1nq10sw6][/u:1nq10sw6] [quote="Andrew":1nq10sw6]{snip}I would be curious to know what it would require for God to prove his existence to you if creating a universe of staggering complexity isn't enough!{snip}[/quote:1nq10sw6] Yes, that's where the difference lies between our views. [quote="Andrew":1nq10sw6]{another snip}Outside of the mind of men there is no such thing as "chance" or "random" or "unpredictable".{snip}[/quote:1nq10sw6] That sentence goes part of the way towards the answer. Chance and random do exist outside the minds of men, in my worldview. (quantum processes and all that.) Things that go one way could just as well go another. God (or in my case, the universe) does indeed play dice. A lot can be predicted, and many chances are so heavily weighed one way or another that the possibility of something else happening is virtually negligible, but in the end everything is the result of a chance process. Everything is random. In such a worldview, the existence of the universe proves nothing about a creator. Order can come from chaos all by itself, if left alone long enough. And long enough is easy if infinity is at your disposal. But, now to formulate an answer to the important question; [b:1nq10sw6] [color=red:1nq10sw6]"what would god need to do to prove his existence to me?"[/color:1nq10sw6] [/b:1nq10sw6] Which is, indeed, a tricky question to answer. One I have considered before, but which will still need some thought to arrive at a reasonably clear answer. Ultimately, it would depend on the kind of god we're talking about. The judeo-christian-muslim-buddhist whatever else you can think of gods that make up 99% of the world's religions, all make claim to influencing the world in one way or another. To prove their existence, that influence would need to be proven. Miracles would need to be shown, efficacy of prayer detected, proof of reincarnation found, etc. Depends on the exact variant of religion. In a more general sense, for me to even consider the existence of these kinds of deities, scientific research would have to prove the existence of the supernatural in one way or another. Should that happen, I will completely re-evaluate my worldview, and start considering the religions as possible fact, rather than regarding them as nonsense. Note, however, that this does not mean I'd convert. Even if christianity, to take the most obvious example, proved to be true in all it's various claims, I doubt I would turn to worship God. I don't really understand why people worship anything, be he the creator of the universe or the emperor of Hulaland. Same for morals. I do what I believe good, and will not consciously alter my positions just because it turns out some god is watching my moves from heaven. I'm not a very worshippy person, I guess. But, all this is concerning the second kind of god I discussed earlier. The acting god, not the first variant, who is merely the "first cause." The claim of the first cause "god" is far more ephemeral than the second one. Where the second one claims to be omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, whatever, the first one merely claims to be the invisible, intangible, untraceable reason the universe exists. A hard claim to either prove, or disprove. Such a creator would exist outside of our universe, in all probability, and not be subject to the laws of nature by which we live and by which all our research is conducted. Such a "god" might not want to prove his existence, might not be able to by virtue of his position outside the universe. He need not even be sentient as we see it. Which means my position on this one is rather less firm than on the other. Dismissing it out of hand, when so little is or can be proven, would be a bit premature, I think. But I still don't accept the claim the universe must have a creator, for precisely the same reason. It's so easy to claim something unprovable exists. It's a tired old analogy, but here goes anyway: how does one disprove the existence of invisible purple unicorns living on the far side of the galaxy? The only possibility would be to travel to every planet in the galaxy with supersophisticated sensors capable of finding even invisible pink unicorns. Only once every place has been visited could one safely claim they do not exist. But with our current technology, this is not possible, or desirable. So in the meantime, I'll dismiss their existence based on the burden of proof and probability. Something does not exist unless there is proof, or at least a good reason to assume it does. All of which does not answer the question "how would a creator/first cause go about proving his existence, when that may well be impossible by definition." (if it is completely separated from the physical universe and hence undetectable by beings limited by it's constraints.) On consideration, my answer would be that it is impossible for such a god to prove it's existence, or for us to prove it, because the concept thought up here is too abstract, too remote and too alien to be subjected to conventional research. Maybe, one day in the future, with advanced technology and tools, we'll be able to truly examine the origins of the universe, and come to some kind of conclusion. Only a few hundred years ago, it was impossible to think of some non-divine alternative explanation for the existence of life, let alone humans. Now, there are extensive theories to explain these things. Maybe the origins of the universe will one day be unveiled as well. But right now, I can neither prove nor disprove the existence of a "first cause." Be that as it may, I still choose not to believe in it, because for me that is the more logical way to approach a subject. I will not believe in something unprovable unless there is a reason to do so. If that means I disregard something that in the future will be proven to be true, so be it. I'd rather be overly sceptical than credulous. (note: I am not accusing you of credulity. I just state that with the worldview I have described, belief in god for me would require credulousness.) [b:1nq10sw6][u:1nq10sw6]Wrapping things up[/b:1nq10sw6][/u:1nq10sw6] After this already long post, I think it's fairly safe to state that our difference of opinion arises basically from a disagreement of what constitutes he evidence in this case. You believe in a creator, because to you the universe is obviously/logically something that must have been created by an intelligence, a god. I, however, have no problems whatsoever with ascribing something so complex and wonderful as the universe or even the laws of nature to something as basic as the result of mere chance and random processes which we do not yet understand. Or something else entirely, such as hyperintelligent aliens from the umpteenth dimension, or another kind of creator. Or I could see it as something that simply always has existed, and has no origin or cause as we understand it. Therefore, where you see evidence for one thing, I see an unexplained phenomenon which may have for which we have multiple widely differring possible explanations, none of which need be true, and some of which sound more implausible to me than others. Now, I'd better get some sleep, as this reply took rather longer than I expected. I don't think I need to reply to your "maybe Andrew is cosmic radiation" analogy, which is quite as ridiculous as my invisible purple unicorns and would only cause confusion. This post is quite long enough. view post


posted 02 May 2005, 22:05 by Anonymous, Subdidact

There was a line promoting an old French publication that read: "There are no more Manicheans" "There is me." I always thinking about that, wondering if I am one of the few unrepentant polytheists left. In Perdido Street Station, there's a quick mention about the possibility of gods. Its admitted there are powerful agents, but whether they should be worshipped is another question entirely. I find myself in this camp, as it seems there is enough circumstantial evidence and my own personal gut feeling to accept the supernatural, but nothing to make me define it as lovable or coherent. I would consider allying myself with various such agents through the business dealings of sacrifice, if in fact I was confident I'd receive something in return. But my agnosticism always acts up and I can't commit to any gods. Simply put, I find D&D & fantasy novels to have the most realistic viewpoint on gods than any real religion. view post


posted 02 May 2005, 23:05 by Randal, Auditor

Upon consideration, I think I'll adress your "andrew might as well be cosmic radiation" argument as well. To recapitulate: [quote="Andrew":11cx5v7w]You accept that I exist as a separate human being, with no evidence other than the words on your screen! might i not be a bit of cosmic radiation interfereing with the Net somehow? {snip}... etc... but of course that's absurd! that's rediculous! how can there NOT be an Andrew out there writing these absurd things... naturally you would have no problem accepting cosmic radiation as the explanation of ME if all you saw on your screen was line of meaningless jibberish - random letters, symbols large blank sections followed by more jumble mumble... etc. Somehow the existence of (semi) ordered sentences, thoughts, etc; the (bare) hint of some kind of intellect causing what you see on your screen provides sufficient proof that I exist. And yet an ordered, lawful universe you say provides "no evidence" of an ordered, thoughtful cause?[/quote:11cx5v7w] This analogy is highly flawed. I believe the posts I see to be written by a fellow human being, because I have seen many messages on many messageboards in many different places, I have written some myself, and have seen other people write others. Therefore, although it is theoretically possible you're some kind of A.I. or virus, by far the most plausible assumption is you're just a human being. This analogy would apply to the universe only if there were thousands of other universes in existence, and I had positive evidence at least some of them were created by gods, I had created some myself, and seen others being created. Then, it would be silly to say: "No, [i:11cx5v7w]this[/i:11cx5v7w] universe, out of all those thousands of others, probably wasn't created by a god. Prove it was!" Secondly, your analogy is flawed in my eyes because the universe does not resemble a piece of written text. I don't think the universe is "ordered and lawful" at all. In fact, to me it looks very much the result of random processes. The "laws" of nature work the other way around. They do not dictate how matter behaves, they're simply a way of describing how it behaves. And if you study it closely, it does not behave all that orderly, and the "laws" are not all that immutable. On the smallest scale, the laws of nature are the result of probability processes. Only because our perception is limited to the macro level does the universe appear to be orderly. The "complexity" of humans or the universe is not all that surprising, it merely is a result of trial and error. There is no master plan being followed. If one were to turn time back a billion years, events might take a quite different cause. Humans might not have evolved at all, for example. Or a thousand different things might have happened. Impossible to tell. Anyway, that's how I see things. Chaos, not order, rules the universe. view post


posted 04 May 2005, 15:05 by Andrew, Peralogue

If chaos rules the universe, then basing your belief system entirely on what is scientifically provable seems a bit iffy... you will only believe what can be scientifically verified but you seem to in the same breath negate the very possibility of anything being scientifically verifiable at all, in the sense that anything which appears to be verifiable on earth from our perspective, might be completely limited to our planet, our speck of the galaxy, this instant in time and so forth. So that science cannot really tell us anything except that here on this earth, such and such seems to occur with frequency. I am very curious about your idea that the laws of nature are only descriptive of what matter does, and are not necessary. If they are descriptive only then what can possibly be causing matter to behave in certain ways? I will gladly accept your criticism of my "andrew is cosmic radiation" argument. Really, it is just the old watchmaker argument i guess. The chief point is that, something being ordered or something complex existing at all suggests that something intelligent must be behind it. The watchmaker analogy goes something like, suppose you are a castaway on a desert island and you discover a watch (it could be anything complex). One option is to suppose that certain metals existed in certain rocks, and through that magical combination of time and chance and physical forces, those metals and sand and whatever melded themselves into the watch spontaneously. The more common sense conclusion to a watch on a desert island is that there was some intelligent person who made the watch and left it there. Most people would say, "i don't care if you let an island be for 10 billion years, there is no way a watch will arise by itself". Biological processes, stars, planets, atmospheres, atoms, molecules etc., being vastly more complex and intricate than a mere watch, it is only logical to look for the intelligent creator of those things. If a watch spontaneously coming into existence is absurd then how about other things. What is being discovered is that the most basic building blocks of life are themselves staggeringly complex. Look at proteins for example. I participate in a project called "folding at home" - it is one of these internet projects that seeks to harness the computing power of idle computers in peoples homes in order to carry out calculations which require vast amounts of computing power. I don't pretend to understand what i am trying to describe, but Proteins are reactive to their environment in certain ways. They can change their form or shape and in so doing they change the way they interact with whatever is facing them. This is what they have posted on the home page for the project: "It's amazing that not only do proteins self-assemble -- fold -- but they do so amazingly quickly: some as fast as a millionth of a second. While this time is very fast on a person's timescale, it's remarkably long for computers to simulate. In fact, it takes about a day to simulate a nanosecond (1/1,000,000,000 of a second). Unfortunately, proteins fold on the tens of microsecond timescale (10,000 nanoseconds). Thus, it would take 10,000 CPU days to simulate folding -- i.e. it would take 30 CPU years! That's a long time to wait for one result!" So my basic point is that the further we study what are supposed to be the most basic building blocks of us, the MORE complexity we discover. it becomes staggeringly complex in fact. I have to ask myself if it makes sense. How can the EARLIEST things which are said to be most basic and giving rise to more complex things, be themselves so absurdly complex that we barely understand them? How can it be that something such as a protein can arise out of nothing? To me, just repeating the mantra "time + chance" is rediculous. It seems to become such a convienient definition that it solves everythiing. One gets the impression that if tommorow a booming voice was heard shouting out for all humanity to hear, "prepare for the day of the Lord", we would have newspapers full of speculation how it was just a matter of time + chance that certain volcanoes would erupt and asteroids would collide and sun radiation would reflect off the moon, creating this improbable, once in a gazillion year confluence of sound waves which happened to make sense to our ears and happened to make a coherent sentence. After-all, if the universe is infinite, and etc., then anything should be possible and possibly explained through natural random phenomena. I once had a professor in university for a course called advanced linear algebra or something like that. It was years ago and i shortly thereafter abandoned studying math, but i've always remembered the first day of that class. This professor was a sincere christian and he spoke on the first day about the beauty of math, its symmetry, its marvellous complexity and so on. The upshot was that he personally had been so amazed by what he was learning while studying math that he came to an absolute conviction that there was an intelligent creator of the universe. The more he learned, the more astounded he became and he sought out religion shortly thereafter. Well enough on that. incidentally, when you say that humans are a product of mere trial and error, isn't it curious that you are using language best suited to describiing how an intelligent process would create something? I realize it is just a consequence of language, but i'm sure you will agree that it is non-sense to speak of trial and error unless one is intentially seeking to produce a particular outcome (which in your world view is impossible in respect of the origin of humans). Thomas Edison seeking a suitable metal for his lightbulb was trial and error. Sciborg2: myself i have never really encountered an original version or view of gods in fantasy. seems to me basically, you have the unknown/unknowable type, you have the all-good creator vs. all-bad destroyer type, and you have the capricious, meddling shades of grey type, all of which can be found in human religions. Back to Randal- your point about efficacy of prayer is interesting because it is well known and well documented that people who go to church, pray and have others pray for them DO live longer and healthier lives. Happily (for you) this can all be explained away via psychology. It is KNOWN that attitude makes a huge difference in outcome. The only General cure for every disease in the world is a placebo. The placebo effect is well known and it is entirely mental. When people believe they are taking a miracle drug that is sure to cure them, they get better (at least a statistically significant portion do). Similarly, if one believes that prayer is efficacious, then one is more likely to get better (so it is said). Also, if one goes to church, one often has a more extensive support group, one believes that God is looking out for ones best interests, one can leave ones stress and anxiety and fear and guilt in the hands of God etc. Less stress, guilt, anxiety leads to healthier people. More social interaction and support leads to better outcomes for sick and old people. I can give you examples from my own life where in the midst of severe sorrow or anger or pain, i prayed and FELT the hand of God and felt my spirits lifted immeasurably - in short i experienced a complete reversal from misery to joy. Happily for you, this can also be explained via psychology. It can be ascribed to my BELIEF that God would aid me producing a psychological effect. I believed that God would hold my heart in his hands, and viola. There is no shortage of miraculous stories within the Christian community, and i am speaking of stories from our day, not from 2000 years ago. Happily for you, these can be explained as unlikely coincidences, one of those seemingly random twists of 'fate': a highly improbable this or that which is certain to have a rational and natural, rather than mystical/devine cause. I suspect Randall that what you would require would be something massive. Something so undeniably God-sent that it would overwhelm you entirely. And it would not do for it to have occured in the past! Oh no, we all know how susceptible and silly anyone not living within the last 100 yrs or so was. THEY would believe anything! Unfortunately, if one studies what the bible says about God, one can only conclude that he is not interested inperfoming parlour tricks for the purpose of proving his existence. It would do you no good to learn that 2000-odd years ago a small group of people whose leader had just been executed, who were alone and afraid that their own ending was imminent; who were rejected and branded as heretics by their former religious leaders - how this small group suddenly became so convinced that they had seen their leader risen from the dead that they personally endured every kind of torture and death, every humiliation and defeat and never recanted, never surrendered their message, never retracted their statement that they had SEEN their leader alive. There is a great mystery that a band of jewish heretics whose leader had just been executed, managed within a remarkably short time convert masses of people away from belief systems thousands of years old. But who can answer the eternal sceptic? I guarantee that there is nothing i could write which you could not dismiss as mere coincidence or as certainly explainable though we don't quite know how, or as historical puffery. Cynader - your comments about my library analogy seem to suggest a wildly optimistic vision of human understanding. I guarantee you and I won't live to see the day when the child has read and understands everything in that library. It may well be that someday eons hence, all that can be known about the universe will be known. I suspect that we will still be somewhat in the dark about what can be known that is NOT in the universe. I suspect that we might have certain ideas based on analogy and so forth, however i suspect that it is IMPOSSIBLE to know with certainty about anything that is not in our universe. The library is our universe. The books are bits of knowledge about the universe. The aggregate of those bits adds up to everything knowable about the universe. Currently we probably have read several decimals below 1 percent of all those books. We don't even have a full list of land animals, never mind proper descriptions, never mind ocean animals, never mind insects, microbes, plants etc. There are VAST amounts of info about our world alone that we are still looking for. If God created our universe then he is not contained in it or defined through it. Quite the reverse in fact. If he made it, then he is outside it. It may be possible to get a glimpse of the creator through what he has created. I.E. something of his nature will be revealed in what he has created. But that's it. That is why i say, for each book the child reads, he is more knowledgeable about what is IN the library, but he is no closer to finding out what is OUT of the library. Which is where God would reside, or i suppose, any other process which creates universes. Cynader - i must say that your view of parenting is suprisingly cynical. I will leave myself to advancing an alternative view of parenting, which is that people long to create something; they long to love; they long to pass on what they have learned and discovered; they long to care for something; they long to impart something of themself into something else; they long to project themselves into the future; they long to BE loved; they long to Be depended on; they long to be esteemed and respected; they long to Be cared for by another. Maybe that is enough. I would also respectfully say that the "choice" of the child model is overrated. First because kids typically WANT to be like their parents (so their choice is illusory to an extent). Second because I think it is impossible that a parent will fail to impart their own values to their kids. Your child, knowing that you have a distaste or distain for religion, will not fail to act accordingly. He may react in a backlash - i have a good friend whose parents raised him as a materialist and he has spent the last 10 years or so seeking mystical experiences and deeper meaning (alas - he choses mystical substances to induce said deeper meanings). He may react by wholesale adoption of your views. I have always felt that a parent has an obligation to impart their received wisdom to the child - why force them to tread all the paths which you have? Naturally, one must realize that certain things must be experienced to be learned, but were I you, i would not so quickly abdicate my role in raising a child in every sense of the word. Certainly, your comments about a parent trying to impose their vision of the child's outcome onto the child and then rejecting the child who does not conform - yes clearly you are correct in that respect. But there IS a middle ground between caring for a child and raising them and teaching them about the world, and becoming a domineering lunatic. if all you are going to do is feed them and play catch in the back yard (ok, i'm drawing a caricature to make a point) - then why not have them raised by robots. I would hazard to guess that the unfortunate state of children now adays is caused my LESS parenting and not more parenting. Kids are saying over and over that they WANT some direction from their parents, they WANT a better relationship, they WANT guidelines on their behaviour - it makes them feel loved and cared for - again, all this has to be done with a hefty dose of reasonableness. Kids in the 40's (the other faults of that era aside), were not toting guns to school and blowing people to bits, or subjected to depression and anxiety etc to the degree they are now. I saw a recent documentary about a certain rocker whose fans were carving his name in their chest with razor blades. these are 15 year old girls carving into their chest with razor's. Who can say the process of parenting those kids experienced? i don't know of course. It is enough though to make me sceptical about modern ideas of parenting. these posts are becoming intolerably long. second last point for cynader. i really don't see what your burrito example is supposed to prove. i think it proves absolutely nothing. its' like asking whether God could create a God more powerful than himself. Those 2 things are mutually exclusive and impossible. You can't have in the same universe something which is Infinitely X, and something which is greater than that. It makes no sense and doesn't prove a thing. It's like asking whether God could make 1+1=3 and 2 at the same time and if he can't well i guess he ain't all powerful!! As to your point about God as a Forgiver. I now understand you better. I will point out that no one (who knows what they are talking about) has ever claimed that Gods sole characteristic is a forgiver. That is an aspect of his personality. Another aspect is judge. What would we think of a human judge who was either 100% mercy, or 100% judgment? would we not prefer one who mixed judgment and mercy? NO ONE (ie no christian who has read the bible) has ever claimed that God will forgive someone who does not repent and seek forgiveness. Since God does not claim to do that, your only complaint is that he is not forgiving enough and HE OUGHT TO BE MORE forgiving. It is a curious thing that people these days seem to separate and fixate on INDIVIDUAL characteristics of God, as if the entirety of God could possibly be contained in one single aspect of his character. I would like to know why you believe he ought to be more forgiving with respect to someone who has rejected him outright. How can ANYONE be obliged to forgive? That is an absurd contention. The entire NOTION of forgiveness is that it is NOT deserved - it is a Gift bestowed, NOT A RIGHT. Try to think of this in human terms. If you tell your wife/lover/best friend to F off on a particularly bad day and you NEVER apologize - will you be surprised if they hold it against you? Will you go up to them and say "see hear, you've been telling people all your life what a nice person you are - you claim that you never held a grudge against anyone - well now i demand that you forgive what i said to you even though i'm not the least bit sorry and don't acknowledge that i've wronged you. If you refuse, i will spread the word what a rotten liar you are since you've claimed to be nice all this time." What would you say about the person if they agreed with you and went along with you? would you hesitate to abuse them in the future? Would you respect them in the least? Would you not call them a push-over? Would you not suspect that they were so lacking in self worth that they would say or do anything - humiliate themselves just so as to keep some semblance of friendship with you (or rather to keep the idea in their head that you were still friends)? this has gotten to be quite to long. perhaps i'll talk about your 'muslim guy' question later. view post


Another looong reply... posted 05 May 2005, 16:05 by Randal, Auditor

This thread seems to generate long, [i:38bsuyj2]long[/i:38bsuyj2] replies. Hardly surprising, given the fact that libraries have been filled with this subject matter, and will undoubtedly continue to be filled. Incidentally, you still haven't told me where you stand in the debate. General "first cause" god, or Omni-everything God with a capital G? From your reference to prayer experiences, I infer the latter, but I'd still be interested to know your denomination, even if it's just out of curiosity. Are you a Christian? Muslim? Roman Catholic, Anglican, Remonstrant, Lutheran, Mormon, generic believer? (Hey, that was the original point of this thread, wasn't it?) [b:38bsuyj2]Chaos and the universe[/b:38bsuyj2] [quote:38bsuyj2]If chaos rules the universe, then basing your belief system entirely on what is scientifically provable seems a bit iffy... you will only believe what can be scientifically verified but you seem to in the same breath negate the very possibility of anything being scientifically verifiable at all, in the sense that anything which appears to be verifiable on earth from our perspective, might be completely limited to our planet, our speck of the galaxy, this instant in time and so forth. So that science cannot really tell us anything except that here on this earth, such and such seems to occur with frequency.[/quote:38bsuyj2] Well, I don't so much believe that chaos rules the universe here and now, as that the universe arose out of chaos. (quantum mess out of which big bang arose) I think our "laws of nature" apply to the physical universe as a whole, but that it is entirely possible that other universes with different laws of nature could exist, and perhaps even do, and that our laws of nature will at some point cease to apply as the universe reverts to entropy. Perhaps there exceptions to the laws of nature even within this universe. (Black holes? Wormholes? Weird stuff?) Moreover, even if things arise from random effects, this does not mean they are completely unpredictable. There still is probability. Even though the result of a dice roll is random, if you roll a million dice it's fairly safe to predict the average score will be 3,5. But I do admit that this gets rather far into quantum physics and other stuff I do not understand myself. In the end, everybody has to accept some things he's told by other people as truth, as you can't check everything yourself. In my case, I'll accept physics. [quote:38bsuyj2]I am very curious about your idea that the laws of nature are only descriptive of what matter does, and are not necessary. If they are descriptive only then what can possibly be causing matter to behave in certain ways?[/quote:38bsuyj2] Mostly, I see the same thing you do, but from a slightly different angle. You say "matter behaves in a certain way because of the (god imposed?) laws of nature." I say "Out of the big bang arose matter that behaves in a certain way. The way it behaves is described by the laws of nature." In other words, the laws of nature do not precede matter. You can't have the laws without matter, it'd be meaningless. "Before" the big bang (there is no before, time is a dimension of the universe) the laws of nature as we see them would have been meaningless. Like the idea of a time "before" the big bang. But as I said, I do not completely understand this stuff. I ought perhaps to read up on it. [b:38bsuyj2]The blind watchmaker, trial and error[/b:38bsuyj2] [quote:38bsuyj2]incidentally, when you say that humans are a product of mere trial and error, isn't it curious that you are using language best suited to describing how an intelligent process would create something? I realize it is just a consequence of language, but i'm sure you will agree that it is non-sense to speak of trial and error unless one is intentially seeking to produce a particular outcome (which in your world view is impossible in respect of the origin of humans). [/quote:38bsuyj2] No, not really. "Trial and error" presupposes a [i:38bsuyj2]goal[/i:38bsuyj2]. But it does not presuppose an [i:38bsuyj2]intelligence.[/i:38bsuyj2] You can have a goal without intelligence. Take the example of a evolution. If anything is trial and error, evolution is. And the goal is clear: reproduce yourself, maintain the species. This goal is nor formulated by any intelligence, it simply arises because anything [i:38bsuyj2]without[/i:38bsuyj2] that goal would cease to exist. Anything not good enough at achieving that goal ceases to exist. Etc. So, it is quite possible to seek to produce a particular outcome without having any intelligence interfering whatsoever. Therefore, the existence of a human does not presuppose the existence of a "humanmaker." This becomes clear when examining a human more closely. We don't appear to be designed. A clever, let alone omniscient designer could make something far more efficient than a human, without, tailbones, appendixes, ingrown toenails or dementia. All these things do not interfere with reproduction whatsoever, and therefore are not weeded out by evolution. An intelligent designer probably would have fixed these problems/redundancies and a thousand more. Note that the "desired outcome" here is not "to design a human being" and that were one to start evolution all over, we could well end up with entirely different creatures. Say, sentient dinosaurs. Or no sentient beings at all. Or something even weirder. [b:38bsuyj2]Efficacy of prayer[/b:38bsuyj2] Yes, you're right on that. Prayer and religion undoubtedly helps many people. (which is one reason I never try to dissuade people from their faith. Just defend my own lack of it.) For the effects of prayer to be evidence of the existence of a god, it would not just need to be effective, it would need to be more effective than belief in a witch doctor, new age healing guru or a placebo. But not only can this effect be explained away via psychology, for me it actually is another reason to disbelieve the existence of god. Because, if belief helps you live longer and healthier and increases mental health, it explains nicely why so many humans are religious. It's an evolutionary advantage, that's why. [b:38bsuyj2]Evidence for God[/b:38bsuyj2] [quote:38bsuyj2]I suspect Randal that what you would require would be something massive. Something so undeniably God-sent that it would overwhelm you entirely. And it would not do for it to have occured in the past!{snip}[/quote:38bsuyj2] As I stated, what would be required for me to believe in a god, depends on the kind of god. For me to believe in the Christian god would indeed require... if not something massive, more something... definite. Unambiguous. Preferably in a laboratory. Unlikely to happen, I know. And stories in the bible do indeed not qualify. Besides the doubts about the bible's origin and veracity, there's Clarke's law: any technology sufficiently advanced appears as magic to the beholder. (Or any natural phenomena sufficiently complicated.) Whilst the rise of christianity is certainly remarkable, it is by no means supernatural. In that time and age, there was a wide dissatisfaction with the established religion, and hundreds of mystery cults arose. One thrived, in part because of Constantine's conversion, but christianity really was just a sign of the times in my eyes. Fanatics always have existed, and probably always will. Other religions have their saints and martyrs. Does that prove them true? [b:38bsuyj2]The Eternal Sceptic, or an Open Mind on Religion[/b:38bsuyj2] [quote:38bsuyj2] But who can answer the eternal sceptic? I guarantee that there is nothing i could write which you could not dismiss as mere coincidence or as certainly explainable though we don't quite know how, or as historical puffery. [/quote:38bsuyj2] Yes, that's fair enough. I try to keep an open mind on most things, but I do not think there's anything you can say to convince me to become a christian. (Although I might just be persuaded of the possibility of a "first cause" god.) Not only because of the points discussed in this thread, but because there are dozens of other reasons why I do not believe in the Christian god. I do not think I could believe in him if my life depended on it. (and according to christians, it does. Now there's a pity.) And, also because I was raised an atheist and a sceptic. Much though I would like to believe my position is entirely and completely rational, I'm too much of a sceptic to believe that either. Education and indoctrination are of immense influence in these things. It's kinda hard to be a christian when you've been dismissively told by your mother from age 4 onwards that religion is "a story some other people believe is true. But don't tell them that, it might upset them." when you asked about what god is. That doesn't mean I haven't looked at the questions carefully myself when I was older, and tried to form my own conclusions as much as possible. But one does not shake off one's background entirely, as you said in your reply to Cynader. Finally, I think there was recent research that indicates there exists a genetic predisposition for or against religion. Some people are simply born sceptics, or the opposite. We all strive to keep an open mind (or so I hope) but where religion is concerned, this is rarely achieved. There is no definite answer in this debate. If there was, all sceptics would have been converted a century ago, or religion would have ceased to exist. I think it would be safe to state that this is equally true for you, Andrew. Do you think there is anything I could say to you that would make you renounce your faith? Me, a stranger over the internet? I do not particularly care to try, as your beliefs are really your own business, but if I were a particular rabid brand of atheist hell-bent on denouncing the "misguided religious fools" I doubt I would have much success. Why don't you answer the same question I did, but the other way around? [b:38bsuyj2][color=red:38bsuyj2]What would make you stop believing in God and become an atheist?[/color:38bsuyj2][/b:38bsuyj2] view post


posted 05 May 2005, 17:05 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote:1po09joy]Sciborg2: myself i have never really encountered an original version or view of gods in fantasy. seems to me basically, you have the unknown/unknowable type, you have the all-good creator vs. all-bad destroyer type, and you have the capricious, meddling shades of grey type, all of which can be found in human religions. [/quote:1po09joy] Well, I was referring to their carpricious and childish battles to control reality. This is how I see the gods, if they exist--as creatures that feed off of certain memes, certain ideas. I have the problem you presented in your posts, that almost all miracles can be attributed to rational explanations. More importantly, many religions can cite miracles or historical mysteries of faith's power. Its just as, if not more, plausible that there is a psychic field that reacts to our beliefs instead of a sentient creator(s) watching (spying on?) us. Paranormal phenomenon, even when it passes scientific tests, doesn't show us the Truth, only bizarre phenomenon tied to belief. Perhaps we are our own gods? view post


posted 05 May 2005, 19:05 by H, Auditor

I think that we have a problem here in the fact that human beings do not tolerate ambiguity well at all, both cognitively and perceptually. If you are presented with a thoroughly ambiguous visual or auditory stimulus, you will attempt to order it, forcing an order to it which is probably not present at all, but is necessary for you to be able to comprehend the stimulus. This applies to cognition as well. If you've ever heard of Capgraw Syndrome it is where, due to damage in certain areas of the brain, there is a lack of emotional attachment to visual stimulus. Thus, you would lose the 'feeling' that comes with seeing someone you love, for example. An excellent example of the effect of this is a man who, following a head trauma, believed his parents were imposters. Sure, he said, they look like my parents but i know they aren't. Now, someone actually impersonating his parents is highly illogical, but in being presented with ambiguity (in that he knew these people looked exactly like his parents, but that he had no emotional attachments to them) he created an entire cognitive complex of how they were really imposters in order for himself to understand his situation. So what’s my point? My point is that in perceiving the world, and assimilating it into our psyche's, we can place order, meaning, and patterns onto that which does not actually have those qualities. Because we cannot know the entire content of psyche (the darkness that comes before, anyone?) how can we not be faced with the fact that when we perceive or cognate anything we are doing so through the triple lens of cognition, the unconscious, and perceptual senses all of which seek to remove ambiguity in and of themselves without conscious intention. We seek to eliminate ambiguity, because it is not tolerated by those three lenses. But the universe is greatly ambiguous. Light is both a particle and a wave. How can that be true though? How can there be cause and effect without a first cause, which would consequently need to be an effect of some pervious cause? How can God be good, if there is evil in the world He created? We don't think about these dualities endlessly, we seek to explain how they can be resolved. We seek to explain them away. Why? Because we have little tolerance for abiguity. We want definite answers, no flip-floping. We want 'the Truth', and nothing less. We don't want to accept that there can be meaning in the meaningless, good within the bad, becuse dualities are meaningless to us. We are convinced that there is one right way for everything, one right way to see things, think about things, because it makes living alot easier. Have you ever tried to think of all the possible different ways you could live, or things you could do? And in the end, you have to stop, give yourself one direction, less you travel in a circle endlessly. Humans need the definite to survive, why do many people have nervous breakdowns under the stress of facing ambiguous aspects of their own lives? Under the weight of uncertainty, of meaninglessness, of loss of all purpose, we break, and rather easily for the most part. Both science and traditional religions seek the removal of ambiguity. Science provides its answers though perception, verifiable perceptions. Religion provides answers through belief and validation of feelings. The problem is that both are inherently flawed in that perceptions and feelings do not always equal reality. Science has a great history of finding exactly what it was looking for in the first place. For example, in the times of slavery, science looked for the reason that the 'darker' 'races' were less 'intelligent' and more 'primitive'. And low and behold, they found their 'answers' empirically. Once again, in a toughly ambiguous world, you can find anything if you look hard enough, and find that which you can string together to make (nearly) any conclusion appear plausible. Religion has the exact same ability to find exactly what it looks for. Want an example of God's work in the world? It is fairly simple to find an ambiguous event, and attribute to it any meaning, purpose, or cause you'd like. The great allure of religion is that, as opposed to science, whose bias can be in any number of different directions, the religion attribution will always be positive. No one follows a religion which preaches that everything is meaningless, that you are no one, that life is pointless. Religion seeks to view the world in a way that makes cognitive life more bearable. Why do people all of a sudden pick up a religion in a time of crisis? Perhaps to give themselves the order they so desperately need to make sense of the ambiguity of the world? Science makes the claim that it gets closer to 'the Truth' because it is objective. But once again, as i said before, how can any person be objective when everything is viewed though the triple lens of perception, cognition, and the unconscious. How can you place yourself outside yourself? As the quote at the beginning of tDtCB, asks where does the thought come from, before i think of it? And so consequently how may i be objective when i cannot remove that which i don’t know where it comes from. In other words, if i am unconsciously biased, how may i remove that if i don't even know it is there, or if i don't know where it comes from? To conclude, it is my position that deep questions of the nature of the universe are beyond our understanding, due to our lack of understanding of that which we understand with, that is, ourselves and our minds. So in the end, we take the ambiguities of the universe and make them make sense to ourselves. This is not truth, or 'The Truth', no more than they are 'Our Truth' in so far as they are what we perceive and what we can comprehend. We can never be objective, any more than i can be you, or you me, or me a star, or a planet, or an atom of Hydrogen. Sure, we can figure out that if i jump up, i fall down, and even find out how i fall, but exactly what gravity is, and why it exists, i believe are beyond out perceptual ability to comprehend and will forever be speculated upon, and never proven. In the end, can we really comprehend the universe, if it is infinitly complex, or nearly so? view post


posted 06 May 2005, 15:05 by Andrew, Peralogue

i generally agree with what H is saying, especially as it pertains to Science since on any given issue we can find scientists who make exactly opposite claims, whilst representing that they serve objectivity, no agenda, all based on pure science etc... Naturally you get a certain amount of conflicting cliams in religion, but religion isn't predicated on the objectivity of the individual, the idea of independant verifiability etc. In science a person claims to have himself discovered an objective truth, whereas in religion, religious claims are revelations from God - i'm speaking here in the judeo-christian tradition. I'm far more suspicious when a person claims to have discovered objective truth, for the reasons so clearly enunciated by H, then when God makes statements of objective truth and they are merely recorded by people. Now naturally, i am accepting that such and such a person didn't make something up about what God has told him. In this regard, there are certain indicia about what is a more or less trustworthy claim. Naturually, one would view the supposedly revelational sayings of a cave hermit with more suspicion than the witness of thousands - or for that matter, writings about a common experience in which thousands of people participated. This is why i find the old testament quite compelling - in Israellite society, there was a HUGE tradition of passing down family histories, social histories etc., verbally within the family. Your lineage meant something in those days. This is something which is hard for modern North Americans to grasp - my own family memory basically extends to my grandparents having come to Canada from the Ukraine. It is inherently implausible that in a culture which placed such emphasis on oral histories and lineages, a group or individual could INVENT something like the slavery in Egypt, the escape, the wandering in the desert, the conquest of palestine etc., king David and Solomon - ie. huge momentus events in which the entire society is supposed to have participated - and have the ENTIRE israellite culture swallow it. Since the Old testament describes the historical experience of an entire society and that society by its nature was very concerned with passing down its history to the next generation I find the historical and supernatural claims plausible. If someone walked up to me and claimed he had discovered some long-lost manuscript which showed that my great-great-great (etc.) ancestor was Merlin the magician and there was a magical staff awaiting the true descendant etc., I wouldn't give him the time of day - however, if there was an ancient family story about a mysterious staff that was a family heirloom etc.... you get my point. I similarly find the New Testament plausible, and yes even the miraculous stories. Again we come down to the fact that so many of the stories describe extremely public events. many of them are written as if to say "such and such occurred and everyone living in this city saw it occur - go ask them, they are still living today". What many people don't realize is how early the books of the new testament were writtten following the death of Jesus. There is certain internal evidence in the Gospels as well as evidence based on the dating of fragments, that they were written well prior to A.D. 70 - i won't fill columns with my own renditions of the evidence: http://www.carm.org/questions/gospels_written.htm http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14452.htm Naturally there are other views which put the writings after ad. 70, but even those do not suggest dates much after A.D. 70 - ie. 40 years after Jesus' death. You have to be nuts to fabricate that thousands of people from town X Witnessed Y 40 years ago. Take the several hours of darkness and the earthquake which is said to have accompanied Jesus' death. It was also said that the curtain in the Temple which separated the most holy place was torn in two - these are things which one cannot simply make up because if true, they would have been notorious among the Jews, and if false, absurd. Suppose someone wrote a book in 5 years claiming that when Martin Luther King was shot, Memphis was plunged into a 3 hour darkness... difficult to refute? likely to gain a following? not really! As to the comment about Fanatics and Martyrs, your point is certainly well taken particularly in these times were people seem all to willing to blow themselves up. I would submit that there is a fundamental difference between being essentially indoctrinated and practically brainwashed into a view of the world as the poor unfortunate "martyr's" these days seem to be, and what went on with the disciples/apostles. IF none of the miracles Jesus is said to have performed, were performed, then the writers of the New Testament clearly fabricated them. However, the writers claimed that the miracles were common knowledge. (incidentally, Many people don't know this, but Muslims actually regard Jesus to have been a great prophet because of his deeds). So one has to wonder - if I completely made up certain stories would i be willing to undergo torture and death to see that the ruse was kept up? And for what profit? The disciples did not gain wealth or power or influence by their teaching. They were persecuted and rejected for it. Why would they endure persecution, rejection and then finally death for something that they THEMSELVES made up? Some other religious leaders have endured much for what they claim, but one can frequently suggest an ulterior motive - David Koresh endured much but while alive he was able to dominate and tyrannize his followers. Mohammed was persecuted but he used his teachings to create an empire. I am not saying this to argue that Mohammed was intentionally false- nor do i wish to be seen as equating Koresh and Mohammed - I am using that as a contrast of suffering without gain versus suffering with (potential) gain. The disciples and apostles used their teachings to gain shipwreck, hunger, persecution, imprisonment, redicule, wandering and death. They neither sought earthly wealth, power, prestige, nor did they attain it. If they suffered and died for a lie they made up one has to find some explanation for that. None of the typical explanations are available. One can criticize the teachings of David Koresh being entirely for the purposes of megalomania and to establish himself as a King among his followers. One can argue of Mohammed that his teachings were useful to helping him gain power - one can suggest a motive to lie - And i want to be clear that I am not saying that that is the case - please don't take this as me saying that Mohammed made things up to gain power - i am saying this soley to point out that it is VERY difficult to understand any possible ulterior motive which might have motivated the disciples and apostles. They had nothing to gain by lieing and everything to lose. Often it is suggested that religious leaders are in it for the money - take many recent tele-evangelists - my sole point is that not such or similar motive can be ascribed to the disciples and apostles. I certainly am not saying that Mohammed DID intentionally mislead in order to gain power and influence - please no indignant responses in that vein. The point is that I can find the claims of one who suffers for that claim more plausible when there is no idenfiable POTENTIAL motive for fabrication. Naturally one can suggest that the motive of the disciples was to enter heaven - but their hope could only rest on a belief in the truth of their assertions... i trust that readers will be charitable in respect of understanding what i was getting at in the above paragraph - one is constantly reminded these days that words are all to easily twisted... Having discussed all this, I would make a quick comment on H's discussion of ambiguous events. This is really a central part of the matter. If one examines the miracles Christ and the disciples and apostles performed, one can clearly see that there is no ambiguity. Jesus being crucified, dying and then rising from the dead 3 days later is not a curious natural phenomenon which the mind plays tricks with. Feeding 5000 people with 7 loaves of bread, healing the blind, lame, birth defects, deaf, lepors, mentally infirm, raising the dead, walking on water, speaking in multiple languages, turning water into wine - these are the things which it is claimed Jesus (and the disciples to a lesser extent) did. This is far different from "i prayed for rain and three days later it rained, ergo the rainfall was miraculous". Either these events happened or they didn't. If they did, there can be no conclusion but that there was divine intervention of some kind. If they didn't happen, then one must examine why the disciples were willing to die horribly rather than admit they made it all up. As i argued in the paragraph above, there does not seem to be any of the usual motives by which one might attack the veracity of the accounts. Also, if they didn't happen, one must ask how Christianity was able to flourish given that the events were said to have been public and well known, and the accounts were widespread within a very short time of their supposed occurence. Why was there such a debate within Jewish society over whether Jesus was the Messiah? How could such a large population of orthodox Jews living in Jerusalem become convinced that jesus was the Messiah unless the events in question were generally accepted to have occured, albeit that people ascribed different causes and conclusions? (some said that Jesus was just a prophet and not THE messiah, some said that the disciples were able to do miracles because they were possessed by demons etc.) naturally i realize no one will find this the least troubling given the age we live in, but hey, at least you know what I find compelling evidence. As to the point about Human design, i think there are different streams of Christian thought on why people are the way they are. Some people hold that humans arose pretty much by evolution but that God interefered at crucial points - to blow the breath of life in so to speak, and create awareness, soul, intelligence etc. Others say that we were orginally made perfect but that disease etc., was allowed to enter in after the Fall. Others would suggest that defects and irregularities serve a certain purpose - for one, it keeps the person humble before God. As the late Pope showed in his life, there is a certain connection between suffering and closeness with God. It forces us to confront our mortality and examine the questions which flow from it. Other people might suggest that certain "defects" are not defects at all - so what if our eyes see upsidedown - what difference does it make? how is it a defect? why shouldnt' we be similar to animals? we're made of the same stuff - we live in the same world, and interact with the same environment - it wouldn't make sense for us to be radically different. etc. Now as to the question of what could make me question my own faith, i suppose for one i would need real evidence that the miracles didn't happen. It's very curious the way modern scholars deal with Jesus. They say "Miracles are impossible since God doesn't exist and if he does, then he doesn't do these types of things. Therefore, Jesus could not have done these types of things. Therefore he could not possibly have been genuine, since as we have proved he lied about all these miracles." I mean, they presuppose that miracles are impossible and then conclude that Jesus couldn't have been who he claimed to be. Obviously Jesus can't be the Son of God if God doesn't exist. You have these lunatics at the Jesus Seminar who try to get at the truth of what jesus said by voting on which passages of the Bible they accept as being genuine, after excluding all references to supernatural events!! it's mind-boggling. apparently they used differently coloured beads to indicate their view on whether a certain saying was likely, probable, definite, definitely not (etc.) to have been uttered by Jesus. 2000 yrs after he's dead, using coloured beads to decide what they thing he said.. bizarre. It's as the apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters - if Jesus didn't live as we have been taught, if he didn't die, and rise from the dead, then Christians are surely the sorryest bunch in the world. We're laughed at in this life and deny ourselves this and that, and all for nothing. It is a religion that is necessarily tied up in history. Take away the resurrection and you have nothing. Incidentally, my specific denomination is Mennonite (Anabaptist). Not that anything hangs on that. As to becoming an all-out atheist... i don't know. I've tried to argue in this thread that science can't tell us definitively about God. I know many christians who fully accept evolution, and the big bang. It's just a question of the Method God chooses to effect his design... so science can't lead to atheism. Maybe if i were convinced somehow that existence is meaningless. Problem is, i've studied the existentiallists, and i think they were all half baked. entertaining but not convincing - more full of themselves then anything else. view post


posted 06 May 2005, 21:05 by Anonymous, Subdidact

<<It's as the apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters - if Jesus didn't live as we have been taught, if he didn't die, and rise from the dead, then Christians are surely the sorryest bunch in the world. We're laughed at in this life and deny ourselves this and that, and all for nothing>> Actually, I see few Christians laughed at in the Western world, and fewer that deny themselves anything of significance. Though as one priest thought, Christianity's acceptance into the modern world is a sign of its failure. The revolutionary aspects are discarded for the orthodoxy. And best of all, for many in the US at least spiritual warfare can be fought through voting for the "right" guy or "right" laws, or having a candlelight vigil for this or that cause. Now I've met Christians who give everything, risk everything, to do what's right. Christianity's ideals of universal morality and compassion have done the world a ton of good. Many "progressives" don't make the connection that the same morality that can make someone prolife is the same that makes them fight agreed upon humanitarian abuses. None of this, though, determines whether Christianity is real, I just don't think a psychology of martyrdom is adequate proof now or 2000 years ago. As for miracles, notice how so much paranormal phenomenon today focuses around tribal peoples and polytheistic/animistic religions. There was that whole hubaloo about Hindu statues drinking milk in the 90s, something no one has ever made a definite scientific explanation for. I still don't think the Hindu gods are real, or at least do not bear the characteristics ascribed to them. Maybe its my degree in econ, but I see the whole prayer thing as a business--paradise in return for faith, prayers for health/wealth/etc. The gods feed off memes and worship, and give us fortune in return. And since they don't need to be real for us to benefit psychologically, I falter from polytheism into agnosticism. view post


posted 06 May 2005, 22:05 by Anonymous, Subdidact

hmmm. i guess i'll have to join if i want to edit my posts. i'll have to look it up, but a large group of people believed that Athena road into town despite the fact that it was a massive hoax, and that the Oracle of Delphi called upon the gods to inflict an oncoming army with earthquakes, fog, and madness. A lot of miraculous stories also surround Siddartha and other Buddhist/Hindu figures, not to mention shared UFO sightings by large groups of people. The Dogon tribe possesses far too many knowledge about a white-dwarf binary star system than their technological progress should enable them to. Currently practitioners of various faiths stemming from the African Diaspora claim to see "miracles" today--including an old university professor of mine. These things make me feel atheism--the patent denial of the supernatural--is a faith as much as any religion. We don't know whats out there, its all mystery view post


posted 06 May 2005, 22:05 by H, Auditor

I want to be clear though, that i am not religious at all, and i am a staunch empiricist. But i do recogize the limitations such a stand has and what it can explain. Plus i'm not one to say that there is one right way to think about the world. My 'problems' with Christianity comes from the historical verfiability and formation its of dogma. [quote:3rbblm5v]Suppose someone wrote a book in 5 years claiming that when Martin Luther King was shot, Memphis was plunged into a 3 hour darkness... difficult to refute? likely to gain a following? not really![/quote:3rbblm5v] But, this is assuming two things. Written today, such a book would probably be viewed as an historical account, unless portrayed differently. People would object to its integrity as a true portrayal of real events. What if the author instead decided to write a parable based of the events of the assassination? Then, some would take the rhetorical devices used (such as metaphor, or illusion for the sake of effect) as exactly that. The darkness which felt could easily be a 'spiritual' darkness, not neccessarily a physcical one. Second, what if poeple really want to believe in what the book is saying? What if its spiritual message is deep enough, that it moves people to want to be a part of it? Would the then suspend disbelief, and act on Faith? I think this is a definite possibility. Also, there were (as you point out) two great historical societies in Jerusalem at the time. Jews and Roman were two societies for whom we possess great records from, due to their diligence in recording the events of their time. What puts doubt in my mind, is why none of these ‘miracles’ were recorded by either sources? No Roman sources speak of any of these great events. Additionally, no Jewish historian i know of tells of such miracles as well. This puts doubt into my mind, as to why nether source would include such momentous events, even if to further condemn the Christians? Sure the Jew's possibly could have had 'an axe to grind' with Jesus, and could have portrayed him as a false Prophet, then why not record the event, if then to condemn him with? This is the first trouble i have, leading me to doubt the accounts as being litterary in nature. [quote:3rbblm5v]If one examines the miracles Christ and the disciples and apostles performed, one can clearly see that there is no ambiguity. Jesus being crucified, dying and then rising from the dead 3 days later is not a curious natural phenomenon which the mind plays tricks with. Feeding 5000 people with 7 loaves of bread, healing the blind, lame, birth defects, deaf, lepors, mentally infirm, raising the dead, walking on water, speaking in multiple languages, turning water into wine - these are the things which it is claimed Jesus (and the disciples to a lesser extent) did. This is far different from "i prayed for rain and three days later it rained, ergo the rainfall was miraculous". Either these events happened or they didn't. If they did, there can be no conclusion but that there was divine intervention of some kind. If they didn't happen, then one must examine why the disciples were willing to die horribly rather than admit they made it all up.[/quote:3rbblm5v] Given that the society of the time was not a media saturated one like ours, how many people do you believe would still, one, be alive, two, have enough of a voice to refute any claim written in a Gospel (probably written in Greek, which would have been rare for a common Jerusalemite to know)? Additionally anyone who was present at such an event would presumably be a follower, who would for their own reasons [i:3rbblm5v]want[/i:3rbblm5v] to see a miracle. You ask, why would they die rather than admit they made it all up. The fact is, even if the events didn't happen as they said, [i:3rbblm5v]they believed they did[/i:3rbblm5v]. Perhaps my post above didn't point at the [i:3rbblm5v]unconscious[/i:3rbblm5v] motives behind interpreting events. The disciples believed that the events happened [i:3rbblm5v]as they said[/i:3rbblm5v]. They had Faith. Faith that what they saw had a purpose. Do i know what they saw? No. Will anyone know what they saw? No. Do we know that they really believed what they saw? Yes. We also know that there are plenty of eye witnesses who will testify to thief dying day that they saw someone who later evidence will say could not have physically been there. Eyewitness testimony is not irrefutable. And this is now, in a age of empiricism, of scientific thought. How could uneducated masses (who were in need a faith) refute educated, passionate men, willing to die to deliver their message? Even to me today, if someone is willing to die to tell me something, i at least know that they believe its true and important. There were many willing to die fighting Pagans because they believed they were evil devil worshiping heathens, does that make it so? Hardly, we know pagans were nothing of the sort. People will believe exactly what they want, for reasons of their own. Even if the Gospels were written 10 years following the events they depict, again, how could anyone refute them? The Gospels were never written as a history book, and wasn't taken as one then, nor should it be now. The Gospels are literary works, and as such, use literary devices to portray a certain point. Again, there is no reason to assume that they are a definite history. Would we refute a parable as being false, because it is fantastical? Doubtful, and i doubt ancient peoples would either. The people of then would not be caught up in the [i:3rbblm5v]denotation[/i:3rbblm5v], but would have known that it was the [i:3rbblm5v]connotation[/i:3rbblm5v] which was the message. Additionally, why would the Jews not refute Jesus? Because that would give him, and his followers more power. It would attract attention to him, give his cause credence, in persecution (which the Romans would up finding out soon enough). The Jew's were far smarter in religion than the Romans, plus the Romans had no strong central faith with which to resist the tide of Christianity (and plagues, and religiously inactive, yes there are numerous reasons, but those are the main points). In fact, in looking at the circumstances surrounding the selection of Gospels which would make up what we call the New Testament, one wonders why other Gospels were not included. In the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we may have a slightly better idea of why they were not included. The could have provided more historical data on Jesus' life which was desired to [i:3rbblm5v]not[/i:3rbblm5v] be known. We do know that the Nicene Council voted upon the Divinity of Jesus. This begs the question, why vote, if it was already known? Additionally, why exclude certain Gospels, why not offer us the entire story of Jesus' life, the life of God, so we may better learn how to live like Him? Censorship always smacks of fear, just what message did they fear though? The Dogma established by what becomes the Catholic Church has always been what bothers me about the religion. I have no problems with scripture. Most scripture is great literary work. Most scripture is amazing philosophical work. Most dogma is impractical attempts to create a hierarchy of control based off the great works of scripture. The dogma of Christianity is what i have trouble with, not the words of Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha. In fact, i think (as an atheist) the words of these prophets are particularly salient. However, the way in which organizations attempt to create a political dogma based off them, is troublesome for me. This is due to the fact that dogma is arbitrary. Like the Catholic position on Homosexuality, or Contraception, whih Jesus had nothing to say about, this dogma is arbitrarily based off out of context quotes from scripture. The position is establish or arbitrary reasons, and reinforced with selected sections of scripture. Like fundamentalist Islam, which uses selective scripture to paint the idea that violence is acceptable, strong dogma is dangerous. Dogma is not interpretable. Scripture is. Dogma says that there is only one right way to see the world, one right way to read scripture, one right way to be. This is what makes dogma so dangerous. I have no qualms with those i know who are religious, as long as they are not blind adherents to a dogma. If someone i know has read scripture, and understood it for themselves, then i say 'Mad props to you." But to blindly say, "i hate homosexuals, because the Pope told me to" (which isn't true, they disliked them already for other reasons, but use the voice of authority to justify their irrational position), or some such, angers me greatly, because that is not [i:3rbblm5v]your[/i:3rbblm5v] religion, it you taking someone else’s as your own. I go a bit a field here. [quote:3rbblm5v]As to the point about Human design, i think there are different streams of Christian thought on why people are the way they are. Some people hold that humans arose pretty much by evolution but that God interefered at crucial points - to blow the breath of life in so to speak, and create awareness, soul, intelligence etc. Others say that we were orginally made perfect but that disease etc., was allowed to enter in after the Fall. Others would suggest that defects and irregularities serve a certain purpose - for one, it keeps the person humble before God.[/quote:3rbblm5v] This gets to the heart of the matter i discussed above. The question here is, does the Bible need to be taken literally, or is it allegorical? Genesis says that we were made in and of ourselves, in God's image. No evolution. If we've evolved, Genesis then is wrong. The Bible is God's word, how can God's word be wrong? But that is only if the Bible is to be taken literally. Again, is it the denotation which is most salient, or the connotation which is the point of Genesis? [quote:3rbblm5v]It's as the apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters - if Jesus didn't live as we have been taught, if he didn't die, and rise from the dead, then Christians are surely the sorryest bunch in the world. We're laughed at in this life and deny ourselves this and that, and all for nothing. It is a religion that is necessarily tied up in history.[/quote:3rbblm5v] I don't believe your fist sentence at all. That is to say, that all that the Christian message of 'love thy neighbor' (and so on) is worthless if Jesus was not the Son God? Wow, that’s incredibly cynical. No deed worth doing if there is no pay off of eternal salvation at the end? All for nothing? How about all for making the world a better place to live? But, Andrew you must admit that there is some possibility that Jesus could not be the Son of God. So does that make everything meaningless? No, it just means that your being a good Christian for the sake of the fact that you believe it's how people should live. Lastly, i don't think it's the religion tied up in history, but the Dogma tied up in history. The words of Jesus are beyond history. The dogma surround his life and times are tied to history, and only obfuscate his message. Read scripture and make His message yours, not take a dogma as fact. But all of this is to the ultimate fact that Faith does not make something any more really than wishing it was so. There will not be, and never will be solid evidence of the transcendental. The question is then, do you fill the whole in knowledge with that which you can verify (empirical evidence) or with Faith (in what you feel is right)? [quote:3rbblm5v]Maybe if i were convinced somehow that existence is meaningless.[/quote:3rbblm5v] Existence is bereft of all meaning except the meaning you give it. Existence doesn't come with a built in meaning. It's not written in the sky, it is not to be found on the Moon. It's nowhere except in your own mind. Even if you believe there is a God, His meaning, your meaning, everything is in your mind (where else could it be?). It is the only place you have to have anything. You can climb a mountain to find meaning, but the meaning you found wasn't there, it was in you the whole time, just waiting for you to be in the right frame of mind to find it. [quote:3rbblm5v]Problem is, i've studied the existentialists, and i think they were all half baked. entertaining but not convincing - more full of themselves then anything else.[/quote:3rbblm5v] But if your mind is everything (which it is, because you may not be outside your own mind), how can you not be full of yourself? :wink: But seriously this message is gigantic! I'm done for now! Mind you Andrew, i'm not trying to convince you to not be Christian, i'm just hoping that you take some hesitance in believing all your scripture as litteral, and dogma as fact. view post


posted 06 May 2005, 22:05 by H, Auditor

Sciborg, you snuck in two posts to my one! :lol: [quote:grx7uqwi]None of this, though, determines whether Christianity is real, I just don't think a psychology of martyrdom is adequate proof now or 2000 years ago.[/quote:grx7uqwi] Word. For example those crazy bastards in the 'Army of God' kill people to stop abortions, are not making convincing me that abortion is evil by killing others (along with themselves). [quote:grx7uqwi]Though as one priest thought, Christianity's acceptance into the modern world is a sign of its failure. The revolutionary aspects are discarded for the orthodoxy.[/quote:grx7uqwi] Double word. Again i'm facinated by the formation of the dogma of Christiantity. Look at the extermination of Gnosticism or various types of Manichaeanism within early Christian sects once the Catholic Church became established. Facinating, the psychological factors that both went into such, and resulted. view post


posted 07 May 2005, 05:05 by tellner, Peralogue

I don't have time to do the topic justice right now but would like to suggest two things: 1) Science, as several great scientists have said, is basically a way of keeping us honest with ourselves and each other. It's not perfect and doesn't claim to be, but it includes many useful methods for self correction. 2) Almost everyone here equates "Religion" with "Post-Constantine Trinitarian Christianity". The two are most assuredly not synonymous. view post


posted 07 May 2005, 05:05 by H, Auditor

[quote="tellner":91x8z22o]2) Almost everyone here equates "Religion" with "Post-Constantine Trinitarian Christianity". The two are most assuredly not synonymous.[/quote:91x8z22o] Well, i think that we are mostly using Christianity as an example here, or at least i am, because it is the religion i am most familiar with. I would love to discouce on Hinduism or some such, but sadly i have no solid knowledge on the subject (Eastern individualistic religion has always facinated me). It's not that i think that religion==Christiantity, but that it's the one i know best, and so i use examples from it to make my points. [quote="tellner":91x8z22o]1) Science, as several great scientists have said, is basically a way of keeping us honest with ourselves and each other. It's not perfect and doesn't claim to be, but it includes many useful methods for self correction. [/quote:91x8z22o] I agree that science doesn't claim to be perfect, but it does claim the ablity to be objective, which i believe is misleading. I agree about the self-correction, but how might we self-correct if we don't realize we are making an error, or the error is so systemic that we are unable to isolate the nature and cause, so subsequently the effect of such an error? For example, what if our brain's phycical make up leads us to perceive a conclusion as true, when in fact it is false? How would anyone know there was any error due to the fact that our brains are all fundamentally the same, and percieve in the same way? We are subjective in so far as we are human, we cannot escape human biases. We would have to trancend ourselves to be objective. However, I don't see that as being at all possible. view post


posted 07 May 2005, 06:05 by Anonymous, Subdidact

[quote:3iv0yxtf]Eastern individualistic religion has always facinated me[/quote:3iv0yxtf] not sure what you mean here H, Hinduism is far from individualistic as practiced in India. If anything, its the opposite as far as most Indians are concerned. when i say the gods--if they exist--are petty or at least not onimpotent, i am not trying to point fingers at any religion. personally, i do see yaweh as a spoiled child, but i figure most beings with that kind of power would behave in such a manner. view post


posted 08 May 2005, 22:05 by H, Auditor

[quote="sciborg2":2kzq7not]not sure what you mean here H, Hinduism is far from individualistic as practiced in India. If anything, its the opposite as far as most Indians are concerned.[/quote:2kzq7not] My fault, a case of thinking one thing and typing another. I meant Buddhism, and typed Hinduism, sorry for the confusion. I usually wind up thinking too far ahead of what i'm typing at a given moment... view post


posted 09 May 2005, 23:05 by Andrew, Peralogue

This is chiefly in response to H's last post - i have to keep it short beceause i'm getting busy again - also, i'm going to be away for a while so this will probably be my last word on this thread. First, in terms of whether the New Testament was written as allegory or historical fact by the authors, in my view, that isn't even a serious question. Anyone who reads it has to notice that there are two main Goals of the New testament: to establish the acts of Christ as Historical, and from those acts to prove that he was the messiah promised to the Jews since ancient times. i don't know what more to say on that topic, but please before you let yourself think it was all written as allegory, read the books and then ask yourself whether it is even remotely likely that it was not intended to provide a true history of Jesus's ministry, deeds and sayings. Consider the first words of the Book of Luke: "Since many people have attempted to write an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were passed down to us by those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning, 3 I, too, have carefully investigated everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Also, Check out this link: http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth21.html As to the disciples WANTING to see the miraculous, again i really must commend the New Testament to you - read it. there are dozens of times where the authors basically write: "we had no clue what was going on at the time and only understood after Jesus died and was resurected". Sometimes They describe being TERRIFIED by some miracles. Most of Jesus' miracles were performed prior to his telling them that he was the Messiah. There are stories of how the disciples tried to duplicate certain miracles and failed, there are stories about how despite the miracles they saw, they didn't have a clue what was going on. As to Roman records of Jesus' doings, first clearly he did all his miracles in Israel. I would hardly think that the greatest empire in the world is going to be concerned about the doings of some raving prophet in the middle of a remote, insignificant province. It's kind of like expecting the deeds of a 17th century North American Indian Shaman to make it into the official annals of the King of England. But here is a link to a number of ancient historians who wrote within about 30-100 yrs of Christ's death. Tacitus (writing about 110 a.d.) even confirms that it was under the reign of pontius pilate that Jesus was crucified: http://www.starcourse.org/sources.html As to why other sources were not included in the official biblical Canon first of all, all the earliest writings were. There are virtually no, or very few christian writings of any significance from the 1st century which aren't included. Most of the books later excluded were written in the 2nd or 3rd century. Many of them have weird elements which do not have a source in any earlier writings. The goal of the church fathers in selecting which writings were AUTHORITIES, was to separate the books which were reliable in the sense of having been written by those well connected to the disciples/apostles (or written by the disciples/apostles themselves) from the books which were not reliable because they were written too long after the events in question and were not written by as credible characters. Think about it. If someone were trying to compile an ACCURATE account of JFK's life would they include every crazy conspiracy theory ever written and throw it all together and suggest it is all equally true? The Nicene council did vote on the divinity of christ but only because a heresy which denied his divinity had gained strength. That is, the council reaffirmed what had been the belief of the church from the earliest times. Read the Gospel of John!!! Censorship most certainly does NOT always smack of fear. Besides it is not censorship to say "this book is not accurate and should not be relied upon. We do not accept this book as being true". That is totally unrelated to censorship. I can understand the perspective of most of you though. One has to believe first of all that there is truth to the stories, and secondly that the truth is worth preserving. If the gospels are TRUE in respect of what they say about Jesus, then their message is surely worthy of protecting from dilution. Most of what you call arbitrary dogma, is not a new and arbitary teaching of the church. Most of it arises because christians accept the entire bible and not just the words of Jesus, as being essentially a communication from God. Jesus himself was most certainly a jew and he said that the Law was NOT destroyed but would remain in its entirety. Genesis says that God made man from the clay of the earth and breathed life into him. Something being true and something being the ENTIRE truth are 2 different things. Something can be a true statement, yet NOT an exhaustive statement. In otherwords, it can be true that God created all creatures AND that he used evolution. Clearly Genesis shjould not be considered to contain ALL the truth there is out there about the creation of the world/people/animals. It is perfectly consistent to accept Genesis as being an account of the important things people need to know - God made it all (somehow). Love your neighbour is useful yes - but i was refering to the Hope which Christians hold of being reconciled to God through his son Jesus. THAT is the central purpose of our faith, not heaven, and not getting along with our neighbours. If it isn't true that Jesus is who he said he was etc., then why bother with christianity - one can just be a humanist. As to the comments about existence... well clearly i disagree. i somehow doubt you and I will come to see eye to eye on that one. As to christians being laughed at in the western world...i assure you it happens all the time. Naturally it does not happen everywhere to the same degree. For example, there are a few extremely popular authors *cough*danbrown*cough* who have made their name reviling the Catholic Church. Well there are many other things i would like to talk about but it has to end. I recall now that I had promised to write about the hypothetical Muslim fellow who lived a good life in accordance with his conscience and sound moral principles, but never had the opportunity to become a christian. Isn't it an injustice that he not be saved? Really it strikes me as odd the way these questions come up because i've read the bible, and i always have this idea that people generally know what the bible says, even though often they don't. It is usually dangerous to recommend a single verse or chapter to answer a given question. But i have to quit writing now. SO read Romans chapter 2 on this question, particularly verses 14-16 if you are that lazy :) Try to avoid reading the King James version as it is not easy to read. view post


posted 10 May 2005, 01:05 by sciborg2, Candidate

okay, I read it, and I have no idea how that has anything to do with that muslim kid. do you mean that if we behave rightly by our conscience we are saved? that at least is less arbitrary than the idea of accepting Jesus into our hearts. Also, nobody that I know of has said JFK is a god, nor threatened me with hellfire for not accepting that. People wouldn't so much of a problem with Jesus's divinity if it wasn't exclusionary--save or face second death! At least if people were honest and said it wasn't love but soul-economics... Everything about evangelism and the missionary morality is empy-calorie morals. One feel good because one made the choice to be saved, and now you try to save others in a life that may not exist, and if it does may have different criteria for judgement. Not to mention its old, its been done before--the Orphics in ancient Greece went door to door praising their god Orpheus, then they got irritated nobody was listening and said unbelievers would be tormented in the "bogs of Hades". So its a crap shoot between Christians and Orphics on who offers real salvation...I always bet on black meself! view post


posted 10 May 2005, 18:05 by H, Auditor

I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly. Fact is, Andrew, you start from the premise that what the Bible talks about is true, and move to support that stance with evidence. I start from the premise that it is not nessessarily true, and move to find evidence that supports that stance. This is the definition of faith. You have it. I have no faith for anything. I doubt all but my ability to doubt. I doubt science, i doubt religion, i doubt my perception of everything and my ablity to comprehend and understand the nature of the universe. I have no faith for any system of thought, because for every 'Truth' any system proports, there are a myriad of unTruths which contradict. Allow me to quote C.G. Jung: [quote:20p79d0g]...Religous experience is absolute. It is indisputable. You can only say that you say that that you have never had such an experience, and your opponent will say: "Sorry, I have." And there your discussion will come to an end. No matter what the world thinks about religious experience, the one who has it possesses the great treasure of a thing that has provided him with a source of life, meaning and beauty and that has given a new splendor to the world and to mankind. He has pistis and peace. Where is the criterium by which you could say that such a life is not legitimate, that such experience is not valid and that such pistis is mere illusion? Is there, as a matter of fact, any better truth about ultimate things than the one that helps you to live? This is the reason I take carefully into account the symbols produced by the unconscious mind. They are the only things about to convince the critical mind of modern people. They are convincing for very old-fashioned reasons. They are simply overwhelming, which is an English rendering of the Latin word "convincere." The thing that cures a neurosis must be as convincing as the neurosis; and since the latter is only too real, the helpful experience must be of equal reality. It must be a very real illusion, if you want to put it pessimistically. But what is the difference between a real illusion and a healing religious experience? It is merely a difference in words. You can say, for instance, that life is a disease with a very bad prognosis, it lingers on for years to end with death; or that normality is a generally prevailing constitutional defect or that man is an animal with a fatally overgrown brain. This kind of thinking is the prerogative of habitual grumblers with bad digestions. Nobody can know what the ultimate things are. We must, therefore, take them as we experience them. And if such an experience helps to make your life healthier, more beautiful, more complete and more satisfactory to yourself and to those you love, you may safely say: "This was the grace of God."[/quote:20p79d0g] Taken from [i:20p79d0g]Psychology and Religion[/i:20p79d0g]. This is basically where i stand. It doesn't matter if what is written in the Bible is true. It only matters if you see it as real. What happened way back then only exists in the minds of those who remember it, or what is captured in the litterature of the time. This makes it real. I wonder though, Andrew, would you renounce your faith if it was somehow proven that the acts of Jesus never happened? Does faith lay in the inablity to disprove the scripture? I hope this is not true. I hope that you have faith in that what is said in the Bible, what is preeched is what you genuinely belive should be, how [i:20p79d0g]you[/i:20p79d0g] truely have [i:20p79d0g]found[/i:20p79d0g] life [i:20p79d0g]should[/i:20p79d0g] be lived, not [i:20p79d0g]accepted[/i:20p79d0g] due to a lack of evidence to the disexistance of any god, or of God or simply as the voice of authority. This all comes back to experiance. In my experiance, the idea that God made the universe, and left it all alone to it's own devices, and one day decided to send His Son to earth to bring his message, and left only somewhat cursury evidence of his coming, doesn't make any sense. [u:20p79d0g]This is not to say that it is not true[/u:20p79d0g]. Who, or what am I to understand the nature and will of God? This only proves that it is not [u:20p79d0g]my truth[/u:20p79d0g]. Religion is very real within the mind, and that is the only place of which i care to substantiate it. How can one substantiate the trancendental? By its very definition, this is impossible. I instead like to look at why people believe various things, not if what they believe is the 'Truth.' My objection is to the dogmatization of scripture, because that forces an arbitrary agenda onto the work. I'm not saying this is universal, there are many great works which are religious in origions, and many great deeds done in religious names. However, unquestioning belief is dangerous. It allows the subversion of one's will to another. It removes one's ability to find one's own truth, and supplants it with the 'Truth' of another. A quote from Nietzsche to point you to my feeling on this: [quote:20p79d0g]By many ways, in many ways, I reached my truth: it was not one ladder that I climbed to the height where my eye roams over the distance. And it was only reluctantly that I ever inquired about the way: that always offended my taste. I perferred to question and try out the ways themselves. A trying and questioning was my every move; and verily, one must also learn to answer such questioning. That, however, is my taste-not good, not bad, but my taste of which I am no longer ashamed and which I have no wish to hide. "This is my way; where is yours?"-thus I answered those who asked me "the way." For the way-that does not exist. Thus spoke Zarathustra.[/quote:20p79d0g] Obviously from [i:20p79d0g]Thus Spake Zarathustra[/i:20p79d0g]. I find little comfort in being told what [i:20p79d0g]is[/i:20p79d0g]. In being told what to think and feel. In beeing told how to live. This is why i follow no religion. I object to any philosophy which claims to have the 'one right way to live.' I will never accept any idea that says there can be only one proper way to conduct existance. In all my experiance, i've seen that different things work for different people, and that existance is viable in many different ways. Honestly i find most religion's claim to have 'The Truth' to be as much hyperbole as science's claim to be 'Objective.' Both simply look to place a certain meaning upon a completely ambiguous world, and neither, in my opinion, can ever find 'The Ultimate Truth.' That i feel, is beyond all human comprension. I may not discern the nature of the Universe anymore than i can calculate infinity, or know the exact value of Pi. However, as the Jung quote says, if it provides you with a meaning for life, then by all means, faith is an amazing thing, for your faith is as real as anything else in this world. It is simply blind faith which i question, as i see that as very dangerous. view post


posted 11 May 2005, 11:05 by Echoex, Auditor

[quote:3oiwm6dm]I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly. [/quote:3oiwm6dm] Uhh....so what is your definition of a 'huge reply'? view post


posted 11 May 2005, 16:05 by H, Auditor

[quote="Echoex":23bej0ga][quote:23bej0ga]I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly. [/quote:23bej0ga] Uhh....so what is your definition of a 'huge reply'?[/quote:23bej0ga] The limit that phpBB allows per post. I've done it before, i can be very long winded... view post


posted 12 May 2005, 01:05 by Cynadar, Candidate

I've been really busy this last week... Here it goes for my reply... Your post about my remark on parenting was very understandible. I didn't mean it to be taken that way, but perhaps I should elaborate. All I simply meant was you should raise your kids according to your own beliefs, values etc. But don't expect them to follow those values. This may just be PROBABILITY and CHANCE that I'm drastically different from the rest of the human race, but I prefer to think on my own, and make my own decisions. This may also be because I, essentially, grew up without a father, but I like to think about and analyze things in my own light and decide what is right for me. That's I'm trying to get at. Raise kids how you see fit, but let them think things out for themselves. Tell them "I don't think you should have sex until you get married" (for example), and give them reasons why they should wait. Then let them decide if they still want to have sex or if they think it's right to wait. Don't just say "NO SEX" without supporting reasons and expect them to blindly follow the rule. That's what I was trying to say: let your children decide things for themselves based on what you teach them and their own thought process. And just to be a little thought-provoking, beginning of this semester, my chemistry teacher (he's really cool and sometimes gets off subject with this kind of talk) said that the only reason many adults have kids (Now anyway) is to fill their inadequacies. He says that the reason parents want you to get good grades or do well in sports is because they never did; they want to fill their own failures in their kids... I'm getting extremely irritated with these long replies, so here it is: Your have your beliefs, I have mine. Let's just leave it at that, and forget arguing because neither of us will ever agree with the other. I'm just gonna finish off with this quote from Grag Graffin (lead singer of Bad Religion, author of "Evolution, Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist World-View," and a professor of evolutionary history (or some kind of biology at least) at Cornell University) "We don't subscribe to dogmatic ways of life and dogmatic views of life. Religion, in general, is founded in dogma and in restriction of ideas, restriction of thought. It's these things that I feel are very bad about religion. It's also very bad about nationalistic views. It's something that mankind, as a group, is not going to benefit from. It's something that will instill violence and it will instill fighting and it will instill noncooperation of different groups of humans" I could not use my own words to put a better main reason why I don't follow any religion. It's for these reasons that, if I were to believe in God, I would still not follow any set religion, I would just follow my own beliefs. However, you already know that it is not the case, so... I'm done arguing now. view post


posted 12 May 2005, 04:05 by sciborg2, Candidate

well, believing in a God, or in my case (sometimes) gods, doesn't mean you have to follow any rules. Heck, most people do what they want anyway. i think that dogma can be dangerous, and that one should seek to combine reason and intuition to determine the right course of action. but following rules can ground a person and provide a foundation for life. for example, despite my cynicism about the gods, i don't drink or smoke at all. its not about sin, its that i am so crazy i need something to ground me. view post


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posted 08 Jun 2005, 20:06 by Ashmael, Candidate

Surely Gods exist.. Man has created them. Scores of them. I think Jesus was truly God, but other think otherwise. He is certainly a more merciful God than many. view post


posted 08 Jun 2005, 21:06 by Deerow, Auditor

I'm sort of inbetween. On the one hand I [i:rt39lt46]hope[/i:rt39lt46] there is more to life than there is...but just because I want it to be true doesn't necessarily make it so (well, you could probably argue that it does). So...basically, I contribute nothing. Have a good day. view post


posted 09 Jun 2005, 23:06 by diarmuid, Peralogue

if religion is no more than an attempt to, as a society, reign in our baser natures.... and it succeeds then is that religion itself not the god? do our desires create the fullfillment of our needs? view post


posted 10 Jun 2005, 00:06 by sciborg2, Candidate

No, that makes religion more of a meme like a socialism or communism. Gods, I'd think, have some type of power criteria that places them beyond mortals. It is hard to pin down a definition beyond "supernatural being with powers X, Y, Z" though. view post


posted 14 Jun 2005, 13:06 by azdahak, Candidate

Nice discussion. I'll try to post something later about the extended discussion, but for now I return to the original topic. Hi I'm new here and my beliefs are thus: Sceptical, Atheist, Naturalist, Epicurean. HOT view post


posted 09 Aug 2005, 11:08 by WhiteLineRacer, Candidate

I think man made his various different religions up out of ingnorance and insecurity. Then as man became increasingly knowing his religions became more and more a means of control to govern civilisations. Even though I am not religious in anyway shape or form I find it hard to see us getting where we are today for good or bad without the basic moral grounding that religion tries to instill in us. view post


posted 09 Aug 2005, 16:08 by target, Auditor

Personally, i'm agnostic. I'm not going to commit myself to any faith, however, if i'm not proven definitavely wrong and that God(s) do exist, i will recant on my death bed :lol: However, my belief is thus: God does exist, or at least he has done for the past 2100 years or so...maybe. Basically i think that God is a social reflex: he exists purely through faith and belief, if you believe in God, then God exists. For example, do the polytheistic deities of the Greeks and Romans exist today? Answer, probably not. Why though? I think its because no-one believe in them any longer. If you had asked a Roman if the monotheistic deity we know as God existed they would have persecuted you or treid to enforce their beliefs upon you. If everybody stopped believing in God, he would cease to exist. Similarly if everybody started believing that it was in fact a giant cheese sandwich that had evolved beyond the normal confines of a cheese sandwich to a stage of knowldge and enlightenment that allowed it to create life, then the chances are, for all sense and purposes, it would exist. There is no way to prove the existence or non-existence of God, it is all opinion and faith. Everyone has the right to believe what they will. And if i'm wrong: recant on my death bed. Brilliant :D view post


posted 17 Aug 2005, 23:08 by Scilvenas, Auditor

I'm going to steal my own post from somewhere else for this one. First off, I'd like to point out the [url=http://www.belief.net/story/76/story_7665_1.html:3vutqdz2]belief-o-matic[/url:3vutqdz2]. According to it, I'm a Universal Unitarian. But since just about anybody could be one, I suppose I should elaborate. I call myself a zen solipsist. The solipsist bit because zen isn't exactly a religion, and the zen bit because I'm not exactly a solipsist. I believe the only way to understand the universe is to understand yourself, and vice versa. I believe in paradox in everything. I believe in absolute free will and absolute determinism. Not because they conflict, but because they are both equal expressions of the nature of reality; either one works, but not both. I believe that there is no god, that the universe is god, that as a part of the universe we all are god, and that I am the only god whose existence I can rationalize. I believe that Jesus was just a man, but I believe he was mankind's savior and even died for my sins. (truly explaining this would take a lot of time, and for most people, would be considered a stretch... perhaps even blasphemous. You are Jesus, and so am I.) I don't believe in an afterlife or reincarnation, but I do believe that the being who resides in me will reside in everyone and everything else or already has. I don't consider this being separate from myself. I know I've told this story elsewhere and maybe even here, but I'll tell it again. I was raised Mormon. I found myself unable to believe in God as I was taught around the age of 16. I started looking into a lot of other religions, eastern philosophy - zen, buddhism, and some taoism - the only things that really struck a cord with me. I got heavily into Zen, probably just because it sounded so cool (where is the hole when the cheese is gone?). I gathered a loose set of quasi-theological beliefs I called Frostism. It wasn't anything I really believed, but at least it was something. Believing myself an atheist was deeply disturbing for me. A couple years later, while studying in Monterey at the Defense Language Institute, a girl I knew jokingly asked me why I was so weird. I told her it would take some time to give her an answer thorough enough to truly explain me. So later that night I'm sitting in my barracks room, trying to write it down on paper. My first answer was that I wasn't weird. It's just that other people's point of view was too far removed from my own to be able to make sense of it. The problem with that answer was that it gave me too much credit, placed my view above others. So I had to argue the other side. If all other points of view see me as weird, what difference does my own point of view make? It might as well not exist. I am weird. I couldn't find a way to make both ideas work, and I couldn't say one of them was wrong. That's when it hit me. I solved my own koan and had, what I thought at the time, an enlightenment (I've come to realize it was an awakening). Everything was clear to me. I understood my own nature, that of the universe, and my place within it. I knew how it all works and what it all meant. Everything I had read on zen suddenly made sense in the most simple way possible. It wasn't cryptic for the sake of being cryptic, but because every thing in the universe contradicted itself because nothing is independant. The truth is so simple that most of us look past it without even seeing it. Imagine the universe is a tennis ball. If you cut all the pieces up, it would still be a tennis ball. Each piece is still made of tennis ball stuff, so tennis-ballness runs through everything, so everything is the same, even if all the pieces aren't alike. So take the tennis ball and stick a needle in it. The point at which the needle intersects the surface of the ball can be considered your unique point of view. For all intents and purposes, the tennis ball looks at least subtly different from every possible point of view (infinite points of view, infinite universes). So if the tennis ball moves what happens to the point with the needle through it? It has to move. I consider this an explanation of determinism. The opposite is true, though, isn't it? If the needle moves, the whole ball has to move with it. The effects of one person's actions, no matter how minute, change the universe. Absolute free will. The only viewpoint I can comprehend is my own (though I can reasonably guess at others), and living with the philosphy that nothing I do matters didn't seem like a very good way of going through life. So for simplicity's sake, I chose the path of the solipsist. You can understand yourself to know the universe, or you can understand the universe to know yourself. They both work because in the end, they're the same thing. view post


posted 18 Aug 2005, 16:08 by Lucimay, Subdidact

whoa. you rock. after reading that, i don't feel NEARLY as weird!!! as robert heinlein said, thou art god, brother. thanks for this post. it made my day, Syl. big big :) view post


posted 18 Aug 2005, 23:08 by Scilvenas, Auditor

Thankee, sai. ;) view post


posted 19 Aug 2005, 07:08 by H, Auditor

I'm not sure how the fact that one action could change everything means that there is such a thing as free will though. Free will means, to me, that one's will is free to be whatever one likes, i.e. not predetermined. However, this definition leas me to believe that there is no such thing as free will, and could not be. If every effect has a cause, then (since cause 1) there have been no effects which have been without cause. For example, the reason i like vanilla as opposed to chocolate is not actually a function of my 'free will', becuse there was obviously some casue to it (maybe i tried vanilla first, or maybe i'm just genetically programmed to like it more). I don't see have anything (even thoughts) could be independant from all cause and thus free. This also feeds into the idea that there is no such thing as 'random', and this is pretty much true (as anyone who has ever tried to find a truely 'random' number table can attest) as any system which appears 'random' is in fact actually becomes regular over long periods. So all the decisions i've ever made were actually 'predetermined'as the effect of cause one. Of cource, this is far too complex to even fathom, however. There is no way i could know the chain of chance that brought me to waering a yellow shirt today. However, that choice wasn't random, and actually wasn't free, because (as was proven by the fact that i wore it) i'd always choose to wear it in that given situation. The fact that i have no idea why i chose to wear it, doesn't make it any less determined by that which came before. In fact, the answer could be as simple as, "it was on the top of my pile", or "it was my only clean shirt", but these only further proove that there is in fact no randomness to anything. And the fact that all things are predermined, by the chain of cause and effect. So in all, i couldn't say if there is a God or not. Since all things have followed cause and effect, there is only really a 'need' for God as perhaps the first cause, all else has followed in suit... view post


posted 19 Aug 2005, 17:08 by Scilvenas, Auditor

I understand where you're coming from, H, and I think I pretty much agree with you. I'm just saying the distinction is a matter of perception. If you had no knowledge of Cause 1, you would see the choice springing from you. If you chose to suddenly like Chocolate, chances are you could. That doesn't mean something external didn't cause you to change your mind, though. But trying to trace back all the causes that lead to any one event is much like trying to count your reflection between two mirrors. It's simply easier to take responsibility for everything you do and act accordingly. view post


posted 28 Aug 2005, 19:08 by Ashaman0, Commoner

Free will is dumb. There is no such thing. Freedom can be taken away, and your will believe it or not can be changed. You probably wont like it but it can be done. If anyone has ever seen the Count of Monty Cristo this might sound familiar =) Heres a crappy example, but say you want to kill someone, thats free will. But if you get caught first stuck in a straight jacket and then have to listen to some doctor convince you your insaine for 2 months, then you just lost your free will. Someone made you decide either you were wrong or that killing people is bad or simply that thats not what you want to do. view post


posted 29 Aug 2005, 22:08 by target, Auditor

but that does not necessarily discount free will. Free will is still present if your will is forcebly changed etc, that is only the removal of you rability to undertake your will, not the lack of free will. People can still effectively do what they like within reason and within the bounds of their culture - which is why some people are forcebly restrained. Not that i totally disagree, its a complex subject, but if you dont have free will, then what controls our lives? I for one do not really like the idea that we cannot affect what happens in our lives, that we cannot shape our own destiny, that everything is down to a predetermined or otherwise controlled fate. Unless, of course, there are many personal Gods who play Dungeons and Dragons with each of our lives, something like in Pratchett....and even then only because its funny. view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 00:08 by Deerow, Auditor

I wouldn't blame them. Being omnipotent would get pretty old after time immemorial. view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 01:08 by target, Auditor

I know, poor soles. Wel, they'll always have their tea and biscuits......and games of life and death. view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 08:08 by Ashaman0, Commoner

well, like you said target free will its limited by society, culture, and physics. So I guess it comes down to how much free will we really have. IMO not having free will at all doesnt make much sense. I mean if all our lives were already predetermined by god or whoever, why would the topic of free will ever come up in debates? I mean what would be the point of creating a species and not giving it free will but then making it argue with itself about weather or not it has it. Although if we were created without free will I guess that doesnt mean that god or whomever decided we shouldnt have free will, planned everything out. I guess this creator or whatever could have just set everything in motion, but made sure everything would play out a certain way. That doesnt make much sense to me thou and the brings up is God all knowing? Which if he is should mean we have no free will? Because if we had free will there is no way he could know everythign, uncluding the choices we would make. Anyway maybe i should go back and answer the original question really quick =) I guess Id lable myself a scpetic. I can see how there could be a God, but at the same time I think its just as likely there isnt a God. Who knows =) I suppose well all find out when we are dead. Giving God the benift of the doubt I believe he wouldnt be forgiving enough to understand my sceptisim, which is probably why it bugs me so much when people (e.i. my g/f) think Im not a good person because I dont dedicate my life to God/Jesus or go and repent/pray. If god is so selfish he wants everyone to dedicate their lives to worshiping him I dont really want to spend eternity in heaven with him. The god id believe in would probably be rather indifferent towards humanity, i think he probably would have created the world and set everything in motion but from there he would just be an observer. Possibly learning and creating other worlds/life forms. After all whats the point of billions of stars if god only cares about this one little planet? just to make the sky pretty? I dont think so. As far as God being all knowing, I could see God being able to understand humans completely and being able to predict every choice we would make and in that sense being all knowing. Anyway that about sums up my beliefs. Maybe later ill try to organize all of that into something comprehensible later but for now, im goin to bed, so good night =) view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 11:08 by Deerow, Auditor

What I wonder is if God/gods/whatever also have free will. I would assume so. You can't really grant someone something you yourself do not have (but hey, I'm not one to guess the thoughts/movements of God/gods). As one's free will ceases to be their free will when it is stopped short by another's free will (the criminal being sent to prison being a good example of this) it sort or stands to reason that God/gods granted us free will but also can interrupt it with their own goals/plans/games/etc. This also could explain why it seems like God/gods have abandoned certain people/all of us. Maybe they just got sick of us or something. If they exist. view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 19:08 by target, Auditor

[quote="Ashaman0":2qovcgfj] which is probably why it bugs me so much when people (e.i. my g/f) think Im not a good person because I dont dedicate my life to God/Jesus or go and repent/pray.[/quote:2qovcgfj] You see, that's why im slightly opposed to religion, especially the Roman Catholic. Its all a religion of guilt: Christ dies for our sins so we should worship him and dedicate our lives to his name etc etc. The people who really aren't good people are very often Catholics themselves. They persecute and oppose people of other faiths, criticising them for not sharing their beliefs and not being god Christians, finding it incredibly hard to do something their religion is based on: forgiveness. I find the best example of this is in the US where Christianity is a huge religion, but still there is an incredible amount of racism and intollerance of other religions. Best imo to agree to dsagree with them and inform them kindly that they cannot run our lives and that we are all free to believe what we will believe. And if that doesnt work, just start listing all the Christian atrocities throughout the years and point out shortcommings of the faith. I hope it doesnt get to that though, its never a nice place to go. As far as im concerned people can believe what they like and until im proven wrong then thats what ill continue to believe :) view post


posted 30 Aug 2005, 22:08 by Deerow, Auditor

The probably isn't religion per se...it is organized religion. Any religion where they sit down and tell you "this is what you think" can only lead to bad things. If you consider yourself to be more of a non-denomanational Christian (for example) I think you are better off than someone who follows the what their priest says verbatim. While I'm not 100% confident in my beliefs I'd say I believe in God and a lot of Jesus' teachings (so basically just the Gospels for me). That cuts out a lot of the "it is immoral to do this! and that! and this!" I think, but keeps a lot of the "love they neighbor" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Essentially it lets you be a religious person without being some mindless being that believes everything they are told. Not that you even have to be a non-denomanational Christian to be a moral person. Just saying that is my basic standing. I hate it when people equate atheism or agnosticism with demon worship or general evil behavior. Most of the people I know who are atheists and agnostics are better people than the religious nutjobs I know. view post


posted 31 Aug 2005, 03:08 by Ashaman0, Commoner

I must say as far as how good of a person someone is, the people in my life who are farthest from religion are the best people. The closer you get the worse they are. I know this girl whos pentacostal (forgive me if thats spelled wrong) and her parents/church are crazy. The head of her church literaly tells her parents what she can do, what she can wear, and where she can go to school. Shirts past the elbows, pants, or skirt at the ankle, and long hair no exceptions. The pastor tells them who they can be friends with and who they can talk to. Its crazy, i mean at that point its not even about God anymore, its just a cult. view post


posted 31 Aug 2005, 11:08 by Deerow, Auditor

Yeah exactly. I hate that shit. And as Scott points out numerous times in PoN: The convert is ever the hardliner. I find that to be very true in real life. Everyone I know that has converted to a religion or is a "born again christian" is some crazy fundamentalist who yells hellfire and brimstone lines at me straight from the bible or famous religious figures. It pisses me off. view post


posted 31 Aug 2005, 11:08 by target, Auditor

Fundamentalism is the worst of the lot, and imo one of the scariest religions on the planet, just look at Gibson and his dad. I think Deerow is right on the 'organised' religion point. Fortunately for me, even though i know many Christians, none are too uptight (well one is, he, his family and girlfriend play Bibleopoly - now thats just wrong) which is great cause i dont get the teachings rammed down my throat or criticised for not being a 'good' Christian. Plus, they generally listen to me and as long as i dont attack their religion we can have some good theological debates. As for the born-again Christian, look no further than our good old friend in the White House. What is currently going on in Iraq etc. is hardly more than what is happening in PoN, buti dont want to associate the words here, hopefully you know what im getting at. Unsurprisingly, Islam has responded with Jihad. Although, to be fair, Jihad was called before the war, and against 'the West' because (surprise, surprise) we dont do things the way they do. I wish everyone could just try ad tollerate each other for a change instead of fighting for dominion and hegemony over others. view post


posted 31 Aug 2005, 18:08 by RedShift, Candidate

Personally, I view myself as either agnostic or Christian-in-waiting. That is to say, I don't get faith. Having been raised a Christian, I'm pretty familiar with the Bible, and I [i:a4rogizj]like[/i:a4rogizj] Chrisitianity. I just don't happen to believe it. I don't understand how people can truly believe in something that have no real proof of, nothing at all, and can still tell you that they [i:a4rogizj]know[/i:a4rogizj] that Christ died for them. If God is up there (and for some reason I have an irrational belief that there is some form of deity around somewhere, possibly due to my upbringing) then He knows exactly what will inspire that strange thing called faith in me, and I'm happy to wait for it. Sooner would be nice, but until then I can get along trying to be a good person, and if the occasional prayer helps me feel a bit stronger in the face of temptation, so much the better. As for Christianity in general, I don't trust the Bible that much, or, for that matter, anyone who does. I believe Genesis is metaphorical. The scientific view of the world makes to much sense not to be true, and Genesis works just as well as a metaphor. Besides, I very much doubt that Moses could have comprehended the theory of evolution, had God tried to convey it to him. The Bible (assuming it is what it says it is) is the Word of God passed on through man, and is thus fallible. Often prejudiced men. I refuse to believe that God will damn everyone who led a fundamentally good life but just ticked the wrong box on the form, as it were. And the constant promises of reward in heaven smack more of man than of the divine. Is the desire for a reward in heaven a good reason to follow a religion? Enlightened acceptance of its moral precepts or a mystical experience and love of its God, yes. Greed (which is effectively what it is), no. Back to the metaphorical nature of much of the Bible, of course people can complain, "If you say that Genesis is metaphorical, then surely you can start saying that about the rest!" Hell yeah. Take most of the time periods, for example. Forty days is taken, even by the most serious Bible scholars, to just be a stand-in for a long time, and three days pops up too much to be literal. The problem I have is with people who feel unable to think that the Bible could be wrong even in the tiniest sense, and that science must always give way to religion. People like that who are unable to take a logical look at their religious beliefs (and perhaps *gasp* even doubt a little) are moral invertebrates and shouldn't be allowed out without adult supervision :evil: Doubt, I feel, is a keystone in this matter. The ability to doubt says that you are a reasoning human being, no matter how strong your mystical (and I don't mean that word in a degoratory way, I have great respect for reasonable mysticism) side is. Someone earlier asked why God would create humans if he knew we would betray him. To be quite frank, would you want to be worshipped and be loved by a bunch of people who were completely innocent? Had no knowledge? Trusted you almost blindly? I (taking the great presumption of imagining I was God) would far prefer the love of a people who had seen all the temptations of the world and still turned to God. So perhaps suffering is necessary for our own spiritual growth. Throughout all this, I am always reassured by the fact (or belief) that if there is a God, he will understand what we go through, whether because he became human in Christ, or because he encompasses the universe. If there is no God, then I will still die content in the belief that I have lived a life that has contributed to the world and that if there is ever a reckoning, I will be able to stand up and say, "I tried, and I am merely human." That turned into more of a ramble than I expected... EDIT: Just wanted to note that I don't really want to comment that much on spirituality and mysticism because, frankly, I can't experience it myself, so I'm not really qualified. view post


posted 31 Aug 2005, 23:08 by Deerow, Auditor

While I agree with a lot of your post I wanted to point something out from my own perspective: While not necessarily one who "buys into" the religious side of the argument, as it were, I also don't "buy into" the scientific one. This puts me in a weird place because I tend to be outcast by both sides as I basically see them as two sides of the same coin. To explain as quickly as possible: I don't trust either. To me religion is assigning meaning to things we cannot understand the meaning of and science is convincing ourselves that we do understand the meaning of things that we cannot understand the meaning of. So. I dunno. I guess that labels me a skeptical nihilist or something. Anyone with me on this? view post


posted 01 Sep 2005, 13:09 by RedShift, Candidate

I suppose you could class science and religion as "two sides of the same coin", in that they both really rely on faith. For all our experimentation, we still can't state things as facts, truly. All we can say is that until this moment, everything has always obeyed the law of gravity. That dosen't mean it exists. It could just be an immense coincidence. It could be God playing a massive practical joke on us. That's how I view that, but I thin you were trying to say something different, and I just want to question whether, as you said, we cannot hope to understand the universe (by understand I do not mean be able to comprehend its entire state at any one time). Vast amounts of complexity can result from very simple rules, like in the game Go, for example. Lots of complexity and strategy, but you can "understand" the basis of it very easily. view post


posted 01 Sep 2005, 17:09 by Deerow, Auditor

Well you pretty much hit the nail on the head with your first paragraph. Science is as much a "leap of faith" as religion is. It just focuses on two completely different types of faith. One is believing in something we cannot see and the other is believing we see something that may not be there at all. I don't feel that either of these options hold more weight than the other, none a more viable option. Either way we're in the dark. As for you second question I think it may be possible to have some comprehension of the universe. I just think right now we are attempting to do this through two vehicles that are far to involved at looking inside their own little boxes that they can't step out and try to think of another way to go about doing things. That being said I have absolutely no method of my own. I was raised in a fairly religious household surrounded by friends that were atheists and agnostics...over time I just sort of saw the similarites rather than the differences and now can't really say I belong to one side over the other. Simplicity just may be the answer. view post


posted 10 Sep 2005, 00:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Deerow":2ypj4xe0]Well you pretty much hit the nail on the head with your first paragraph. Science is as much a "leap of faith" as religion is. It just focuses on two completely different types of faith. One is believing in something we cannot see and the other is believing we see something that may not be there at all. I don't feel that either of these options hold more weight than the other, none a more viable option. Either way we're in the dark. As for you second question I think it may be possible to have some comprehension of the universe. I just think right now we are attempting to do this through two vehicles that are far to involved at looking inside their own little boxes that they can't step out and try to think of another way to go about doing things. That being said I have absolutely no method of my own. I was raised in a fairly religious household surrounded by friends that were atheists and agnostics...over time I just sort of saw the similarites rather than the differences and now can't really say I belong to one side over the other. Simplicity just may be the answer.[/quote:2ypj4xe0] :!: :? Empiricle Evidence is a cult! I have already said the same thing earlier, but I now admit I was fully wrong, confused. view post


posted 10 Sep 2005, 00:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Echoex":2rndyldv]"I believe that there is something greater than us and that we are part of some purpose but I don't think that anyone can know exactly what that purpose is or can fully comprehend a being that is so much more than us." Can I ask why you believe that we're part of some purpose? Can we not be random and anomalous? I think the human ego is too fragile and soft to accept that our existence is really meaningless.[/quote:2rndyldv]Exactly, but I would add that most of the craziness that peopole conform to is because they are really, really afraid to die. Subconciously it is always there, I know that is pretty obvious. :idea: But people don't seem to realize it. We try to reach immortality and avoid the uknown any way we can. If that means believing in superman God to comfort a mind, good for them. Stop proselytization though. view post


posted 10 Sep 2005, 13:09 by Deerow, Auditor

[quote="AjDeath":17bqvnvz]Empiricle Evidence is a cult![/quote:17bqvnvz] Considering we invented it how can we trust it anymore than religious evidence (which we also invented). That is all I'm saying. It is pretty hypocritical to say that one is right and one is wrong because neither are based in absolute truth (whatever that is) but based on human beings attempting to explain the universe. view post


posted 10 Sep 2005, 15:09 by AjDeath, Didact

[quote="Deerow":1ub30r43][quote="AjDeath":1ub30r43]Empiricle Evidence is a cult![/quote:1ub30r43] Considering we invented it how can we trust it anymore than religious evidence (which we also invented). That is all I'm saying. It is pretty hypocritical to say that one is right and one is wrong because neither are based in absolute truth (whatever that is) but based on human beings attempting to explain the universe.[/quote:1ub30r43]I agree but only to an extent. I will trust a scientist or doctor to cure me rather than relgion because it actually works. Also science is no leap of faith, that is laughable. view post


posted 03 Oct 2005, 19:10 by Jesh, Candidate

No I don't. I believe in unity. view post


posted 06 Mar 2006, 21:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

God Almighty, Jesus Christ our Savior. view post


posted 12 Mar 2006, 22:03 by glaz, Peralogue

a born again christian through and through. yup, i believe in God view post


posted 14 Mar 2006, 07:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

I have to say that it's easy, in this day and age, to incriminate mainstream Chritianity and its claim as the one true religion, simply because of the direction that modern society has taken. I think it has to do with the fact that much of the progression that society has made has stemmed from a deviance from mainstream institutions, such as monarchies. Also, I know a lot of people who have expierienced how imperfect and mortal Christians can be while they claim that the rest of the world is going to hell because of their imperfections. Christians have become easy targets, and mostly because of their own damned frailty and greed, and so we label them as hypocrites with "holier than thou" attitudes. I can't deny that this is mostly true, but amoung these hypocrites, I stand. And I won't pretend that the Christian church is infallible, or say that I'm any better than you or these hypocrites that I mentioned before, but for me, hypocracy in people is no grounds to discredit the existance of God. And I would like to apologize to the people who have been wronged in any way by the Christian church. Feel free to openly blame me or any other christian, but before you discredit the existance of my God, keep in mind that to believe in him, you don't have to take on the attitudes or the frailties of the church. That said, I would have to say, yes, I believe in a God, and he does happen to fit the description of the God mentioned in the Christian Bible and in the Torah. And, no, I don't believe in him, blindly, or because it's convenient for me to believe in him, but because, his existance, and the status of Jesus as his son, simply makes sense(ask me why, I dare you). Also, I greatly appreciate the views and religions of others, and that, for thier lives, believing what they do makes sense for them. I also like to think of life in terms of modern Science and Philosophy in coexistance with God. So there, I am a Christian, by bare definition only. haha...maybe the only reason I stick to my beliefs is because most people I know discredit them with sound, reliable evidence and I just like to be different...I have to say though, overall, I agree with target the most....oh yeah, please show me the error of my ways....I'd love to know any fault anybody sees in my belief! :D seriously! view post


posted 14 Mar 2006, 08:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

Jeez, I just can't stay away from this forum...it's the thread that never dies!! anyway, I keep seeing this reoccuring idea here that being a "good person" has somthing to do with being a Christian....not true...in it's purest form, Christianity should have nothing to do with being a good person. It's simply the belief that there is a God and he had a son...so and a so forth...but whether or not you're a good person has nothing to do with whether or not you get into heaven, according to the Bible anyway. It's simply believing that Jesus is God's son and he died for us so we could live. That's it...I think the ten commandments are a good suggestion, but you can't get into heaven by good acts. I think a lot of Christians fail to realize this as well, and so maybe that's why this idea of if you be good, you'll go to heaven keeps showing up view post


posted 15 Mar 2006, 01:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

I loved that last mention of just becuase your good doesnt mean your going to heaven finnally someone mentions that. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 03:03 by glaz, Peralogue

[quote="Edge of Certainty":14xjawy4]Jeez, I just can't stay away from this forum...it's the thread that never dies!! anyway, I keep seeing this reoccuring idea here that being a "good person" has somthing to do with being a Christian....not true...in it's purest form, Christianity should have nothing to do with being a good person. It's simply the belief that there is a God and he had a son...so and a so forth...but whether or not you're a good person has nothing to do with whether or not you get into heaven, according to the Bible anyway. It's simply believing that Jesus is God's son and he died for us so we could live. That's it...I think the ten commandments are a good suggestion, but you can't get into heaven by good acts. I think a lot of Christians fail to realize this as well, and so maybe that's why this idea of if you be good, you'll go to heaven keeps showing up[/quote:14xjawy4] you just underlined my whole belief for me. thanks for driving the point :D view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 13:03 by Randal, Auditor

[quote:2ijvtyzx]because, his existance, and the status of Jesus as his son, simply makes sense(ask me why, I dare you)[/quote:2ijvtyzx] Why? :twisted: As for the division between believers/nonbelievers rather than between good people and bad people deciding one's fate after death... that's one interpretation of Christianity I could never subscribe to even if I did believe in the truth of their teachings. It just strikes me as an unjust us-against-them mentality... it doesn't really bother me, as to me it's just a tale, but I don't really like the people who tend to subscribe to ideas like this either. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 13:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

[quote="Randal":1zpitrsn][quote:1zpitrsn]because, his existance, and the status of Jesus as his son, simply makes sense(ask me why, I dare you)[/quote:1zpitrsn] Why? :twisted: [/quote:1zpitrsn] Why you evil son of a...just kidding :lol: . Uh....why not?...what I shoulda said was it makes sense for me...then again, what makes sense for me makes little sense to most other people... :( . Why's it such a bad thing, tho, to have faith solely for the purpose of having faith? ooops, I said the f word. I think the idea of deviating from (or just not believing) in faith (without interior motives, that is) stems from the idea that somthing like that could only hinder the betterment of society, and that's not entirely true. For, me, I guess, having faith in [i:1zpitrsn]somthing[/i:1zpitrsn] couldn't hurt...that is if your faith is pure and you don't have any interior motives (i.e. the blind, lazy belief in a god for the sake of self betterment). In other words, my philosophy is faith for the sake of faith...and I'm content with that. But I'd be only too glad to continue this discussion :D . As for the whys and whys nots of getting into heaven, I've had problems with that myself. When you have a document that's been translated and re-translated from a pan of several different languages and interpretations, it's hard to say that things haven't been changed up, just alittle. That may sound like trying to interpret the Bible how I want to, but I'm not saying what parts are right and what parts are slightly changed, just acknowledging the possibility... view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 15:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

i really can;t be bothered to read through 8 pages of this, so i'll just leave my bit... i believe in god, but not as some being, but as a force of energy that gave us life. everything has a cause and effect, so if life began on this planet, there had to be something to cause it. i'm pretty vehemently anti-christians*, and i find it hilarious when others think this is simply a rebellion, that it's 'cool' to not be christian. which i don't buy for a moment. i was never baptised, i've neve rgone to church in my life (aside from weddings and funerals) and i was never brought up to believe in such things. *i'd like to add that i'm not necessarily against christianity itself. it seems like a good enough religion, in theory. no worse than any other. but somewhere along the lines, its believers messed it up and started killing in the name of their meek and gentle lord. i cannot believe in something that people have used for such atrocities. i also know many good hearted christians who are willing to allow others their freedom to believe what they want. others, preach and evangelize and it makes me sick. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 15:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

:D , I yield...you're right, christians have done some pretty stupid stuff and alot of us have perverted the faith, I think anyway, from the original intent. And as for the preaching and evangelizing, I know what you mean..I literally coulda puked the first time a preacher told me I was goin to hell...I wasn't raised in a christian family, but i had this friend who was a christian and his outlook on life was so cool and not once did he ever mention christianity or try to impose his beliefs on me. but i justed liked him as a person and his philosophies just...made sense...even to this day, most of the things he tought me i still believe. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 17:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

oh i agree, i do have christian friends that are just fantastic.. but i'm a good person, i'm compassionate and loving, and have a similar take on life as them.. but because i do not accept jesus, that makes them so much better? i cannot accept that. besides, even if i could, i just have too many qualms with too many things.. i prefer to think for myself. i think the bible is cool tho. i just see it as a collection of cultural stories, just like the mabinogion or the baghavad gita (sp?)... it's a great -story- view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 19:03 by Randal, Auditor

EoC: I suppose that answers my question... sort of. I'll agree that having faith in something won't hurt. (unless it's used to justify crimes/hate/discrimination/whatever) Not sure it's a positive trait either, though that's neither here nor there. But I couldn't for the life of me understand it. Sure, have faith in something. But [i:2eaog473]how the hell[/i:2eaog473] would one do that? If you offered me a billion euros if I'd just believe in god, or Zeus, or psychic powers, or anything... I couldn't. I wouldn't even know where to begin. It boggles my mind, really, this concept of faith. Intellectually accepting the possibility of some "prime mover" godlike being is one thing, but I can't actually believe anything supernatural exists unless someone shows me at least some half-decent evidence. I seem to recall some research that indicated that religiosity is (at least in part) a hereditary trait. If that's so, I ended up without any of it. Can't say that I mind, though the concept of religion does intrigue me to no end just because it's so unfathomable to me. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 20:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

yeah...that's kinda the retarded thing about faith...it really goes against rational thought and intellectual...anything...that we can understand. Idk if religiosity is somthing inherent, but I think faith is somthing pretty universal. Not necessarily faith in a god or gods or a supreme being or the supernatural or whatever. But just faith in general is somthing that seems to define "world born" men. Like when you put your money in a bank, you generally have faith that, unless you buy somthing, that money's gunna stay there. But you have no real way of knowing that it will cuz the possibilities are endless. The dunyain, of course, know almost all the possibilities and even the most likely among them and so they've ruled out the need for faith. I guess what I'm saying is faith is somthing that we need (unless you're dunyain), despite what it's in. Sorry, again. I'm not trying to impose my beliefs on you, I'm just confirming to myslef what I believe, I guess. :roll: Yeah, it's stubborn, it doesn't listen to reason, but when it comes right down to it, faith just makes sense of a world were the only absolute is uncertainty. And gierra, I can tell you're a really nice, loving person just talking to you, and no, believing that some dude was savagely murdered doesn't make anyone better in anyway and there is no reason that you should. :D but believing that it happened, again, goes back to the whole faith thing... view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 20:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote="Randal":ky3bytxb]religiosity.[/quote:ky3bytxb] this is officially my new favorite word. view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 20:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

yeah, and it's a real word too!! :o I just checked it in spell checker.... view post


posted 17 Mar 2006, 21:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

Can it be my favorite word to it just replaced religiose. view post


posted 18 Mar 2006, 10:03 by Randal, Auditor

I didn't know that was such a rare word... sounded right. (then again, English isn't my native language) As for faith... there are a few things I believe that have no real rational basis. (okay, probably more than a few if I take a real close look.) But I don't think stuff like putting money on the bank is "having faith." Yes, the bank can fold, but that happens very, very rarely. Banks like these have existed for a century or more without problems, and if they were threatening to collapse there would be warnings. It's possible something unexpected will happen and all the money will dissappear. But it's not very likely, so it's more sensible to put the money on the bank for the sake of convenience and interest than it is to keep it in an old sock under your pillow. After all, there are risks no matter what you do, the house might burn down or get burgled. The bank poses the safest option. But for other things, yes, there is stuff I take on faith. I believe people are to be trusted, untill they prove otherwise. I believe in progress. I believe our current world is better than the one of a hundred years ago, and that the one in a hundred years will be better still. I believe altruism is worthwile in and of itself, without any external incentive. I believe these things and more, not because of any real evidence that shows them to be so, but because I think the world is a better place to live in if people believe things like these, and because the alternatives are either a scepticism so extreme it's crippling, or another set of equally unwarranted assumptions. I'll chose the optimistic ones, in such a case. Still, none of that enables me to suspend disbelief far enough to accept the existence of God, or Zeus, or psychics, or government conspiracies. view post


posted 18 Mar 2006, 13:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

:lol: :lol: ..government conspiracies....anyway, yes, faith in somthing that is likely to happen, and faith in the unlikely are definitely on opposite sides of the spectrum of faith. I guess the question of Christianity is how much faith do you have? And I loath to admit this, but Christians sometimes have petty contests to see who has the most faith :roll: . What I don't like is Christians who don't question what their faith stems from at all. For example, I have faith because, one, it's nice to think there is a being out there that loves everyone no matter what, and two, the probabilities of the Big Bang being the author of life is unlikely to me. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but without some kind of force guiding it along, the possibilities that it created life are astronomical. A lot of non christian scientist agree and have come to this conclusion...not that a god exists but that they need to rethink the Big Bang theory. Besides, what came before the big bang? I wana say, too, that I appreciate your comments, randal and gierra, and wana thank you for being so excepting and patient with someone so stubborn. :lol: As for the government conspiracies, if you don't believe in those, you're going to hell! Just kidding. view post


posted 18 Mar 2006, 16:03 by Randal, Auditor

Shh, not so loud. The evil black helicopters are listening. Anyway, on the big bang I think you're missing the point, slightly. Nobody ever said it's the "author of life" or something. It did not "create life" either. Rather, a better way to state things would be: The evidence we currently have seems to indicate that the universe, as we know it, began with what is commonly called the "big bang." The big bang is the beginning of the universe, it didn't create anything, it doesn't explain where we come from or where we're going. It's simply something important that happened a long time ago. (quite literally, at the beginning of time.) It's the "how" rather than the "why." Science doesn't answer "why". As for the the odds of creating life being astronomical... well, how do you know that? It seems quite likely to me that given the size of the universe and the time it has existed, the odds of creating life are pretty good. We haven't quite recreated life yet in our laboratories, but we're getting there. I would be very much surprised if there were no alien life forms in different part of the universe. And anyway, even if the odds were small, that doesn't prove there's a guiding principle behind it. Sometimes things happen against the odds. Or perhaps there were a couple billion universes before this one with no life in them, only we don't know that because there was nothing to observe them. What came before the big bang? Now, that's where science calls it a day, shrugs, and admits total ignorance. There are a couple of hypotheses out there, I believe. Superstring theory posits something existing prior to the big bang, iirc. But I'm very hazy on this, and anyway that superstring stuff is about as esotheric as science gets. At this point in the discussion, I say we don't know, and possibly cannot know. Maybe in a few centuries someone will come up with a good explanation... maybe. Thing is, adding "god" or a "prime mover" to the equation doesn't help answer this question. It merely replaces the difficult question "what came before the big bang" with the equally impossible "where does god come from". And even if that question somehow doesn't bother you, this is the god of the gaps. The big bang may be the biggest gap we have, but saying Goddidit just because we can't find another explanation isn't very sensible, in my opinion. It didn't work for explaining thunderstorms or earthquakes, and it probably won't work here either. view post


posted 19 Mar 2006, 23:03 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

well...belief in God or a god (or however you want to spell it :lol: ) has nothing to do with explanation. faith, theoretically anyway, goes without explanation or complete understanding or perfect reasoning for that matter. faith simply [i:97mz05nw]is[/i:97mz05nw]. as for evolution and the big bang, I don't really see how those things couldn't co-exist with the idea of a supreme being. It's quite obvious that people adapt to their envioronments, and if the structure of the universe suggests a big explosion made it as it is today, then so be it. those things are easy to have faith in. there is sound, reliable, observable evidence behind them. but there is no way in knowing that for sure, because there is no way in knowing anything for sure. and it's the exact same way with God. the idea of God is that he [i:97mz05nw]came before[/i:97mz05nw], and simply that...it's quite simple to comprehend because there's no real reason to question it. see, i'm completely happy with not knowing why and how the universe was made, it's just another uncertainty, another unkown. we see patterns in the world. only if we conform to the patterns may we survive. after a while, we found out that the more we learned of these patterns, the more power we held in the world. the idea is that not only do these patterns not apply to God, but also that he created them. he stands outside of time and reason and our complete understanding. i know, it's easy to argue that this kind of thinking hinders understanding of our world and that people who think like this are unrealistic and want to give the meaning and origin of life a simple explanation. but that's not the case at all. God isn't simply the Christian's explanation, he's the Christian's creator, everyone's creator, for that matter. It doesn't obligate me or anyone to believe this, nor does it hinder the growth of the mind or civilized society in any way. And so when someone asks me, "why do you believe in God?" I respond "why not?" and that truly is my whole explanation, because in a world were nothing is certain, why should the existance of the entity who created it be certain? view post


posted 20 Mar 2006, 14:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

i don;t think that the existence of god negates the big bang, and vice versa. the reason that scientists cannot (and probably will never) know what happened before is that all our laws of physics relate to our universe, but since it is impossible to tell what happened before the beginning of the universe, all our posturing and comtimplating will do nothing, because those laws don;t necessarily comply with what existed before, if anything. the big bang was the beginning of what we have now, and the end of what was before. i don;t know if any of that made any sense, actually. view post


posted 20 Mar 2006, 20:03 by Randal, Auditor

Made sense to me, and I agree with what you said. Though some of the more far-out hypothesises actually do say something about existence prior to the Big Bang. Superstring theory, I believe. (But I don't know jack about that.) It's not much more than speculation, though. view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 01:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

[quote:16hjupdj] i don;t think that the existence of god negates the big bang, and vice versa. the reason that scientists cannot (and probably will never) know what happened before is that all our laws of physics relate to our universe, but since it is impossible to tell what happened before the beginning of the universe, all our posturing and comtimplating will do nothing, because those laws don;t necessarily comply with what existed before, if anything. the big bang was the beginning of what we have now, and the end of what was before. i don;t know if any of that made any sense, actually.[/quote:16hjupdj] Exactly. view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 02:03 by Zarathinius, Auditor

I have spent quite a bit of time trying to get over the "Christians are hypocrites" attitude, since the mere word "Christian" has become so overarching and interpreted in so many ways that blaming Christians for anything is a great way of insulting somebody you don't intend to insult. The actual hypocrites and Fundamentalists often claim a monopoly on Christianity, which is the source of most animosity towards Christians as a whole. But anyway, to get back on track with the topic, I must say that I do not believe in a personified, intelligent, or unified divine being, which I suppose is a liberal interpretation of Deism. I personally do not feel despair or hopelessness when confronted with the idea that our existence has no purpose or meaning. After all, who is to say what it means to have purpose or meaning? Life is life, and anything beyond can only be speculated upon in a psuedoscientific manner, since it is beyond our physical senses. The metaphysics of faith are dangerously open to human error and logical fallacy, which is where the problems arise. Metaphysics can be defined as truths that can be realized by thinking about them, so how can we know one person's metaphysical realization is "more true" than another's? In my humble opinion, I would rather accept my ignorance than create my own perception of reality. I realize what I say may offend, baffle, or irk some people, but I ask that you not hold it against me if this is the case. (i.e. I didn't try to hurt anybody's feelings.) view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 02:03 by Randal, Auditor

Pfff. That won't offend anyone. There are plenty of people in this thread who have stated something to similar effect. At worst, you'll get people who disagree with you. I don't, except perhaps possibly about the metaphysics part. "Truths that can be realised by thinking about them" sounds a bit vague to me to warrant the label "truths." Me, I'd define it as "stuff we can only speculate about" view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 03:03 by Zarathinius, Auditor

[quote:29sxg00j]"Truths that can be realised by thinking about them" sounds a bit vague to me to warrant the label "truths." Me, I'd define it as "stuff we can only speculate about"[/quote:29sxg00j] Precisely my point. When reality has to be processed in our minds, what is there to stop our minds from interfering with what our senses percieve? Next to nothing, the exception being a skeptical attitude. Believe it or not, the idea of metaphysics was (or maybe still is, I don't know) considered as respectable as real physics by many intellectuals. view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 13:03 by xhaldur, Candidate

to answer the original question of this thread, I believe thousands of gods exist. Some people call me a neo-pagan or whatever. Personally, I believe that men make gods. I believe that in the beginning, a god is just an idea, but after hundreds, thousands, even millions of people continually pray/worship to a certain deity, that deity is then made real. I make my own scented oils, incense, altars, charms. I've been working silver and other metals for over 10 years so I'm good at the whole charm thing by now hehe. I always wear around 3-6 charms on my body everyday and won't leave the house without them. I know that seems wierd and I suppose it is a little =P One thing I do is keep my personal practices to myself. I usually don't talk about them to anyone, I keep it a private relationship between the deities that I do worship and myself. I think religion is a good thing, it helps inspire many people to be someone better, to help others, etc. However there's always a flipside and it's sad that we have such extremists today in the world. Like Pat Robertson and other supreme asses of the Christian right or Islamic militants who decide to kill all the infidels. In general, I just try to be a good person and be nice to people. view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 14:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

god is ike a house of mirrors. or something like that. i'm tired. view post


posted 21 Mar 2006, 22:03 by Warrior-Poet, Moderator

[quote="xhaldur":1up48h9h]to answer the original question of this thread, I believe thousands of gods exist. Some people call me a neo-pagan or whatever. Personally, I believe that men make gods. I believe that in the beginning, a god is just an idea, but after hundreds, thousands, even millions of people continually pray/worship to a certain deity, that deity is then made real. I make my own scented oils, incense, altars, charms. I've been working silver and other metals for over 10 years so I'm good at the whole charm thing by now hehe. I always wear around 3-6 charms on my body everyday and won't leave the house without them. I know that seems wierd and I suppose it is a little =P One thing I do is keep my personal practices to myself. I usually don't talk about them to anyone, I keep it a private relationship between the deities that I do worship and myself. I think religion is a good thing, it helps inspire many people to be someone better, to help others, etc. However there's always a flipside and it's sad that we have such extremists today in the world. Like Pat Robertson and other supreme asses of the Christian right or Islamic militants who decide to kill all the infidels. In general, I just try to be a good person and be nice to people.[/quote:1up48h9h] You sound like the book American Gods. view post


posted 22 Mar 2006, 15:03 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote="Warrior-Poet":1ja4mxte][quote="xhaldur":1ja4mxte]to answer the original question of this thread, I believe thousands of gods exist. Some people call me a neo-pagan or whatever. Personally, I believe that men make gods. I believe that in the beginning, a god is just an idea, but after hundreds, thousands, even millions of people continually pray/worship to a certain deity, that deity is then made real. I make my own scented oils, incense, altars, charms. I've been working silver and other metals for over 10 years so I'm good at the whole charm thing by now hehe. I always wear around 3-6 charms on my body everyday and won't leave the house without them. I know that seems wierd and I suppose it is a little =P One thing I do is keep my personal practices to myself. I usually don't talk about them to anyone, I keep it a private relationship between the deities that I do worship and myself. I think religion is a good thing, it helps inspire many people to be someone better, to help others, etc. However there's always a flipside and it's sad that we have such extremists today in the world. Like Pat Robertson and other supreme asses of the Christian right or Islamic militants who decide to kill all the infidels. In general, I just try to be a good person and be nice to people.[/quote:1ja4mxte] You sound like the book American Gods.[/quote:1ja4mxte] haha, what i was thinking exactly. view post


posted 04 Apr 2006, 21:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

American Gods was an interesting concept of divinity, and how not only did belief in "Thor" creat Thor but as people moved they made new copies of Thor. I actually really liked that theory myself and in some ways I think it is a distinct possiblity. The greatest thing about being a free-thinker is that more philosophical thought about metaphysics and such doesn't contradict with science and observations (only adherence to dogma ever contradicts what we see around us everyday). So my stance on dieties is "maybe" I really don't know. But I think that human perception shapes that concept somehow. view post


posted 04 Apr 2006, 21:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

And on a side note... I finally made 400+ posts! :) view post


posted 04 Apr 2006, 22:04 by Ziin haj-Anzrini, Commoner

I spent the last hour reading through this thread and I would like to say that it is a credit to the character of the people on this forum that this thread has retained an air of civility for over a year. I have participated in many discussions such as this over the internet and they have an unfortunate tendency to fall apart. I, for one, am a firm believer in Christianity... I won't cite my denomination because I don't want to be categorised as such. view post


posted 05 Apr 2006, 13:04 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote="Ziin haj-Anzrini":3cwp9hrm]I spent the last hour reading through this thread and I would like to say that it is a credit to the character of the people on this forum that this thread has retained an air of civility for over a year. I have participated in many discussions such as this over the internet and they have an unfortunate tendency to fall apart. I, for one, am a firm believer in Christianity... I won't cite my denomination because I don't want to be categorised as such.[/quote:3cwp9hrm] i noticed that as well. mature and tolerant people, here. view post


posted 06 Apr 2006, 15:04 by Peter, Auditor

[quote="gierra":3s7gxro5][quote="Ziin haj-Anzrini":3s7gxro5]I spent the last hour reading through this thread and I would like to say that it is a credit to the character of the people on this forum that this thread has retained an air of civility for over a year. I have participated in many discussions such as this over the internet and they have an unfortunate tendency to fall apart. I, for one, am a firm believer in Christianity... I won't cite my denomination because I don't want to be categorised as such.[/quote:3s7gxro5] i noticed that as well. mature and tolerant people, here.[/quote:3s7gxro5] Yeah, we really must do something about that. I mean what is the point of discussion boards if not to descend into petty name-calling. Next you'll be telling me that tolerant open discussion allows for people to better understand not only each other, but also the ideas involved. :D view post


posted 06 Apr 2006, 16:04 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote="Peter":24ngftdj][quote="gierra":24ngftdj][quote="Ziin haj-Anzrini":24ngftdj]I spent the last hour reading through this thread and I would like to say that it is a credit to the character of the people on this forum that this thread has retained an air of civility for over a year. I have participated in many discussions such as this over the internet and they have an unfortunate tendency to fall apart. I, for one, am a firm believer in Christianity... I won't cite my denomination because I don't want to be categorised as such.[/quote:24ngftdj] i noticed that as well. mature and tolerant people, here.[/quote:24ngftdj] Yeah, we really must do something about that. I mean what is the point of discussion boards if not to descend into petty name-calling. Next you'll be telling me that tolerant open discussion allows for people to better understand not only each other, but also the ideas involved. :D[/quote:24ngftdj] i actually prefer name-calling. it's far more interesting. mind you, i call everybody bad names. for no reason. view post


posted 06 Apr 2006, 20:04 by Entropic_existence, Moderator

Heh as a Fark.com user by the same username I've seen where flamewars that involve religion head to, and usually it is straight to hell :) view post


I'm with descarte, five bucks on god posted 25 Apr 2006, 03:04 by MrJims, Commoner

I find exsistence a little too tidy for there not to be a creator. Mind if it was not so tidy we wouldn't be here to contemplate. Religion, to me, was man's first attempt at politics. I don't think this effects the debate over the exsistence of god though. I'm roman catholic, I don't have to many problems with there view though I would like to think that god is a little cooler, the man has seen alot of shit. I use man loosely. What I enjoy most about the idea of god during such a scientific and catagorizing time in the history of man is that his absence, quantifably, is as much of proof of his exsistence as not. Were we to prove god or better, he split the clouds, walked down stairs of air to the ground, played a game of texas hold'em (and lose cause it would be funny) and then left. We would be enslaved, hence freewill would be lost and any understandable purpose behind exsistence forfeit. Man entertaining the idea of god will do as he likes. Man knowing without doubt that god exsists will do as he's told. If you care I'll go on, and on and on and on. view post


posted 26 Apr 2006, 17:04 by Echoex, Auditor

[quote:wf8ns3mb]I find exsistence a little too tidy for there not to be a creator. Mind if it was not so tidy we wouldn't be here to contemplate. [/quote:wf8ns3mb] But that's just it. Existence isn't tidy at all. Everything about the nature of the universe tells us we're not supposed to be here. Everything about the nature of our planet tells us that we're just another bead in the food rosarie. I think religion is too tidy for there to be a creator. .Ex. view post


posted 27 Apr 2006, 03:04 by talek, Candidate

Insofar as I would use religious categories, I would go for an immanent god of everything, and various lesser gods. Immanent god of everything being identical to everything - the universe. The universe is conscious, analogically at least, insofar as it contains conscious beings. If you are conscious of a potato, then in a sense the universe is conscious of a potato. Just as neurons make a network in the human brain, the interactions of things, and especially the interactions of people via language, make up the mind of the universe. It is quite different from the human mind, e.g., bigger and more distributed. When we think or discuss, the universe thinks. In order for the universe to be truly self-conscious, as opposed to being conscious of this or that, in this way, there has to be a sentient being who considers him/herself to be the universe, i.e., a mystic. The universe grows and understands itself better and better, although this process is by no means straightforward. In a way, the god of everything is in its infancy. Or at least, that's the way it looks from here. The most important growth, IMHO, is moral growth. One nice thing about an immanent god is that it doesn't hide itself away. Open your eyes and you will see it. Open your ears and you will hear it. There are various processes, smaller than the universe as a whole, which can also be said, analogically at least, to have mind; if you don't like the idea of polytheism, you can think of them as angels or djinn rather than gods. Religions and ideologies are entities of this kind. If you call them gods, then you have something like the Hundred Gods in the Kiunnat tradition (althogh the number 100 is arbitrary). view post


posted 16 May 2006, 20:05 by Harrol, Moderator

I would have to say that i believe in God. At the same time I do not think that there is any physical proof of God. God is to be discovered in other ways from our physical senses. view post


posted 18 May 2006, 12:05 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

die thread die! come on people, if we don't kill this thread soon, it will lay eggs in our ears and we will have little baby "is there a God?" threads swarming in our brains! and to make this post relevant, God told me to do it...lol, just kidding view post


posted 18 May 2006, 13:05 by gierra, Sorcerer-of-Rank

[quote="Edge of Certainty":2k544591]die thread die! come on people, if we don't kill this thread soon, it will lay eggs in our ears and we will have little baby "is there a God?" threads swarming in our brains! and to make this post relevant, God told me to do it...lol, just kidding[/quote:2k544591] there's nothing wrong with discussing religion. at least there [i:2k544591]has[/i:2k544591] been discussion here, and not flaming. view post


posted 18 May 2006, 13:05 by Curethan, Didact

I was just thinking .... if there was an omniscient entity (like God, for example) and it knew everything (that's everthing, ever) it wouldn't be capable of thinking, would it? Or percieving time... Or worrying about saving the queen... But if it can't think, then it isn't - at least according to Descartes (that was him that said I think therefore I am, wasn't it) and he was way smarter than me. view post


posted 19 May 2006, 01:05 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

k....this is where the crackpot theories come in.....i don't think that God "thinks" in the traditional sense that he has a carbon based brain. Theologically speaking, thinking, feeling, loving, pain, pleasure, and whatnot, as we know them are physlical and scientifically explained manifestations of their counterparts in the "spirit realm" or whatever the hell (haha) you want to call it. and that post i made earlier was just a joke to loosen up the tense atmosphere that i feel everytime i see that someone had made a new post..........no offense to anyone, i love this post, don't kill it. view post


posted 19 May 2006, 08:05 by Curethan, Didact

Hehe, I only ever post crackpot theories! I just got overstimulating reading a book called Shamanspace, it's about ancient secret societies of assasins (the Hashashim etc) whose true aim was to assasinate God. The depiction of God in that was very out of the ordinary and really got me to thinking... But my point was that if one was omniscient, then you know everything that has happened or will happen with perfect recall then experiencing any one moment would be indistiguishable from rememberance of the past or future, one's conciousness would be locked into the totallity of existence, free will or descion making would be impossible and time an unknowable illusion. Or something. Really it's more a comment on the impossibility of omniscience in a being with any sense of self. So imo, if there is a God it wouldn't be all-knowing or all-powerful in any situation where it wanted to take action... Ohh, it really makes my head hurt. I prefer abstract concepts like Scott's (Moenghus's) where God is viramsata. Personally I consider myself an atheist (yeh, I don't believe I exist either) but if pushed I would tend to think of God like the Taoists, he's both zero and infinitty and men can bother with the numbers in between that they call reality. [quote:2g2fpj8c]and that post i made earlier was just a joke to loosen up the tense atmosphere that i feel everytime i see that someone had made a new post..........no offense to anyone, i love this post, don't kill it.[/quote:2g2fpj8c] I appreciate your humour - it's .... edgy (One day someone will kill me for my bad puns) view post


posted 19 May 2006, 17:05 by Edge of Certainty, Subdidact

lol, edgy, very cute shamanspace? i'll have to look that up, it sounds interesting I see what you mean tho....interesting idea, one way or another view post


posted 27 Dec 2006, 09:12 by brandon, Candidate

i do not believe in any form of god, only science. my philosophy is basically that all religions exist in order to explain away the unknown, to limit the fear of death, and to enforce a moral code. view post


posted 03 Jan 2007, 22:01 by GreyMantle, Commoner

Here's my thoughts on the subject (Forgive me if I offend anyone, it's not intentional) I'm something of an agnostic right, and trying to formulate a workable philosophy that I can use. In my opinion, it's impossible to flat out say that God does or does not exist, for the simple reason that we have no definite proof for either argument. However, I think God's existence is more subjective. If you choose to believe, then FOR YOU he exists. If you don't, then he doesn't. In essentially, you could view it as what believe is true. However, I personally think that the need for a God has slackened greatly in the current age. In the past, the world was not even close to as stable as it is now. There was always the chance of a plague, or as freak war, or famine, or flooding. And for that reason, there is the need for a strong central power that is able to enforce order and ensure some degree of peace and prosperity. Only the strongest most capable would survive (Darwinism and all that). And religion in many cases provided that central power. "God commands that you do not kill." "God commands that you live in peace with your neighbor." and so on... People did not have the same kinds of dreams and ambitions as now, instead focusing on eking out some sort of survival. Therefore, most fit into this mold, and the rebels had to contend with powerful forces dedicated to their church, or king, or whatever. Kings fit into this mold as well. They would claim their power came from God, and would expect others to obey them, which they did. But now, the world has changed. Advanced technology has eliminated disease, famine, etc., from most of the world. And suddenly we depend less on higher authorities to make sure we survive. Instead we depend on our machines. We are the Inchoroi, empowered by Tekne to will ourselves through hardship without outside influence. And God has become obsolete. To quote Nietzsche, "But when Zarathustra was alone he spoke thus to his heart: 'Could it be possible? This old saint in the forest has not yet heard anything of this, that God is dead!'" view post


posted 05 Jan 2007, 14:01 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

I was born into this world without any saving grace/religion. It is interesting to me that people can "choose" a religion, and always more interesting that people believe that a religion (or it's prophets) might "choose" them. I do believe in God as a metaphor for collective consciousness. I do not believe that many of these things can be expressed in words, though if I were to choose a word that represents it best it might be "mystery". Perhaps God is also that which mankind finds otherwise inexpressible. I did attend a Sufi Church for a while, long hours of chanting whipping the group into a frenzy, [/i]Allah[i:1zdwtjbh] being translated as "reality" instead of "God". Thus the chant "There is no God but God" would translate to "There is no Reality but Reality". However, I no longer believe in absolutes (this happened after reading Atlas Shrugged and realizing how angry absolutes make people).[/i:1zdwtjbh] view post


posted 05 Jan 2008, 22:01 by zephyr, Candidate

[quote:3060jdf4]However, I personally think that the need for a God has slackened greatly in the current age[/quote:3060jdf4] [quote:3060jdf4]But now, the world has changed. Advanced technology has eliminated disease, famine, etc., from most of the world. And suddenly we depend less on higher authorities to make sure we survive.[/quote:3060jdf4] I do not agree with you GreyMantle. With all of human kind's advances in technologies of all types there will be more and more advanced diseases and advanced problems. Problems with anything will never be erased. It is simply how life works. Pain and suffering will always abound and people will always get hurt. The world, if it has no god, will always need one. Here is my view on god. I believe that somewhere in the cosmos there is [i:3060jdf4]something[/i:3060jdf4]. Whether it is a he, a she, a them, a thing/s, there is definitely some type of intelligence that somehow caused everything to be whether by it's intelligent design or accidentally not paying attention and Poof! here we are. In my opinion I don't really think whoever is out there really cares about us ( and if it did it does no longer). Just look at the world today. So much suffering and pain and unexcusable death of innocents all the time is happening. Does anyone really believe this is all in some god's master plan? view post


posted 17 Feb 2008, 08:02 by xatantius, Candidate

I don't know. Absolutely no idea as to whether there is a God, what it is, where it is, what it's intentions are and whether it gives a damn about us. There could be, there's no explanation as to why there's not, but then again there's no explanation as to why there is either. I think it's one of those things that we'll never figure out, and even if we do, the answer won't be pretty, and people won't want to know. Like, imagine if we found God a few billion light years away, and we go nuts and ask him if he's heard our prayers and stuff, and go 'WHATS THE MEANING OF LIFE, GOD? TELL US!!!' What if he just shrugs his shoulders and says, 'Honestly, I just created you guys for shits and giggles, and then I got bored and made a giant lounge chair in which to travel the universe'. Bit of a let-down really. I think it's great if religion makes you happy and gives you hope and stuff, that's fine. But it's when people start talking themselves up because of it and insisting that they're right where problems start, and so many people do that. Just accept that it's YOUR belief, and no-one elses. There are 6.3 billion unique religious views in the world, because we all have different ideas and viewpoints. view post


posted 25 Feb 2008, 17:02 by rogue, Commoner

Any person that believes in any type of god really needs to read the information on the following website. It may be long, but well worth the time. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/ view post


posted 26 Feb 2008, 01:02 by anor277, Didact

[quote="rogue":k2eg116n]Any person that believes in any type of god really needs to read the information on the following website. It may be long, but well worth the time. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/[/quote:k2eg116n] Thanks for posting that; an interesting read. I think that as well as having it in for amputees, God similarly dislikes Type 1 diabetics. view post


posted 26 Feb 2008, 07:02 by Curethan, Didact

Seems to be based on the assumption of a christian god, where if he exists then he must give a shit about me. What about some older variants, e.g. god as Aten - gives both life and cancer.... Well, you did say any god. view post


posted 27 Feb 2008, 14:02 by rogue, Commoner

I can only assume you didn't read the entire thing, otherwise you would understand that it applies to every god. Yes, the site is using Christians as an example, but it also talks about Mormons, Jews, and Muslims. Oh, and Santa. There are also a few times it refers to Ra, Zues, etc. view post


posted 28 Feb 2008, 00:02 by Harrol, Moderator

I believe in God because there is proof of the devil. My proof is musicians like Hall and Oates only the devil would make crap like that or Pink or even worse Earth, Wind and Fire. All conclusive proof that satan is real and active. view post


posted 28 Feb 2008, 02:02 by Israfel, Peralogue

Although if I recall, many religions have deities that are supposed to be responsible for nasty stuff, or reflect the negative side of a good/evil dichotomy, from Set to Loki... view post


posted 28 Feb 2008, 21:02 by rogue, Commoner

Harrol, just because you don't like certain musicians doesn't make then satanic or evil. What kind of proof is that? Other than the fact it shows you are absurd and ignorant, your statement is meaningless. You are full of opinions and have no concrete evidence to back it up. view post


posted 29 Feb 2008, 02:02 by Harrol, Moderator

It was a joke Rogue. Lay off the caffine and relax a little. view post


posted 29 Feb 2008, 05:02 by jub, Peralogue

:roll: I don't think you should take it that seriously rogue. And I still haven't seen any 'concrete evidence' that backs up your belief in the non-exsistence of a higher being. Also the link you gave us disputes the importance of Religion, not God. I really did like the part where you called Harrol 'absurd and ignorant' though, clearly shows your superiority. And I assume you know Harrol in person, because the irony created from that post would just be to much to handle if you didn't. view post


posted 29 Feb 2008, 07:02 by Curethan, Didact

[quote="rogue":3oqdvk04]I can only assume you didn't read the entire thing, otherwise you would understand that it applies to every god. Yes, the site is using Christians as an example, but it also talks about Mormons, Jews, and Muslims. Oh, and Santa. There are also a few times it refers to Ra, Zues, etc.[/quote:3oqdvk04] Yeh, I didn't read the whole thing, struck me as very similar to pro-christian literature for some reason. Same 'preaching to the converted' tone, I guess. PS Hall & Oates have been indepentantly evaluated as evil by a council of sainted lemurs, plus one time I spilt some holy water on a cassette of them and it burst into flame. 8o view post


posted 01 Mar 2008, 00:03 by Harrol, Moderator

Well if the council of sainted lemurs says their evil then lets break out the oil and wood. :twisted: As far as proving the existence or absence of God. This seems to go nowhere. Sorry but people are just going to disagree about this one. view post


posted 05 Mar 2008, 03:03 by anor277, Didact

[quote="jub":1wjndnlk]:roll: ............... And I still haven't seen any 'concrete evidence' that backs up your belief in the non-exsistence of a higher being. Also the link you gave us disputes the importance of Religion, not God. ................[/quote:1wjndnlk] Just wanted to add that I tend to doubt that any such evidence that "proves" the non-existence of a higher being [i:1wjndnlk]could[/i:1wjndnlk] exist. It's a bit of a [i:1wjndnlk]non-sequitir[/i:1wjndnlk]; belief in God or a higher-being is subject to neither proof nor disproof. As regards the link Rogue supplied, it does give us ample evidence that the higher being (however we define him) is not much interested in healing amputees (He isn't interested at all in fact). I think that is sufficient grounds to with-hold our worship. view post


posted 08 Mar 2008, 07:03 by jub, Peralogue

[quote="anor277":2il6hrge] Just wanted to add that I tend to doubt that any such evidence that "proves" the non-existence of a higher being [i:2il6hrge]could[/i:2il6hrge] exist. It's a bit of a [i:2il6hrge]non-sequitir[/i:2il6hrge]; belief in God or a higher-being is subject to neither proof nor disproof.[/quote:2il6hrge] Exactly. [quote="anor277":2il6hrge] As regards the link Rogue supplied, it does give us ample evidence that the higher being (however we define him) is not much interested in healing amputees (He isn't interested at all in fact). I think that is sufficient grounds to with-hold our worship.[/quote:2il6hrge] On what basis can you justify the claim that this divinity-in-question is not interested in us? And I am quite certain if you look - try thinking first - you will find dozens of logical arguments as to why a God would choose not to heal amputees. This argument alone accounts to nothing. view post


posted 08 Mar 2008, 22:03 by anor277, Didact

[quote="jub":126cl13p]On what basis can you justify the claim that this divinity-in-question is not interested in us? And I am quite certain if you look - try thinking first - you will find dozens of logical arguments as to why a God would choose not to heal amputees. This argument alone accounts to nothing.[/quote:126cl13p] Name one such argument; if God intercedes on behalf of cancer victims and those threaened by bush fires, I doubt it will be logical and sound. view post


posted 09 Mar 2008, 01:03 by jub, Peralogue

[quote="anor277":1v5upd97] Name one such argument; if God intercedes on behalf of cancer victims and those threaened by bush fires.[/quote:1v5upd97] Who said God interceds at all? And what's to say this life is just a test? It would be rather silly if the examiner helped you with your final exam don't you think? view post


posted 09 Mar 2008, 23:03 by anor277, Didact

[quote="jub":3qdbiej9][quote="anor277":3qdbiej9] Name one such argument; if God intercedes on behalf of cancer victims and those threaened by bush fires.[/quote:3qdbiej9] Who said God interceds at all? And what's to say this life is just a test? It would be rather silly if the examiner helped you with your final exam don't you think?[/quote:3qdbiej9] I did, for the sake of argument. Earlier, however, you made a claim that dozens of "logical" arguments could be proposed for God's [i:3qdbiej9]pathological[/i:3qdbiej9] dislike of amputees and his stubborn intransigence with regards to answering their prayers. I asked you to voice one of them. view post


posted 10 Mar 2008, 01:03 by jub, Peralogue

[quote="anor277":s5vvgmiu] I did, for the sake of argument. [/quote:s5vvgmiu] I'm not saying that God intercedes. So I'm not sure why you would throw that in. [quote="anor277":s5vvgmiu] Earlier, however, you made a claim that dozens of "logical" arguments could be proposed for God's [i:s5vvgmiu]pathological[/i:s5vvgmiu] dislike of amputees and his stubborn intransigence with regards to answering their prayers. I asked you to voice one of them.[/quote:s5vvgmiu] I made no such claim. You are putting words in my mouth. I never said this God dislikes amputees I also never said this God was stubborn or intransigent. A God that is stubborn? Kinda contradicts the idea of God. However I did say there are dozens of logical arguments that could explain why a God would choose not to heal amputees, or in broader terms, why a God would choose not to intercede in our lives. 1.) It would destroy all the current belief systems as well as social order. 2.) If this God rewarded he would also have to punish in order to keep balance. The link provided before is as useless attempt to hurt current religions and beliefs in a biblical God. It is a pointless rant, backed up by a biased view, by some atheist with a grudge. And please, for future discussion, can we refrain from using a bib lical account of God? It is flawed, we all know it, it's been known since antiquity. view post


posted 10 Mar 2008, 04:03 by anor277, Didact

[quote="jub":2d6nfk5q].......... However I did say there are dozens of logical arguments that could explain why a God would choose not to heal amputees, or in broader terms, why a God would choose not to intercede in our lives. 1.) It would destroy all the current belief systems as well as social order. 2.) If this God rewarded he would also have to punish in order to keep balance. The link provided before is as useless attempt to hurt current religions and beliefs in a biblical God. ................[/quote:2d6nfk5q] I don't think the link is all that useless in its attempt to discredit current religious belief. Granted, a God that heals amputees might seem to provide evidence that God intercedes in our lives, but since God also allows starfish and crabs to regenerate lost limbs, the occasional stump of an amputee growing back an arm or a leg might not excite such comment if He or She had been doing it throughout human history. This might not have the effect of destroying the social order as you suggest, and the amputee might well be of the opinion, "Bugger the social order, give me my lost limb back". After all, as the link demonstrates, many attribute the remission of a cancer patient to God's intercession in actual human life, and this has had no palpable influence on human behaviour and society. At any rate we are attributing to an entity, for which no evidence exists and for whom no evidence can be adduced, potential motives and rationalizations for his imagined behaviour. And if you don't want to use biblical sources, which sources do you want to substitute in their place? view post


posted 10 Mar 2008, 10:03 by Curethan, Didact

Is it not within the realms of possibility that science might find a way to heal amputees? I think that such a thing is not only possible but fairly likely if medical science proceeds at its current rate. Ironic perhaps that it is primarily religious groups who would like to halt such research, eh? ;) view post


posted 10 Mar 2008, 17:03 by Israfel, Peralogue

[quote="jub":jlyhxjod]The link provided before is as useless attempt to hurt current religions and beliefs in a biblical God. It is a pointless rant, backed up by a biased view, by some atheist with a grudge. And please, for future discussion, can we refrain from using a biblical account of God? It is flawed, we all know it, it's been known since antiquity.[/quote:jlyhxjod] I believe that the problem there comes from the fact that most Christians I know object to the accusation that they are 'picking and choosing' their Christianity. However, unless you are taking the bible in its entirety (at least the sections Jesus doesn't openly say he's revoking) completely literally then in a sense you are indeed just picking and choosing* and you have very little ground to stand on when you criticise other variants of Christianity, or even the other Abrahamic religions. You're relying on flawed human reasoning to pick and choose which parts of the good book/equivalents you believe... Of course, if you're fine with that, then there's no problem in not using biblical accounts of God. * (although from the arguments I've seen about how apocrypha got labled as such probably even if you are taking it literally, but that's a different argument) view post


posted 13 Mar 2008, 23:03 by jub, Peralogue

[quote="anor277":oob0qsgk] I don't think the link is all that useless in its attempt to discredit current religious belief. [/quote:oob0qsgk] I would quote all the flaws in his arguments but that would take to long and I don't have the patience. [quote="anor277":oob0qsgk] This might not have the effect of destroying the social order as you suggest, and the amputee might well be of the opinion, "Bugger the social order, give me my lost limb back". After all, as the link demonstrates, many attribute the remission of a cancer patient to God's intercession in actual human life, and this has had no palpable influence on human behaviour and society.[/quote:oob0qsgk] "Aged sir, I who came to you am a god immortal, Hermes. My father sent me dowde and go with youn to guide and go with you. But now I am going back again, and I will not go in before the eyes of Achilleus, for it would make others angry for an immortal god so to face mortal men with favour." From the Iliad book 24. And your example of cancer patients; well if God came down and said "Be Cured!" and all saw this I'm quiet sure this would cause a few ripples through society. Having a Christian, for example, say it was God's intervention that cured them isn't going to turn many heads, but if that person had solid evidence that it was God, well, you see how many people flock to see some so called mircale, imagine if that mircale was proof of God's exsistence. view post


posted 14 Mar 2008, 12:03 by Israfel, Peralogue

I always thought it was a bit rich of Hermes there, since the Greek Gods show favour right left and centre. And of course, the 'make others angry' justification is only one that works for polytheism. I do of course realise you didn't mean that part literally, however... My problem with the fact that it would turn heads by having solid evidence of divine intervention is that it comes down to who arranged things so that they would seem to be 'evidence' - why, it turns out to be God. This is a God who could just have easily have placed a few loopholes in his creation to allow him to effect cures for cancer patients, amputees, sick babies etc, while keeping everything else the same and leaving people to wonder. It doesn't matter if we ourselves can't immediately think, or even ever conceive of such a way. Because this is an [i:3sobvj3m]all-powerful[/i:3sobvj3m], [i:3sobvj3m]all-knowing[/i:3sobvj3m] God who could do things like that, not just some hack off the streets of the Norse pantheon... :wink: view post


posted 16 Mar 2008, 07:03 by jub, Peralogue

:lol: I hope you're not refering to Odin? At least he had character :P view post


posted 01 Apr 2008, 00:04 by avatar_of_existence, Peralogue

Uncertain as to the existence of 'a god'. But I will say that for those who think that the truth requires proof: What proof have you that this statement is true? I am, however, a believer in the power of symbols, and have a few around my house because I find them calming (mandalas, crosses, etc.) Sometimes I just need to be reminded that everything is gonna be fine. Even if it's really not, becuase me freaking out about it doesn't help anyone. I also believe in universal consciousness, and I also believe in nothing. No-thing. view post


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