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Do you believe a God exists? posted 06 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Sciborg, you snuck in two posts to my one! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

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.


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).

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.


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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 07 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 07 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;: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: &quot;tellner&quot;: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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 07 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Anonymous, Subdidact

Eastern individualistic religion has always facinated me


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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 08 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;sciborg2&quot;: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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 09 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth21.html">http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth21.html</a><!-- m -->


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:
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.starcourse.org/sources.html">http://www.starcourse.org/sources.html</a><!-- m -->


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 <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> Try to avoid reading the King James version as it is not easy to read. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 10 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 10 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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:

...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."

Taken from Psychology and Religion.

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 you truely have found life should be lived, not accepted 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. This is not to say that it is not true. Who, or what am I to understand the nature and will of God? This only proves that it is not my truth. 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:
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.

Obviously from Thus Spake Zarathustra. I find little comfort in being told what is. 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 11 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Echoex, Auditor

I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly.


Uhh....so what is your definition of a 'huge reply'? view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 11 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Echoex&quot;:23bej0ga
I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly.


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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 12 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 12 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 14 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Anonymous, Subdidact

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Do you believe a God exists? posted 08 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 08 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Deerow, Auditor

I'm sort of inbetween. On the one hand I hope 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 09 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 10 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 14 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 09 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 09 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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 <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s: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 <!-- s:D --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy" /><!-- s:D --> view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 17 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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&#58;//www&#46;belief&#46;net/story/76/story_7665_1&#46;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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 18 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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 <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 18 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Scilvenas, Auditor

Thankee, sai. <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 19 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 19 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 28 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 29 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 30 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by Deerow, Auditor

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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 30 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by target, Auditor

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


Do you believe a God exists? posted 30 August 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? 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


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