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JediMaster12
03-13-2007, 02:57 PM
Thread split from "Your Views on Atheism". Carry on all Theism/Atheism discussions here. Thanks, Jae

Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods. More often they are characterized as being persons of science, that they'd rather have it shown to them in some proof rather than relying on things like faith or Divine Mercy. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion because I have colleagues who think the same way.

My department chair is a professed atheist. He loves his course on Primatology and African archaeology and will argue with you the limitations of having faith. Needless to say that I have learned some if not all of my debate skills from him. Most of the department of Anthropology at my school could be considered atheist since they don't recognize the higher power thing except in terms of anthropological study.

Atheism is not the same as paganism, which is discussed in another thread. However with SykoRevan's enlightenment on the stereotyping and the like, what I can say is that stereotypes exist because there is a significant majority of that group that has those characteristics. When I was in Chicago, most people thought that us Californians were all blonded haired and beach bums. I am not going to deny it but it does exists. In S. CA, there are still the stereotypes of the pachucos going around, especially in LA. It's the world we live in. To come out and say that atheists aren't citizens is a blatant disregard for the Constitution.

The Constitution guarantees citizenship regardless of race or creed. I would go through specific ammendments but I won't. It seems to me that the ulta conservatives and Christian fundamentals aren't reading their Bibles enough or the Constitution. Since I work with people who are pagans and atheists, I don't judge. Rather my opinion is based upon their work ethic and contribution to the academic world. I know that there are some on this forum who find it hard to believe that I can live in a world of science and yet still have a professed faith in Christianity but like I said, it's the way I am. In fact I get the third degree at least once a week on my reading materials. If carrying a dictionary on witchcraft is bad, evolution and primatology texts come second and I am on the edge of being called a pagan though mach generously said that I am far from it. The point is that atheism is a belief or idea that should be respected within this country (USA). The only problems I tend to have is when there are the extreme atheists who try to have certain phrases like that last line in the Declaration of Independence that goes, "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." I think that people forget that when this country was founded, the men who wrote these document were Enlightened men. They did have interest in science and literature, we get natural law from this, and besides that, the only thing that they had to base our laws upon with the Good Book. I used to say to my mother that all they had was a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other. This is grossly simplified but the point is that the founding fathers were Enlightened men but they also had the Bible too. True that most of the laws we have come from English common law but the principles are still from the Bible. I think that people, atheist and non-atheists, forget that.

Atheism is a system that doesn't bother me. You could say that I am tolerant of it though I loathe the term and have lack of a better word. I don't judge people for being atheistic because, well some of the best scholars that I associate with are atheists. It doesn't matter to me. What is important to me are the ideas in research. Yes, I am an academic but even as a young child, it never bothered me that people were of different colored skin. I never try to force people to see my point of view becuase I accepted the idea that point of view is a way of truth, depending on the individual.

Achilles
03-13-2007, 04:14 PM
Atheism is the belief that there is no God or gods. I'd like to offer a correction here.

To categorize atheism as a belief is to falsely set it up as the antithesis of theism. I think a more accurate represention is to think of belief as a scale. For atheist n=0; for theist n>0. In other words, atheism isn't an opposite of belief, it is a lack of belief.

what I can say is that stereotypes exist because there is a significant majority of that group that has those characteristics. Could you please point me to a source that supports this? Otherwise, I'm afraid that this is an opinion being mischaracterized as a fact. If it was only meant to be an opinion, that's fine, but your wording doesn't make that very clear.

It seems to me that the ulta conservatives and Christian fundamentals aren't reading their Bibles enough <snip>. Oh goodness, no. Please don't encourage that! That would be very bad for a lot of people (atheist, agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc)
The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:12Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.
Exodus 22:20All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.
2 Chronicles 15:13that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you, you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt. None of those condemned things shall be found in your hands, so that the LORD will turn from his fierce anger; he will show you mercy, have compassion on you, and increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your forefathers, because you obey the LORD your God, keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.
Deuteronomy 13:13-19If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death, because he tried to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.
Deuteronomy 13:6-11
And if you're thinking God isn't talking about you, well...
A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!
Jeremiah 48:10
So, please don't encourage more Bible reading.

I think that people forget that when this country was founded, the men who wrote these document were Enlightened men. They did have interest in science and literature, we get natural law from this, and besides that, the only thing that they had to base our laws upon with the Good Book. Agreed that they were enlightened men, but most people forget that the founding fathers were Deists. They believed in a Creator God but not a personal God. Several of them would most likely be considered atheists by today's standards. Also, we know that at the very least, Jefferson studied Islam and the Greek philosophers (especially while Ambassador to France). Therefore we know that the Holy Bible wasn't their only source of law.

You could say that I am tolerant of it though I loathe the term and have lack of a better word. Agreed! We don't have a term for people that don't believe that Elvis is still alive. Nor do we have a term for people that don't believe they've never been abducted by aliens. We don't have a term for people that don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It seems very silly to me that we have to have a label for people that don't believe in God.

I don't judge people for being atheistic because, well some of the best scholars that I associate with are atheists. 93% of the members of the National Academy of Science are atheists :D

Jae Onasi
03-13-2007, 05:02 PM
I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!'

General view in Bible circles--Christ's sacrifice meant the Law in the Old Testament (from which you quote all those verses) was rendered complete and no longer necessary--Christ's payment for sin superseded any payment required in the OT.
Humor mode way on: I don't think God sat down one day and said "You know, on second thought, I think that rule sucks. I must have been sipping a little too much wine there when I made that one up. Think I'll go change that one and make it all warm and fuzzy."

What I think happened is society developed, and God adjusted the laws according to our development, just like I adjust some of the rules for my kids as they grow older. I don't tell my kids "Don't go in the street at all," anymore, because they're old enough to know to watch for traffic. So the rule got changed to "You can cross the street, but don't play in the street." If we've grown as a society, why wouldn't God want to tailor the rules to our development?

Remind me some time to go re-read some Dawkins and cherry-pick comments that make atheism look horrible. :xp:

Achilles
03-13-2007, 05:33 PM
I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!' I understand your point and I'm very frustrated by the fact that this is going to lead us (the forum, not just you and I) down a path that I've been asking for clarification on, but have yet to receive any.

If the Bible is the source of our morality and not our own sense of reason, then how is it that we have the aptitude to distinguish which verses are correct and which ones aren't? I understand and agree with the argument that times have changed and our moral precepts have changed too, but God's haven't! Theists can't have it both ways. Every time I bring this up the thread dies, because no one seems interested in explaining this to me.

General view in Bible circles--Christ's sacrifice meant the Law in the Old Testament (from which you quote all those verses) was rendered complete and no longer necessary--Christ's payment for sin superseded any payment required in the OT.
Humor mode way on: I don't think God sat down one day and said "You know, on second thought, I think that rule sucks. I must have been sipping a little too much wine there when I made that one up. Think I'll go change that one and make it all warm and fuzzy." Why would God have need to change his mind? If God is the one that makes the rules, then why is the sacrifice of His son necessary? Is God playing by some set of rules that are more powerful than he is? Who created those? Seems to me that if God wanted to break the Covenant and create a new one, He could have just snapped his fingers and made it so. I mean he did create the universe in 6 days :D

Again, theists can't have it both ways. Theists can't cherry-pick the good parts out of the Bible and say that religion is the source for all that's good and pure. It's intellectually dishonest.

What I think happened is society developed, and God adjusted the laws according to our development, just like I adjust some of the rules for my kids as they grow older. I don't tell my kids "Don't go in the street at all," anymore, because they're old enough to know to watch for traffic. So the rule got changed to "You can cross the street, but don't play in the street." If we've grown as a society, why wouldn't God want to tailor the rules to our development? I think that's an interesting hypothesis, but in light of the evidence I think it rings false. I don't have rule for my children that states that it's ok to murder up until age 4, then it's not ok anymore and I doubt that you do either. The "big things" I've always been pretty consistent with, i.e. no fighting, play nice, share, treat others the way you want to be treated, behavior is a choice, etc.

Of course the more they mature the more specific I can be with my example and their application, however the precepts themselves have not changed. Therefore, I don't accept the idea that God encouraged murder, slavery, rape, etc because we weren't ready for the truth.

Remind me some time to go re-read some Dawkins and cherry-pick comments that make atheism look horrible. :xp: Please do. Just realize this would be a fallacy.

Dawkins does not claim to be God, nor do his texts claim to be the inerring source of morality for all mankind.

Jae Onasi
03-13-2007, 07:28 PM
I understand your point and I'm very frustrated by the fact that this is going to lead us (the forum, not just you and I) down a path that I've been asking for clarification on, but have yet to receive any. That's probably because we don't have a brilliant answer for you. :) It's not a topic that comes up during church or Sunday school services--when we study topics, we're studying things that are relevant for today in our lives. I've never seen a discussion on 'Ancient Rape Law in the Old Testament and How It Applies Today in Christian Life.' :)
It's a tough question to answer and I haven't figured out where to look yet, and I haven't had a ton of time to search like I'd like to in order to find an answer for both of us. I don't know if there's a cultural/historical context I'm missing, an interpretation context, a canon context (i.e. was there debate over whether it should have been included in the Bible in the first place), and so forth. Someone has to have addressed this (because you're not the first atheist to ask that question), but I don't know who and where to find the answer right now.

If the Bible is the source of our morality and not our own sense of reason, then how is it that we have the aptitude to distinguish which verses are correct and which ones aren't? I understand and agree with the argument that times have changed and our moral precepts have changed too, but God's haven't! Theists can't have it both ways. Every time I bring this up the thread dies, because no one seems interested in explaining this to me.I don't think it's a lack of interest, it's a lack of an answer. The other issue is that for a Christian or theist, the question 'Why has God changed?' is a very odd one. For us, the obvious answer is "God hasn't changed--we have."
Only thing I can think of is that 5000 years ago we were different people, we needed different rules, and God changed the rules as we changed and grew. I don't know if that's even close to a right answer, either.

Why would God have need to change his mind? If God is the one that makes the rules, then why is the sacrifice of His son necessary? Is God playing by some set of rules that are more powerful than he is? Who created those? Seems to me that if God wanted to break the Covenant and create a new one, He could have just snapped his fingers and made it so. I mean he did create the universe in 6 days :D
Does He need to change His mind to change the rules?
The necessity for God the Son's sacrifice has had dozens and possibly hundreds of books written about it--huge topic to tackle. :)
If God's omniscient/omnipotent, then He only has to operate on His own set of rules.
God certainly is _able_ to break His covenant, but that would mean breaking His promise to us. He doesn't break His word.


I think that's an interesting hypothesis, but in light of the evidence I think it rings false. I don't have rule for my children that states that it's ok to murder up until age 4, then it's not ok anymore and I doubt that you do either.Neither of my kids had the physical capacity for murder at that age, so that example isn't relevant. It was OK for my kids to poop the diapers until they were physically and cognitively able to use the toilet (for lack of a more pleasant example :) ). Now they have to use the toilet for elimination, not their pants.

Of course the more they mature the more specific I can be with my example and their application, however the precepts themselves have not changed. Therefore, I don't accept the idea that God encouraged murder, slavery, rape, etc because we weren't ready for the truth.
I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.

Please do. Just realize this would be a fallacy.
Dawkins does not claim to be God, nor do his texts claim to be the inerring source of morality for all mankind.
Humor mode way on: Somehow, that makes me feel a lot better. :D

TK-8252
03-13-2007, 07:46 PM
I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.

No, but it says how when men conquer a town, they should do something like "have all the virgins for themselves."

Nancy Allen``
03-13-2007, 07:54 PM
Isn't there somewhere in the Bible where it says the law takes presidence over carrying out your religion? Maybe that's why you don't see many witch burnings these days.

Not to say I believe in Harry Potter but there are those who declare themselves witches and the Salem trials were real enough.

Achilles
03-13-2007, 11:08 PM
That's probably because we don't have a brilliant answer for you. :) I don't know that I require a brilliant answer :) I don't know if I'm reading this correctly but it seems as though you may have thrown out your first comment unprepared to back it up if challenged. That isn't a dig. You acknowledge that both verses are there, throw out the fact that one is coveted by believer and the other isn't, and it seems that's supposed to harpoon my argument (although I could be missing some key element in the subtext).

I guess this raises the larger question of: at what point does one accept that faith is not rational? At what point does the lack of evidence become more compelling than delusion (and I use that term in the literal sense, not the inflammatory one)?

If someone backs me into a corner on a subject that I thought I knew well, I have to abandon it until I can come back with something that makes sense. To me, that's learning.

I see atheist getting panned pretty regularly here and it seems to be that the only thing we're truly guilty of is asking uncomfortable questions.

It's not a topic that comes up during church or Sunday school services--when we study topics, we're studying things that are relevant for today in our lives. I've never seen a discussion on 'Ancient Rape Law in the Old Testament and How It Applies Today in Christian Life.' :) I think I may have mentioned before that I spend quite a bit of time lurking in EvCforum.net. I am generally uniformly impressed with the intellects on both sides of the issues discussed there. The theists and the literalist really do know their stuff and are generally prepared to jump head first into Roman culture, contemporary historian, papyrus classifications, etc, so it's not like all the believers are Bible-thumpers jumping into a buzz saw.

I say this because in the 3 or 4 years that I've been visiting that site, I haven't seen anyone answer this question without resorting to, "well, we just ignore the ugly parts".

I know this will probably sound controversial, but it may be that the Sunday schools and the seminaries don't bring it up because they don't want to draw attention to it. It might be they don't discuss it because they don't have a reasonable explanation to arm you with. They're probably pretty confident that they can sufficiently convince you to ignore "those annoying atheists" enough that it won't be a problem.

Unfortunately, it does nothing to address the glaring contradictions (and their implications) that exist in the Bible.

It's a tough question to answer and I haven't figured out where to look yet, and I haven't had a ton of time to search like I'd like to in order to find an answer for both of us. I don't know if there's a cultural/historical context I'm missing, an interpretation context, a canon context (i.e. was there debate over whether it should have been included in the Bible in the first place), and so forth. Someone has to have addressed this (because you're not the first atheist to ask that question), but I don't know who and where to find the answer right now. Perhaps someone in your church group would have an answer.

In doing my own search, I was able to find a couple of sites:

Apologetics Index (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/b08.html). This site offers a few "rules of engagement" (some of which are examples of logical fallacies), but offers absolutely nothing in the way of "meat" (i.e. Here's what to say to this particular "contradiction"). It appears to assume that you will automatically know what to say, but in large part, the answer seems to be "well, this is my faith and you can't shake it". Not very intellectually honest.

Countering Bible Contradictions (http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/bible.htm#1). This site is probably more to your liking and seems as though it would be more useful. Unfortunately, after just glancing at a few of the listing, the counter-arguments still seem to be based on circular reasoning and appeal fallacies rather than actual arguments.

Example: "The first thing I would point out is these are likely to be metaphors and it would seem unwise to take such language too literally when describing God."

Ok, so the 1 Tim 6:16/1 Kings 8:12 contradiction isn't a contradiction because we should assume that it's a metaphor? Well, why should we assume that it's a metaphor? This argument wouldn't be very helpful to a Christian at all.

Perhaps there are some other examples that are much more useful and don't rely on fallacious thinking but looking at the first 5 or 6 examples, my hopes aren't high.

I found these sites by typing "contradictions in the bible" and looking down the first page until I found something that wasn't published by atheists. Perhaps you will have better luck with other search terms.

I don't think it's a lack of interest, it's a lack of an answer. The other issue is that for a Christian or theist, the question 'Why has God changed?' is a very odd one. For us, the obvious answer is "God hasn't changed--we have." I don't think there's any denying that we have changed. The concern that non-theists have is that our Biblical moral guidance hasn't changed in 2000 years. What change has come has not come from within the Church, rather the Church has been forced to change to keep up with their followers. For example, yes, Christianity had a big role to play in the abolitionist movement, but that was the flock guiding the Sheppard, not the other way around.

If you take God out of the equation and look at the change in a purely social context, the whole thing suddenly makes sense. Trying to figure it out with God in the picture is like forcing yourself to go swimming in wet jeans and tennis shoes.

And closer to the original point, since God hasn't given us a Bible V.2.1, is it really wise to assume that we shouldn't still be practicing slavery, murder, rape, etc? If God hasn't changed, we have (quoting you), then it would stand to reason that his expectations are still the same and we aren't meeting them. Btw, this is the same thinking that was used when members of the Evangelical Church stated that the 2004 tsunami was God punishing us for not persecuting homosexuals. So it's not like I'm just making this stuff up. :)

Does He need to change His mind to change the rules? That's an excellent question. A literal reading of the Bible (which seems like a safe bet since it's inerrant) would seem to indicate that he changed his mind. I don't like sacrifices anymore, oh wait, I'm going to send an essence of myself down in the form of a man to be sacrificed so that I may be appeased. By the way, I'm doing this so that I can forgive you for something that I should take responsibility for.

The necessity for God the Son's sacrifice has had dozens and possibly hundreds of books written about it--huge topic to tackle. :) It's possible that hundreds of books is an indication of the degree of mental gymnastics that are necessary to make it make sense. Also, if they can't get it right after hundreds of books, well... :D

If God wanted to forgive us, he could have just forgiven us. He didn't need an elaborate 30 year plan when he decided that flooding the Earth was wrong and that he wouldn't do it anymore. He just said that he wouldn't do it anymore. Omnipotence is powerful like that ;)

If God's omniscient/omnipotent, then He only has to operate on His own set of rules. Ok, then I've clearly introduced another big fat hairy problem for us to dialog about. God makes the rules, but he makes them unreasonably convoluted. To which most Christians will reply, "we cannot understand the mind of God". To which I reply, "We seem to understand it well enough to know that it's ok to go against his doctrines for murder, rape, and slavery. Not to mention that we're uncannily able to pick out where he's being metaphorical".

It doesn't add up.

Neither of my kids had the physical capacity for murder at that age, so that example isn't relevant. It was OK for my kids to poop the diapers until they were physically and cognitively able to use the toilet (for lack of a more pleasant example :) ). Now they have to use the toilet for elimination, not their pants. This is a strawman. Since we don't have any record of children committing homicide at age 4, perhaps 10 would be more plausible. Assuming that you own a firearm and taught your children gun safety, did you wait until they were 10 to teach them that hurting other people was wrong or was that something that you indoctrinated them to from a very young age?

Proper use of the toilet is a complete strawman to this discussion (unless you can explain the moral implication of Pampers :D)

Norms, values, etc are critical to social creatures and enculturation begins at birth (some would argue before). To say that God changed His mind about slavery (in the face of evidence that he did not) is still stating that God sometimes changes His mind.

I see no laws that say "Thou shalt go commit rape." God didn't _encourage_ rape/slavery--He gave laws to govern man's already bad situation to keep it from getting worse. Those laws were a vast improvement on what existed in the entire region of that time.
Numbers 31:7-18
Judges 5:30
Judges 21:10-24
Deuteronomy 20:10-14
Deuteronomy 21:10-14
Deuteronomy 22:23-24
Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Zechariah 14:1-2 (this reference should not be considered. Thanks to Ambrose for the correction below)

For those of you following along but don't have a Bible of your own, you can find an online version here (http://www.biblegateway.com/). Jae has mentioned that she prefers the New International Version (NIV).

Humor mode way on: Somehow, that makes me feel a lot better. :D That's a little sad, because despite his strident delivery, a great deal of what he has to say makes sense.

Ambrose
03-14-2007, 02:06 AM
Zechariah 14:1-2

You're taking that WAAAY out of context.

(New American Bible, Zechariah 14:1-2)

A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.

He's talking about Jerusalem being ransacked, Jewish women raped by outsiders, and half of the people exiled. This is CERTAINLY not condoning rape. It's saying that this is what the evil armies who oppose God's people will do to Jerusalem. Unless I'm thinking of another passage, many biblical scholars believe that this is a prediction of the apocalypse very similar to that in Revelations.

Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned.

TK-8252
03-14-2007, 02:08 AM
Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned.

Except in... all of the other verses he listed.

Achilles
03-14-2007, 02:18 AM
You're taking that WAAAY out of context.
<snip>
He's talking about Jerusalem being ransacked, Jewish women raped by outsiders, and half of the people exiled. I suppose I had not read it in that context before. Thank you. I learned something today.

Not that it matters, because the point is made: no where in the Bible is rape condoned. I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. I gratefully concede this point, but not all of them. :)

Ambrose
03-14-2007, 02:56 AM
I suppose I had not read it in that context before. Thank you. I learned something today.

I think you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. I gratefully concede this point, but not all of them. :)

I'm getting there, hold your horses ;)

EDIT- Sorry, had some clarity errors, and left out some verses by mistake. It's all fixed now though :)

Except in... all of the other verses he listed.

Did you personally look up all of those verses, and the chapters they are in to ensure they are in context? If not, please don't make such assumptions.

I did. This is all my own hasty analysis from the past 40 minutes with my trusty Bible and BibleGateway for copying and pasting, so I'm sure it's not perfect, but I think it will suffice handily.

Judges 5:30

This is a canticle, and the particular passage is a quotation from some princes describing what is probably taking the men so long in returning from battle.

"'Are they not finding and dividing the spoils:
a damsel or two for each man,
colorful garments as plunder for Sisera,
colorful garments embroidered,
highly embroidered garments for my neck—
all this as plunder?'"

There is no implication that rape is condoned. It's a song about battle, and this is a woman wondering what the heck is taking so long in the mens' return.

Judges 21:10-24

This passage discusses how the Israelites plan to restore Benjamin's tribe, which they just destroyed, out of sorrow for what they have done. Unfortunately there are few female survivors. The Israelites rounded up 400 virgins (virgins for obvious reasons) that may be courted by the survivors to thus preserve the tribe. Maybe a bit totally anti-feminist, but definately not rape.

Numbers 31:7-18

I'm sure you've noticed that the Old Testament is quite violent and that God is quite fervent in his smiting of wrongdoers. I'll explain why this is so different from the New Testament some other day (it's getting late), but for now let's work under the assumption that the sacking of Midian was just.

Anywho, wikipedia explains the passage quite well.

"Toward the close of the forty years' wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness, the Midianites ally with the Moabites against the Israelites, in asking Balaam the son of Beor to curse the Israelites (Numbers 22); however, Balaam refuses, and prophesies future greatness for Israel (Numbers 24). Subsequently Israelites coexisted peacefully with Moabites and Midianites (Numbers 25). However, Israel suffered a plague which was blamed on Israelite participation in the local religion and sexual immorality. For this reason, according to the Torah, Moses was ordered by God to punish the Midianites. He dispatched against them an army of 12,000 men, under Phinehas the priest; this force defeated the Midianites and slew all their males, including their five kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. These five kings may have been the rulers of the five clans descended from their eponymous folk-ancestor's sons.

"It may be noted that these five princes of Midian are called by Joshua[14] the vassals of Sihon, the Amorite king of Heshbon. It is possible that Sihon had previously conquered Midian and made it a vassal, and that after his death the Midianites recovered their independence. The Israelite soldiers set on fire all the cities and fortresses of the Midianites, carried the women and children into captivity, and seized their cattle and goods. God later ordered Moses to have the Israelites slay every Midianite male child and every woman, sparing only the female virgins."

I believe the implication is that female virgins were spared because they were often perceived as simply being more "innocent" than basically anyone else in society. That's a belief commonly referenced in the Bible. And why would the Israelites lead a battle against a people for their sexual immorality, and THEN just turn around and rape a bunch of virgins? Certainly, that makes no sense, and if anyone were trying to fabricate a religion, that absolutely BLATANT hypocrisy wouldn't have been included.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midianites

Deuteronomy 20:10-14

I'm sure you are in particularly referencing to this:

"Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you."

This does not imply rape. It implies that the captured women be integrated into the society. However, they are often considered "spoils" because often an Israelite would fall in love with and marry a captive woman. Your next passage actually deals with this matter quite handily. Putting Deuteronomy 20 and 21 together clearly shows that there was no rape involved in this.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Here is the passage:

"When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive,

"and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself,

"then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall (F)shave her head and trim her nails.

"She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.

"It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her."

Quite contrary to RAPING these captive virgins, the author DEMANDS that they "not be mistreated." Furthermore, they may not "have relations" (sexual, obviously) until they are married (which may only occur a month minimum) after the proposition.

Definitely no rape there.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24

This seems to condemn rape to me. No idea where you're coming from.

Zechariah 14:1-2

Already dealt with this one.


In conclusion, while I certainly wouldn't disagree if you said that the Old Testament implies (to say the least) a male dominance in society, there is absolutely no implication that rape is ok. None whatsoever. Quite to the contrary, captured women (the "spoils") are "not to be mistreated."

Edit:
Sorry for the double (or triple now, yikes) post, but I think its valid that I draw attention to the fact that my previous post (above now) was garbled and mixed up, but all fixed up now. If it didn't make sense, please give it a reread, it's all fixed up.

tk102
03-14-2007, 03:20 AM
I'm going to ramble because it's late here.

What are my views of atheists? From my point of view, atheists see the universe as well, dead. (I'm more of a panentheist.) It seems to me, and please correct me where I'm mistaken, that to an atheist, a living human is really just a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. We are stardust. In that sense, we aren't different from other matter in the universe.

I assume atheists, therefore, are monists -- that is they believe in materialism and that mental phenomenon are side-effects of chemical processes. After all, chemical properties can be measured and studied. The brain's electrical activity can be measured. But what about the mind? Can this be measured and predicted and fully understood? Is there a belief by atheists that by studying the brain exhaustively using powerful computers etc., the human mind could essentially be predicted and understood in full? What a feat it would be for the human mind to fully encapsulate itself when logically no other closed system can fully describe itself. But I digress.

So what is life to an atheist? Something similar to a burning match that eventually gets blown out? I know atheists ascribe morality as something that can be derived through deductive reasoning and empathy, so I assume value is placed on life because it is an ordered system of high-complexity that's impossible for us to recreate?

I look at physicists searching for the fundamental thing that all the universe is comprised of. I wonder how many of them think of the universe as unliving and how many of them think of it as Brahman?

Achilles
03-14-2007, 03:45 AM
I want to start this off by personally thanking you for your response. You've put forth more effort than several others that have come up against these questions and I sincerely appreciate your concern with furthering my education.

Ok...
Judges 5:30
I think that referring to women as "spoils" and "plunder" is a pretty clear indication of what transpires. It may be that I've read too many histories of the Norse, but it would seem that the translation is universal. :)

Judges 21:10-24
I think forceably abducting women to "take them as wives" is what is says it is.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14
You and I obviously disagree on what it means to take a women as "plunder". The word itself carries a lot of negative baggage, however you opt to apply it in a very positive way. Considering it's context (i.e. Killing all the men in verse 13), I do not agree that your interpretation is the correct one.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14
I'm going to disagree with you based on the following:

"and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife."

My (limited) understanding of Biblical language understands this to be a reference to a specific act (trying to keep it PG-13, Mods). My (limited) understanding is that this is a common euphemism.

Compounded by the reference that she should only be released if he is not happy with her and that he cannot sell because he "dishonored" her (presumably because she is no longer a virgin, but possibly because she's been a captive, which doesn't seem likely in light of the contextual application of women's rights), I do think that is talking very specifically about rape.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24
Verse 24 specifically states that both the man and the woman should be killed if she is raped. She should die because she did not scream for help and the man because he violated another man's wife. I suppose that I could concede the point that by not screaming for help the act was consensual, however the implication that she should have screamed makes me think that it is not. This analysis is further supported by the juxtaposition of verses 25-27 which mention rape specifically. It would seem that 23-27 are a handbook for city rape vs. country rape.

Furthermore, the man is punished, not for raping a woman, but for befouling another man's property.

In conclusion, I feel that my argument stands. Before you go through too much effort to refute my position further, I want to let you know that for the sake of this discussion, I am completely willing to concede every one of your points in the interest of moving on to slavery or murder. In these cases, the need to rely on euphemisms for context is considerably reduced.

Sincere thanks once again for your reply.

PS: Mods, if you deem this off-topic, pretty please split it out rather than delete it. Ambrose and I really did put a lot of work into this. Thanks in advance.

"Views on Atheists" is so broad a topic that not too much is going to be off-topic. :) I appreciate you all taking care with whoopee euphemisms, too. :D --Jae

Achilles
03-14-2007, 05:14 AM
From my point of view, atheists see the universe as well, dead. (I'm more of a panentheist.) It seems to me, and please correct me where I'm mistaken, that to an atheist, a living human is really just a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. We are stardust. In that sense, we aren't different from other matter in the universe. I absolutely disagree with your first sentence and the last. I agree with the others with the caveat that your take sounds rather morose.

First, I think the evidence shows that the universe is anything but dead. Everything is moving all the time! Considering that our technology can't even take us outside our own solar system, I think it's way too early in the race to discount life, intelligent or no, elsewhere in the universe.

If I may take (un)poetic license with the point I think you're driving to here: I picture a person on a high wire. The fall is long and sure lethal but for those that see inherent (maybe "external" would be a better word here) "purpose" in the universe there is a safety net. For those that don't view purpose as inherent (by way of the Divine), there is no safety net, but in exchange they get handrails.

I remember the first time I realized that there is nothing underneath us (the Earth). If gravity were to stop right now, our planet would fall away from the Sun and continue to fall forever. No bottom. Anywhere. Scares the bejesus outta me everytime I give is serious thought.

But the good news is that gravity is there and will keep us circling the Sun until it goes supernova in a few billion years. I won't be alive then, so that doesn't bother me too much. Anyone that is alive will probably live in a society so technologically advanced that they'll be safely colonized in another solar system by then, so I'm not terribly worried about them either. And if I'm wrong and gravity does suddenly stop tomorrow, there probably isn't a single thing I can do about it.

This frees me up to worry about other things like did I tell my children that I loved them enough today or which charities I'm going to contribute to this month or if I should spend less time in LF and more on doing my homework, etc.

What seems like a rather...peculiar... choice to me would be to spend all that extra bandwidth on trying to divine the nature of an invisible man that lives in the sky. Whether or not I'm doing the things he wants me to do. If he's going to like me enough when I die. All of which I would do for absolutely no reason other than a book written in the Bronze Age tells me that I should.

Yes, current theories in biochemistry and other branches of science are giving us good scientific reason to think that we are "nothing more" than a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. Is that really so terrible? Are we so needy as a species that we really must feel inherently superior to every other thing in the universe. We take a plant and look at it under a microscope. We can see it's cellular structure. We can do chemistry experiments in a lab to determine whether or not it has potasium. We can disect animals and see their respiratory systems, their nervous systems. We can look at them under a microscope and look at their cellular structure. We can conduct chemistry experiments on them. Yet we can do the same things with human beings and somehow compartmentalize that we're somehow different. For some reason special.

Because we do this in the Western World in 2007 A.D. we attribute this specialness to the Christian God. If we were a few thousand miles further East, we could vehemently insist that it's actually the Jewish God we have to thank. A few hundred miles in any direction from there and we'd be thanking Allah. Change demographics to time and 1000 years ago...well, we probably wouldn't be doing that, but if we were we'd be thanking those three Gods but also Odin, Ataguchu, or maybe even Amateras-Ohmikami. A thousand year earlier and you'd only have one of those three gods, but you'd also have Jupiter, Mithras, etc. A few more thousand years, you'd have none of the three original gods, but you would have Isis, Zeus, and a myriad of others.

Of all the gods that have ever existed to console us as we live and die, almost all of them have been dismissed as fable and written off as myth (some thanks they get for what they did for all of us). But for some reason we only give credence to those that we worship right now.

What (arguably) makes us different is consciousness. Yes, it is a mystery, but considering that 150 years ago DNA was literally unheard of and that 50 years before that we attributed disease to God's wrath, I don't think it's too much to ask that we give scientific advances a little more time before we judge science incapable of telling us what makes us human.

So no, we are not "no different" from the other matter of the universe. We are different because we are conscious, but that does not make us inherently special. Yes, we are comprised of the same bits, but that shouldn't be a surprise. We should be ok with that.

I assume atheists, therefore, are monists I cannot speak for all Atheists, but I don't subscribe to dualism. I can't imagine that other Atheist do either, but I won't presume too much.

But what about the mind? Can this be measured and predicted and fully understood? Is there a belief by atheists that by studying the brain exhaustively using powerful computers etc., the human mind could essentially be predicted and understood in full? I think that answer to all these question is "yes, someday, but probably not right now". Why is this a bad thing?

So what is life to an atheist? The same thing as it is to a theist without the need to assign things to external sources.

Something similar to a burning match that eventually gets blown out? Cold, but apt. We all die. This is a fact of life. Some people take comfort in the idea that there will be another, eternal life after this one, but isn't that sometimes an excuse for inaction in this one? If you instead you knew that this was the only one you had, would you work in a job that you hate or spend every night getting drunk with the same 3 guys (easy, Jae :D). Wouldn't this realization give your life more meaning?

In ancient times, things were rough. A minor infection was life-threatening. Average life expectancy for a man was 20 years. Some cultures didn't name their children until they survived their first winter. War, famine, disease. Warlord comes through and enslaves all your people. I imagine that the idea of an eternal, blissful afterlife seemed like a life-preserver to those without modern science, medicine, or criminal justice systems. The fact that these stories were important to them and passed down to future generation is no surprise at all. The fact that so many people, due to enculturation, still believe them (and believe them passionately) today is not a surprise either. However modern religiosity is not a testament to the truth of those stories, but rather the power of enculturation.

I do not believe that religion is the root of all evil, but if you put on your atheist hat for just a minute and take a look at all the religiously-inspired war, genocide, and general strife that is going on in the world TODAY, I think that the experience would be consciousness-raising. If that experience did raise your consciousness it would be very difficult for you to view religion the same way again.

Yes, there are some very beautiful, wonderful things that also happen in this world and some of them even take place under the pretense of religion. But religion is not required. Those good things can and do happen without it. The good feeling you get for helping an old lady across the street doesn't go away or diminish, in fact, I'd say it becomes more rewarding because you know you did it because it was right and not because God expects you to. The flip side is that doing stupid things is also twice the "doh" because you no longer have Satan to blame it on (i.e. more incentive to behave morally).

I know atheists ascribe morality as something that can be derived through deductive reasoning and empathy, so I assume value is placed on life because it is an ordered system of high-complexity that's impossible for us to recreate? There are several scientific studies that show how ethical and moral behavior gives animals competitive advantage and can be naturally selected through evolutionary process. If you would be interested in learning more about them, I'd be happy to share some resources, but I'm way too tired to try to type it all out right now.

But to summarize, yes, there is strong scientific evidence for morality outside of religion. This (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=176565) is probably more philosophical than scientific, but it might be a good start.

I look at physicists searching for the fundamental thing that all the universe is comprised of. I wonder how many of them think of the universe as unliving and how many of them think of it as Brahman? I think it's very telling that 93% of the members of National Academy of Science are atheists, yet most scientist will tell you that they do their work because they find it fascinating, wonderful, and magical. Giving up one very narrow world-view can open you up to much larger experiences.

*steps off soapbox*

Thanks for reading. I hope I provided some value to the discussion.

Ambrose
03-14-2007, 10:23 AM
I think that referring to women as "spoils" and "plunder" is a pretty clear indication of what transpires. It may be that I've read too many histories of the Norse, but it would seem that the translation is universal.

And I would beg to differ. I'll explain why, but first we need to establish this:

Let's go back to that Deuteronomy passage, Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

My (limited) understanding of Biblical language understands this to be a reference to a specific act (trying to keep it PG-13, Mods). My (limited) understanding is that this is a common euphemism.

And I certainly wouldn't disagree. But the passage SPECIFICALLY states that the man must wait a month before the marriage is established before "going in to her". That is certainly not rape. But like I said, I'm not denying that the Old Testament seems to indicate that society is completely male dominated. It's no different from the arranged marriages of the past, which have lasted centuries upon centuries as an institution in ALL religions.

Regardless, there is no rape involved.

Now, that being said, we may make the assumption that taking women as "spoils" (as is described just one chapter before Deuteronomy 21) does NOT entail rape, as it would in many different cultures. How do we know this? Because just after women of the enemy are called "spoils" it is demanded that they "not be mistreated" and not "gone into" until married!

Clearly, in the biblical context the "spoils of war" mean differently than they do today.

In regards to judges 21:10-24...

I think forceably abducting women to "take them as wives" is what is says it is.

I think you need to read it again, the entire chapter (that's actually usually helpful- reading specific verses will cause you to totally miss the context). It is about the Israelites trying to find wives for the survivors of a tribe they wrongfully destroyed.

Verse 24 specifically states that both the man and the woman should be killed if she is raped. She should die because she did not scream for help and the man because he violated another man's wife. I suppose that I could concede the point that by not screaming for help the act was consensual, however the implication that she should have screamed makes me think that it is not.

I'm not sure I get it. You just made my point- the book is saying that if it wasn't consentual and she didn't enjoy it, she would have screamed. Since she didn't it's obvious that she's guilty of adultery.

Furthermore, the man is punished, not for raping a woman, but for befouling another man's property.

He's punished for "violating another man's wife". It's called adultery...

In conclusion, I feel that my argument stands. Before you go through too much effort to refute my position further, I want to let you know that for the sake of this discussion, I am completely willing to concede every one of your points in the interest of moving on to slavery or murder. In these cases, the need to rely on euphemisms for context is considerably reduced.

I think your arguments are just misunderstanding of the passages, which I don't blame you for, because reading the whole Bible and paying attention to context is certainly a pain, and websites with references to offensive VERSES are much easier. But in the future (whether you concede these points or not), I would advise you to read the entire passage, and look up on wikipedia the background information on them as well.

Anyways, I have to go to school so the slavery/murder thing will have to wait. In the meantime though, I certainly concede that many people were killed by the Israelites and God in the Old Testament (like I said before, I'll get to the "why" when I get home at 9PM tonight), and I will also concede that slavery is not condemned and is in fact considered normal in the Old Testament. On the latter, though, note that the Israelite definition of slavery and the American ones are QUITE different. But that's for later.

In the meantime, school beckons.

tk102
03-14-2007, 11:27 AM
I think it's way too early in the race to discount life, intelligent or no, elsewhere in the universe.What I take from this paragraph is that you believe there is something that distinguishes life from non-life.

What seems like a rather...peculiar... choice to me would be to spend all that extra bandwidth on trying to divine the nature of an invisible man that lives in the sky. Whether or not I'm doing the things he wants me to do. I tried to distinctly steer you away from your arguments against personal, theistic religions. The points you make against them often seem valid. However, when it comes to a non-personal pantheistic or panentheistic view, you are using the personal God ("the guy in the clouds") as a straw man.

Yes, current theories in biochemistry and other branches of science are giving us good scientific reason to think that we are "nothing more" than a special concoction of chemical processes that are obeying the laws of thermodynamics. Is that really so terrible? The consequence of this is that it blurs the line between life and non-life. What makes us different than the pile of dirt? We're both made of carbon after all.

<snip theistic critique...>

Of all the gods that have ever existed to console us as we live and die, almost all of them have been dismissed as fable and written off as myth (some thanks they get for what they did for all of us). But for some reason we only give credence to those that we worship right now.Aside: your critiques of the transitory popularity of theistic gods does not apply to religions that consider the universe, everything in it, and what lies beyond to be the Source. Those religions are all the same though they may take different names. The "All" is what is revered.

What (arguably) makes us different is consciousness. Yes, it is a mystery... I don't think it's too much to ask that we give scientific advances a little more time before we judge science incapable of telling us what makes us human.So you do believe that consciousness is capable of being described in full by science. And that it is a derived from chemical and electrical processes no doubt. So that blurs the line between things with consciousness and things without. The farther we go with this, the more we appear alike. :)

I cannot speak for all Atheists, but I don't subscribe to dualism. I can't imagine that other Atheist do either, but I won't presume too much.That's fair. And it is consistent with what you've described so far. You believe in materialism, and that life if a organized matter (though it may be somewhat arbitrary what we describe as life and non-life), and though consciousness is not easily described at this time, that is only due to our limitations in science. Eventually, if I may, it is your belief that the same science that determined life is organized matter, may discover consciousness is organized energy or some such.

The same thing as it is to a theist without the need to assign things to external sources. A panentheist does not believe anything is external. All things are woven from the same thread.

Cold, but apt. We all die. This is a fact of life. Some people take comfort in the idea that there will be another, eternal life after this one, but isn't that sometimes an excuse for inaction in this one? If you instead you knew that this was the only one you had...wouldn't this realization give your life more meaning?Some take comfort in both things at the same time. Truly this life is unique, and it is the only one in which my consciousness as I know it will see the world. When I die, my Self will return and dissolve back into the Source. Both living and dying have meaning.

But to summarize, yes, there is strong scientific evidence for morality outside of religion. This (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=176565) is probably more philosophical than scientific, but it might be a good start.

I think it's very telling that 93% of the members of National Academy of Science are atheists, yet most scientist will tell you that they do their work because they find it fascinating, wonderful, and magical. Giving up one very narrow world-view can open you up to much larger experiences.That was what I understood as well. Seeking the source of the infinite without is as challenging as seeking the source within. May they find what they seek. :)

Achilles
03-14-2007, 01:43 PM
But the passage SPECIFICALLY states that the man must wait a month before the marriage is established before "going in to her". That is certainly not rape. I think you may be operating on the assumption that there's some sort of time limit in effect. At no point does the Bible mention consent.

After the man has gone to her "as a husband" he can set he free, but only if he is unhappy with her. She can ask to go free, but only if he is unhappy with her.

The Bible could tell him to wait a year, but so long as it's not consensual, it's rape. Doesn't even matter if she puts up a fight, it's rape.

Now, that being said, we may make the assumption that taking women as "spoils" (as is described just one chapter before Deuteronomy 21) does NOT entail rape, as it would in many different cultures. How do we know this? Because just after women of the enemy are called "spoils" it is demanded that they "not be mistreated" and not "gone into" until married! I'd like to point out that this appears to contain the special pleading fallacy and begging the question fallacy.

You may be right that in the one specific passage where we are told that they are not to be mistreated, the phrase might be taken to mean "don't rape them". However it might also mean, "make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes" (which again, I believe is the common biblical context for "not mistreating" people. Not an expert. Could be wrong).

Even conceding that point, it doesn't help the other cases where no mention of "not mistreating" women taken captive is made.

I think you need to read it again, the entire chapter (that's actually usually helpful- reading specific verses will cause you to totally miss the context). It is about the Israelites trying to find wives for the survivors of a tribe they wrongfully destroyed. I did read the chapter :) The point is that kidnapping women for sex is kidnapping women for sex, in my mind. It appears that you want to make a case for special pleading, but even I am willing to admit that killing in self-defense is still murder.


I'm not sure I get it. You just made my point- the book is saying that if it wasn't consentual and she didn't enjoy it, she would have screamed. Since she didn't it's obvious that she's guilty of adultery. The part you quoted was my attempt to see things from your perspective. The part you snipped would help explain my point.

He's punished for "violating another man's wife". It's called adultery... Assuming that it's not rape, you're correct. Assuming that it is, I consider it abhorent that the man isn't being punished for traumatizing a woman, rather soiling another man's property.

I think your arguments are just misunderstanding of the passages, which I don't blame you for, because reading the whole Bible and paying attention to context is certainly a pain, and websites with references to offensive VERSES are much easier. I appreciate your opinion, however I believe that it's based on some false assumptions.

In the meantime though, I certainly concede that many people were killed by the Israelites and God in the Old Testament (like I said before, I'll get to the "why" when I get home at 9PM tonight) I look foward to reading it. I would caution you to take care around special pleading though.

Have fun at school :)

PS: My earlier offer to concede your points was to allow you to avoid having to respond. Since you opted to respond, I assumed that you wanted to continue the dialog, hence my reply here.

JediMaster12
03-14-2007, 03:45 PM
I think JediMaster12 was referring to things in the Bible such as 'Love your neighbor as yourself' and not the oft-quoted-by-atheists 'marry your rapist!'
That was my intention. All I am trying to say is that atheists are people like you and me and their opinions should be respected. In an academic sense, their opinion is invaluable because their motive is not based upon religious morality. Just an opinion of course.

Darth InSidious
03-14-2007, 03:51 PM
^Neither is my professional opinion. If you can't separate profesion and person in an academic field, and, as in my case, view historical events within the context of your time, I personally don't think its wise to enter into such a profession.

Achilles
03-14-2007, 03:52 PM
What I take from this paragraph is that you believe there is something that distinguishes life from non-life. Yes. Was that the thrust of your original question? If so, I completely missed that. My apologies.

I tried to distinctly steer you away from your arguments against personal, theistic religions. My apologies for not picking up on your lead. That wasn't clear to me when I read your post.

The points you make against them often seem valid. However, when it comes to a non-personal pantheistic or panentheistic view, you are using the personal God ("the guy in the clouds") as a straw man. Well I certainly didn't intend to do that. Could you please refocus my attention to the specific question that I dodged? I'll be happy to take another crack at it.

The consequence of this is that it blurs the line between life and non-life. What makes us different than the pile of dirt? We're both made of carbon after all. In the spirit of reciprocity, don't you think this is a little bit of a slippery slope argument? :xp:

In fairness, I do think I know where you're going with this (please correct me if I'm wrong). Suppose that within the next 100 years, we develop the software necessary to create computers with true A.I., complete with consciousness and a capacity for happiness and suffering. Would we have a moral obligation to behave ethically toward them?

From a strictly non-theistic perspective, I cannot see a reason why we should not.

If that blurs some demarcation between life and non-life, then I would argue that we have emperical evidence for a need to reevaluate that line. I don't think that we would need to have a dialog about the suffering of all computers, but we would have to change our stance based on new evidence in regards to those computers that do exhibit consciousness.

Aside: your critiques of the transitory popularity of theistic gods does not apply to religions that consider the universe, everything in it, and what lies beyond to be the Source. Those religions are all the same though they may take different names. The "All" is what is revered. I agree that those arguments tend not to apply. I generally give non-theistic "religions" a pass because they are, as a rule, non-dogmatic. I don't think you'll ever hear me go on a diatribe about how socially repressive Buddhism is, or how Deists are blocking advances in science and technology. If you do, please slap me :D

So you do believe that consciousness is capable of being described in full by science. And that it is a derived from chemical and electrical processes no doubt. So that blurs the line between things with consciousness and things without. The farther we go with this, the more we appear alike. :) Yes, I do.
Whoa, fella. I think you're getting ahead of yourself. If you can show me emperical evidence of cosmic decision-making, you win.:xp:

That's fair. And it is consistent with what you've described so far. You believe in materialism, and that life if a organized matter (though it may be somewhat arbitrary what we describe as life and non-life), and though consciousness is not easily described at this time, that is only due to our limitations in science. Eventually, if I may, it is your belief that the same science that determined life is organized matter, may discover consciousness is organized energy or some such. Same as above :D

After science gets around to showing that consciousness is organized energy, you get to show me how the cosmos has one consciousness and maintains it in a system that spans all time and space :xp:

A panentheist does not believe anything is external. All things are woven from the same thread. Perhaps this is a good time for me to ask you to expand on Panentheism a little. Your comments almost sound like you lean more towards Pantheism.

My understanding of Panentheism is that God transcends the universe and is a the source for morality. If that's the case, then I would argue that a Panentheist does believe that some things are external.

I look forward to your response.

Achilles
03-14-2007, 04:02 PM
In an academic sense, their opinion is invaluable because their motive is not based upon religious morality. Just an opinion of course. Hi,
Your argument makes several false assumptions including, but not limited to:

religion is the sole source of morality
religion is a good source of morality
religion is required for moral behavior

Each of these assumptions is patently false. So to exclude non-theistic viewpoints from moral discussion is to commit discrimination with no rational basis.

Thanks.

tk102
03-14-2007, 04:59 PM
complete with consciousness and a capacity for happiness and suffering. Would we have a moral obligation to behave ethically toward them? From a strictly non-theistic perspective, I cannot see a reason why we should not. If that blurs some demarcation between life and non-life, then I would argue that we have emperical evidence for a need to reevaluate that line. I don't think that we would need to have a dialog about the suffering of all computers, but we would have to change our stance based on new evidence in regards to those computers that do exhibit consciousness.I felt like quoting this because I enjoyed it. :)

If you can show me emperical evidence of cosmic decision-making, you win... After science gets around to showing that consciousness is organized energy, you get to show me how the cosmos has one consciousness and maintains it in a system that spans all time and space :xp:In the spirit of reciprocity, maybe we can let science progress a little farther to answer this. :D Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual.

Do believe that if a tree falls in the forest with no one around... no wait let me rephrase the question. Do you believe that a tree actually exists if no one is around or does it only exist in potentiality? (variation of "Schrödinger's cat")

I believe it exists because the universe itself is aware. I'll use an analogy. This rock in my hand seems separate from me. Yet I know that the matter in this rock is really just tightly bound energy whose probabilities have given rise to the properties of solidity, shape, etc. The energies in the rock are the same as elsewhere throughout the universe, only in different proportions and configurations. So in that sense, I'm not different from that rock. Now, in the same way, my consciousness could be analogous to the rock (don't laugh at how dense I am!). So while my consciousness seems quite entrenched with boundaries drawn around it that I call my Self, it could be that the same fundamental forces that shape my consciousness are also dispersed throughout the universe. In that sense, my Self is not different from the Cosmic Self.


Perhaps this is a good time for me to ask you to expand on Panentheism a little. Your comments almost sound like you lean more towards Pantheism. My understanding of Panentheism is that God transcends the universe and is a the source for morality. If that's the case, then I would argue that a Panentheist does believe that some things are external.
You're right, I do sway between the two somewhat when I'm talking about this. Thanks for calling me on that. :) It is bit of a leap of faith that I adhere more towards an panentheistic view. But it follows from the same vein as my critique of being able to encapsulate "consciousness". That is, I take Gödel's Incompleteness theorem as true: "If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent." Such would be case in the human mind describing in full the human mind, or a computer in a universe attempting to perfectly model the universe. Because of this, I take a leap and believe that this universe transcends itself. How can things be both in a state of being and becoming? Both actual and potential? Both particle and wave? Both a singularity and a multiplicity? By assuming self-transcendence, the both-and dialectic can be embraced, and that's what rings true to me the most.

Thanks for listening. :D

JediMaster12
03-14-2007, 05:13 PM
Hi,
Your argument makes several false assumptions including, but not limited to:

religion is the sole source of morality
religion is a good source of morality
religion is required for moral behavior

Each of these assumptions is patently false. So to exclude non-theistic viewpoints from moral discussion is to commit discrimination with no rational basis.

Thanks.
I was not attempting to make an argument since I virtually espoused my ideas that I procured from an expert on sewing in a previous post. I was merely offering the possibility that maybe atheistic outlooks in academia are not as damning as people seem to think but rather have a good side to them. I used religious morality due to mainly that most morals are based in religion. This talk of assumptions being false is of course your point of view. Like me you have assumptions.

TK-8252
03-14-2007, 05:16 PM
Oh yeah, don't forget the lovely story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, the holy man, offers his two virgin daughters to be raped by the men of the town. Is that rape?

Achilles
03-14-2007, 05:41 PM
In the spirit of reciprocity, maybe we can let science progress a little farther to answer this. :D Absolutely. I'll happily go whereever the evidence leads. In the absense of evidence though, I'll exercise my duty to remain skeptical. :D

Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual. Show off...:rolleyes::D

I think this type of discussion speaks to a level of specificity that I generally don't concern myself with (remember, I'm just a layperson). It interests me and I think it's worthwhile, but it almost seems like a red herring in regards to atheism.

Do believe that if a tree falls in the forest with no one around... no wait let me rephrase the question. Do you believe that a tree actually exists if no one is around or does it only exist in potentiality? (variation of "Schrödinger's cat")

I believe it exists because the universe itself is aware. I too believe that the tree is there, but for a different reason: I find no evidence to support the argument that the tree must be observed in order to exist. It's more likely that I don't find this evidence because I truthfully haven't looked for it rather than because it doesn't exist. :D

To use an analogy of my own, I don't compare this existence to the existence of video game characters where modules and the items within them only spawn when called. I don't believe that a transcendent player exists in a particular module when my character is not it in.

I believe that when I go to work, my apartment is still here and vice versa.

If I'm misrepresenting your argument as solipsism and introducing a strawman, I apologize.

I'll use an analogy. This rock in my hand seems separate from me. Yet I know that the matter in this rock is really just tightly bound energy whose probabilities have given rise to the properties of solidity, shape, etc. The energies in the rock are the same as elsewhere throughout the universe, only in different proportions and configurations. So in that sense, I'm not different from that rock. Now, in the same way, my consciousness could be analogous to the rock (don't laugh at how dense I am!). So while my consciousness seems quite entrenched with boundaries drawn around it that I call my Self, it could be that the same fundamental forces that shape my consciousness are also dispersed throughout the universe. In that sense, my Self is not different from the Cosmic Self. That's a very interesting philosophical argument. I'm not sure how we would be able to test that empirically.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the hypothesis is patently false, but I would be "atheistic" towards that because there is no emperical evidence for it. Occam's razor still tells me that individual consciousness as a natural biproduct of complex, localized biochemical reactions is the best answer...at least for now ;)

I was merely offering the possibility that maybe atheistic outlooks in academia are not as damning as people seem to think but rather have a good side to them. I think I misread your post. My apologies.

I used religious morality due to mainly that most morals are based in religion. I still disagree with this though :D

Jae Onasi
03-15-2007, 12:06 AM
Quantum mechanics has broken down our notion of what matter is -- individual particles are now mere possibilities described by Heisenberg and Schrödinger equations. Yet when make observations, the possibility of different states suddenly collapse to either "yes" or "no". We cannot separate ourselves from our world of actuality. Maybe science will determine eventually what causes the collapse of the potential into the actual. Show off...:rolleyes::D

I think this type of discussion speaks to a level of specificity that I generally don't concern myself with (remember, I'm just a layperson). It interests me and I think it's worthwhile, but it almost seems like a red herring in regards to atheism.

I don't know that it's a red herring in regards to atheism--one of the questions that is unanswered by atheism is the original cause of the universe, and that very much involves physics. What locked all that potential energy into that singularity that existed just prior to the Big Bang, and where did it come from? What caused it to explode the universe into being?

Samuel Dravis
03-15-2007, 12:11 AM
"Just prior," to the Big Bang, "before time," etc. To us, something that is caused always comes after what caused it - but if there's no time, then it's hard to figure out what "caused" anything, if indeed it did. Does asking a question that relies on time even make sense in this context?

Achilles
03-15-2007, 12:55 AM
I'll concede Jae's point and agree with Samuel Dravis'.

Time cannot exist before it has been created, therefore the question (as it was presented) falls flat. Because we currently lack the sophistication to offer a scientific explanation is true and to be expected (it took us about 199,940 years to harness nuclear power after all).

Acknowledging this does not mean that God wins the debate by default (after all it could be the Flying Spaghetti Monster). What it does mean is that we don't know.

Some people choose to give the point to God anyway. People like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins would argue that these people are being intellectually dishonest (albeit not necessarily intentionally so). The first reason why is that there isn't any evidence and one has to purposely maneuver around this fact to get to their view. The second is that one has to ignore the fact that a creator God is undeniably more complex and therefore exponentially more improbable than the thing is believed to have created.

So even though science doesn't have the answer, logic and reasoning can tell us that the answer being some supernatural being is safely within the category of impossibility. It will remain there until some evidence shows us otherwise.

Ambrose
03-15-2007, 01:07 AM
I think you may be operating on the assumption that there's some sort of time limit in effect. At no point does the Bible mention consent.

After the man has gone to her "as a husband" he can set he free, but only if he is unhappy with her. She can ask to go free, but only if he is unhappy with her.

The Bible could tell him to wait a year, but so long as it's not consensual, it's rape. Doesn't even matter if she puts up a fight, it's rape.

In that case, rape has been a normal part of daily life for millenia. Arranged marriage has been a simple fact of life basically until the later 1800s, and still continues today in many countries. One of my best friends' grandparents were married in an arranged marriage (they're Indian).

In fact, the marriage of Mary and Joseph was an arranged marriage, unless I'm much mistaken.

As Americans, we tend to operate under a very different culture from that of the past millenia. I daresay that this culture has been quite the contributing factor in our outlook on things. Let's face it- if you lived about a thousand years ago, you really wouldn't have a problem with arranged marriage.

I personally don't like the idea of arranged marriage either, and fortunately neither do most people. Which is why it doesn't happen any more. I don't think God demanded that the victorious Israelites MUST marry the captive women; therefore, since we now have a more modern outlook on things, we are certainly not obliged nor obligated to marry female captives of a conquered country.

In any event, the fact is this- we are products of our time. Outlooks on women have obviously changed. You may think that arranged marriage is wrong, and in the modern world, where women are well-educated and quite capable of thinking for themselves, I would totally agree with you. Arranged marriage (very much like marrying captive women against their wills) just wouldn't work in this century. Which is why it doesn't happen anymore, save in less modern areas of the world.

In the past, however, when women were more, for lack of a better word, docile (not to mention helpless), arranged marriage could easily work. I'd argue that most women would be more than pleased to be chosen as a man's wife, because the basic fact of the matter is that in those times women could NOT function on their own. That's historical fact.

So you have to think in an Old-Testament timeframe. It's probably accurate to say that being chosen to be an Israelite's wife would be a blessing to one of these captured virgins.

You may be right that in the one specific passage where we are told that they are not to be mistreated, the phrase might be taken to mean "don't rape them".

The book of Deuteronomy is all written by one person (Moses, I think). If you're arguing based on the continuity of the passage in regards to the rest of the Bible, I think you should rethink- would someone write "Capture and rape women to your bloody lustful heart's content" and then on the next page suggest that the captured women "not be mistreated"? Not likely.

Even conceding that point, it doesn't help the other cases where no mention of "not mistreating" women taken captive is made.

If it's said once, why can't we assume it's a uniform law throughout?

However it might also mean, "make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes" (which again, I believe is the common biblical context for "not mistreating" people. Not an expert. Could be wrong).

Do you honestly think the Bible is saying this: "Make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes... but sexually mistreat them all you like, I don't care."?

Assuming that it's not rape, you're correct. Assuming that it is, I consider it abhorent that the man isn't being punished for traumatizing a woman, rather soiling another man's property.

I'm not in the Bible-writer's head, so I don't know exactly why he worded it that way, but here's my assumption. There is no "thou shalt not rape" in the Bible. Then again, there is no "Thou shalt not look down thy neighbor's wife's shirt" either. Why? Because both fall under other commandments. The first is "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and the second one is under "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife". It's that simple- Moses took the 10 commandments quite seriously (given that he's the one who received them), and he's just connecting the crime to the appropriate commandment.

Alrighty, now for my talk about why the Old Testament is so much more violent than the new one.

First, the Old Testament...

God made his laws. He put humans on earth and expected them to uphold his laws. They didn't. The situation spiraled out of control, and evil consumed his creation. God saw this with dismay and seriously considered destroying the world because it had all seemed to turn against him. But He loved his creation so much that in spite of all of this, He would give humanity a second chance. He loaded Noah and the animals onto a boat and flooded the earth. Now we've got a clean slate, moving on to Old Testament part 2.

Years and years later things start to stagnate again. God's followers are now slaves to the pagan Egyptians, and are cruelly mistreated. He chats with Moses, and they are led out of Egypt. The Israelites become God's people. Yet there are those who hate God's people in the world, and those who openly hate or disdain God. God begs these people to repent, but they don't listen, and with a heavy heart, God and his people are led into countless wars.

This goes on for quite awhile, and God is getting discouraged. No matter what he does, it seems humanity will not listen to Him, and he is grieved every time he must exact punishment on those who do not uphold his laws (and oftentimes this punishment was death).

God decides he's had enough of mass killings and the like. Here's where Jesus comes in.

The New Testament:

To put an end to divine retribution, God selflessly comes to Earth as Jesus. We all know the story. Stricken with grief over the seemingly endless bloodshed, Jesus preaches peace and love to the world. At the end of His life, Jesus dies for us.

Here's where my basic theory emerges. Many Christians don't know the specifics of why Jesus had to die for us, aside from vague things like "to forgive our sins". So here's where I'm speculating.

Jesus died to suffer the punishments that all of humanity to come would incur upon themselves, so did he love us. Now that Jesus has died on the cross and suffered the punishment that we earned for ourselves, we do not have to die like the evil individuals in the Old Testament do. That's why Jesus preached nonviolence and loving one's neighbors; he knew that he would soon take humanity's need for divine killings away, so he prepared them for peace.

But now the matter arises of, "ok, Jesus died for me, now I get to go to heaven."

Uh... not necessarily. Jesus' death was a gift to humanity. A gift is something freely given and freely received, it is not imposed. It is up to us to accept that gift, and we do that by living out His word (a concept quite biblically supported) and loving Him.

So that's my spiel. The New Testament is far more peaceful because Jesus already suffered out of love for us the divine retribution that we deserve.

Achilles
03-15-2007, 02:54 AM
In that case, rape has been a normal part of daily life for millenia. Arranged marriage has been a simple fact of life basically until the later 1800s, and still continues today in many countries. You're assuming that this is an arranged marriage. I am not. Your introduction of arranged marriage is a strawman in regards to this discussion.

So you have to think in an Old-Testament timeframe. It's probably accurate to say that being chosen to be an Israelite's wife would be a blessing to one of these captured virgins. Well then why wouldn't they go willingly? Why stipulate that they would need 30 days to mourn? Your argument doesn't seem to hold up in the context of the passage that we are discussing.

The book of Deuteronomy is all written by one person (Moses, I think). If you're arguing based on the continuity of the passage in regards to the rest of the Bible, I think you should rethink- would someone write "Capture and rape women to your bloody lustful heart's content" and then on the next page suggest that the captured women "not be mistreated"? Not likely. I think you've captured the significance of bible contradictions. If this document is the inerrant word of God to be taken as his covenant unto us, then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery...or contradictions.

If it is not the inerrant word of God, but rather a collection of stories and fables passed down by the wisest men of the Bronze Age, then I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

If it's said once, why can't we assume it's a uniform law throughout? I suppose we can, but that knife cuts both ways. Are you sure this is a tack that you want to take?

Do you honestly think the Bible is saying this: "Make sure they are fed, don't make them sleep in the rain, make sure you give them clean clothes... but sexually mistreat them all you like, I don't care."? This is an Appeal to Ridicule.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Based on my understanding of the Old Testament time frame, it's consistent. Remember this is the same book that says that you are not to be punished for beating your slaves unless you go too far and kill them. I think you might be looking at this in modern context and not the context it was written in.

I'm not in the Bible-writer's head, so I don't know exactly why he worded it that way, but here's my assumption. There is no "thou shalt not rape" in the Bible. Then again, there is no "Thou shalt not look down thy neighbor's wife's shirt" either. Why? Because both fall under other commandments. The first is "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and the second one is under "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife". It's that simple- Moses took the 10 commandments quite seriously (given that he's the one who received them), and he's just connecting the crime to the appropriate commandment. Please help me understand how "Thou shalt not commit adultery" translates into an admonishment of rape?

If he's not married and she's not married (technically, I suppose it doesn't matter if she is, under this specific commandment), then it isn't adultery. "Thou shalt not fornicate" would be much more specific to your argument, don't you think?

God decides he's had enough of mass killings and the like.I'm assuming this was after 10 plagues? Also, why didn't God make a covenant with Egypt? Why were men allowed to worship other Gods if he had always been God and (at least some) men had knowledge of Him? Why is God so quick to punish Jews for the slightest infraction, yet he holds back on the Egyptians long enough to let them establish the most sophisticated civilization that existed up until that time?

Wow, that was a lot of questions. Sorry.

Here's where Jesus comes in.Just so I'm clear:
In order to rectify the effects that came about because of _______'s evil (I'll have to wait for your response to my earlier question before I fill in the blank), God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to appease himself and forgive his creation for their sins, which are all the result of _______'s evil.

Am I with you so far?

EDIT: Whoops. Seem to have snipped myself. You had said, "They didn't. The situation spiraled out of control, and evil consumed his creation", to which I replied, "Who created evil?". This didn't make it over for some reason, but it was further up when I responded to it the first time :)

That's why Jesus preached nonviolence and loving one's neighbors; he knew that he would soon take humanity's need for divine killings away, so he prepared them for peace.
Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.Jesus did not come to cancel out the old law.

Mt 10:14-15 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.This doesn't seem consistent with the idea that God came down a Jesus to change his ways.

Mt 10:20-22 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.This doesn't sound like peace.

Mt 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. This clearly is not an appeal to peace, as you stated.

Mt 11:21-24 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. Nor is this.

There's five, just from the first book of the NT.

The NT might be less violent than the OT (a fact I never doubted), but not every book is the Beatitudes either.

Ambrose
03-15-2007, 10:25 AM
You're assuming that this is an arranged marriage. I am not. Your introduction of arranged marriage is a strawman in regards to this discussion.

In arranged marriage, the daughter had no say in who she married. Very much like the circumstances here. It is therefore perfectly relevant. If your definition of rape is marriage without the woman's approval, then arranged marriage is just at much rape as captive-marrying. And therefore the points I mentioned in my above post seem valid enough.

Well then why wouldn't they go willingly? Why stipulate that they would need 30 days to mourn? Your argument doesn't seem to hold up in the context of the passage that we are discussing.

It says that she shall: "mourn her father and mother a full month".

What are you getting at? My assumption is that, when a mother and father die in Israelite culture, there's supposed to be a month of mourning or something. Even if that's not some sort of tradition, I think Moses is speaking for her benefit. Basically, that entire passage is about her essentially becoming and Israelite ("shedding the clothes of her captivity", etc). The mourning is just part of that... if your mother and father died, a month to yourself would doubtlessly be nice.

I think you need to stop assuming that the authors of the Bible were totally and utterly malicious. The month of mourning was obviously for the woman's benefit, and I don't see how you could argue otherwise.

I think you've captured the significance of bible contradictions. If this document is the inerrant word of God to be taken as his covenant unto us, then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery...or contradictions.

If it is not the inerrant word of God, but rather a collection of stories and fables passed down by the wisest men of the Bronze Age, then I have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

See, I as a Catholic don't believe that the Bible is the entire of God. That's why we have a Church, to have the laws that the bible doesn't specifically mention, but was passed down through oral tradition (condemnation of rape, obviously, was one of these traditions).

And adultery does cover rape, but I'll explain that when I get home.

Achilles
03-15-2007, 03:17 PM
In arranged marriage, the daughter had no say in who she married. This is still a strawman. I never brought up arranged marriage, sir. You did. It seems to me that you are determined to view abduction and imprisonment (slavery) as "arranged marriage" although I've raised several points to argue to the contrary.

I think some perfectly understandable biases are going to prohibit our progress on point, so we should just agree to disagree and move on.

I think you need to stop assuming that the authors of the Bible were totally and utterly malicious. I don't assume that at all. There are some wonderful parts of the Bible that aren't malicious.

But we cannot ignore the parts that are. And rather than subscribe to systematic "mental gymnastics" in an effort to reconcile the parts that were written by people in-tune with the brutality and barbarism of the times, we should just accept the Bible for what it appears to be rather than what it says it is.

See, I as a Catholic don't believe that the Bible is the entire of God. That's why we have a Church, to have the laws that the bible doesn't specifically mention, but was passed down through oral tradition (condemnation of rape, obviously, was one of these traditions). Did you intend to write "the entire word of God"? If so, then you do accept that the Bible is, at least, the partial word of God?

Having a committee responsible for bylaws is not a strong argument for omniscience, in my opinion.

And adultery does cover rape, but I'll explain that when I get home. I look forward to reading the rest of your response to my earlier message.

Take care.

Ambrose
03-15-2007, 09:37 PM
This is still a strawman. I never brought up arranged marriage, sir. You did. It seems to me that you are determined to view abduction and imprisonment (slavery) as "arranged marriage" although I've raised several points to argue to the contrary.

I don't believe so. I think you simply said that marriage without consent was rape. And the woman had just as little say in an arranged marriage as she would as a captive. The line drawn between the two is perfectly clear to me.

And rather than subscribe to systematic "mental gymnastics" in an effort to reconcile the parts that were written by people in-tune with the brutality and barbarism of the times, we should just accept the Bible for what it appears to be rather than what it says it is.

Mental gymnastics? I'm looking at it from a historical perspective, and no more. Male domination in society was considered totally moral until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no implication in the Bible that arranged marriages MUST be made- but it is allowed because it is what worked best with the times. Women were helpless on their own, so being married was far more of a blessing than a curse. A married woman was far better off than a captive, single woman. I don't see why you don't see a soldier's marriage to a captive as an act of mercy toward said captive.

Did you intend to write "the entire word of God"? If so, then you do accept that the Bible is, at least, the partial word of God?

Yes I did, sorry for the typo.

then it should not contain instructions for rape, abducting women against their will, murder, slavery

You'll find that the stance on slavery is uniform throughout the Bible. It is not condemned, but rather, occurred under quite different circumstances than it did in America. Once again we have our cultural bias which repulses us, this time on the word of "slavery".

You'll find that in most of the Bible it is insisted upon that slaves be treated well and fairly, and released after a certain time of service (6 years, if I'm not mistaken).

I think you might be looking at this in modern context and not the context it was written in.

It seems that the feeling is mutual, lol ;)

Please help me understand how "Thou shalt not commit adultery" translates into an admonishment of rape?

If he's not married and she's not married (technically, I suppose it doesn't matter if she is, under this specific commandment), then it isn't adultery. "Thou shalt not fornicate" would be much more specific to your argument, don't you think?

Jesus says that one can commit adultery "in his heart" by looking at a woman with lust. Marriage is not mentioned. That said, I think that the biblical understanding of adultery is that it basically just entails extramarital sex.

I'm assuming this was after 10 plagues?

This is right before Jesus comes to the earth.

Also, why didn't God make a covenant with Egypt?

The Egyptians were pagans who refused to believe in Him and follow His instructions even after several miracles and plagues.

Why were men allowed to worship other Gods if he had always been God and (at least some) men had knowledge of Him?

What do you mean why were they "allowed" to? The can because they're human and have the capability to sin. They were often punished for it by being killed.

Why is God so quick to punish Jews for the slightest infraction, yet he holds back on the Egyptians long enough to let them establish the most sophisticated civilization that existed up until that time?

I personally don't know, but I'll put forward a theory. It could be because the Israelites were the people who believed in Him; his people, and thus they could be held to much higher scrutiny.

"Who created evil?"

That's like asking who created darkness. Look at it that way. God created light... but the absence of light is thus present. Light is good, dark is evil. Evil is the absence of good.

In order to rectify the effects that came about because of _______'s evil (I'll have to wait for your response to my earlier question before I fill in the blank), God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to appease himself and forgive his creation for their sins, which are all the result of _______'s evil.

Perhaps better phrased:

In order to rectify the effects that came about because of humanity's sin, God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to suffer the punishment which justly belonged to His people.

Jesus did not come to cancel out the old law.

No, he came to take the punishments for infractions of the old law.

This doesn't seem consistent with the idea that God came down a Jesus to change his ways.

God's not changing His ways, like I said. He's suffering the punishment due for us.

This doesn't sound like peace.

But it's not God inflicting punishment. It's persecution being inflicted upon Jesus' followers. It's believers"taking up their cross" (Mt. 16:24, Mt 10:38)) and following Jesus' path of sacrifice for others.

Mt 10:34

Seems to me that this entire passage is Jesus saying that just because he's here, the world isn't going to be all fine and dandy. Faith will be a trial- all who wish to attain salvation will not have an easy path. They will have to "take up their cross". (Mt 10:38).

Obviously Jesus is correctly stating that being a Christian in the years ahead of the apostles isn't going to be easy.

Mt 11:21-24 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

He is describing what will happen to those who reject God on the day of judgment. That is very consistent with the NT and the OT. Acceptance of God and Jesus' sacrifice is said time and time again to be of utmost importance.

Achilles
03-15-2007, 10:55 PM
I don't believe so. I think you simply said that marriage without consent was rape. And the woman had just as little say in an arranged marriage as she would as a captive. The line drawn between the two is perfectly clear to me.No, sir, I believe I said that sex without consent was rape. I did not intend to communicate anything other than that.

Mental gymnastics? I'm looking at it from a historical perspective, and no more. Male domination in society was considered totally moral until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no implication in the Bible that arranged marriages MUST be made- but it is allowed because it is what worked best with the times. Women were helpless on their own, so being married was far more of a blessing than a curse. A married woman was far better off than a captive, single woman. I don't see why you don't see a soldier's marriage to a captive as an act of mercy toward said captive. I think your assumptions are true within the context of Western civilizations at the time. There are plenty of examples of matriarchial societies that existed prior to Judaism and Christianity. Societies in which women were equal, if not superior to men. Don't take my word for it. Research it yourself.

Slavery is slavery and rape is rape. Our attitudes may have changed over the centuries to reflect the values of the times, but the acts themselves have not changed.

Yes I did, sorry for the typo. It's no problem. I just wanted to make sure that I had the correct context :D

You'll find that the stance on slavery is uniform throughout the Bible. It is not condemned, but rather, occurred under quite different circumstances than it did in America. Once again we have our cultural bias which repulses us, this time on the word of "slavery".

You'll find that in most of the Bible it is insisted upon that slaves be treated well and fairly, and released after a certain time of service (6 years, if I'm not mistaken). Exodus 21:2 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.

These instructions are specific to Hebrew slaves, not slaves of other nations.

Unfortuanately, this same "out" isn't available to women, as shown in Exodus 21:7:

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. As for the treatment of slaves:

If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.
Exodus 21:20-21

I'm sure you'll want to point out that this was the OT, but the NT tells us:

That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:47-48

Jesus says that one can commit adultery "in his heart" by looking at a woman with lust. Marriage is not mentioned. That said, I think that the biblical understanding of adultery is that it basically just entails extramarital sex. You've more than adequetely argued your case for adultery, however your case for rape appears untouched. Please let me know what I'm missing here.

This is right before Jesus comes to the earth. I know. Just trying to provide context for your timeline :D

The Egyptians were pagans who refused to believe in Him and follow His instructions even after several miracles and plagues.
<snip>
What do you mean why were they "allowed" to? The can because they're human and have the capability to sin. They were often punished for it by being killed.
<snip>
I personally don't know, but I'll put forward a theory. It could be because the Israelites were the people who believed in Him; his people, and thus they could be held to much higher scrutiny. So God opted not to keep the Egyptians in check even though he went to great pains to keep the Jewish tribes in line?

They aren't mentioned in the Bible, but since we're at it, how about the ancient Greeks? Japanese? Native Americans? In a world of his children, He only looked after one group? Considering that the book that argues for his existence came from this group of people doesn't seem a little suspicious to you?

This is what I meant by "mental gymnastics". All this convolution, easily explained away by, "we cannot know the mind of God", yet we can tell when he's using allegory and when he wants us to not literally interpret the text of His book. I don't think it fair or accurate to say that we can have it both ways.

That's like asking who created darkness. Look at it that way. God created light... but the absence of light is thus present. Light is good, dark is evil. Evil is the absence of good. Ok, but who created the darkness? Who created evil? If you don't have the anwswer, that's ok. I don't expect you to. The questions are what's important.

If God transends all, then he made them. But why would he do that? And wouldn't that make Him ultimately responsible for the Fall? Why was Jesus punished so that God could forgive us for His mistake? If God didn't make them, then someone else must have. So something transcends God. Does anything else transcend that?

See where this goes?

Perhaps better phrased:

In order to rectify the effects that came about because of humanity's sin, God came to Earth in the form of a man named Jesus. He did this so that he could die to suffer the punishment which justly belonged to His people. I suppose that is better, but who's authority are you speaking from? Not trying to be snide, just trying to point out that there is no single, clear understanding of Jesus decent to Earth or the nature of his sacrifice. This should be a problem for followers. Since you changed the context, my quotes no longer apply, therefore I won't be replying to the rest of your message.

Thank for reading.

Achilles
03-29-2007, 11:44 PM
I wasn't sure if this belonged here or in the Playing God thread, but I thought it was worth sharing nonetheless:

Humorous YouTube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi3YupW6JJQ)

Nancy Allen``
03-30-2007, 12:30 AM
Ah, Malcolm in the Middle. That was worth a chuckle, and in truth he is very close to how I think we should be, religion should be notwithstanding. Why should it matter if someone's Christian, Jew, Muslim or Atheist? Though if it did become a religion I'd be looking to make friends with those who are Jedi.

Emperor Devon
03-30-2007, 01:06 AM
That was too funny, Achilles. That kid actually made some good points, too. :D

Allronix
03-30-2007, 05:22 PM
I've no qualm with an athiest, so long as he does not prosletize on my doorstep as to how "foolish" I am for believing in many Gods when he believes in none. For instance, the militantly athiest mother of a dying relative who threw away the makeshift altar we made at her deathbed because she was vehemently offended by its presence and damn what her dying daughter thought.

In my political life, I run across many athiests. "No Gods, Mo Masters" is a common rallying chant for anarchists and radical socialists. I remember having to explain to a couple of rather nice ladies from Perth why I was a Socialist because of my Wiccan faith, and not despite it. They were incredulous, but didn't flip me guff over it.

Nancy Allen``
03-30-2007, 07:08 PM
I've been dieing to say this, Scully from the X Files was asked by Doggett if she believes in aliens. This is her reply.

"You want me to go on record? I will go on record to say this; that I have seen things that I cannot explain. I have observed phenomena that I cannot deny. And that as a scientist and a serious person it is a badge of honor not to dismiss these things because someone thinks they're B.S."

Replace aliens with religion and that pretty much sums it up, even for a lot of people who arn't nessecarily religious.

Achilles
03-30-2007, 10:05 PM
I think it's sufficient to say that many scientists have seen things that they were unable to explain. Real scientists however won't accept a hypothesis with absolutely no evidence as an explanation for said "thing". They leave the answer blank until they do have enough evidence to support an explanation that can be tested via the scientific method.

Going back to your example: How quickly would you be willing to substitute the word "aliens" for "God" when describing your religious beliefs?

"I believe that Aliens created the universe in 6 days".
"I believe that beauty of our world is evidence of Alien's eternal grace"
"I believe that Aliens watch over me and will be accept me into Heaven on Judgment Day".

These substitutions may seem mocking and absurd to followers of Western and Middle Eastern religions, however, as you can see, we've only substituted one word. And I would argue that aliens are far more probable (statistically speaking) than a supernatural creator.

Nancy Allen``
03-30-2007, 11:12 PM
Was it aliens who did all the stuff God is meant to? I've never come across anything like that. Where are they now? If this is something that scientists believe then why haven't they been able to find them?

That's not to say I'm dismissive of the idea, let's go with it. Okay, aliens created the universe, Jesus was an alien, ect. First of all we need evidence to support this claim. Now, what type of aliens would have the form to do something like this? Anything like how we picture aliens to be? Martians? What aliens benevolent or otherwise in fiction could do this? What would their means be? Their motive? I'd sure like these aliens to come and look upon the fruits of their labours, such as it is, especially if they happen to be certain types of aliens.

Achilles
03-31-2007, 12:08 AM
Was it aliens who did all the stuff God is meant to? I suppose it's possible. There isn't any evidence that this is the case, however there isn't any evidence for God either. Per my earlier statement, aliens are more statistically probable than supernatural deities, so if I had to choose one over the other...

I've never come across anything like that.IIRC, both Raeliens and Scientologists believe that life on Earth is a result of alien intervention.

Where are they now? Dunno. Probably living on one of the estimated 62,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets that exist in our universe.

If this is something that scientists believe then why haven't they been able to find them? Perhaps you heard of SETI (http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=178025)?

That's not to say I'm dismissive of the idea, let's go with it. Okay, aliens created the universe, Jesus was an alien, ect. Well, first, the idea that aliens created the universe is just as statistically improbable as the idea that God did. Second, we have no evidence for Jesus, therefore we'd have to find some before we could even begin to hypothesize that he was an alien.

First of all we need evidence to support this claim. Now, what type of aliens would have the form to do something like this? Pretty advanced ones. The universe is 13.6 billion years old and the Earth is only about 4.5 billion years old. Any civilizations that exist further out than us are likely to be more technologically advanced. Furthermore, any civilizations that might exist out on the lip of the expanding universe are likely to have 9.1 billion years of technological advancement on us. Considering that less than 100 years separate us from the cusp of the atomic age, I think it's sufficed to say that even a few thousand years would be significant difference.

Anything like how we picture aliens to be? Martians? Your guess is as good as mine. Unless you have some evidence for them and then your guess would be markedly better than mine :D

What aliens benevolent or otherwise in fiction could do this? What would their means be? Their motive? I'd sure like these aliens to come and look upon the fruits of their labours, such as it is, especially if they happen to be certain types of aliens. All good questions. Maybe if we ever meet any of them, we can ask. Odds are though that they're too far ahead of us to even care how we turn out.

Even if only 0.000000000000001 of those planets I mentioned earlier have intelligent life on them, that means there are 6,250,000 civilization out there. And who know how many of those are more interesting than we are.

Nancy Allen``
03-31-2007, 08:46 AM
As yes I'd much rather know some of the alien beings in Star Wars than some dumb human. Twi'leks, Sullistans and Ewoks, oh my.

Just how do they find out how old the universe is and all? I mean I know that they do it but the fact they can astounds me. And you're right, anything that is thousands of years ahead of us would be so technologically advanced we cannot comprehend it, unless they keep to the old ways, tradition and all, but in that case that would probably cancel out the idea of them surviving for so long as they would need to be able to adapt and find new ways to survive and advance and the like. Who or what created these ancient alien civilisations anyway?

If we look at the evidence of things like aliens, Roswell for example, or crop circles, both are considered hoaxes but serve as evidence of aliens. There's things such as the Stonehenge, or the Easter Island heads, that are meant to be both alien and religious symbols. And there's lots of stuff that's meant to be dedicated to religion, such as Mecca or Dome of the Rock, or Mount Olives where Jesus was crucified. Evidence? The closest I can think of is the supposed discovery of Noah's Ark, and all the expeditions for things like that other famous ark that Indiana Jones searched for as well as other religious artifacts such as the cup of Christ (I'm a Harrison Ford fan so I'm going with these). IRL Hitler searched for religious artifacts such as the Loginous spear, that the Roman soldier pierced Jesus with when he died on the cross. If there is evidence of religion being real then it would cancel out any thought of aliens being responsible.

Yeah, the search for aliens, I remember that. They made a couple of movies on it, Starman and, ugh, Species. Where did the theory that aliens were responsible for what Chrsitian God is given credit for come from though? Raeliens and Scientologists you say? Wouldn't scientists, some of them anyway, dismiss the idea of there being aliens? Anyway it sounds fascinating and well worth looking up.

Achilles
03-31-2007, 04:12 PM
Just how do they find out how old the universe is and all? I mean I know that they do it but the fact they can astounds me. This (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1950403.stm) article isn't very technical, but I think it does help to explain how it is done.

And you're right, anything that is thousands of years ahead of us would be so technologically advanced we cannot comprehend it <snip> Clarke's Third Law:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." :D

Who or what created these ancient alien civilisations anyway? Since we know that evolution is a natural process (some people claim that it is a supernatural process, however there is no evidence to support this hypothesis), we can assume that their civilizations started out the same as ours.

If we look at the evidence of things like aliens, Roswell for example, or crop circles, both are considered hoaxes but serve as evidence of aliens. You're more generous than most. :)
I don't know that I would consider crop circles "evidence". Additionally, I'm not sure that Roswell is anything more than a conspiracy theory. That doesn't mean that it didn't happen, it just means that I haven't been convinced yet.

There's things such as the Stonehenge, or the Easter Island heads, that are meant to be both alien and religious symbols. Stonehedge is believed to be a calendar. The purpose of easter island monoliths is unknown (probably to keep evil spirits out, similar to gargoyles, or the up swept corners on Japanese pagodas).

I'm not sure how aliens are hypothesized to be involved.

And there's lots of stuff that's meant to be dedicated to religion, such as Mecca or Dome of the Rock, or Mount Olives where Jesus was crucified. Evidence? The closest I can think of is the supposed discovery of Noah's Ark I'm assuming that you're referring to this (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/03/13/satellite.noahs.ark/index.html)?

A few years ago, there was a great deal of buzz surrounding the discovery of a mysterious "face on mars" (Link (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast24may_1.htm)). As the technology got better and more precise images were captured, it quickly became obvious that the "face" was the result of crappy photography (see pictures in above link).

As for the "discovery of Noah's ark", it seems to me that relatively quick and cheap fly-by in a helicopter would settle the matter pretty quickly. They use helicopters all the time to fly snowboarders and skiers to the top of extreme ski runs. Also, why are no wealthy Christian financiers stepping forward to fund an expedition? Perhaps such a "discovery" is better for their cause when it's thinly veiled in mystery? *shrugs*

and all the expeditions for things like that other famous ark that Indiana Jones searched for as well as other religious artifacts such as the cup of Christ (I'm a Harrison Ford fan so I'm going with these).
The Ark of the Covenant (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01721a.htm)
The Holy Grail (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06719a.htm)

IRL Hitler searched for religious artifacts such as the Loginous spear, that the Roman soldier pierced Jesus with when he died on the cross. IIRC, Hitler was a complete loon. On a side note, I find it interesting that some people like to claim that Hitler was an atheist in an effort to show how evil atheists are. Contrary to this claim though, Hitler was a devout Catholic for most of his life. Eventually, his religiosity began to come into question, but this was well after he had established himself as Fuhrer. The fact that he did take such interest in religious artifacts seems to conflict with the claim that he was an atheist.

If there is evidence of religion being real then it would cancel out any thought of aliens being responsible.I've used this example before with Jae, but I think it's appropriate so I'll use it again here:

If archaeologists in the future find evidence for F-16 jets, American Presidents, and an American national holiday celebrated on July 4th, would those things be evidence that the events that transpire in the movie Independence Day actually took place?

In other words, "evidence for religion" is going to have to be a lot more than showing that some poorly referenced people and events actually lived or took place (respectively).

Yeah, the search for aliens, I remember that. They made a couple of movies on it, Starman and, ugh, Species. Don't forget Contact :D

Where did the theory that aliens were responsible for what Chrsitian God is given credit for come from though? You'll have to asks the Raelienists and the Scientologists. I brought it up to point out how flimsy the "Scully argument" was. ;)

Raeliens and Scientologists you say? Wouldn't scientists, some of them anyway, dismiss the idea of there being aliens? Most legitimate scientists won't waste time with something that can't be proven with empirical evidence (supernatural deities, for instance). As for aliens, we have evidence that life exists in the universe and that it arises via natural processes (i.e. our existence). We also have evidence that other galaxies, suns, and planets exist. Therefore it's highly probable that other intelligent life forms exist in our universe. With all this evidence and support from statistical analysis, I'm not sure why empirical science would want to dismiss such an idea.

Now if you're referring to actual visits, abductions, etc, then I'd say we were talking about something else entirely.

Thanks.

Nancy Allen``
03-31-2007, 09:45 PM
I'm not sure whether all these wild alien stories came before the scientific research of alien life, but as far as that type of evidence is concerned the best I know of is Grom Lake, which was discussed in another thread on aliens, and supposed alien footage where someone dressed as a Rodian. Now Area 51 I can believe is used for testing experimental aircraft. It might not be, I don't know, I'd like to know if there was aliens.

With the Scully arguement, what I'm saying is that, I know you don't but some do, just because some Atheist believes religion is BS those who follow it should not dismiss their faith. Jae, being religious and all, can probably tell you about this.

The diffirence between finding...you're thinking F-18 Hornets, the diffirence between finding those as evidence and finding something from hundreds of years ago is that for one Independance Day is obviously a made up story, with no basis of fact. The best evidence of this is Will Smith flying a fighter jet through a canyon. It's a staple to do this but you try and do that in real life and you'd have to be a stunt pilot, flying a stunt plane, if it can be done at all. For another the events in the film were meant to occur in 1996. The White House is still standing, so is New York and Los Angelas, Bill Clinton wasn't the President at the time, fiction. The story of Christ, the story of Christianity, Judism, Islam, Greek mythology, you pick'em, these are things that people say are true and they present evidence and testimony that they are true. People see things that they lay claim to religion, they believe their God does this or does that and from what is shown people buy it, intelligent people. I think the main diffirence is that one is meant to be true.

If Hitler was a devoted Christian he would have honestly believed that these artifacts existed and they would give him power. Remember the end to Raiders? The Ark is really meant to be able to do stuff like that, though that might be just tale so things like Indiana Jones can palm it off as the power of God or something. But there is another theory. The Nazis were leaving their symbols in archealogical dig sites and the like, things like the swastika in hyroglyphics and such. I'm not sure of the details, this is just from memory. I think the point of it was to establish Nazi dominance, probably to the point where people believed in Nazi prophecy because they sacriliged their acient writings and religions to twist it around to how Hitler wanted it. If Hitler had these religious artifacts that would be more cause for people to follow him, or something along those lines.

Hmmm, you raise a very good point. The Catholic church are meant to be the by far the richest people in the world. Why not use some of the money they are storing in God's house and make it work for them? Imagine the honor they would bring to their God by shattering all doubt and proving once and for all that this really happened? Though they were if not the biggest then one of the biggest opponents to The Da Vinci Code and I can't remember but wasn't some off shoot of them trying to keep the truth from coming out in the story? Maybe you're right, maybe some are afraid that there's nothing and don't want the truth from getting out.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 12:21 AM
I'm not sure whether all these wild alien stories came before the scientific research of alien life, but as far as that type of evidence is concerned the best I know of is Grom Lake, which was discussed in another thread on aliens, and supposed alien footage where someone dressed as a Rodian. Now Area 51 I can believe is used for testing experimental aircraft. It might not be, I don't know, I'd like to know if there was aliens. I'm sure you not the only one. Supposition, urban legends, and conspiracy theories are not the same thing as evidence though. All of that stuff could be true, but without some evidence, I have no reason to believe it. Keeping this on topic, the same logic is used in regards to God. He may be up there, but so far, I have no reason to give much credence to that story.

With the Scully arguement, what I'm saying is that, I know you don't but some do, just because some Atheist believes religion is BS those who follow it should not dismiss their faith. Jae, being religious and all, can probably tell you about this. Please explain to me why faith should be viewed as a good thing.

The diffirence between finding...you're thinking F-18 Hornets, the diffirence between finding those as evidence and finding something from hundreds of years ago is that for one Independance Day is obviously a made up story, with no basis of fact. How would archaeologists from the future know this? Maybe they've had contact with aliens and know that they exist? How would they know that it's a work of fiction and not a documentary about a primitive war that took place in the ancient world? We know that it is a made up story because we have context.

We assume to have context for Bible, but the truth is that we do not. People spend their entire adult lives studying the Bible and argue with other scholars over who's interpretation of events, etc are better than others. And this has been going on for thousands of years.

The point is that making references to Galilee, Pontius Pilate, Romans, Pharisees, etc doesn't make the NT historically accurate. In other words, you can't prove that the events described in the NT actually took place.

The best evidence of this is Will Smith flying a fighter jet through a canyon. It's a staple to do this but you try and do that in real life and you'd have to be a stunt pilot, flying a stunt plane, if it can be done at all. Just like you or I aren't capable of walking on water, turning water into wine, or rising from the dead after three days. ;)

For another the events in the film were meant to occur in 1996. The White House is still standing, so is New York and Los Angelas, Bill Clinton wasn't the President at the time, fiction. A lot is lost in history. These things are common knowledge now, but would not be to people thousands of years in the future. What was the most popular book during 30 B.C. in ancient Rome? What toy did Mesopotamian children prefer to play with? What was the name of the first king of the Aztec Empire? Assuming that you have answers to any of these questions, how confident are you that your answer is 100% correct and isn't subject to change via new evidence?

The story of Christ, the story of Christianity, Judism, Islam, Greek mythology, you pick'em, these are things that people say are true and they present evidence and testimony that they are true. Testimony is not the same thing as evidence. David Berkowitz offered testimony that his dog told him to kill people. Is this a strong case for the power of testimony?

If you have some evidence for any of these belief systems please share it with me. I have been unable to find any for any of them.

People see things that they lay claim to religion, they believe their God does this or does that and from what is shown people buy it, intelligent people. I think the main diffirence is that one is meant to be true. True according to whom? Christians are convinced that Jews and Muslims have it all wrong. Jews say the same thing about Christians and Muslims. Muslims say the same thing about Jews and Christians. All three groups have holy books and religious scholars ready with "evidence" to show the other groups just how wrong they are. Which one is right? Or more to the point: Which one is true?

If Hitler was a devoted Christian he would have honestly believed that these artifacts existed and they would give him power. Remember the end to Raiders? The Ark is really meant to be able to do stuff like that, though that might be just tale so things like Indiana Jones can palm it off as the power of God or something. But there is another theory. The Nazis were leaving their symbols in archealogical dig sites and the like, things like the swastika in hyroglyphics and such. I'm not sure of the details, this is just from memory. Nancy, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie :D

I think the point of it was to establish Nazi dominance, probably to the point where people believed in Nazi prophecy because they sacriliged their acient writings and religions to twist it around to how Hitler wanted it. If Hitler had these religious artifacts that would be more cause for people to follow him, or something along those lines. I'd be more than happy to take a look at whatever historical documents that you have that would support your argument.

Imagine the honor they would bring to their God by shattering all doubt and proving once and for all that this really happened? Without any evidence this would be very hard to do. Luckily for most religious people, the general sentiment is that science is a distraction and faith is what's important. Oddly though, whenever science is believed to support some religious belief or another, it is quickly embraced and paraded out for the skeptics (the aforementioned prayer research is one example of this).

Samuel Dravis
04-01-2007, 12:26 AM
With the Scully arguement, what I'm saying is that, I know you don't but some do, just because some Atheist believes religion is BS those who follow it should not dismiss their faith. Jae, being religious and all, can probably tell you about this.Sorry for intruding a bit here, but I'd like to agree with you. Just because someone else says you're wrong doesn't make them right. Of course, if you fail to explain your belief in rational terms, you can hardly expect people to think that your holding it is a rational act. They might call you out on it. Personally I don't know why you'd want to believe something irrationally if you knew it were so.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 12:30 AM
^^^^
Quite right. Once again, Samuel Dravis puts something far more eloquently than I would.

Nancy Allen``
04-01-2007, 01:26 AM
It goes against the guidelines a little but I'll put quotes below so you know exactly what I'm referring to.

Please explain to me why faith should be viewed as a good thing.

:whistles: (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=169077) That's one reason. Even if it isn't true.

How would archaeologists from the future know this? Maybe they've had contact with aliens and know that they exist? How would they know that it's a work of fiction and not a documentary about a primitive war that took place in the ancient world? We know that it is a made up story because we have context.

Because it was portrayed as fiction. By comparing records of the film's President to real life, they would know that he wasn't serving in 1996, Bill Clinton was. Actors such as Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum would be credited for the roles they played in the film, assuming we are keeping records and have the Internet in the future it'd just be a simple matter of looking it up.

We assume to have context for Bible, but the truth is that we do not. People spend their entire adult lives studying the Bible and argue with other scholars over who's interpretation of events, etc are better than others. And this has been going on for thousands of years.

Exactly, and for people to come out, this is for Samual as well, for people to come out and say 'ZOMGWTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11 U R RETARDED FOR BELIEVING IN RELIGION LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11' is utter arrogance, and I know there is a world of diffirence between choosing not to believe in religion and slamming it with comments like this but the sad fact is people do beat people into the ground because they believe in religion, and they bring down their non belief by doing so.

A lot is lost in history. These things are common knowledge now, but would not be to people thousands of years in the future. What was the most popular book during 30 B.C. in ancient Rome? What toy did Mesopotamian children prefer to play with? What was the name of the first king of the Aztec Empire? Assuming that you have answers to any of these questions, how confident are you that your answer is 100% correct and isn't subject to change via new evidence?

It's interesting you point this out because lately I've been thinking about things we see on the Internet, TV and such, and how especially what you find on the Internet it tends to get criticised as not being creditble. Sure it's usually because someone doesn't agree with it but it does happen. And I'm getting to the point where I wouldn't trust any given source. So to answer your question, I can present whatever evidence of, say, the first king of the Aztec Empire, but there is the possibility of it being wrong. Like how Billy Cohen was going to be a Navy SEAL but turned out to be a Marine, I think.

Testimony is not the same thing as evidence. David Berkowitz offered testimony that his dog told him to kill people. Is this a strong case for the power of testimony?

Creditble testimony; the sort of thing Berkowitz went on with would likely put him in a mental institute, that he may have said that to get a lighter sentance is neither here nor there, is very important. I'll paint you a picture: say a police station is bombed, an officer and a member of the public is killed, the police investigate likely suspects while they gather evidence and find out it was semtex, one of the suspects asks if it was semtex used and says how an ex commando had stolen some to sell, on the strength of that testimony he is questioned and made to reveal who he sold it to, on the basis of that testimony they investigate the buyer and he admits to making a bomb out of the semtex and selling it, and another testimony reveals that the bomber was saying that he's been waiting years to pay back the police for putting him in jail, the police are able to arrest the bomber because they followed the testimonies until they found the evidence and the truth. In the case of religion however every time we follow the testimonies we find no evidence, so we keep plugging away until we do.

True according to whom? Christians are convinced that Jews and Muslims have it all wrong. Jews say the same thing about Christians and Muslims. Muslims say the same thing about Jews and Christians. All three groups have holy books and religious scholars ready with "evidence" to show the other groups just how wrong they are. Which one is right? Or more to the point: Which one is true?

My point of view? People who try and convince others that they are wrong regardless of what religion, if any, they follow, are afraid, they're afraid of losing followers, they're afraid of people believing in something they don't believe in and they're afraid that they may be wrong because they don't have the power of some mythical being, and the more they try and beat people down with their religion, or lack of it, the more scared they are. That's not a knock on people following their beliefs or nonbeliefs, or those who discuss them, it's those who go beyond the call of duty to push their beliefs on others.

Nancy, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie :D

I know that, but the Ark is meant to be able to do the sort of thing we saw in the film. It says in the Bible that anyone who approaches it will surely be put to death, and there's bits and pieces floating around on what it can do. Here's a couple of sites on the matter.

http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/207_ark1.shtml
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/ark.html

As for the other, Nazis recreating history in countries they invaded, this is from Medal of Honor. Manon, a member of the French Resistence who joins the OSS, one of her missions is putting a stop to it. That's where the thought came from, but it did happen. I think this covers it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_archaeology



Without any evidence this would be very hard to do. Luckily for most religious people, the general sentiment is that science is a distraction and faith is what's important. Oddly though, whenever science is believed to support some religious belief or another, it is quickly embraced and paraded out for the skeptics (the aforementioned prayer research is one example of this).

Ah, hypocracy. I thought science was meant to be evil. Why? Because it might reveal something those who believe in religion don't want to hear? If science could settle the matter once and for all you'd think deacons the world over would jump at the chance. They're not exactly queing up around the block.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 01:59 AM
:whistles: (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=169077) That's one reason. Even if it isn't true. But as some of the other respondents in that thread point out, there's nothing to show that your story is a case for faith. To take things a step further, what about those religions that insist that medicine is not used. Wouldn't faith be dangerous is some cases? Considering that differences in faith is one of the most predominate cause of conflict in our world, isn't it safe to say that faith has been lethal for a great number of people?

Because it was portrayed as fiction. By comparing records of the film's President to real life, they would know that he wasn't serving in 1996, Bill Clinton was. Actors such as Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum would be credited for the roles they played in the film, assuming we are keeping records and have the Internet in the future it'd just be a simple matter of looking it up. I'm afraid I've failed to adequately express my point.

Exactly, and for people to come out, this is for Samual as well, for people to come out and say 'ZOMGWTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11 U R RETARDED FOR BELIEVING IN RELIGION LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11' is utter arrogance, and I know there is a world of diffirence between choosing not to believe in religion and slamming it with comments like this but the sad fact is people do beat people into the ground because they believe in religion, and they bring down their non belief by doing so.I'm not sure what relevance this has to the point that I made in the section that you quoted. I do not agree that religion should be off limits or given a pass during open debate. I find it a little hypocritical that prostletizing via missions or witnessing is seen as noble work, while pointing out that there is no foundation in fact for any religion is viewed as "utter arrogance".

It's interesting you point this out because lately I've been thinking about things we see on the Internet, TV and such, and how especially what you find on the Internet it tends to get criticised as not being creditble. Sure it's usually because someone doesn't agree with it but it does happen. And I'm getting to the point where I wouldn't trust any given source. So to answer your question, I can present whatever evidence of, say, the first king of the Aztec Empire, but there is the possibility of it being wrong. Like how Billy Cohen was going to be a Navy SEAL but turned out to be a Marine, I think. The point, which you appear to concede, is that we cannot be certain about anything that has taken place in the past. We have a certain degree of confidence in some events and historical figures based on the amount (and quality) of the evidence that we have for them. Meanwhile a majority of human beings claim to have absolute certainty about a handful of events and people for which we have absolutely zero evidence. I struggle to understand how that works.

Creditble testimony; the sort of thing Berkowitz went on with would likely put him in a mental institute, that he may have said that to get a lighter sentance is neither here nor there, is very important. I'll paint you a picture: say a police station is bombed, an officer and a member of the public is killed, the police investigate likely suspects while they gather evidence and find out it was semtex, one of the suspects asks if it was semtex used and says how an ex commando had stolen some to sell, on the strength of that testimony he is questioned and made to reveal who he sold it to, on the basis of that testimony they investigate the buyer and he admits to making a bomb out of the semtex and selling it, and another testimony reveals that the bomber was saying that he's been waiting years to pay back the police for putting him in jail, the police are able to arrest the bomber because they followed the testimonies until they found the evidence and the truth. In the case of religion however every time we follow the testimonies we find no evidence, so we keep plugging away until we do. I'm well aware of how testimony works in our legal system. The "bumpers" that exist are a) the assumption that the individuals giving testimony are telling the truth and b) those that are found to not be telling the truth are punished. Remove either of bumpers and testimony is worthless. That was my point. My apologies for not being more specific earlier.

My point of view? People who try and convince others that they are wrong regardless of what religion, if any, they follow, are afraid, they're afraid of losing followers, they're afraid of people believing in something they don't believe in and they're afraid that they may be wrong because they don't have the power of some mythical being, and the more they try and beat people down with their religion, or lack of it, the more scared they are. That's not a knock on people following their beliefs or nonbeliefs, or those who discuss them, it's those who go beyond the call of duty to push their beliefs on others. Belief, and specifically religious belief, can have very real consequences. September 11th, the Transit Bombings in London, the length and breadth of the conflict in Ireland, Somalia, etc, etc are evidence of this. To say that faith is harmless and that those who chose to base their level of believe on the amount of evidence are foolish is to not examine the situation as it is.

Ah, hypocracy. I thought science was meant to be evil. Why? Because it might reveal something those who believe in religion don't want to hear? If science could settle the matter once and for all you'd think deacons the world over would jump at the chance. They're not exactly queing up around the block.Agreed. Unfortunately, because God is a supernatural explanation, He/She/It/They can't be measure via scientific means. To do so would be to instantly revoke His/Hers/Its/Theirs supernatural status.

Nancy Allen``
04-01-2007, 02:40 AM
But as some of the other respondents in that thread point out, there's nothing to show that your story is a case for faith. To take things a step further, what about those religions that insist that medicine is not used. Wouldn't faith be dangerous is some cases? Considering that differences in faith is one of the most predominate cause of conflict in our world, isn't it safe to say that faith has been lethal for a great number of people?

A little common sense goes a long way. It says in the Bible that you cannot go to the toilet. I've yet to see one Christian who doesn't. Take 'though shalt not kill' to it's ultimate and you're expected to get down on your knees and pray for the forgiveness of whoever is about to put a bullet in the back of your head. I'm game if you are.

I'm not sure what relevance this has to the point that I made in the section that you quoted. I do not agree that religion should be off limits or given a pass during open debate. I find it a little hypocritical that prostletizing via missions or witnessing is seen as noble work, while pointing out that there is no foundation in fact for any religion is viewed as "utter arrogance".

Saying that it's wrong for people to make comments like I demonstrated isn't giving religion a pass. The same can be said of any topic. People shouldn't make such comments on religion, or Atheism, or really anything, because it's wrong to make comments like that.

Belief, and specifically religious belief, can have very real consequences. September 11th, the Transit Bombings in London, the length and breadth of the conflict in Ireland, Somalia, etc, etc are evidence of this. To say that faith is harmless and that those who chose to base their level of believe on the amount of evidence are foolish is to not examine the situation as it is.

So, what? We put religion on trial for the crimes of the individual? And what happens to, say, Muslims if some court were to find Islam guilty of the crime of terrorism?

Samuel Dravis
04-01-2007, 03:31 AM
Exactly, and for people to come out, this is for Samual as well, for people to come out and say 'ZOMGWTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11 U R RETARDED FOR BELIEVING IN RELIGION LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11' is utter arrogance, and I know there is a world of diffirence between choosing not to believe in religion and slamming it with comments like this but the sad fact is people do beat people into the ground because they believe in religion, and they bring down their non belief by doing so.I'd agree that it is arrogance with regards to claiming an absolute knowledge of the question. Similar arrogance, then, shows on the other side of the coin.

I personally care very little what anyone spends their free time on, whether it's religion or something else. Hey, it's their life to do with as they see fit. The only problems I have with religion, really, come up when it affects other people. If this effect is good - and in a lot of cases it is, no doubt about that - then great.

However, if people use religion to justify something I'd consider an unnecessary restriction or just wrong, then I'd ask them what basis they have for their statements. If they can't give a rational one, then as far as I can tell it's just an opinion - and opinions really have no business deciding other people's lives for them.

Sure, some might take it as offensive or arrogant, my dismissal of their opinions. I'm not sure what they'd be trying to accomplish though. If they had a rational reason for their position, then they'd have already shown it to me. Since they didn't, then the only person they have to be angry with is themselves. I certainly didn't make them try to defend the indefensible.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 06:00 AM
A little common sense goes a long way. It says in the Bible that you cannot go to the toilet. I've yet to see one Christian who doesn't. Take 'though shalt not kill' to it's ultimate and you're expected to get down on your knees and pray for the forgiveness of whoever is about to put a bullet in the back of your head. I'm game if you are. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: I'm not sure what relevance this has to the point that I made in the section that you quoted. I'm really unclear as to what I'm supposed to take away from your reply. Help?

Saying that it's wrong for people to make comments like I demonstrated isn't giving religion a pass. The same can be said of any topic. People shouldn't make such comments on religion, or Atheism, or really anything, because it's wrong to make comments like that. This is exactly what I was referencing. Why shouldn't such comments be made (thereby giving religion a pass)? For almost any other enterprise we engage in as human beings, some expectation exists that we act rationally and have good reasons for our beliefs. This expectation doesn't seem to exist for religion. What's more, it's almost taboo to even speak about having such an expectation.

So, what? We put religion on trial for the crimes of the individual? And what happens to, say, Muslims if some court were to find Islam guilty of the crime of terrorism? I suppose that's one possible response, however I don't imagine that choice will accomplish very much. Another option that might be more productive would be to shed the taboo of religious discussion, refuse to accept, "well, that's just what I believe" as a perfectly rational response, and encourage others to truly examine the basis of their belief.

I don't advocate that this should be done at gunpoint. Nor do I think atheists should crash religious services or attack people wearing crosses around their necks on the street. However, if the subject of religion does come up in conversation, I don't see why I should be expected to sit back and refrain from voicing my observations just because it might put the faithful in the uncomfortable position of having to defend their beliefs.

SilentScope001
04-01-2007, 01:04 PM
I suppose that's one possible response, however I don't imagine that choice will accomplish very much. Another option that might be more productive would be to shed the taboo of religious discussion, refuse to accept, "well, that's just what I believe" as a perfectly rational response, and encourage others to truly examine the basis of their belief.

I don't think that even possible at all. I think that all rational discussion breaks down to "Well, that's just what I believe", and I think we have to accept that rather than go and attempt to attack it. All beliefs are formed by assumptions after all, and these assumptions cannot be backed up, so in the end, all arguments are made to justify the belief. As long as you attack the warrants, you can destroy all beliefs, in Science or in Religion. Even Atheism (you say it is an abscene of belief, but if so, why not abandon belief in Science and its Method, since that may be wrong as well and there is no proof that observations are correct).

We have to resort to "That's just what I believe"...because it's true. I believe in Science. It seems to be applicable, has the answers to everything, etc. I have no reason to believe in Science, it may be wrong, but I made a choice to believe in Science. That's just what I, along with many other human beings, believe, even though I may be wrong. Replace Science with Religion, and you just the justification.

Nancy Allen``
04-01-2007, 07:57 PM
However, if people use religion to justify something I'd consider an unnecessary restriction or just wrong, then I'd ask them what basis they have for their statements. If they can't give a rational one, then as far as I can tell it's just an opinion - and opinions really have no business deciding other people's lives for them.

Frankly, using religion to justify something pisses me off. That's what terrorists do. You really think they believe in Islam? If they did they wouldn't commit terrorist acts.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record: I'm not sure what relevance this has to the point that I made in the section that you quoted. I'm really unclear as to what I'm supposed to take away from your reply. Help?

Okay. Though shalt not kill has been more commonly interpreted in recent times as 'Though shalt not murder'. The reason for the change is because common sense dictates there are times, in war for example, or in self defence, where we must kill. We kill animals for food, or because they're sick. We put murderers and pedophiles to death. So if we were to examine 'Though shalt not kill' a great number of us would be guilty. Hence the reason for the reinterpretation 'Though shalt not murder'.

This is exactly what I was referencing. Why shouldn't such comments be made (thereby giving religion a pass)? For almost any other enterprise we engage in as human beings, some expectation exists that we act rationally and have good reasons for our beliefs. This expectation doesn't seem to exist for religion. What's more, it's almost taboo to even speak about having such an expectation.

Well, do people say 'you're a ****wit to not believe in religion'? No, I would hope not, because it's wrong to make such a comment full stop. The same as it would be to make such comments on religion, or on topics such as homosexuality, racism, politics, really anything. We don't make anti gay comments around homosexuals, racist comments around ethnic groups or Bush bashing around Republicans...well that last one is debateable, out of respect for those who hold those beliefs and are those type of people. We don't want to upset them.

And yes, religion, like issues such as politics, the war, homosexuality and racism can be a more toey subject than most. It shouldn't be, I think it's more wrong to discuss something like persecuting Muslims because they are terrorists than discussing the validity of religion, but it is.

I suppose that's one possible response, however I don't imagine that choice will accomplish very much. Another option that might be more productive would be to shed the taboo of religious discussion, refuse to accept, "well, that's just what I believe" as a perfectly rational response, and encourage others to truly examine the basis of their belief.

A crusade to stop people from the fallacy of believing in religion?

I don't advocate that this should be done at gunpoint. Nor do I think atheists should crash religious services or attack people wearing crosses around their necks on the street. However, if the subject of religion does come up in conversation, I don't see why I should be expected to sit back and refrain from voicing my observations just because it might put the faithful in the uncomfortable position of having to defend their beliefs.

And yes, despite the thoughts of some you shouldn't have people at gunpoint on their religion. But certainly if the topic comes up you should be free to discuss your thoughts on religion. Just don't go around making comments like 'you're a ****wit to believe in religion', that's akin to bombing abortion clinics.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 08:27 PM
Frankly, using religion to justify something pisses me off. That's what terrorists do. What about embryonic stem cell research? Or abortion? Or the cherry-picked scripture that was the basis for the abolition of slavery? Some of these things are good, while others are bad. If you apply that standard to some of them, then you have to apply it to all.

FWIW, I absolutely agree with you. There are ethical arguments for every truly moral issue that we have. Religion is completely unnecessary for moral behavior. Therefore using it as justification should be upsetting.

You really think they believe in Islam? If they did they wouldn't commit terrorist acts. Do you have any reason to believe that they do not? Pretty sure their holy book tells them to kill non-believers just the same as ours (meaning Western Christians). Muslims have extremists. Christians have extremists.

Okay. Though shalt not kill has been more commonly interpreted in recent times as 'Though shalt not murder'. The reason for the change is because common sense dictates there are times, in war for example, or in self defence, where we must kill. We kill animals for food, or because they're sick. We put murderers and pedophiles to death. So if we were to examine 'Though shalt not kill' a great number of us would be guilty. Hence the reason for the reinterpretation 'Though shalt not murder'. I appreciate you clarifying the argument. Unfortunately, I still don't understand how that is associated with the section that you quoted.

Here it is again:

But as some of the other respondents in that thread point out, there's nothing to show that your story is a case for faith. To take things a step further, what about those religions that insist that medicine is not used. Wouldn't faith be dangerous is some cases? Considering that differences in faith is one of the most predominate cause of conflict in our world, isn't it safe to say that faith has been lethal for a great number of people?Thanks in advance.

Well, do people say 'you're a ****wit to not believe in religion'? No, it tends to sound more like, "you're a sinner and you're going to spend eternity burning in hell". Which is clearly a more appropriate display of grace, tolerance, and brotherly love. ;)

No, I would hope not, because it's wrong to make such a comment full stop. In other word, "No, it doesn't happen because that would be wrong". Unfortunately, such sentiments don't actually stop things like that from happening.

The same as it would be to make such comments on religion, or on topics such as homosexuality, racism, politics, really anything. We don't make anti gay comments around homosexuals, racist comments around ethnic groups or Bush bashing around Republicans...well that last one is debateable, out of respect for those who hold those beliefs and are those type of people. We don't want to upset them. Actually those are all factually incorrect. Those things do happen. All the time.

A crusade to stop people from the fallacy of believing in religion? I don't know if I'd use the word "crusade". "Campaign" would probably be more appropriate. Also, I would probably rearrange the last few words of that sentence. :)

Just don't go around making comments like 'you're a ****wit to believe in religion', that's akin to bombing abortion clinics. Most of the non-believers I've had experience with tend to avoid personal attacks. There's a huge difference between calling someone a "****wit" and pointing out that their beliefs are based on delusion. One is a personal attack while the other is not.

Nancy Allen``
04-01-2007, 09:00 PM
What about embryonic stem cell research? Or abortion? Or the cherry-picked scripture that was the basis for the abolition of slavery? Some of these things are good, while others are bad. If you apply that standard to some of them, then you have to apply it to all.

Well, if you worry about the sancity of your soul, don't do it, and don't support it. As I understand it God will sort out dealing with those who take part in it.

My thoughts on these topics? Stem cell research is playing God isn't it? I believe in the betterment of the human race, but am more familiar with the theory of gene therapy, I think it's the same thing. Abortion? That's an icky moral subject but overall I think if the mother and child would really be worse off then it's for the better they do it, especially in the event of an unwanted or forced pregnancy. I don't know what cherry picked scripture abolished slavery but I'm glad it did, it's morally reprehensible.

Do you have any reason to believe that they do not? Pretty sure their holy book tells them to kill non-believers just the same as ours (meaning Western Christians). Muslims have extremists. Christians have extremists.

Again it falls down to common sense. The part about laws overiding religion is a good place to start. Terrorism is illegal in America. Hijacking and suicide bombing is illegal. Therefore, religious extremists must curb their faith to coexist with society, I think it's so that extremists stop committing acts that would be frowned upon by the general public but I have no basis for that, it's how I interpret that section.

I appreciate you clarifying the argument. Unfortunately, I still don't understand how that is associated with the section that you quoted.

Here it is again:

Thanks in advance.

Would faith be dangerous or even lethal in some cases? In terms of people using dogma to preach killing and dieing for their God, absolutely. We've seen it with Islam and we are seeing it now with Christianity. The people who do go to these extremes are certainly in the minority, Al Qaeda has been condemned by Islamic clerics the world over. There are still those who preach hatred though, and as sensible people we know that is wrong. The growing...militarisation? of Christianity is disturbing as well. I haven't heard of Christian based terrorism but it could happen, and were it to it would lessen the religion. And you can point to things such as the Crusades and the history of the Middle East. I think religion for the most part is taught by sensible people, and most of those who recieve the message are sensible people. In my view for someone to look at religion and get it into their minds that killing for their God is a good idea is the same as those who play violent video games and then go out and kill, they arn't right to begin with.

No, it tends to sound more like, "you're a sinner and you're going to spend eternity burning in hell". Which is clearly a more appropriate display of grace, tolerance, and brotherly love. ;)

Well that's their problem, and regardless of what way you say it making comments like that and not respecting the right for others to be entitled to their beliefs is wrong.

In other word, "No, it doesn't happen because that would be wrong". Unfortunately, such sentiments don't actually stop things like that from happening.

No unfortunetly it doesn't. We know pedophillia is wrong but despite our best efforts to stop it it still happens.

Actually those are all factually incorrect. Those things do happen. All the time.

I should probably say we shouldn't do these things, we are taught that they are wrong and I think we know that they are wrong. It doesn't stop it from happening but the point is we know that if we value the sensibilities of others, not to mention our teeth that might get rammed down our throats were we to make such comments, we wouldn't say such things.

I don't know if I'd use the word "crusade". "Campaign" would probably be more appropriate. Also, I would probably rearrange the last few words of that sentence. :)

Admirable. Were it me I would be more inclined to campaign against issues that are well rooted in how dangerous and wrong they are, drugs, crime, lack of justice, but that's just me. Perhaps the danger of letting your religion and beliefs get you in hot water, such as being preached to kill.

Most of the non-believers I've had experience with tend to avoid personal attacks. There's a huge difference between calling someone a "****wit" and pointing out that their beliefs are based on delusion. One is a personal attack while the other is not.

Exactly, and you know which one to avoid at all costs, even if some deacons as you've demonstrated don't.

Achilles
04-01-2007, 11:07 PM
Well, if you worry about the sancity of your soul, don't do it, and don't support it. As I understand it God will sort out dealing with those who take part in it.Unfortunately, I don't think this response addresses the point that I made. Your statement was that religion should have no place in public policy decicion making. I pointed out that it does, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.

My thoughts on these topics? <snip>There are existing threads for both of these topics. I will be more than happy to respond to your points there.

Again it falls down to common sense. So you're saying that Muslims don't really believe in jihad because of "common sense"?

The part about laws overiding religion is a good place to start. Terrorism is illegal in America. Hijacking and suicide bombing is illegal. Therefore, religious extremists must curb their faith to coexist with society, I think it's so that extremists stop committing acts that would be frowned upon by the general public but I have no basis for that, it's how I interpret that section. I think the terrorists were more than aware that their actions were going to violate some national laws. The fact is that many terrorists are on record stating that they are following a "higher law". This goes for Muslim extremists that suicide bomb Iraqi convenience stores as well as Christian extremists that bomb abortion clinics.

Would faith be dangerous or even lethal in some cases? In terms of people using dogma to preach killing and dieing for their God, absolutely. We've seen it with Islam and we are seeing it now with Christianity. The people who do go to these extremes are certainly in the minority, Al Qaeda has been condemned by Islamic clerics the world over. There are still those who preach hatred though, and as sensible people we know that is wrong. The growing...militarisation? of Christianity is disturbing as well. I haven't heard of Christian based terrorism but it could happen, and were it to it would lessen the religion. And you can point to things such as the Crusades and the history of the Middle East. I think religion for the most part is taught by sensible people, and most of those who recieve the message are sensible people. In my view for someone to look at religion and get it into their minds that killing for their God is a good idea is the same as those who play violent video games and then go out and kill, they arn't right to begin with. I don't think the problem is as isolated as you would suggest. Link (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=618).

Well that's their problem, and regardless of what way you say it making comments like that and not respecting the right for others to be entitled to their beliefs is wrong. I don't agree that militant, dogmatic thinking is "their problem". You are aware of so-called "hate crimes" aren't you? Those are the perpetrator's "problems". They aren't the ones that end up in the hospital or dead. We don't say, "well if the KKK wants to maim and kill people of other races, then that's their problem" do we?

(Full disclosure: I don't agree with the concept of "hate crimes". Assault is a assault and our government should be equally harsh with all violent offenders, regardless of their motivations. My 2 cents).

No unfortunetly it doesn't. We know pedophillia is wrong but despite our best efforts to stop it it still happens. If you agree that such arguments don't solve the problem, then why are you advocating them in this thread? Please help me understand which part of your argument I am missing.

I should probably say we shouldn't do these things, we are taught that they are wrong and I think we know that they are wrong. It doesn't stop it from happening but the point is we know that if we value the sensibilities of others, not to mention our teeth that might get rammed down our throats were we to make such comments, we wouldn't say such things. So you are retracting your earlier statement that people are not verbally harassed by people that hate them?

Admirable. Were it me I would be more inclined to campaign against issues that are well rooted in how dangerous and wrong they are, drugs, crime, lack of justice, but that's just me. Perhaps the danger of letting your religion and beliefs get you in hot water, such as being preached to kill. Do we only have to choose one issue to stand behind? Can I not campaign for rational discourse on religion while standing up for other social issues? Is it safe to say that there might be some other social issues that are at an impasse because of our failure to have rational discourse on religion (abortion and stem-cell research, for instance)? Considering that religion promotes in-group/out-group bias which clearly leads to conflict all over the world, don't you think crime would be reduced significantly it we eliminated the basis for such biases? I think we would.

Exactly, and you know which one to avoid at all costs, even if some deacons as you've demonstrated don't. I believe that a "deacon" is a religious officer. ;)

If you and I are agreeing that I've made no personal attacks, then I'm not sure where "****wit" came from. :)

Nancy Allen``
04-02-2007, 10:11 AM
Unfortunately, I don't think this response addresses the point that I made. Your statement was that religion should have no place in public policy decicion making. I pointed out that it does, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.

I'm not sure if religion should or should not have a place in public policy decision making but I think it shouldn't be used as a club to beat down any decision or to go against what is honestly going to be good for people.

So you're saying that Muslims don't really believe in jihad because of "common sense"?

I would argue that people such as Al Qaeda can say they commit terrorist acts because of their religion and point to texts in their Quran to justify Jihad. There's a few ways to look at this: they take the parts out of context rather than look at the whole, this is honestly how they see Islam despite the views of religious leaders, personally I think it's an excuse to hide behind but I'm the blunt type.

I think the terrorists were more than aware that their actions were going to violate some national laws. The fact is that many terrorists are on record stating that they are following a "higher law". This goes for Muslim extremists that suicide bomb Iraqi convenience stores as well as Christian extremists that bomb abortion clinics.

Then I suggest to them that they read again their religious texts. It says right there, I can find it if you like, that they are to respect the laws of the land when their religion says otherwise.

I don't think the problem is as isolated as you would suggest. Link (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=618).

That's beliefs. How does that indicate they would commit criminal acts?

I don't agree that militant, dogmatic thinking is "their problem". You are aware of so-called "hate crimes" aren't you? Those are the perpetrator's "problems". They aren't the ones that end up in the hospital or dead. We don't say, "well if the KKK wants to maim and kill people of other races, then that's their problem" do we?

By it being their problem I mean they have the problem of not giving a stuff about other people's feelings, those who delight in making racist comments to ethnic groups, anti gay comments to homosexuals, ect. These people are the scum of the earth and we should do everything to stop them.

If you agree that such arguments don't solve the problem, then why are you advocating them in this thread? Please help me understand which part of your argument I am missing.

I don't. I think we should do what we can to stop it, but the fact of the matter is it does. We shouldn't tolerate it but it does, and whatever we can do to stop it we should.

So you are retracting your earlier statement that people are not verbally harassed by people that hate them?

By saying that we don't make racist comments and the like I'm talking about the overwhelming majority. There are those that still do and as I said we should eradicate them, yesterday.

Do we only have to choose one issue to stand behind? Can I not campaign for rational discourse on religion while standing up for other social issues?

No you should do what you can. However you're not Superman, that's not a knock you should do what you can, but you shouldn't do more than you can, neither should you be expected to. A man who takes on the weight of the world's problems will over be crushed by them.

Is it safe to say that there might be some other social issues that are at an impasse because of our failure to have rational discourse on religion (abortion and stem-cell research, for instance)?

Yes I think it's fair to say that.

Considering that religion promotes in-group/out-group bias which clearly leads to conflict all over the world, don't you think crime would be reduced significantly it we eliminated the basis for such biases? I think we would.

But then what do we do when racial hatred leads to conflict? Do we kill all the black people because of the race riots Los Angelas had faced. What about violent protests against government? Should there be death camps for those opposed to whoever is in power?

If you and I are agreeing that I've made no personal attacks, then I'm not sure where "****wit" came from. :)

From the basis that saying things like 'you're a ****wit to not believe in religion' is wrong. It's wrong. Regardless of people making comments like that it's the wrong thing to do.

Achilles
04-02-2007, 12:12 PM
I'm not sure if religion should or should not have a place in public policy decision making but I think it shouldn't be used as a club to beat down any decision or to go against what is honestly going to be good for people. The unfortunate reality is that it already happens. I guess it comes down to what you're prepared to do about it.

I would argue that people such as Al Qaeda can say they commit terrorist acts because of their religion and point to texts in their Quran to justify Jihad. There's a few ways to look at this: they take the parts out of context rather than look at the whole, this is honestly how they see Islam despite the views of religious leaders, personally I think it's an excuse to hide behind but I'm the blunt type. What evidence do you have to support the hypothesis that Islam is a peaceful religion? Same question for Christianity.

Then I suggest to them that they read again their religious texts. It says right there, I can find it if you like, that they are to respect the laws of the land when their religion says otherwise. I've stated before and I state again that I don't think more reading of religious texts will help reduce religious violence.

That's beliefs. How does that indicate they would commit criminal acts? Religious texts promote, what we would today consider, criminal acts. Can you tell me how many atheists are incarcerated in the U.S.? How are the crime rates in the country's most religious areas?

By it being their problem I mean they have the problem of not giving a stuff about other people's feelings, those who delight in making racist comments to ethnic groups, anti gay comments to homosexuals, ect. These people are the scum of the earth and we should do everything to stop them. How do you suggest we do that?

I don't. I think we should do what we can to stop it, but the fact of the matter is it does. We shouldn't tolerate it but it does, and whatever we can do to stop it we should. Actually you have. Post #105 for example. That's how this whole sub-topic got started :)

By saying that we don't make racist comments and the like I'm talking about the overwhelming majority. There are those that still do and as I said we should eradicate them, yesterday. Wow. "eradicate". And you claim that atheists are extreme in their views.

No you should do what you can. However you're not Superman, that's not a knock you should do what you can, but you shouldn't do more than you can, neither should you be expected to. A man who takes on the weight of the world's problems will over be crushed by them. I don't think that cartoonish super-powers are a prerequisite. :D
I think contributing toward the resolution of social problems is a key element of good citizenship. My 2 cents.

But then what do we do when racial hatred leads to conflict? Do we kill all the black people because of the race riots Los Angelas had faced. What about violent protests against government? Should there be death camps for those opposed to whoever is in power? Didn't you earlier suggest eradication for those that you felt crossed a line? Seems to me that these would be "solutions" that you would promote.

From the basis that saying things like 'you're a ****wit to not believe in religion' is wrong. It's wrong. Regardless of people making comments like that it's the wrong thing to do.Ah, so this is non sequitur. Thanks for clarifying.

Rasputin1st
04-02-2007, 12:51 PM
Sorry this anouncement is a little late but..........Happy National Atheist's Day............"The fool said in his heart there is no God."-Psalm 53:1

Samuel Dravis
04-02-2007, 02:05 PM
Sorry this anouncement is a little late but..........Happy National Atheist's Day............"The fool said in his heart there is no God."-Psalm 53:1You might be surprised at the fact that many atheists would agree with your quote. Only a fool would say he knows something to be true when evidence cannot be obtained on the subject in question. :)

JediMaster12
04-02-2007, 02:14 PM
I know that, but the Ark is meant to be able to do the sort of thing we saw in the film. It says in the Bible that anyone who approaches it will surely be put to death, and there's bits and pieces floating around on what it can do. Here's a couple of sites on the matter.
Actually to approach the Ark, there are certain requirements that the High Priest must perform so that his body, mind and soul are clean before God. I believe that it was the descendants of Aaron that could do this. Leviticus and Exodus are a bit sketchy for me but I believe that is it.

Religious texts promote, what we would today consider, criminal acts. Can you tell me how many atheists are incarcerated in the U.S.? How are the crime rates in the country's most religious areas?
Have you looked at Cuba? Yes we associate them with Communism when in fact Castro was Nationalist and he resorted to facism. With crime though, I had a teacher go there and he said that crime was very low because it is not innocent until proven guilty but guilty until proven innocent and that it was very hard to get proven innocent. Cuba has Spanish ancestry and no doubt that they still follow the principles of Catholicism. Maybe it is an obscure example but one I just happened to remember.

Achilles
04-02-2007, 03:09 PM
You might be surprised at the fact that many atheists would agree with your quote. Only a fool would say he knows something to be true when evidence cannot be obtained on the subject in question. :) Indeed.
*wonders if Rasputin1st knows that National Athiests Day is a religious attempt at satire. ;)*

Have you looked at Cuba? Yes we associate them with Communism when in fact Castro was Nationalist and he resorted to facism. With crime though, I had a teacher go there and he said that crime was very low because it is not innocent until proven guilty but guilty until proven innocent and that it was very hard to get proven innocent. Cuba has Spanish ancestry and no doubt that they still follow the principles of Catholicism. Maybe it is an obscure example but one I just happened to remember.You appear to assume that there is a causal relationship at play here where the evidence for your conclusion is unsubstantiated.

Would it be more appropriate to say that atheism is responsible for the conditions in Cuba, or would it be better to say that a facist, dictatorial regime is the culprit? Regardless, introducing this strawman does not answer my questions about atheism here in the U.S.

Take a look at the UN Human Development Index. The U.S. (heavily Christian) usually shows up in the (lower end of the) top 10, but Norway has been in the top spot for the last 7 years. Norway is also known as the most non-religious country in Western Europe. I don't think it's a stretch to say that religion hinders social progress rather than promotes it.

Nancy Allen``
04-02-2007, 08:27 PM
The unfortunate reality is that it already happens. I guess it comes down to what you're prepared to do about it.

Anything possible. Too often religion has caused action or inaction when it shouldn't have otherwise. Less should be done to appease them if what they oppose is of benefit.

What evidence do you have to support the hypothesis that Islam is a peaceful religion? Same question for Christianity.

Islam, from my understanding of it, is a decidedly more war like religion. However it is my belief that about 99% of Muslims and those who follow Islam would rather function in society that work towards Jihad. People can look at Christianity's Old Testement and cherry pick verses that promote war, this isn't done away with but with the coming of Jesus Christ peace, forgiveness, are meant to be the watchwords.

Religious texts promote, what we would today consider, criminal acts. Can you tell me how many atheists are incarcerated in the U.S.? How are the crime rates in the country's most religious areas?

Religious texts, such as burning animals for sacrifice, people don't do that anymore. Maybe part of the problem is those who are very much stuck to the old ways. As for the statistics of crime in Christian and Atheist areas, I have no idea, I'm not even sure if there are religious zones and Atheist zones. I do know that the crime rate is much higher in America than Canada and Japan, I don't think Japan is a very religious country the way America especially under the Bush administation is. They also don't have nearly the same access to guns which people say is a contributing factor.

How do you suggest we do that?

There's hate crimes for example, I know you're against them, to tell the truth I am as well. This thing has gotten so out of hand that calling someone black is racist. I wonder what it is when we call someone white. The point is people know that it's wrong, very rarely can we say someone doesn't know any better. There's a law called provocation, meaning if you said something that causes someone to attack you then you could find yourself in bother as well. Unfortonetly police arn't too interested in chasing this up, too much work. But that's one solution, to point out that if you cop a smack in the mouth for having a go at someone who follows religion, at an Atheist, at someone who's black, who's white, or for whatever reason you might have to have a go at someone you can't expect to get any support.

Actually you have. Post #105 for example. That's how this whole sub-topic got started :)

'Using religion as justification pisses me off, Though shalt not kill amended, it's wrong to make hurtful comments, some subjects are more sensitive than others, asking about this being a crusade to stop the fallacy of believing in religion', you mean that I say that it happens means that I accept it? I don't. I know there are mad people in the Middle East who want to kill us all, no way I would accept that, but that's how things stand and that's not going to change until something is done about it.

Wow. "eradicate". And you claim that atheists are extreme in their views.

That's because people like this cross religious boundries. There are scum who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Athiest, Buddist, Hindu and some cooked up witchcraft nonsense. People who don't believe they have to abide by things such as the social contract and the rules regulations and laws of society. It'd be great if we could say 'kill all the Christians and the problem will go away', but the problem won't go away, all it means is there's a few less of them to worry about.

Didn't you earlier suggest eradication for those that you felt crossed a line? Seems to me that these would be "solutions" that you would promote.

As I said these things cross religious racial and cultural grounds. There's scant little seperating a black Atheist who kills a woman and steals her car and a white Christian who kidnaps, rapes and then kills a six year old girl. Both are about as far apart as you can get, yet no punishment is good enough for either of them.

Ah, so this is non sequitur. Thanks for clarifying.

You understand that it's wrong. That's the point I was trying to get across.

Achilles
04-02-2007, 09:18 PM
Anything possible. Too often religion has caused action or inaction when it shouldn't have otherwise. Less should be done to appease them if what they oppose is of benefit. So are you now arguing that religion should be involved? I'm having difficulty keeping up.

Islam, from my understanding of it, is a decidedly more war like religion. Didn't you earlier state that the extremists were taking their religious doctrine out of context? Does Islam promote violence or doesn't it?

However it is my belief that about 99% of Muslims and those who follow Islam would rather function in society that work towards Jihad. Ok. What is this opinion based on? What type of society do you think they want to build?

People can look at Christianity's Old Testement and cherry pick verses that promote war, this isn't done away with but with the coming of Jesus Christ peace, forgiveness, are meant to be the watchwords. Well, I suppose that's one way of looking at it. Based on my readings of the Bible, I would say the opposite is closer to the truth. Also, Christ's demeanor and purpose can be highly debated based which Gospel and/or book of the NT you read. There is no one clear, definitive vision of who Jesus was. Biblical scholars haven't even laid to rest the nuts and bolts of his sacrifice. As with any fictional character, there is a lot of room for interpretation.

Religious texts, such as burning animals for sacrifice, people don't do that anymore. Did you mean religious acts? I'm sure that satan worshippers and voodoo practitioners (not to equate the two groups) might disagree with you here.

Maybe part of the problem is those who are very much stuck to the old ways. Like those that view a 1800 year old text as their sole source of guidance? ;)

As for the statistics of crime in Christian and Atheist areas, I have no idea, I'm not even sure if there are religious zones and Atheist zones.
Crime rate by state (2004) (http://encarta.msn.com/media_701500272/Crime_Rates_by_State_in_the_United_States.html)

Let's use aggrivated assault as an example:

Highest - South Carolina (606.7). 92% Christian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Carolina#Religion)

Lowest (comparison limited to similar population) - Kentucky (130.5). 47% not affiliated with any religion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky#Religion)

Do I have a slam-dunk case on the causal relationship between religiousity and violence? Absolutely not, but niether do I think this is a coincidence.

I picked aggrivated assault at random, however I suspect we'll find similar results for any other stat you'd like to look at.

I do know that the crime rate is much higher in America than Canada and Japan, I don't think Japan is a very religious country the way America especially under the Bush administation is. They also don't have nearly the same access to guns which people say is a contributing factor. Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

There's hate crimes for example, I know you're against them, to tell the truth I am as well. This thing has gotten so out of hand that calling someone black is racist. Depending on how you say it, it certainly is!

I wonder what it is when we call someone white. The point is people know that it's wrong, very rarely can we say someone doesn't know any better. There's a law called provocation, meaning if you said something that causes someone to attack you then you could find yourself in bother as well. Unfortonetly police arn't too interested in chasing this up, too much work. But that's one solution, to point out that if you cop a smack in the mouth for having a go at someone who follows religion, at an Atheist, at someone who's black, who's white, or for whatever reason you might have to have a go at someone you can't expect to get any support. So you'd promote more laws against discrimanatory behavior? I think that this isn't necessarily a bad idea, but if the current laws haven't eliminated discrimination, what makes you think that more laws will? At some point, don't we have to address the problem rather than the symptoms?

'Using religion as justification pisses me off, Though shalt not kill amended, it's wrong to make hurtful comments, some subjects are more sensitive than others, asking about this being a crusade to stop the fallacy of believing in religion', you mean that I say that it happens means that I accept it? I don't. I know there are mad people in the Middle East who want to kill us all, no way I would accept that, but that's how things stand and that's not going to change until something is done about it. I'm having difficulty deciphering this.

That's because people like this cross religious boundries. So it's ok to eradicate people that we don't agree with?

There are scum who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Athiest, Buddist, Hindu and some cooked up witchcraft nonsense. Atheists can't call Christianity "nonsense" but you can apply that label to Wicca? Can't have it both ways.

People who don't believe they have to abide by things such as the social contract and the rules regulations and laws of society. It'd be great if we could say 'kill all the Christians and the problem will go away', but the problem won't go away, all it means is there's a few less of them to worry about. The only group that I know of that wants to kill Christians is Muslims. And most of them just want you to convert. Or at least leave their holy lands alone.

As I said these things cross religious racial and cultural grounds. There's scant little seperating a black Atheist who kills a woman and steals her car and a white Christian who kidnaps, rapes and then kills a six year old girl. Both are about as far apart as you can get, yet no punishment is good enough for either of them. I hope you don't have political aspirations. I'll tell you right now: I'm voting for the other guy :D

Seems to me that violence is only unacceptable when it isn't you weilding it.

Nancy Allen``
04-03-2007, 10:35 AM
I'll try and explain this as simply as I can, on the proviso that there's no easy solutions given to what I write (such as, say, 'Islam is a violent religion, outlaw Islam, wipe out the violence') because the answers arn't nearly as cut as dry as that, or probably as I'll put them below for that matter.

So are you now arguing that religion should be involved? I'm having difficulty keeping up.

Religion should be involved, but not over and above everything else.

Didn't you earlier state that the extremists were taking their religious doctrine out of context? Does Islam promote violence or doesn't it?

I did, it does and extremists take up promoting that violence, Jihad.

Ok. What is this opinion based on? What type of society do you think they want to build?

They're strangers in a strange land, they want to fuction as part of society. We'd be fish out of water too in some of their countries. Can you imagine me having to abide by the laws they have in Islamic countries? No thanks.

Well, I suppose that's one way of looking at it. Based on my readings of the Bible, I would say the opposite is closer to the truth. Also, Christ's demeanor and purpose can be highly debated based which Gospel and/or book of the NT you read. There is no one clear, definitive vision of who Jesus was. Biblical scholars haven't even laid to rest the nuts and bolts of his sacrifice. As with any fictional character, there is a lot of room for interpretation.

He was tortured by the Romans and crucified. Passion of the Christ gives a pretty blow by blow account, though it's not actually a Christian source. What do you mean by the nuts and bolts of his sacrifice? A day by day account of Jesus' life?

Did you mean religious acts? I'm sure that satan worshippers and voodoo practitioners (not to equate the two groups) might disagree with you here.

Christians don't do it anymore, far as I know. Though I did hear one story about a witch's belongings being burned and the Christians saying she should be burning as well. That's not on.

Like those that view a 1800 year old text as their sole source of guidance? ;)

Those who believe their religion puts them above the law, that their religion gives them the right to commit violent acts.

Crime rate by state (2004) (http://encarta.msn.com/media_701500272/Crime_Rates_by_State_in_the_United_States.html) :snip:

Did they look at how many Christians and Atheists there were and then how many of them commited the offenses?

Depending on how you say it, it certainly is!

The wording, tone of voice, ect surely, but just saying someone is black, c'mon.

So you'd promote more laws against discrimanatory behavior? I think that this isn't necessarily a bad idea, but if the current laws haven't eliminated discrimination, what makes you think that more laws will? At some point, don't we have to address the problem rather than the symptoms?

What is the problem? Religion? Not enough education that the type of behavior is unacceptable? Or simple people with too much powder up the ass and not enough kicking it?

So it's ok to eradicate people that we don't agree with?

Those who don't wish to function as part of a society, who live by their own terms at the expense of others, shouldn't be a part of society. Does that mean killing them? No. Harsh words on my part. A spell in the lockup on the other hand...

Atheists can't call Christianity "nonsense" but you can apply that label to Wicca? Can't have it both ways.

I was thinking more along the lines of a cult, but no, fair point, we should respect the beliefs of others regardless of what they are, up until the point they hurt others. The point is it doesn't matter what religion, if any, you pick, you'll get bad eggs in all of them.

The only group that I know of that wants to kill Christians is Muslims. And most of them just want you to convert. Or at least leave their holy lands alone.

What I'm saying is the theory of 'get rid of this religion, you get rid of the problem', it won't work.

I hope you don't have political aspirations. I'll tell you right now: I'm voting for the other guy :D

I'll tell you right now I wouldn't take the job if I was begged to. It's a hell of a job, the voters hate you, the press crucify you and you can have the perfect solution to the world's woes that pleases everybody and if your opponents don't attack it to the point where your own team turns on you then some roadblock or another is thrown up to stop it.

Seems to me that violence is only unacceptable when it isn't you weilding it.

You noticed? That's probably true, I'm the Butheress of Abu Gharib, a Nazi Stormtrooper and I have a photo of Palpatine next to my bed. Well, that's the story going around on parts of the forum anyway.

Well, maybe not Palpatine, maybe Anakin.

Achilles
04-03-2007, 02:03 PM
Religion should be involved, but not over and above everything else. Thanks for clarifying.
Why? What does religion bring to the discussion that isn't already offered by modern ethics? Better yet: What does religion bring to the discussion that is superior to modern ethics?

Name as many "wedge" issues as you can. How many of them are "wedge" issues because of religious arguments that have no basis in ethics or morality (in other words, how many of them contain an argument that sounds like "because the Bible says so")?

I did, it does and extremists take up promoting that violence, Jihad. Where do extremists get the concept of Jihad? No matter how many times we circle this argument, the facts aren't going to change: the Bible and the Qu'ran promote violent behavior. We call them extremists, but the fact remains that if adherence to holy texts is a measure of faithfulness, then these people are the only ones getting into Heaven/Paradise.

They're strangers in a strange land, they want to fuction as part of society. We'd be fish out of water too in some of their countries. Can you imagine me having to abide by the laws they have in Islamic countries? No thanks. Huh? Middle Easterners are strangers in their homelands? How does that work?

He was tortured by the Romans and crucified.According to what extant historical document? I'm pretty sure that all we have are several incomplete fictional texts. If my information is incorrect, please let me know.

Passion of the Christ gives a pretty blow by blow account, though it's not actually a Christian source. The Passion of the Christ is a movie. It was based on the accounts provided in the Bible. It's fiction based on fiction. Do you have another source?

What do you mean by the nuts and bolts of his sacrifice? A day by day account of Jesus' life? Was Jesus a man or was he a God. Was he separate from God or another just another face? Why was the sacrifice necessary? How did Jesus' sacrifice differ from other sacrifices with Judaism?

Keep in mind, I'm not interested in your opinion on these matters rather what the scholars say. This is a small sample of contested issues within Christianity.

Christians don't do it anymore, far as I know. Though I did hear one story about a witch's belongings being burned and the Christians saying she should be burning as well. That's not on. My point is that "religion" extends beyond the borders of Christianity.

Those who believe their religion puts them above the law, that their religion gives them the right to commit violent acts. I'm not sure how this comment is related to the point that I was making.

Did they look at how many Christians and Atheists there were and then how many of them commited the offenses? If you take a look at the Federal Bureau of Prisons data, you'll find that about 84% of people in prison subscribe to some flavor of Christianity. By way of comparison 0.2% of inmates are Atheists.

83% of U.S. population is Christian. 84% of prison population is Christian.
8% of U.S. population are Atheists. 0.2% of prison population are Atheist.

Compare those figures to the figures I referenced earlier.

The wording, tone of voice, ect surely, but just saying someone is black, c'mon. The point is, it depends on how you "just" say it.

What is the problem? Religion? Not enough education that the type of behavior is unacceptable? Or simple people with too much powder up the ass and not enough kicking it? The problem is not enough rational discussion about beliefs. How many people do you think would continue to maintain discriminatory beliefs after it became embarrassing to do so? By declaring certain topics "off-limits", we create pockets where such beliefs can exist without fear of examination. Get rid of the pockets and get rid of the beliefs.

Those who don't wish to function as part of a society, who live by their own terms at the expense of others, shouldn't be a part of society. Does that mean killing them? No. Harsh words on my part. A spell in the lockup on the other hand... Who gets to determine what those terms are? What criteria will they be required to use to ensure that those terms are just? What do you suggest we do with these "outsiders"? How do your beliefs compare to the principles outlined in the Bill of Rights?

What I'm saying is the theory of 'get rid of this religion, you get rid of the problem', it won't work. What evidence is your opinion based on?

I'll tell you right now I wouldn't take the job if I was begged to. It's a hell of a job, the voters hate you, the press crucify you and you can have the perfect solution to the world's woes that pleases everybody and if your opponents don't attack it to the point where your own team turns on you then some roadblock or another is thrown up to stop it. Considering that your views sound rather dictatorial, I don't think you'd have to worry about elections or opposition for very long.

You noticed? That's probably true, I'm the Butheress of Abu Gharib, a Nazi Stormtrooper and I have a photo of Palpatine next to my bed. Well, that's the story going around on parts of the forum anyway.

Well, maybe not Palpatine, maybe Anakin. You had me at "eradicate".

The Source
04-03-2007, 04:54 PM
Now, in case you don't know, Atheists such as myself are pretty much discriminated against more than anyone these days. Surveys have stated that less than 3% of parents would want their child marrying an Atheist, George H.W. Bush (our current president's father) once stated that he didn't know whether Atheists should be considered American citizens, we are stereotyped as being immoral and evil and I've even heard some complete idiots (my own parents included) who have compared my people to terrorists. There are even those who believe that Atheists DO believe in God, but are simply in denial (that's where the "There are no Atheists in foxholes" saying comes from.) I am curious as to what all my fellow forumites think of Atheists. More so, I am curious to hear the opinions of those of you who do believe in God, or even dislike Atheists. However, even though I condone anything basically because I simply wish to hear the truth and don't care how harsh it is, nothing will stop a moderator from stopping things from going out of control. So for those of you who might dislike or look down on my people, I hope you can clearly state your opinion and still stay in the boundaries of the Forum's rules.
Even though I am a Christian, I have no bias towards Atheists. Religion is not for everyone. Sorry to hear that you have had a hard time with being an Atheist. Believe or not believe in anything or nothing at all. It really doesn't matter to me where you stand. If you are a nice person who has a set of personal morals, which do not conflict with logic, I have absolutely no problem in what you do or not believe.

Jae Onasi
04-03-2007, 06:51 PM
You had me at "eradicate".

:rofl:

"I'll take parodies of chick flicks for 500, Alex"

Nancy Allen``
04-03-2007, 08:11 PM
Thanks for clarifying.
Why? What does religion bring to the discussion that isn't already offered by modern ethics? Better yet: What does religion bring to the discussion that is superior to modern ethics?

Ah, you know, people don't want millions of angry Christians, Jews and Muslims breathing down their necks.

Okay, that's a pretty cynical and Atheist way of looking at it but seriously, that's partly true. I think that it's because in any given society if you want morality and ethics you look at religion, which is meant to be a pillar of such things that is meant to be superior. I think it's because we change to suit the morality of the times when we shouldn't and religion is set in stone.

As an aside, I remember a Simpsons episode when the priest says of gambling 'If the government declares it law it's no longer immoral'. I think there's a lot of truth in that statement in that despite religion the law stands. That's probably why we see such religious opposition to things, as they could well be seen to be immoral, but once they are passed they have to stand by them.

Name as many "wedge" issues as you can. How many of them are "wedge" issues because of religious arguments that have no basis in ethics or morality (in other words, how many of them contain an argument that sounds like "because the Bible says so")?

Cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, not executing or punishing a woman who had drugs on her (the infamous Schapelle Corby and the Muslim religion in Indonesia screaming for her blood). Uh, my brain hurts thinking about it. Three of the four stem, uh, no pun intended, from the arguement of playing God, and the fourth with punishing drug smugglers, I think it has to do with punishing sinners, but I really have no idea.

Where do extremists get the concept of Jihad? No matter how many times we circle this argument, the facts aren't going to change: the Bible and the Qu'ran promote violent behavior. We call them extremists, but the fact remains that if adherence to holy texts is a measure of faithfulness, then these people are the only ones getting into Heaven/Paradise.

And yet there are those truely dedicated Christians, Muslims, ect who are very much against war. Yes, a few do think they are honoring their God but I still think it's a bit of an excuse to persecute what they don't understand and can't tolerate.

Huh? Middle Easterners are strangers in their homelands? How does that work?

In our countries they are strangers. I read about a Croatian basketball player and how he tried fitting in. Same thing.

According to what extant historical document? I'm pretty sure that all we have are several incomplete fictional texts. If my information is incorrect, please let me know.

The texts of Matthew, John, Paul and others in the New Testement of the Bible. This is how the book is made up, as well as texts such as Exedus which details Moses and the Jews leaving Egypt, Solomon, of King Solomon, Corinthians and Galations which tells of visits to those people and Revelations which details how we will all die. I know, charming. Any other sources I can point to? Nup, I haven't bothered to look. But I might, given the right incentive.

Was Jesus a man or was he a God. Was he separate from God or another just another face? Why was the sacrifice necessary? How did Jesus' sacrifice differ from other sacrifices with Judaism?

Hmmm, let me think. The first part is debated but I think Jesus was God made flesh. Jesus was God's son, essentially God so that we might see him, as it says that God is so great we cannot see him. His sacrifice was nessecary to absolve the world of sin. Before God would wipe out sin, physically wipe it out, such as using evil Spartan like warriors to destroy the entire kingdom of Niniva, innocent and guilty alike, because of how sinful it was. Such as having armies destroy other kingdoms, telling the soldiers to maim, rape, pillage slaughter and burn everything, women, children. Or the great flood where God was going to destroy it all because of sin. Jesus's sacrifice differs from Judaism in that they don't see Jesus as the Messiah, that's as basically as I can put it particularly because I'm not sure of the details.

My point is that "religion" extends beyond the borders of Christianity.

Of course. Atheism is about the only place where it stops.

I'm not sure how this comment is related to the point that I was making.

Those that view a 1800 year old text as their sole source of guidance? Those who read the texts and think they would honor their God by killing people or they can use religion as an excuse are the problem.

If you take a look at the Federal Bureau of Prisons data, you'll find that about 84% of people in prison subscribe to some flavor of Christianity. By way of comparison 0.2% of inmates are Atheists.

83% of U.S. population is Christian. 84% of prison population is Christian.
8% of U.S. population are Atheists. 0.2% of prison population are Atheist.

Compare those figures to the figures I referenced earlier.

Aha, that's what I was looking for. So of the 8% of Atheists in America such a small percentage of them are criminals. It's interesting. I wonder what crimes they were convicted for, that could make for further reading. Especially if these Atheists were arrested for speaking out against religion.

The problem is not enough rational discussion about beliefs. How many people do you think would continue to maintain discriminatory beliefs after it became embarrassing to do so? By declaring certain topics "off-limits", we create pockets where such beliefs can exist without fear of examination. Get rid of the pockets and get rid of the beliefs.

So we get right back to the issue of get rid of religion, or beliefs, you get rid of the problem. Has it occured to you that a lot of problems don't stem from religion?

Who gets to determine what those terms are? What criteria will they be required to use to ensure that those terms are just? What do you suggest we do with these "outsiders"? How do your beliefs compare to the principles outlined in the Bill of Rights?

Arresting gangs of youths tearing neighbourhoods aparts and having them cool off in a prison cell is already done. Charging drunks who get into fights is already done. People are even sent to the church for a change of scenary. I think this works well. It's not without it's problems, but by the same token we'll keep Judge Dredd well out of the hands of legislators, they might put the idea of a police state and legal death squads into practice.

What evidence is your opinion based on?

We can look at history as an example, when religion was banned in the Soviet Union and Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews, but we don't really need to. People will still be just as currupt, violent and criminal without religion. Those who seek conflict will use politics and racism as a reason for it, and with religion outlawed those topics will become topics of conflict anyway.

Emperor Devon
04-03-2007, 10:07 PM
religion is set in stone.

Sometimes *too* set in stone, in my opinion. Simple morality is completely inflexible in its "tenants" and much harder to use to justify things that violate them. There is no way you can say murder is moral, for instance.

Religion, however, can override simple morality. When you bring God into the whole thing, you bring in something that can be used to justify any action no matter how immoral. Look at the case of that one mother who drowned her children a few months ago - from a moral perspective, murdering children is a bad thing. But introduce religion into it and that changes things. What if she killed them to save their souls from Satan, as she claimed? There, you've just justified a perfectly monstrous act with an appeal to authority (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html).

When you introduce a power as high as God to something, you completely negate your own sense of morals - they are inferior to God. Worse yet, you can't ever question the will of God, no matter how immoral He may appear.

With this you can do the most evil of acts and justify it all with that a higher authority (God) directed you to do it. (Doesn't that sound an awful lot like the "I was only obeying orders" excuse a lot of post-WWII Nazis used?) It's been done more than a few times - look at the 4rd Crusade if you want another example. By God's will, the Crusaders were supposed to conquer Constantinople. Despite how such an action was obviously immoral in how it resulted in the near-destruction of one of the most cultured and wealthy cities in the world at that time, God wanted it so it had to be done.

Yes, religion is set in stone - which is especially dangerous considering that religion itself is not morality, but rather an idea that is supposed to uphold morality. Introduce a being whose unquestionable word can override our own earthly views of morality and justify acts which obviously are not moral, and you've chosen a pretty bad thing to set in stone.

Achilles
04-03-2007, 11:00 PM
Ah, you know, people don't want millions of angry Christians, Jews and Muslims breathing down their necks. In other words, to pander to the majority regardless of how valid or invalid their views might be?

Okay, that's a pretty cynical and Atheist way of looking at it but seriously, that's partly true. I think that it's because in any given society if you want morality and ethics you look at religion, which is meant to be a pillar of such things that is meant to be superior. I think it's because we change to suit the morality of the times when we shouldn't and religion is set in stone. Sounds like you're finally acknowledging my argument that true believers should be following the violent instructions included in their holy texts. Somehow I still have the impression that you'll contradict that elsewhere in this response.

Before we move on: You only answered one of my questions. :) What are your thoughts on the rest?

As an aside, I remember a Simpsons episode when the priest says of gambling 'If the government declares it law it's no longer immoral'. I think there's a lot of truth in that statement in that despite religion the law stands. That's probably why we see such religious opposition to things, as they could well be seen to be immoral, but once they are passed they have to stand by them. Doesn't seem like much of a system of morals then.

Cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, not executing or punishing a woman who had drugs on her (the infamous Schapelle Corby and the Muslim religion in Indonesia screaming for her blood). Uh, my brain hurts thinking about it. Three of the four stem, uh, no pun intended, from the arguement of playing God, and the fourth with punishing drug smugglers, I think it has to do with punishing sinners, but I really have no idea. I don't know if Corby counts as a wedge issue. So 100% of the issues you listed are religious in nature. Wouldn't it be nice if we could leave religion out of it and examine each of these things on their ethical merits alone?

And yet there are those truely dedicated Christians, Muslims, ect who are very much against war. Those are called "moderates". Not the same thing.

Yes, a few do think they are honoring their God but I still think it's a bit of an excuse to persecute what they don't understand and can't tolerate. You seem to be ignoring the fact that the holy texts tell us specifically to do that. Am I misunderstanding you?

In our countries they are strangers. I read about a Croatian basketball player and how he tried fitting in. Same thing.Location has nothing to do with it. Where do you think the extremist come from? Even if I were to entertain your hypothesis, it would quickly fall apart after I looked around and noticed all the immigrant Latins, Asians, and Europeans in my neighborhood that aren't terrorists.

The texts of Matthew, John, Paul and others in the New Testement of the Bible. This is how the book is made up, as well as texts such as Exedus which details Moses and the Jews leaving Egypt, Solomon, of King Solomon, Corinthians and Galations which tells of visits to those people and Revelations which details how we will all die. I know, charming. Any other sources I can point to? Nup, I haven't bothered to look. But I might, given the right incentive. All of which are fiction. Paul's letters have clear authorship, however Paul admits that he's never actually seen Jesus. None of the Gospels are eyewitness accounts.

Hmmm, let me think. Per my earlier message, I'm not asking for your opinion. I'm asking you to point to a single source that has an undisputed answer for any or all of these questions.

Of course. Atheism is about the only place where it stops. Even though you earlier tried to exclude other belief systems. That was my point.

Those that view a 1800 year old text as their sole source of guidance? Those who read the texts and think they would honor their God by killing people or they can use religion as an excuse are the problem. Really? They're just doing what their Gods have told them to do.

Aha, that's what I was looking for. So of the 8% of Atheists in America such a small percentage of them are criminals. It's interesting. I wonder what crimes they were convicted for, that could make for further reading. Especially if these Atheists were arrested for speaking out against religion. Freedom of Speech. Such an arrest would never hold up. They were probably convicted of something terrible enough to get them thrown in prison. The point is that a disproportionate percentage of inmates are atheists. So based on the evidence, who is more likely to display illegal/immoral behavior? A religious person or a non-religious person? What does this say about "religion being the sole source of morality"? Or even a good source of morality for that matter?

So we get right back to the issue of get rid of religion, or beliefs, you get rid of the problem. Has it occured to you that a lot of problems don't stem from religion? Absolutely. My sore feet have nothing to do with religion. ;)

Let's list all the modern social issues. Then we can make a list of all the ones that have religious ties. Sound like a plan?

Also, you didn't answer my question :)

Arresting gangs of youths tearing neighbourhoods aparts and having them cool off in a prison cell is already done. Charging drunks who get into fights is already done. People are even sent to the church for a change of scenary. I think this works well. It's not without it's problems, but by the same token we'll keep Judge Dredd well out of the hands of legislators, they might put the idea of a police state and legal death squads into practice. You didn't answer any of my questions.

We can look at history as an example, when religion was banned in the Soviet Union and Hitler tried to exterminate the Jews, but we don't really need to. People will still be just as currupt, violent and criminal without religion. Those who seek conflict will use politics and racism as a reason for it, and with religion outlawed those topics will become topics of conflict anyway. Fascist regimes have bigger problems than atheism. Also, as I've pointed out before, Hitler was a Catholic, not an Atheist. In other words, there's no causal relationships. Would you like to try another source?

Nancy Allen``
04-03-2007, 11:46 PM
Maybe I'm not giving you the answers you want to hear. Maybe I'm not saying 'religion is evil, we must stop it at all costs'. The problem isn't as cut and dry as you might like to make it out to be. We cannot just lump every Christian, Jew and Muslim in the one box. By doing that the innocent are punished as well as the guilty.

Jae Onasi
04-03-2007, 11:48 PM
Sometimes *too* set in stone, in my opinion. Simple morality is completely inflexible in its "tenants" and much harder to use to justify things that violate them. There is no way you can say murder is moral, for instance.

Religion, however, can override simple morality. When you bring God into the whole thing, you bring in something that can be used to justify any action no matter how immoral. Look at the case of that one mother who drowned her children a few months ago - from a moral perspective, murdering children is a bad thing. But introduce religion into it and that changes things. What if she killed them to save their souls from Satan, as she claimed? There, you've just justified a perfectly monstrous act with an appeal to authority (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html).

When you introduce a power as high as God to something, you completely negate your own sense of morals - they are inferior to God. Worse yet, you can't ever question the will of God, no matter how immoral He may appear.


Come on, Emperor Devon. She was seriously mentally ill. There's a big difference between someone trying to justify an act using God (and that's an incorrect usage anyway), and someone who's so mentally ill that she believes she's seeing Satan in front of her and God is one of the many voices she's hearing in her head telling her to go kill it. The lady who drowned her kids was the latter--terribly psychotic, and that is very different from a moral problem.

So how do you benchmark morals if you have nothing that is ultimately good? Atheists have nothing that is Ultimate Good (God) that serves as the definitive standard. That is not to say that atheists are immoral--let me be clear about that--my 2 close atheist friends are every bit as moral as I am.
But who's the 'good person' who provides that defining sense of morality? And why should I accept your benchmark? Or you mine? if there is no defining ultimate good, then anything goes. Your 'good' is just as valid as my 'good', and we end up depending on nothing more than feelings about what's right or wrong, with no basis to say 'x is always wrong' and 'y is always right'.

Furthermore, the fact that anyone can say something is 'good' or 'evil' means we know there is an ultimate standard. It's not 'my culture says this is the right thing to do' or 'I internally feel this is the right thing to do', all of which are variable. The only way we can definitively know that murder is wrong or molesting children is reprehensible is if there is non-changing standard of good with which we can compare such acts.

The atheist:criminal ratio--atheists tend to be more highly educated. Criminals tend to be less educated. The crime rate is lower among the more highly educated, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. Since atheists are more highly educated and more likely to be gainfully employed, of course there are going to be fewer atheist criminals. If you could control for educational status along with religion/lack thereof, I suspect the ratios would be more similar.

This article in Criminology (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01176.x) states that involvement in religious activities lowers the probability that someone will commit a crime.

Achilles
04-04-2007, 12:20 AM
Maybe I'm not giving you the answers you want to hear. Maybe I'm not saying 'religion is evil, we must stop it at all costs'. The problem isn't as cut and dry as you might like to make it out to be. We cannot just lump every Christian, Jew and Muslim in the one box. By doing that the innocent are punished as well as the guilty. Does this mean you aren't going to answer those questions? :)

I'm simply trying to point out that there are some inconsistencies in your positions. Several pertinent points to the dialog are denied, ignored, or dismissed as incredible. I try to address the points you raise, but frequently it seems as though you're unwilling to show me the same level of respect.

A few points:

Movies, television shows, and video games are great forms of entertainment and can sometimes be used to express important messages. However they make for very poor sources when trying to shore up your position in a debate.

You seem interested in actual facts when presented, but you also seem equally willing to ignore their implications if you don't agree with the conclusions they support.

Your message implies that my goal is to "punish". As I've stated several times, my goal is to have a dialog. I am not interested in (nor do I support) persecution of anyone or any group. I don't have a problem with any religious people. I have several problems with religious beliefs.

If you have some information that you feel contradicts, disproves, or weakens my position, I would be more than happy to listen to whatever you have to say. All I ask is that you act with reciprocity.

As always, thanks for reading.

Nancy Allen``
04-04-2007, 12:44 AM
Alright. Put down your question again, all of them, and be as descriptive as you can, and I'll lay it all out for you, facts, sources, even if the best I can point to is some fiction in religious texts.

Achilles
04-04-2007, 01:46 AM
Come on, Emperor Devon. She was seriously mentally ill. There's a big difference between someone trying to justify an act using God (and that's an incorrect usage anyway), and someone who's so mentally ill that she believes she's seeing Satan in front of her and God is one of the many voices she's hearing in her head telling her to go kill it. The lady who drowned her kids was the latter--terribly psychotic, and that is very different from a moral problem. I'm reminded of William James arguing the idea that maybe the ones we refer to as "sane" are the ones with mental deficiencies. There are countless horrible act that have been done throughout history in the name of God. Surely some of the people that committed them were crazy, but not all of them.

So how do you benchmark morals if you have nothing that is ultimately good? Atheists have nothing that is Ultimate Good (God) that serves as the definitive standard. That is not to say that atheists are immoral--let me be clear about that--my 2 close atheist friends are every bit as moral as I am. What if you don't need an "ultimate good"? I don't believe in not killing people because it conflicts with some concept of ultimate good. I don't kill people because I don't believe we should live in a world where people should be allowed to walk around killing whomever they want. Since I wouldn't want someone to kill me, I don't kill others. No ultimate good necessary.

But who's the 'good person' who provides that defining sense of morality? And why should I accept your benchmark? Or you mine? if there is no defining ultimate good, then anything goes. As I just showed, this isn't true. I'm a big fan of truth being self-evident. I don't know anyone that encounters the Golden Rule and says, "yeah, I don't know...". You may choose not to accept the Golden Rule, but I'm willing to wager than you can't make one argument against it that would cause a rational person to say, "You're right. That golden rule stuff is BS.". The problem is that if your morality comes from religion, then you don't have to have a rational reason for your belief. Furthermore, it's generally accepted that if you say, "Well, that's what I believe", then the other person has to respect that. I obviously don't subscribe to that way of thinking :D

Your 'good' is just as valid as my 'good', and we end up depending on nothing more than feelings about what's right or wrong, with no basis to say 'x is always wrong' and 'y is always right'. Unfortunately, I think you'll find that this only happens in religion. I can't think of any other institution in which this type of thinking is permitted.

Furthermore, the fact that anyone can say something is 'good' or 'evil' means we know there is an ultimate standard. Referring to things as "good" and "evil" is only evidence that we are enculturated to think in those terms. Nothing more.

It's not 'my culture says this is the right thing to do' or 'I internally feel this is the right thing to do', all of which are variable. Actually, this is known as "moral relativism". Eating dogs in Asia is perfectly normal, however it's animal cruelty here. By way of comparison, most of us have no problem sitting down to a burger or a steak, but Hindus would sooner chew off their own tongues than eat cow.

The only way we can definitively know that murder is wrong or molesting children is reprehensible is if there is non-changing standard of good with which we can compare such acts. I agree with your conclusion but not for the same reasons that you do.

The atheist:criminal ratio--atheists tend to be more highly educated. Criminals tend to be less educated. Atheists tend to be highly educated. Criminals tend to be less educated. Therefore Atheists tend not to be criminals. Criminals are not usually atheists. Therefore criminals are usually religious people.

Am I missing something? Wasn't that what I said? :D

The crime rate is lower among the more highly educated, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. Since atheists are more highly educated and more likely to be gainfully employed, of course there are going to be fewer atheist criminals.If you could control for educational status along with religion/lack thereof, I suspect the ratios would be more similar. You're stretching. I'm not seeing anything here that refutes my argument that religious people are more likely to break the law and go to jail.

This article in Criminology (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01176.x) states that involvement in religious activities lowers the probability that someone will commit a crime.*Ignores that article is 12 years old*

Does Religion Really Reduce Crime?

Paul Heaton (2006). Journal of Law and Economics XLIX (April).
University of Chicago.

Previous studies have found evidence that increased religious membership in a jurisdiction leads to reduced crime rates. However, many of these studies have examined the relationship using a statistical technique (ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions) which may have produced biased results. The reason for the potential bias is that criminal activity may itself affect religious activity. That is, high crime areas might lead religious organizations to locate there. Alternatively, criminal activities might lead individuals to abandon religious participation because of guilt. This study controls for the influence of crime on religion and re-examines the impact of religious activity on crime rates. The author finds no statistically significant relationship between religious membership and property or violent crime.
—Niels Veldhuis and Jason Clemens

Emperor Devon
04-04-2007, 02:22 AM
Come on, Emperor Devon. She was seriously mentally ill.

But Jae, it's hardly unique. She wasn't the first case in which God was used to justify an immoral action. Another example (apart from the one in my previous post) are people who strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up in crowded places. If you look at it from a moral perspective, is it horrible? Yes. If God says so? A-okay!

Atheists have nothing that is Ultimate Good (God) that serves as the definitive standard.

You are forgetting that God is merely an individual who meets that standard better than we do (supposedly). It's the standards themselves we should be striving to meet, not how well someone else has met them.

my 2 close atheist friends are every bit as moral as I am.

Might I ask why you're debating this if you think atheists can be just be as moral as the religious? :)

Achilles addressed the rest...

Achilles
04-04-2007, 05:31 AM
Alright. Put down your question again, all of them, and be as descriptive as you can, and I'll lay it all out for you, facts, sources, even if the best I can point to is some fiction in religious texts. I respectfully decline your invitation to start over from scratch. You're more than welcome to pick up at post 118 (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2292994&postcount=118) on page 3. There are also a few lingering questions in post 123 (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2293199&postcount=123) earlier on this page.

I look forward to reading your responses.

Jae Onasi
04-04-2007, 09:29 AM
Just a quick post because I have a bunch of appts today, and I just wanted to ask a couple questions more than anything else.

@Achilles--just because the article is 12 years old doesn't make it invalid. It's been quoted by a good number of other articles, so someone thought it must have been useful.

@ED--God doesn't define the standard, He _is_ the standard.
Mentally ill people would use Flying Spaghetti Monster as the reason for killing if they happened to worship such--they're not killing because of God, they're killing because they are mentally ill, and the brain is so screwed up that God happens to get mixed in. This isn't a moral question at all in this case, because they aren't able to process morals correctly at all.

Achilles started to answer this but hasn't completely. Stalin and Mao thought that promotion of Communism and their view of how to run Soviet Russia and China respectively justified all the deaths they caused to achieve their end. For them, death was not evil if it meant promotion of their ideals, and they surely did not find the Golden Rule to be self-evident in this case. This is very clearly a case of their own human standard being applied to morals with disastrous results for millions, and in fact I'd submit that these two alone were responsible for more deaths than all of the religious wars combined.
If Atheism uses man as the standard, then something like the actions of Mao and Stalin can no longer be considered 'wrong'. Why is your brand of morality any better than these two, in this case?

Achilles
04-04-2007, 11:31 AM
@Achilles--just because the article is 12 years old doesn't make it invalid. It's been quoted by a good number of other articles, so someone thought it must have been useful. Sorry. I guess I'm just used to academic standards. For the past decade, I haven't been permitted to cite anything that isn't peer-reviewed or less than 5 years old.

@ED--God doesn't define the standard, He _is_ the standard. How can you tell us that you have moral atheist friends and then say this? What explanation can you offer for the morality of Buddhists or Jains?

Mentally ill people would use Flying Spaghetti Monster as the reason for killing if they happened to worship such--they're not killing because of God, they're killing because they are mentally ill, and the brain is so screwed up that God happens to get mixed in. This isn't a moral question at all in this case, because they aren't able to process morals correctly at all. As I pointed out earlier, some are insane. Others are just really devoted.

Achilles started to answer this but hasn't completely. Stalin and Mao thought that promotion of Communism and their view of how to run Soviet Russia and China respectively justified all the deaths they caused to achieve their end. For them, death was not evil if it meant promotion of their ideals, and they surely did not find the Golden Rule to be self-evident in this case. This is very clearly a case of their own human standard being applied to morals with disastrous results for millions, and in fact I'd submit that these two alone were responsible for more deaths than all of the religious wars combined. Actually I have answered this completely. The problem that you cite is facism, not atheism. Your examples just happen to be Atheists. Even I wouldn't go so far as to say that Hitler isn't the gold standard for Catholic leaders.

If Atheism uses man as the standard, then something like the actions of Mao and Stalin can no longer be considered 'wrong'. Why is your brand of morality any better than these two, in this case? Fine. If Religiosity is the standard, then something like the actions of Hitler can no longer be considered 'wrong'.

As you can see, that argument fails for obvious reasons. If we didn't have a "moral compass" that was independent of religion, then we would still be stoning people to death of working on the Sabbath, using the Bible to justify slavery, etc. Because we do, we opt to cherry-pick the parts the reinforce what we consider to be moral behavior. Until you can address this point (which I have brought up several times before), then I don't see how we can move forward.

JediMaster12
04-04-2007, 01:41 PM
using the Bible to justify slavery,Actually this has been done. I believe it is Joshua 9:20 that is the popular favorite. "The children of Ham turned black for their sins and shall be unto the rest hewers of wood and drawers of water. They shall be as servants unto us." I would think that this would be used to justify the slavery in particular the African slave trade. And these people who used this were God fearing people who believed in helping their neighbor, just not the ones who were physically different.

How can you tell us that you have moral atheist friends and then say this? What explanation can you offer for the morality of Buddhists or Jains?
It was more of an ethnocentric statement which even the most enlightened people make. The founding fathers were the same way. As for Buddhists, if I remember correctly, they believe that all life is suffering and that they believe that by achieving balance, they will be enlightened or something like that. Very rusty there. Buddhism is more philosophical if I'm not mistaken as well as Confucianism and both address standard modes of behavior.

Darth InSidious
04-04-2007, 01:44 PM
Hitler was less Catholic than Calvin.

After he left school he abandoned his faith (Michael Rissmann, Hitlers Gott. Vorsehungsglaube und Sendungsbewußtsein des deutschen Diktators, Zürich München: Pendo, 2001, p. 94-96 ISBN 3-85842-421-8.).

Yes, in addresses to the Reichstag and in public, as on March 23rd 1933, he claimed Catholicism, but in private, he clearly held no such beliefs, and this was probably just another facet of what Ian Kershaw refers to as 'the Hitler Myth'. This was probably an attempt to placate the Christian churches into believing he still followed their moral codes.

Speer notes that Hitler asked why he was raised a Christian: "Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?". Hitler also seems to claim that it was the 'disintegrating effect of Christianity' that was solely responsible for the destruction of the Roman Empire. Goebbels noted in his diary that Hitler believed Christianity was a 'symptom of decay'. He regarded Christianity as a corrupted teaching of an Aryan, anti-semitic Christ (Steigmann-Gall, p. 257, 260).

He also, claimed not to believe in Christianity with 'its weak pity ethics', but rather, in a strong, 'active', perhaps militant God, with his somewhat odd 'positive Christianity'.

"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter." - Cited in Norman H. Baynes, The Speeches of Adolf Hitler: April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1, New York: Oxford University Press, 1942, p. 19-20 ISBN 0-598-75893-3. In a speech delivered on 12 April 1922, Munich

Catholic by birth, perhaps. But Catholic in belief? I think not.

Hitler, if we were to momentarily ignore everything I have said above, Hitler, by performing the atrocities he did, contravenes an absolute moral law that is laid down by Catholicism in pretty well every act of legislation, and in every major deed that he performed.

Mao and Stalin, however, contravene a much less absolute moral law. Theirs would seem to based upon (although I do not claim authority on atheism, and please, do contradict me if I am wrong), what is good for society. Now that is a very relative term, no?

Achilles
04-04-2007, 02:48 PM
Actually this has been done. Yep. While liberals were using the Bible to promote Abolition, southern concervatives were using the Bible to refute it.

It was more of an ethnocentric statement which even the most enlightened people make. The founding fathers were the same way. I'm afraid I don't follow. What is this in regards to?

As for Buddhists, if I remember correctly, they believe that all life is suffering and that they believe that by achieving balance, they will be enlightened or something like that. Very rusty there. Buddhism is more philosophical if I'm not mistaken as well as Confucianism and both address standard modes of behavior. Pretty close. Life is suffering and acceptance leads to enlightment. Enlightenment makes happiness possible in the face of suffering. At least that's my understanding of the philosophy.

I raised the point because Jae claimed that God is the only source of morality. The fact that non-christians display moral behavior directly contradicts such a claim. This claim was made after I pointed to sources that show that Christians are significantly more likely to be imprisoned for crime than Atheists (or even non-christians for that matter).

Hitler was less Catholic than Calvin. I appreciate the comparison, however the fact still remains that he was not an an atheist.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” - Adolf Hitler

I concede that his apparent belief may have been political rather than personal, however this is theory and not fact. Taking Hitler at his word, it's clear that he was a religious man.

Mao and Stalin, however, contravene a much less absolute moral law. Theirs would seem to based upon (although I do not claim authority on atheism, and please, do contradict me if I am wrong), what is good for society. Now that is a very relative term, no?Their regimes were based upon what they thought best for society, not necessarily what reasoned examination of ethics would prescribe. Again, Mao and Stalin are examples of the dangers of dogmatic thinking, not atheistic thinking.

My point has been to show that Mao, Stalin, and arguably Hitler are all red herrings. They are frequently paraded out to show how terrible a world of atheistic nations would be. Unfortunately, the true problem in these examples is fascism, not atheism. If someone would like to provide an example of atheism run amok that doesn't involve a fascist regime, I'd be more than happy to stand corrected.

mimartin
04-04-2007, 03:51 PM
They're just doing what their Gods have told them to do.

Nothing I’ve every read in the scriptures has told me to harm another. To the contrary what I’ve got from the bible was to love everyone especially my enemy. I’d like to know the book and verse where this could be found.

I agree with a lot of what you have written in this tread, but I do not believe their “Gods” have told them to harm another. I don’t know much about Buddhists or Judaism, but I’ve read the bible and in college I read the Koran and neither condone violence against another. Just because someone misinterprets it for their own selfish reasons does not make everyone of a particular faith “evil.” I do believe millions have been killed in the name of religion, but I see no proof that God told anyone to harm another.

On Topic: I have the same view on Atheists that I have for any other person. It is their right to choose their own faith or lack there of. According to my faith it is not my job to judge anyone, but myself.

The only problem I have with Atheists or any other group is when they try to force their own beliefs on me or belittle my beliefs.

Personally I believe in god and I’m a Christian, but I don’t believe in organized religion. I only believe in my own interruption of his word. I understand the bible was written by man and then translated by man, so personally I use it for guidance not as the final word.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” - Adolf Hitler
I concede that his apparent belief may have been political rather than personal, however this is theory and not fact. Taking Hitler at his word, it's clear that he was a religious man.


Just because Hitler says he was a Catholic does not make him one, any more then me saying I’m a mongoose makes me a mongoose. I attend the Catholic Church as a child, but I’m no Catholic. It takes more than just going to the Church to be a part of any particular religion. Also no organization should be condemned for one homicidal lunatic did. Just as Austrian people or the entire German population should not be looked down upon for what Hitler and the Nazi’s did.

Why would you take known liar and murder at his word anyways?

JediMaster12
04-04-2007, 04:11 PM
I'm afraid I don't follow. What is this in regards to?
The statement that Jae made about God being the standard. Ethnocentrism in general terms is the attitude that my culture and all the trimmings are better than yours. It is look that one person has on the world. Looking at Jae's statement I pointed out that it was ethnocentric purely from an anthropological viewpoint. As a Christian I somewhat hold this view but being more liberal and having a library full of pagan works I am more inclined to listen and in the mood for possible acceptance. Which is why I like some ideas of Buddhism and other religions.

I raised the point because Jae claimed that God is the only source of morality. The fact that non-christians display moral behavior directly contradicts such a claim. This claim was made after I pointed to sources that show that Christians are significantly more likely to be imprisoned for crime than Atheists (or even non-christians for that matter).
Again why I said the statement was ethnocentric.

SilentScope001
04-04-2007, 07:06 PM
As for the subject of atheists not being criminals...

I actually read an autobiography of a atheist who was also criminal (a robber and a coke dealer, actually). He claimed that he basically did not believe in God, and saw it as useless. He basically did not believe in God, because he is a criminal (the problem of evil and all). The concept of God doesn't really help one surivie out on the streets, after all, and what use is praying to an invisible diety when you have to threaten to kill and harm others in order to live. In prison, he was known as "Satan", due to his disbelief.

[I got this from "Autobiography of Malcom X", which talks about Malcom X's life on the street before he went into prison and discovered the Nation of Islam, and later on in his life, Othrodox Islam.]

What I am getting at is that, well, the belief that atheism will get people to stay loyal to state and do moral behavior...may not actually work. Prehaps immoral people, like criminals, MAY embrace atheism, prehaps as a justification for their crimes.

Religion has nothing to do with if a person does crimes or not. It is all about the individual.
--
discussion about Hitler

...Really, shouldn't someone be invoking Godwin's Law here?

Achilles
04-04-2007, 07:26 PM
Nothing I’ve every read in the scriptures has told me to harm another. Are you simply stating that you aren't familiar with the scriptures that I'm referencing or are you claiming that they don't exist?

To the contrary what I’ve got from the bible was to love everyone especially my enemy. There are certainly some scriptures that promote such behavior. Unfortunately, such sentiments are only limited to a few books in the bible.

I’d like to know the book and verse where this could be found. Too many to cite here I'm afraid. The Skeptic's Annotated Bible (http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/) might be a good source for you. The "Cruelty and Violence" section has over 850 references. "Intolerance" has almost 550. Since those are closest to the topic at hand, I'd recommend starting there.

I agree with a lot of what you have written in this tread, but I do not believe their “Gods” have told them to harm another. I don’t know much about Buddhists or Judaism, but I’ve read the bible and in college I read the Koran and neither condone violence against another.

The Christian God on how to treat those of other faiths:
If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.

Deuteronomy 13:12-18

The Qu'ran on how to treat those of other faiths:
And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

The Cow 2:191

As you can see, these books do in fact not only condone but promote violence toward one another.

Just because someone misinterprets it for their own selfish reasons does not make everyone of a particular faith “evil.” I do believe millions have been killed in the name of religion, but I see no proof that God told anyone to harm another. Please see above as well as sources.

Just because Hitler says he was a Catholic does not make him one, any more then me saying I’m a mongoose makes me a mongoose. I attend the Catholic Church as a child, but I’m no Catholic. I don't know how one would go about disproving another person's beliefs. How would you go about proving that I'm not really an atheist? How would I prove that you don't really believe in God?

It takes more than just going to the Church to be a part of any particular religion. Also no organization should be condemned for one homicidal lunatic did. Just as Austrian people or the entire German population should not be looked down upon for what Hitler and the Nazi’s did. I don't believe anyone here is condemning Catholicism becasue of Hitler.

Why would you take known liar and murder at his word anyways? Call me foolish, but I tend to take people at their word when it comes to their beliefs. If you tell me that you believe in God, I'm going to believe you. If you tell me that you worship the Greek pantheon, I'm going to believe you. Since religious people also lie and commit murder, I see no reason not to take them at their word as well.

SilentScope001
04-04-2007, 07:47 PM
I think here is something, Achilles, that you have to realize.

WE define religion.

Not you. Us.

We are the ones that answer to our God. We are the ones that write and read our Holy Books. You cannot tell us what to believe, because we tell ourselves what to believe.

And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

The Cow 2:191

Here's an answer your own quote:

[2:192] But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Right after the aytah that you quote. Basically, if you are being attacked, you have the right to fight back. When the other sects say, "You know what? I don't want to fight!" then you don't fight. Simple. Don't take things out of context.

It's basically an quote that justifies 'self-defense'. Better to fight against people who are enslaving you, then to consent to being enslaved.

We understand our own religion. And if we are "reading" our own religion wrong, well then, that is exactly what we are doing. So? Let us be accountable to our own God that, by the way, we invented! If we invented God, we can invent religion.

Nancy Allen``
04-04-2007, 08:20 PM
I invoke Godwin's Law. I win.

Jae Onasi
04-05-2007, 02:06 AM
Is this the article you're quoting, Achilles?

Studies: Atheists Supply
less than One Percent
of Prison Populations
by Dale Clark

* Index: Atheism and Awareness (News)
* Home to Positive Atheism

Received July, 1997

It's surprising how many people remark to me, "You're an Atheist? You must have no conscience about committing crime then." Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if we examine the population of our prisons, we see a very different picture.

In "The New Criminology," Max D. Schlapp and Edward E. Smith say that two generations of statisticians found that the ratio of convicts without religious training is about one-tenth of one percent. W.T. Root, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, examined 1,916 prisoners and said, "Indifference to religion, due to thought, strengthens character," adding that Unitarians, Agnostics, Atheists and Free-Thinkers were absent from penitentiaries, or nearly so.

During 10 years in Sing-Sing, of those executed for murder 65 percent were Catholics, 26 percent Protestants, six percent Hebrew, two percent Pagan, and less than one-third of one percent non-religious.

Steiner and Swancara surveyed Canadian prisons and found 1,294 Catholics, 435 Anglicans, 241 Methodists, 135 Baptists, and one Unitarian.

Dr. Christian, Superintendent of the N.Y. State Reformatories, checked records of 22,000 prison inmates and found only four college graduates. In "Who's Who," 91 percent were college graduates; Christian commented that "intelligence and knowledge produce right living," and, "crime is the offspring of superstition and ignorance."

A survey of Massachusetts reformatories found every inmate to be religious.

In Joliet Prison, there were 2,888 Catholics, 1,020 Baptists, 617 Methodists and no prisoners identified as non-religious.

Michigan had 82,000 Baptists and 83,000 Jews in the state population; but in the prisons, there were 22 times as many Baptists as Jews, and 18 times as many Methodists as Jews. In Sing-Sing, there were 1,553 inmates, 855 of them (over half) Catholics, 518 Protestants, 117 Jews, and 8 non-religious.

Steiner first surveyed 27 states and found 19,400 Christians, 5,000 with no preference and only 3 Agnostics (one each in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Illinois). A later, more exhaustive survey found 60,605 Christians, 5,000 Jews, 131 Pagans, 4,000 "no preference," and only 3 Agnostics.

In one 19-state survey, Steiner found 15 non-believers, Spiritualists, Theosophists, Deists, Pantheists and one Agnostic among nearly 83,000 inmates. He labeled all 15 as "anti-Christians." The Elmira, N.Y. reformatory system overshadowed all others, with nearly 31,000 inmates, including 15,694 Catholics (half) and 10,968 Protestants, 4,000 Jews, 325 refusing to answer, and no unbelievers.

In the East, over 64 percent of inmates are Roman Catholic. Throughout the national prison population, they average 50 percent. A national census of the general population found Catholics to be about 15 percent (and they count from the diaper up). Hardly 12 percent are old enough to commit a crime, and half of these are women. That leaves an adult Catholic population of 6 percent supplying 50 percent of the prison population.


Author Chaz Bufe responds:

This [last paragraph] is wrong. If he's going to subtract the women from the Catholic population, he necessarily has to do it for all other religious groups too. That would leave the Catholic percentage at 12 percent, not six percent.

Achilles
04-05-2007, 03:25 AM
^^^^
I'm sorry, which quote are you referring to? I don't recall having seen that article before.

So I don't take up a post.... :) The percentage of atheists in prisons. I wanted to know where you found that stat. --Jae

Whoops, sorry. Just now seeing this. The data was provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Not sure if it's available online, although I'd be surprised if it's not.

REDJOHNNYMIKE
04-05-2007, 03:45 AM
I know this isn't a complete study, but maybe you all will find this interesting and maybe see some connection to this discussion and gain something useable from it...
It is incomplete, so if you can finish it then please do so in whatever manner you choose, so that I may understand how you tick.

I am disappointed in this discussion in general, quote-tag, with a lack of commitment (maybe that's just the way it looks to me, but whatever), maybe we can remedy this.

I apologize for the format, it is research done in a chatroom after all.

Sabretooth does seem to be a nice guy and won't kill me...

I forgot to copy the interview I had with devon (4am go figure), but basically we had boiled his motivations down to pursuit of personal happiness.

With a little more research we can break these notions of ethics, morality, religion, society, etc. and explore what lies beneath.

I really wish I'd remembered to record the conversation with devon, if a swk mod could dig that out somehow I would be appreciative, as it's a useful piece of information regarding this subject.

Thanks for reading

The death of an insignificant PT 1.

[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:44:15 | UTC-4)
I'll have to read thw hole thing first. But it seems like you guys, achilles and everyone else there are rather closed minded and have a lot of misconceptions
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:44:26 | UTC-5)
There's a difference between being proud of your work and being prideful and haughty about it.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:44:37 | UTC-4)
I'll have to find some time for it though
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:44:40 | UTC-5)
Thanks RJM.
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:44:54 | UTC-7)
As long as the pride does not exceed the accomplishment it is completely justified.
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:45:01 | UTC-5)
I'm deluded, paranoid, _and_ close-minded. :gring:
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:45:06 | UTC-5)
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:45:14 | UTC-5)
Jae failz smilies
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:45:25 | UTC-7)
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:45:44 | UTC-4)
Seriously though, both Jae and Achilles seem to miss quite a bit and ED was just sad
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:45:46 | UTC5:30)
der sabretoothe ist heeren.
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:45:55 | UTC-5)
Hi!
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:45:59 | UTC-4)
Hey there toothy boy
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:46:01 | UTC5:30)
what up?
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:46:07 | UTC-7)
Caught us at a bad time.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:46:08 | UTC-4)
May I ask you a question sabre?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:46:29 | UTC5:30)
go on
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:46:33 | UTC-5)
@RJM--there's no way to say everything in that thread.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:46:57 | UTC-4)
Sabre, if I was standing in front of you right now, would you kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:47:23 | UTC5:30)
most likely not
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:47:28 | UTC-4)
[of topic] yeah, kind did at a bad time eh? [/offtopic]
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:47:33 | UTC-4)
why?
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:47:45 | UTC-7)
The middle of mah complaining.
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:47:48 | UTC-7)
Accursed filter
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:47:51 | UTC5:30)
i don't know you, and have no reason to kill you
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:47:59 | UTC-7)
complaining = b!tching
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:48:00 | UTC-4)
why not?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:48:24 | UTC5:30)
i'll be apprehended.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:48:48 | UTC-4)
if you couldn't be apprehended, if there were no repurcusions whatsoever
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:48:59 | UTC-7)
It would be unethical
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:49:09 | UTC5:30)
precisely
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:49:17 | UTC-4)
shhhh, stay out of it for now.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:49:24 | UTC-4)
I was asking you
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:49:43 | UTC5:30)
<is there any way to fix this chat? I can't post a message without the HERE button below>
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:50:07 | UTC-4)
it's goofy like that... anyway, I was asking you why not?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:50:33 | UTC5:30)
i don't see why i would want to kill you, seeing as you could still be of use to me
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:51:01 | UTC-4)
if I was of no use to you, no advantage in me living, would you do it?
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:51:04 | UTC-7)
Exploit him and dipose of him when his use has run out
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:51:29 | UTC5:30)
perhaps. you could only be a burden on humanity.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:51:33 | UTC-4)
comments like devon's are the reason that whole discussion is bogus
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:51:46 | UTC5:30)
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:51:56 | UTC-4)
Neither a burden or help, just there. Would you do it?
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:51:56 | UTC-7)
Hey!
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:52:13 | UTC-5)
Ugh. no respect for life, eh?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:52:19 | UTC5:30)
*sigh*
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:52:36 | UTC-4)
Ignore them sabre
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:52:45 | UTC5:30)
why do people want to turn me into a killer?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:52:46 | UTC-4)
Just decide wether or not to kill me
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:53:07 | UTC-4)
I'm not turning you into a killer, you are or you arent
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:53:18 | UTC5:30)
i will still not kill you, because I value life.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:53:37 | UTC-4)
Kill me or don't, no repurcussions
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:53:38 | UTC-4)
why would you value life?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:53:40 | UTC5:30)
mine and everyone else's.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:53:52 | UTC-4)
laggy here too
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:54:01 | UTC5:30)
because it is unique. you cannot live the same again.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:54:25 | UTC5:30)
a life is the most valuable object in human society.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:54:32 | UTC-4)
unique things are destroyed all the time and I will be destroyed eventually
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:54:54 | UTC-7)
You'd be destroying it sooner
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:55:01 | UTC-4)
it makes no difference if I die now
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:55:03 | UTC5:30)
so? you are still valuable till you are estroyed.
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:55:15 | UTC-5)
Yeah, but you can make contributions to the greater community that add more value when you are working complemetarily.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:55:22 | UTC5:30)
even if you think you're not.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:55:37 | UTC-4)
*does he really need the cliches sitting on each shoulder?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:55:50 | UTC5:30)
lol
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:55:50 | UTC-4)
what would make it worht anything
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:55:59 | UTC-7)
You likely derive pleasure from living. There is no reason to violate your wishes
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:56:11 | UTC-4)
dangit ed
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:56:11 | UTC5:30)
look...
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:56:22 | UTC-7)
And you're not harming anyone
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:56:29 | UTC5:30)
you never chose to live. you have been given it.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:56:47 | UTC5:30)
it is your duty to make the most of it, and that is why life is valuable.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:57:04 | UTC-4)
maybe, maybe not, I'm just standing here in front of you where no one can see you
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:57:11 | UTC5:30)
you didn't buy it, you got it and you can'
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:57:25 | UTC5:30)
't sell it.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:57:42 | UTC5:30)
you can't throw it away
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:58:05 | UTC-4)
what if I don't think I need it, and will stay here waiting for you to kill me until I die, would you do it?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:58:21 | UTC5:30)
i won't.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:58:36 | UTC-4)
why not? I don't value it.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:58:41 | UTC5:30)
what you think never matters, you are still a sentient human.
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 01:58:44 | UTC-5)
ED and Jae tag-teaming ftw!
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:58:52 | UTC-4)
what if I'm not sentient
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:59:05 | UTC5:30)
yes you are
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 01:59:09 | UTC-7)
Yay tag-teaming!
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 01:59:17 | UTC-4)
what if I'm just a comatose shell that will die tomorrow anyway
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 01:59:35 | UTC5:30)
then i'll let you die a natural death.
[1218] _system_ *whispered* (04/05 01:59:39)
Private message sent to ID#5
trying to accomplish something
[1218] _system_ *whispered* (04/05 01:59:48)
Private message sent to ID#666
trying to accomplish something
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:00:12 | UTC-4)
i'm going to die anyway why won't you kill me? what is your sole reason for doing so?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:00:47 | UTC5:30)
i have no reason to kill you, and most importantly, I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:00:47 | UTC-4)
it doesn't matter if my life is ended
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:01:15 | UTC-4)
what if we are stuck in the same room until after my unavoidable death
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:01:28 | UTC-4)
you have no better things to do
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:01:36 | UTC-4)
while I am alive
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:02:11 | UTC-4)
would you kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:02:26 | UTC5:30)
*sigh*
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:02:39 | UTC-4)
no sigh, just a simple choice, and analysis
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:03:04 | UTC-4)
I'm just trying to get to the root of the thing
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:03:05 | UTC5:30)
you are either deperately suicidal or a very very persistent bugger.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:03:36 | UTC-4)
I'm a very vey persistant bugger who is currently fascinated by this conversation
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:03:40 | UTC5:30)
look
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:03:45 | UTC-4)
would you do it?
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 02:04:04 | UTC-7)
Recuing someone's lifespan, no matter by how much in this instance, is still immoral
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:04:07 | UTC5:30)
how old are you, woman?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:04:42 | UTC-4)
ED, morals are not being taken into account here
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:04:50 | UTC-4)
@ST, old enough
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:05:02 | UTC5:30)
<blasted chat lag>
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 02:05:06 | UTC-7)
WTF? You can't live life without morals
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:05:07 | UTC-4)
I'm just trying to understand why you would or wouldn't kill me
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:05:45 | UTC-4)
@ED, wether or not you can, it is not being taken into account here, please don't be sarcastic either
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:05:45 | UTC5:30)
?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:05:46 | UTC5:30)
alright, then
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:05:57 | UTC-4)
Sabre needs no distractions
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:06:06 | UTC-4)
alright then what?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:06:27 | UTC5:30)
yeah
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:06:34 | UTC-4)
yeah what?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:06:45 | UTC5:30)
so, if I killed you, what purpose would that serve?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:06:55 | UTC-4)
none
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:07:00 | UTC5:30)
wait a sec, you annoying bugger, there's a lag!
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:07:19 | UTC5:30)
none, so what is the point in me killing you?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:07:31 | UTC-4)
okay I'll wait for you to catch up..
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:07:48 | UTC5:30)
none. that means I could do better stuff, like ponder the meaning of life.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:07:49 | UTC-4)
there is no point, you may simply decide wether or not to do it
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:08:10 | UTC5:30)
which IS a better thing to do than kill somebody as useless as you.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:08:35 | UTC-4)
We are locked in a room, inescapable until such a time as I die (you will live either way)
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:08:56 | UTC5:30)
i'd rather live without blood on my hands.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:09:07 | UTC-4)
why?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:09:20 | UTC5:30)
well
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:09:22 | UTC-4)
it's just meaningless
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:09:41 | UTC5:30)
well, that works either ways
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:09:57 | UTC5:30)
if it's meaningless, it serves no point to kill you or not
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:10:03 | UTC-4)
you could kill me without any repurcussions and I would forgive you before I die so that you would be clean, would you do it?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:10:16 | UTC5:30)
that means that I have a perfect 50:50 chance of killing you or not.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:10:29 | UTC5:30)
I pick the other 50, that simple.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:10:40 | UTC-4)
no, the chance is 100% that you will do whatever you do
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:10:48 | UTC-4)
which 50 and why?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:11:00 | UTC-4)
the why is what we are after here
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:11:02 | UTC5:30)
the 50 that is NOT killing you.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:11:26 | UTC5:30)
it matters just as much as killing you, so not killing you will not make a difference.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:11:49 | UTC-4)
so, if there is no difference, why choose the one over the other
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:12:06 | UTC5:30)
because you can't choose both.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:12:20 | UTC-4)
have you killed anything before?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:12:21 | UTC5:30)
you can't not kill and kill at the same time.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:12:29 | UTC-4)
anything?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:12:47 | UTC5:30)
insects, because they were annoying me.
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 02:12:52 | UTC-5)
Well folks, I need to sign off and try to get some sleep.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:12:58 | UTC-4)
why is this any different
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:12:58 | UTC5:30)
cya
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:13:03 | UTC-4)
bye jae?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:13:09 | UTC-4)
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 02:13:09 | UTC-5)
Night all!
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 02:13:14 | UTC-7)
C'mon, we hardly discussed anything!
[5] Jae Onasi (04/05 02:13:22 | UTC-5)
to everyone!
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:13:23 | UTC5:30)
well, you didn't mention you'd be annoying me
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:13:26 | UTC-4)
no differenc between me and an insect
[666] Emperor Devon (04/05 02:13:31 | UTC-7)
Jae
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:13:49 | UTC-4)
I'm annoying you know, but not when you are in a state of having this choice
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:13:57 | UTC5:30)
i don't kill insects randomly, especially insects in a comatose shell about to die tomorrow
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:14:18 | UTC-4)
but you've killed, why would this be different?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:14:37 | UTC5:30)
i would be killing a helpless being.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:14:44 | UTC-4)
so
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:14:50 | UTC5:30)
those insects could defend themselves.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:15:00 | UTC5:30)
AND they were sucking my blood.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:15:13 | UTC-4)
no they couldn't, not the ones you stepped on without thinking
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:15:34 | UTC-4)
why does ths situation require any thought
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:15:35 | UTC5:30)
i don't recall killing them, then.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:15:47 | UTC5:30)
technically, I haven't killed them
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:15:49 | UTC-4)
you won't recall killing me
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:16:03 | UTC5:30)
then I wouldn't know if were killing you.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:16:11 | UTC-4)
you ended their life, therefore you are their killer
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:16:17 | UTC5:30)
and then I don't have a choice.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:16:19 | UTC-4)
you would know at the time you decide
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:16:32 | UTC-4)
you simply have to choose
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:16:43 | UTC-4)
and tell me why before you kill me
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:16:50 | UTC5:30)
then I know I would have killed and that would negate me not remembering your death.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:17:13 | UTC5:30)
*grammar typos
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:17:25 | UTC-4)
you would not remember after the fact, only I would, and would have no ill will towards you
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:18:00 | UTC-4)
would you do it
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:18:08 | UTC5:30)
well, we've been through atleast a dozen clauses till now...
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:18:19 | UTC-4)
eh?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:18:37 | UTC5:30)
yep, we started with a simple would you kill me...
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:18:48 | UTC-4)
of course
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:18:55 | UTC5:30)
and now we have no ill will, comatose shells, loss of memory...
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:19:11 | UTC-4)
all leading us towards the end
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:19:21 | UTC5:30)
the end?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:19:31 | UTC-4)
your decision
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:19:33 | UTC5:30)
you mean your death, on my hands?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:19:48 | UTC-4)
no, my death at your hands, nothing on them
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:20:09 | UTC5:30)
i'll still not kill you.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:20:26 | UTC-4)
why not
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:20:38 | UTC5:30)
my conscience would kill me.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:20:48 | UTC-4)
I need to know reasons and motive
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:21:00 | UTC-4)
your conscience couldn't remind you
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:21:03 | UTC5:30)
eh?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:21:14 | UTC-4)
if it did it wouldn't matter as I forgive you
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:21:31 | UTC5:30)
right, so i kill you.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:21:34 | UTC-4)
no memory of the event, and forgiveness
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:21:42 | UTC-4)
why would you kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:21:53 | UTC5:30)
*ogod*
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:22:01 | UTC-4)
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:22:11 | UTC-4)
why would you kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:22:11 | UTC5:30)
i love death and slaughter
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:22:23 | UTC-4)
you said "right, so I kill you"
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:22:26 | UTC5:30)
i revel i it, it is my life. Your Death is my life.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:22:29 | UTC-4)
really?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:22:38 | UTC5:30)
yep
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:22:57 | UTC-4)
My death isn't your life, only your pleasure in it if you so desire
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:23:11 | UTC-4)
are you being sarcastic or honest
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:23:17 | UTC-4)
because I need honesty
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:23:40 | UTC5:30)
sooy, i'm back
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:23:56 | UTC5:30)
i'll die in this chatroom, if i be honest
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:24:07 | UTC-4)
no you wont
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:24:20 | UTC-4)
maybe I will though or maybe I won't
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:24:25 | UTC5:30)
who are you?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:24:35 | UTC-4)
were you being sarcstic or honest?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:24:43 | UTC-4)
who I am doesn't matter, only the choice
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:24:49 | UTC5:30)
who ARE you?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:25:19 | UTC-4)
like I said, it doesn't matter, if you knew me it oculd influence your decision
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:25:43 | UTC-4)
I need you decision uninfluenced by anything external to yourself
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:25:56 | UTC5:30)
to be honest, i don't care about people
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:25:57 | UTC5:30)
they're just there, and I'm here.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:25:58 | UTC-4)
so you honestly kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:26:08 | UTC5:30)
no, i will not.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:26:10 | UTC-4)
out of pleasure?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:26:20 | UTC-4)
you were being sarcastic then?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:26:21 | UTC5:30)
no
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:26:29 | UTC5:30)
yep
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:26:49 | UTC-4)
so you still maintain that you will not kill me?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:27:10 | UTC5:30)
yes
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:27:45 | UTC-4)
with all we've discussed considered, what is left to keep you from doing so?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:28:10 | UTC-4)
you can't use any reason we've already disqualified
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:28:23 | UTC5:30)
lemme think
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:28:29 | UTC-4)
please do
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:29:36 | UTC5:30)
you will die naturally. I have no reason to exert force.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:30:03 | UTC-4)
exersion of force makes no difference
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:30:15 | UTC-4)
you have all the time and energy in the world
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:30:20 | UTC-4)
until I die
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:30:56 | UTC5:30)
then i'd exploit this unlimited energy till you die naturally.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:31:13 | UTC-4)
you are well fed and exercising, you wouldn't even notice it
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:31:41 | UTC5:30)
notice your death?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:31:54 | UTC-4)
the effort
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:32:21 | UTC5:30)
how long is this going to go on?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:32:34 | UTC-4)
the energy can't benefit you in any way other than to make my death unnoticeable
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:32:49 | UTC-4)
until we find out why really will or wont kill me
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:32:57 | UTC5:30)
we aren't going anywhere, this isjust you denying all my efforts to reason.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:33:21 | UTC-4)
yes, and you diggind deeper into your reason so we can both understand it?
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:33:22 | UTC5:30)
it's not even a real conversation.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:33:50 | UTC5:30)
and tyhis final reason, you'll disqualify it too.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:34:06 | UTC-4)
maybe, let's hear it
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:34:23 | UTC5:30)
er, no, i haven't made it.
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:34:33 | UTC5:30)
but when i do, you'll disqualify it.
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:34:48 | UTC-4)
maybe I will maybe I will not be able to
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:35:18 | UTC5:30)
gee, how is that?
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:35:42 | UTC-4)
there must still be some reasons left, because you haven't really killed me or not killed me yet
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:35:54 | UTC-4)
you've still had doubts
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:36:37 | UTC-4)
otherwise you'd have chosen one, verified your reason for doing so and never second guessed it
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:36:38 | UTC5:30)
look i gotta go take a bath now
[189] Sabretooth (04/05 02:36:58 | UTC5:30)
see you later
[1218] HntaiGrl16 (04/05 02:37:02 | UTC-4)
oh, okay, anyone else there who would like to continue this cnversation

Achilles
04-05-2007, 05:15 AM
I invoke Godwin's Law. I win. Actually, you're the one that brought up Hitler, therefore you lose. The moving goalpost kills its maker :(

Nancy Allen``
04-05-2007, 07:31 AM
So why isn't this topic dead yet?

A friend of mine made a very good comment, 'If you're Atheist, you're Atheist but don't be an ******* about it'. What he says is very true, not just of Atheism but of religion as well. If, say, a Christian says they're a Christian, fine, but if they say something like 'I'm a Christian and you're a ****wit for not believing it' then that causes problems. The same for Atheism. Now people will say that they have a right to make such comments and that religion shouldn't be allowed to be given a pass. Before making that comment however people need to think how they would feel by being told what they think is deluded.

Jae Onasi
04-05-2007, 11:19 AM
Avoid using 'deluded' or any other terms describing someone's mental status, please, unless we're talking about mental illness, of course. It's an emotionally charged word and there are far better choices.

@Achilles--I'm still working on the questions from the other thread, and got some answers but still have some other work to do on the others. It's Lent/Easter season so the pastors are busy with all the activities going on. I can't monopolize their time for several hours to discuss all those things, and I need some downtime for me, too. I'm working on it, it's just slow. :)
In any case, when I asked about the Deuteronomy laws, the answer I got was that those laws addressed the problems that were present historically and rampant in the Middle East at the time--chiefly slavery in this particular case. God was saying "Fine, you have chosen to have slaves, here's some rules for dealing with until you can grow up enough to stop having slaves." Regarding rape--is it fair-sounding to us? No. We live in a much different age that respects women a lot more. The problem was what to do with a woman who had been defiled in that culture at that time. She could not get a job, and without family or a husband, she had absolutely no way to survive. Any child she had resulting from the rape would have been illegitimate, and likewise would have had great difficulty surviving, particularly if the child was a girl. Was it fair to the woman to marry her rapist? No. But given the only other option, which was dying because of a lack of food and shelter, and the child being illegitimate (a terrible stigma at that time) and also dying if the mother had no resources, it was the only option available in that culture at that time. There is nothing in those rules that say the woman had to live with the guy, btw. All it did was legitimize the sex act so that the woman and any children borne of that union had a chance of survival. When the only option is to marry the guy or both the woman and child die, it's pretty clear what needs to be done, whether we as 21st century people like it or not. God's in essence saying "OK, I can't stop you from making these stupid choices, so I'm going to give you some rules to deal with these specific problems in this specific culture at this time. When you're done being stupid, you won't have to utilize these laws." We have old laws on our books that are now no longer necessary because our culture has matured, and yet those laws still exist. Just because they are on the books historically doesn't mean they are still applicable in a culture that has matured past the problems that generated those laws in the first place. There's nothing wrong with having a book in the Bible that shows the history of the Jewish culture and a history of Jewish law from that time period as a basis for showing just how important Christ's love and sacrifice truly was. I can read the Code of Hammurabi to understand the Mesopotamian mindset without being bound by those rules. Leviticus and Deuteronomy (among others) had rules in order for people to recognize their own sin and take steps to make it right with God and the people around them. Christ's message of love obviously moved a good chunk of the world in a new direction, but it's still important to understand Christ's cultural background as a basis for His actions.

And moving on from that....
You cannot dismiss Mao and Stalin out of hand as having fascist ideologies as their reasoning for mass killings--that's dodging the fundamental reason for their breath-taking lack of respect for human life. They embraced (and abused) Communism and could slaughter that many people because as Atheists they decided _they_ were the standard of morality rather than God--they decided what was right and wrong, they decided that murdering millions was acceptable in order to achieve their ends. That is the inherent danger in moral relativism and any system that does not have a definitive standard of ultimate good with which to decide what is evil.

Why are my Atheist friends moral? They were raised in the US, which has Judeo-Christian underpinnings for its culture/legal system. They were taught that stealing and killing is bad because our culture says so, but our culture has a religious foundation. I also have a thoroughly immoral Atheist friend who is tremendous fun to be around, and who I love, but he thinks anything goes in the sex department because absolutely nothing is off-limits to him. His moral code is derived from 'whatever feels good is right' and let me just say I learned from talking with him a lot of things I probably never really needed to know and which are _way_ outside my God-based moral code. :) Well, needless to say, I would never leave my children with him, and I declined a couple...interesting offers. Some of the things he does most of us would say "Oh, ick, that is so wrong", but only because we have a defining standard outside of ourselves telling us what's right and wrong. If there is no defining standard, then there's nothing wrong with his definition of 'if it feels good, it's right'. However, since we know there is definitive good and evil, then we must have a benchmark for it.

@Emperor Devon--mental illness is entirely unconnected to using religion as an excuse for evil behavior. If the woman had been an atheist in an atheist culture, she undoubtedly would have substituted some highly regarded political figure as the person telling her to kill her children "Kim Jong Il made me do it because he was afraid they wouldn't be good Communists". The use of religion is cases like Andrea Yates is incidental to their real problem, which is schizophrenia. You can't use religion as an excuse in those cases since they are entirely incapable because of the mental illness of making any kind of appropriate judgments, moral or otherwise.

And that's enough musings for the time being. :)

SilentScope001
04-05-2007, 01:43 PM
So why isn't this topic dead yet?

To my knoweldge: Godwin's Law states that if someone, anyone bring up Nazis, the debate has offically degenerated to a flame war. Therefore, the topic is as good as dead, it only takes time for people to understand it and leave.

You know, now I understand why HerbieZ hates these sort of serious topics. I'm going to start up a topic that won't start up such firestorm.

Achilles
04-05-2007, 03:42 PM
So why isn't this topic dead yet?Maybe Godwin's Law really isn't a law (see: Murphy's Law, etc).

A friend of mine made a very good comment, 'If you're Atheist, you're Atheist but don't be an ******* about it'. What he says is very true, not just of Atheism but of religion as well. If, say, a Christian says they're a Christian, fine, but if they say something like 'I'm a Christian and you're a ****wit for not believing it' then that causes problems. This sentiment has been expressed several times within this thread. To the best of my knowledge, no name-calling has taken place here, so bringing it up again seems to be something of a red herring.

The same for Atheism. Now people will say that they have a right to make such comments and that religion shouldn't be allowed to be given a pass. Before making that comment however people need to think how they would feel by being told what they think is deluded. In endeavors that are based on reasons rather than faith, such challenges are not only permitted but encouraged. If you would prefer not to have your beliefs challenged, then perhaps the best way to avoid bad feelings would be not to voice them.

@Achilles--I'm still working on the questions from the other thread, and got some answers but still have some other work to do on the others. It's Lent/Easter season so the pastors are busy with all the activities going on. I can't monopolize their time for several hours to discuss all those things, and I need some downtime for me, too. I'm working on it, it's just slow. :) Perhaps you should encourage them to create LF accounts. We could cut out the middleman and I could debate with them directly :)

In any case, when I asked about the Deuteronomy laws, the answer I got was that those laws addressed the problems that were present historically and rampant in the Middle East at the time--chiefly slavery in this particular case. God was saying "Fine, you have chosen to have slaves, here's some rules for dealing with until you can grow up enough to stop having slaves." I certainly appreciate your pastor's response to this. Unfortunately, I really hoping to hear your response. If I wanted to know what some pastor thought, I would have asked one.

I suppose I could sit here and spout off Dawkins and Harris all day (in fact, there's little doubt that they have influenced my thinking). However at the end of the day, I have to think for myself and form my own opinions about things.

Please ask your pastor why God would have felt the need to acquiesce on slavery if he omnipotent, omniscient, and the true source of morality. Also, ask him why slavery is still alive and well today and why we didn't get an updated version of the bible when he decided that slavery wasn't ok anymore. In fact, ask him how it is that we know slavery isn't ok anymore. Please let me know what he says.

P.S. If you think he would be interested in corresponding with me directly, please let me know and I'll give you my email address to give to him next time you see him.

Regarding rape--is it fair-sounding to us? No. We live in a much different age that respects women a lot more. The problem was what to do with a woman who had been defiled in that culture at that time. She could not get a job, and without family or a husband, she had absolutely no way to survive. Any child she had resulting from the rape would have been illegitimate, and likewise would have had great difficulty surviving, particularly if the child was a girl. Was it fair to the woman to marry her rapist? No. But given the only other option, which was dying because of a lack of food and shelter, and the child being illegitimate (a terrible stigma at that time) and also dying if the mother had no resources, it was the only option available in that culture at that time. There is nothing in those rules that say the woman had to live with the guy, btw. All it did was legitimize the sex act so that the woman and any children borne of that union had a chance of survival. When the only option is to marry the guy or both the woman and child die, it's pretty clear what needs to be done, whether we as 21st century people like it or not. God's in essence saying "OK, I can't stop you from making these stupid choices, so I'm going to give you some rules to deal with these specific problems in this specific culture at this time. When you're done being stupid, you won't have to utilize these laws." I'm suppose to want to worship someone like this why?

I've responded to this before, so I'll only summarize here: No one waits until their children are teenagers to start teaching them moral behavior.

Kudos to your pastor. The mental gymnastics here are very impressive. ;)

We have old laws on our books that are now no longer necessary because our culture has matured, and yet those laws still exist. Just because they are on the books historically doesn't mean they are still applicable in a culture that has matured past the problems that generated those laws in the first place. How can you say that? Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in this country (I'd hate to see what the world-wide stats look like). One out of every four women have been sexually abused in their lifetime. Frequently by someone that they know. These are not "old issues" that don't apply to our modern culture. This is happening right now.

There's nothing wrong with having a book in the Bible that shows the history of the Jewish culture and a history of Jewish law from that time period as a basis for showing just how important Christ's love and sacrifice truly was.First, Christ is a character in story (unless you have some historical evidence that shows otherwise). Second, what about God's love?

As for your argument (or your pastor's?):

Mt 5:14 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Jesus did not argue anything from the OT. He didn't outlaw slavery. He didn't end the subjugation of women.

Mt 10:34-37 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Jesus doesn't sound like a harbinger of peace to me.

At this point, you'll probably want to accuse me of cherry-picking and then go cherry-pick some of the "good" verses to show me that I'm wrong (Luke 2:14, John 14:37, John 16:33, Acts 10:36...). Unfortunately, all this will accomplish will be to further show that the Bible contradicts itself.

I can read the Code of Hammurabi to understand the Mesopotamian mindset without being bound by those rules. Leviticus and Deuteronomy (among others) had rules in order for people to recognize their own sin and take steps to make it right with God and the people around them. The Code of Hammurabi does not claim to be the doctrine of God.

Christ's message of love obviously moved a good chunk of the world in a new direction, but it's still important to understand Christ's cultural background as a basis for His actions. And here I thought Constantine did that.

You cannot dismiss Mao and Stalin out of hand as having fascist ideologies as their reasoning for mass killings--that's dodging the fundamental reason for their breath-taking lack of respect for human life. They embraced (and abused) Communism and could slaughter that many people because as Atheists they decided _they_ were the standard of morality rather than God--they decided what was right and wrong, they decided that murdering millions was acceptable in order to achieve their ends. Actaully Jae, fascism is precisely what that is.

Main Entry: fas·cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge>

There are fascist regimes that are not atheistic. There are atheistic societies that aren't fascist. Your argument does not hold up to scrutiny. One does not need to be an atheist to convince oneself that their moral ideologies are superior. In fact, I should probably caution against throwing stones in glass houses right about now. ;)

If anything an atheist is more likely to examine their morals than a theistic person. Why would you need to question right and wrong if God (or your pastor) is right there to tell you what right and wrong are? What if what God (or your pastor) told you was moral wasn't really moral? In other words, what if your position had no foundation in the study of ethics (i.e. same-sex marriage, abortion, ESCR)? Can you form an opposing argument for any of those examples that doesn't (eventually) invoke God or religion?

That is the inherent danger in moral relativism and any system that does not have a definitive standard of ultimate good with which to decide what is evil. I agree 1000% with your sentiment but not your wording. Let me rephrase:

"That is the inherent danger in moral relativism and any system that does not have a definitive standard of 'right' with which to decide what is 'wrong'"

Yes, Jae. I couldn't agree more. So let's get rid of the dogmatic institution of religion which claims to have absolute authority on right and wrong (and thereby eliminate the basis for opposing claims of 'absolute truth') and instead adopt a reasoned system of morals based on rational thought. I think that's a splendid idea.

Why are my Atheist friends moral? They were raised in the US, which has Judeo-Christian underpinnings for its culture/legal system. They were taught that stealing and killing is bad because our culture says so, but our culture has a religious foundation. That's an interesting theory. So what about non-religious people that aren't raised in the U.S. or in Judeo-Christian societies? What's the basis for their moral behavior? Buddhists? Jains? This is a very important question. I would appreciate it a great deal if you made the time to answer it.

I also have a thoroughly immoral Atheist friend who is tremendous fun to be around, and who I love, but he thinks anything goes in the sex department because absolutely nothing is off-limits to him. His moral code is derived from 'whatever feels good is right' and let me just say I learned from talking with him a lot of things I probably never really needed to know and which are _way_ outside my God-based moral code. :) Why shouldn't consenting adults be allowed to do whatever they want behind closed doors?

Well, needless to say, I would never leave my children with him, and I declined a couple...interesting offers. Some of the things he does most of us would say "Oh, ick, that is so wrong", but only because we have a defining standard outside of ourselves telling us what's right and wrong. If there is no defining standard, then there's nothing wrong with his definition of 'if it feels good, it's right'. However, since we know there is definitive good and evil, then we must have a benchmark for it. Actually, we know no such thing. "good" and "evil" are concepts that we are indoctrinated to accept. "Right" and "wrong" have some basis in empiricism and would be a much better set of benchmarks to adopt.

Emperor Devon
04-05-2007, 04:46 PM
@Emperor Devon--mental illness is entirely unconnected to using religion as an excuse for evil behavior.

I believe you are missing my point, which is that the word of God can be used to justify perfectly immoral actions.

SykoRevan
04-05-2007, 05:34 PM
This topic of mine has gotten kind of out-of-hand. As SilentScope001 put it, it's a firestorm. This thread was not intended as a debate, merely as a way to discuss views and experiences with Atheists such as myself, not Atheism itself as a belief. I've noticed Achilles and Nancy Allen have been going at it more than anyone, and while I appreciate the viewpoints of both, I think you might have taken my intentions out of context.

Achilles
04-05-2007, 07:17 PM
Perhaps the moderators would see fit to break the conversation out into a new thread (?).

I can do that--do you and/or Nancy have a preference where to split the thread off? --Jae

Might as well keep it in Kavar's Corner.

Sorry--I meant at which post number in this thread do you want to make the break. :) --Jae

I would defer to the OP.

Nancy Allen``
04-05-2007, 08:08 PM
Avoid using 'deluded' or any other terms describing someone's mental status, please, unless we're talking about mental illness, of course. It's an emotionally charged word and there are far better choices.

Which is exactly why I used it as people do use the term no matter how wrong it is. The point is Atheists don't like having their nonbelief attacked and Christians, Jews, ect don't like having their beliefs attacked. It cannot work both ways, you cannot say that you don't like being attacked while attacking others.

I can do that--do you and/or Nancy have a preference where to split the thread off? --Jae

Uh...wha? Whatever, doesn't bother me.

Achilles
04-05-2007, 08:20 PM
Which is exactly why I used it as people do use the term no matter how wrong it is. The term itself is not "wrong". "Delusion" and its derivatives are actual words that are used to describe actual conditions. If someone was (literally) psychotic, which word would you use to describe that person's mental state? If you're were using it as a slur, that would be one thing, but if the person really is psychotic, then it's something else.

The point is Atheists don't like having their nonbelief attacked and Christians, Jews, ect don't like having their beliefs attacked. It cannot work both ways, you cannot say that you don't like being attacked while attacking others. I can't speak for all atheists, but I will say that you're more than welcome to attempt to poke holes in my philosophies. In fact, I've made several open invitations. If the evidence points somewhere else or if my thinking is flawed, then I can only benefit from such discussions. I'm pretty sure that I won't turn into a pillar of salt if shown to be incorrect :)

Jae Onasi
04-05-2007, 08:20 PM
Perhaps you should encourage them to create LF accounts. We could cut out the middleman and I could debate with them directly :)

I certainly appreciate your pastor's response to this. Unfortunately, I really hoping to hear your response. If I wanted to know what some pastor thought, I would have asked one.

I suppose I could sit here and spout off Dawkins and Harris all day (in fact, there's little doubt that they have influenced my thinking). However at the end of the day, I have to think for myself and form my own opinions about things.

Please ask your pastor why God .... Please let me know what he says.

P.S. If you think he would be interested in corresponding with me directly, please let me know and I'll give you my email address to give to him next time you see him.

Kudos to your pastor. The mental gymnastics here are very impressive. ;)

As for your argument (or your pastor's?):

In fact, I should probably caution against throwing stones in glass houses right about now. ;)


Just what are your intentions with these comments? You suggested I ask my pastor some of these questions, and I asked. Now it appears you are mocking me for following your suggestion and trying to formulate a decent answer. I don't pretend to be anywhere near an apologetics expert, and I don't have an atheist.org website from which to pull my canned, ready-made arguments, because there are subtle but important differences from apologist to apologist, and all of them require very careful reading. I've been working my butt off trying to read Zacharias (who you'd appreciate but who is a very heavy read), Geisler, and Lewis, on top of learning about the history and development of atheism on something more than the initial superficial read I'd given it 20 years back when I was looking at it then, and picking up info on Hume, Kant, Sartre, and so forth, because philosophy was one of the few courses I _didn't_ take when I was an undergrad. I apologize that I'm simply not able to synthesize the equivalent of 3 college courses in a a couple months' time and formulate an answer that meets your level of acceptability.

Achilles
04-05-2007, 08:44 PM
Just what are your intentions with these comments? My intention is address the fact that I'm no longer debating with just you. Apparently you've invited a 3rd set of opinions into our discussions (which is fine). Additionally, you prefaced your comments in such a way as to make me think that you were simply relaying the advice you were given. Nothing more than that. :)

You suggested I ask my pastor some of these questions, and I asked. I don't recall doing any such thing, but my memory might be failing me.

Now it appears you are mocking me for following your suggestion and trying to formulate a decent answer. No mocking intended. Really. In fact, I'd welcome an opportunity to speak with a religious figure that you hold in high-regard. If that person isn't able to answer my questions or address my points, maybe you'll give my opinions a little more consideration (I don't fool myself into thinking that you've pondered a single point I've made here, although I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that I've read you wrong).

I don't pretend to be anywhere near an apologetics expert, and I don't have an atheist.org website from which to pull my canned, ready-made arguments, because there are subtle but important differences from apologist to apologist, and all of them require very careful reading. <snip>
I apologize that I'm simply not able to synthesize the equivalent of 3 college courses in a a couple months' time and formulate an answer that meets your level of acceptability. If I may, I think you might be putting more thought into this that what's necessary. I try (and often fail, I'm sure) to limit my questions to those that I feel are pertinent to make my point. I don't expect a dissertation, I simply ask you to put blind faith and years of conditioning aside (i.e. temporarily divorce yourself from emotional responses) and examine these things from a rational point of view.

I know that questioning beliefs that have been held for a lifetime can be difficult. If they can be defended with reason, then they deserve to be kept. If they rely on faith and don't hold up to reason, then what benefit do they really offer? My 2 cents.

Parting thoughts: My apologies if my comments came across as mocking. I think if you read them as they were intended you'll see that they weren't meant to. Thanks.

EDIT: I just reread what you quoted. The "mental gymnastics" part was a dig, but for him, not you. Also, I stand behind the "glass houses" comment.

Nancy Allen``
04-05-2007, 10:20 PM
This topic of mine has gotten kind of out-of-hand. As SilentScope001 put it, it's a firestorm. This thread was not intended as a debate, merely as a way to discuss views and experiences with Atheists such as myself, not Atheism itself as a belief. I've noticed Achilles and Nancy Allen have been going at it more than anyone, and while I appreciate the viewpoints of both, I think you might have taken my intentions out of context.

As I put it in the first post in this thread and this morning, if you're Atheist, you're Atheist, being a jerk about it will only serve to make it look bad. The same for religion. If that's all you're looking for then I think that covers it.

Jae Onasi
04-06-2007, 01:57 AM
I don't recall doing any such thing, but my memory might be failing me.I can't find it atm but I didn't go on an extensive search. It might have been a PM. I might have read something as an implication. Don't know right now.

No mocking intended. Really. In fact, I'd welcome an opportunity to speak with a religious figure that you hold in high-regard. If that person isn't able to answer my questions or address my points, maybe you'll give my opinions a little more consideration (I don't fool myself into thinking that you've pondered a single point I've made here, although I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that I've read you wrong).
Why do you think I'd be willing to put this kind of work into it if I didn't take you seriously? I'm probably one of the few Christians who's willing to be tolerant enough about your viewpoint to talk to you about it, try to understand where you're coming from, and find an answer for your objections. It's rather difficult to try to answer your questions if I don't think about the issues you've raised first. Yes, you did have me pegged wrong in that respect, which I find more distressing than anything else. Just because I don't come to the same conclusion you do doesn't mean I haven't given it some thought.

If I may, I think you might be putting more thought into this that what's necessary. I try (and often fail, I'm sure) to limit my questions to those that I feel are pertinent to make my point. I don't expect a dissertation, I simply ask you to put blind faith and years of conditioning aside (i.e. temporarily divorce yourself from emotional responses) and examine these things from a rational point of view.
I know that questioning beliefs that have been held for a lifetime can be difficult. If they can be defended with reason, then they deserve to be kept. If they rely on faith and don't hold up to reason, then what benefit do they really offer? My 2 cents.
I'm willing to consider many things if you also are willing to put blind 'faith' in atheism aside to consider the possibility that there may be some merit in some of the answers that theism can provide that atheism can never answer satisfactorily.

While you may not expect a dissertation, you nevertheless expect answers that are more than superficial. Many of the questions you ask require some serious research to properly understand the deep issues they raise. I'm trying to show that some respect instead of giving a flippant answer, and it requires a great deal of time and effort for me. I have learned some cool things along the way. :)

Parting thoughts: My apologies if my comments came across as mocking. I think if you read them as they were intended you'll see that they weren't meant to. Thanks.I'll take you at your word (that's not meant sarcastically, either).

Achilles
04-06-2007, 03:26 AM
I can't find it atm but I didn't go on an extensive search. It might have been a PM. I might have read something as an implication. Don't know right now. Fair enough.

Why do you think I'd be willing to put this kind of work into it if I didn't take you seriously? My hypothesis: Because you think that you're right and I'm wrong.

I'm probably one of the few Christians who's willing to be tolerant enough about your viewpoint to talk to you about it, try to understand where you're coming from, and find an answer for your objections. With all due respect, I can't think of any examples where you have done this. From my perspective, all of my key point have been glossed over or ignored, hence why they keep coming up over and over again. You are very good at presenting your perspective, however no one has been willing to truly engage mine.

It's rather difficult to try to answer your questions if I don't think about the issues you've raised first. Yes, you did have me pegged wrong in that respect, which I find more distressing than anything else. Just because I don't come to the same conclusion you do doesn't mean I haven't given it some thought. That may be.

I'm willing to consider many things if you also are willing to put blind 'faith' in atheism aside to consider the possibility that there may be some merit in some of the answers that theism can provide that atheism can never answer satisfactorily. Faith in atheism is contradictory. :)
I have stated repeatedly I'm willing to go wherever the evidence leads. That's not just lip-service.

I think that you assume that I'm not familiar with religious doctrine or Christianity specifically. I've been a Christian and my experience has been that it offers no answers.

It seems to me that if Atheism is so obviously wrong and misguided, it could quickly be derailed with a few sound arguments from religion. Thus far, none have come. From my perspective, this is because it has none to offer. If you have one, I'll be happy to hear it, however you've yet to present any. This isn't an insult, rather an observation.

Also, I'd be interested in hearing more about what it is that theism provides that atheism cannot satisfactorily.

While you may not expect a dissertation, you nevertheless expect answers that are more than superficial. Many of the questions you ask require some serious research to properly understand the deep issues they raise. I'm trying to show that some respect instead of giving a flippant answer, and it requires a great deal of time and effort for me. I have learned some cool things along the way. :) Fair enough. For the most part, I thought my questions were pretty much "what do you think" type questions, however I can see where that may not actually be the case.

I'll take you at your word (that's not meant sarcastically, either). I appreciate it. Thank you.

Gargoyle King
04-06-2007, 12:45 PM
At the end of the day - i feel that whether someone believes in a God or nor is irrelevant, i feel that its best to concentrate on how we live our lives and how we treat each other. I'll be frank - i myself am Atheist but i still respect people if they believe in a God as that is their choice in life.

Darth InSidious
04-08-2007, 02:25 PM
I apologise for the delay in replying, I was on retreat over Easter. Here is the post I wrote beforehand in its entirety, but could not post due to login problems (we apologise for the inconvenience):



I appreciate the comparison, however the fact still remains that he was not an an atheist.
Funny, I don't recall claiming that he was. Rather, I pointed out his somewhat unusual 'positive' Christianity, and his disdain for the more mainstream ideas therein.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” - Adolf Hitler

Said on the day of the Enabling Act vote! Good grief man, do you know nothing about historiography? At the very least, you are quoting out of context to a huge degree! Clearly the point of this is to reassure those who would be reassured that he would use this new power responsibly, while he bullied those who would not by surrounding the opera house where they had met, following the Reichstag Fire which may or may not have been started by the Nazis, with men drawn from the Sturm Abteilung. It is clearly a political move. The context shows that quite clearly.

I concede that his apparent belief may have been political rather than personal, however this is theory and not fact. Taking Hitler at his word, it's clear that he was a religious man.

I never denied this. However, it is also clear from what he said in private, with those he trusted, and perhaps even cared for, that he had no liking for traditional Christianity. As I have shown you, he was not a Catholic - as his actions in imprisoning a quarter of all Catholic priests as well as other persecutions should show. Fear of the reprisals was all that prevented him and the rest of the Nazi Party from more vicious attacks, as shown by their own notes.

Their regimes were based upon what they thought best for society, not necessarily what reasoned examination of ethics would prescribe. Again, Mao and Stalin are examples of the dangers of dogmatic thinking, not atheistic thinking.
My point was rather that if Hitler were a Catholic as you said, he would be going against a morality that was absolute and of the highest imperative. Stalin and Mao, however, went against more relative moralities, which would be easier to bend and break. They were atheist, and presumably had some morality. Their actions, therefore, would seem to be due in part to their morality, if they in fact believed in a morality. I would posit that their consciences were severely malformed, but then this should be quite clear.

It is also interesting to note the number of atheist states, and what has happened in those cases. The only one I can think of is Turkey, where even now it is dangerous to be Christian, outward displays of religion can be dangerous, many Greek Orthodox have been deported due to the Istanbul Pogrom and the Patriarch of Antioch, last I heard, was under house arrest, while his office, cemeteries et al. have been bombed and otherwise assaulted.

Please note I will be away until Sunday.

Achilles
04-08-2007, 03:41 PM
Funny, I don't recall claiming that he was. Rather, I pointed out his somewhat unusual 'positive' Christianity, and his disdain for the more mainstream ideas therein. Funny, I don't recall claiming that you did. :)

I was simply making a point. A point that you appear not to argue here, but do later in your post. Since there appears to be a contradiction, I have to ask for clarification. Was Hitler a Catholic or wasn't he? If he was not, then what were his theological views?

Said on the day of the Enabling Act vote! Good grief man, do you know nothing about historiography? Considering the number of conversations you've "excused" yourself from, I caution you that your use of this tone is quite hypocritical, sir.

At the very least, you are quoting out of context to a huge degree! The only way that comment could be taken out of context is if it were preceded by something along the lines of "The following is something that you will never hear me say" or followed by "sike!" or "not!".

Clearly the point of this is to reassure those who would be reassured that he would use this new power responsibly, while he bullied those who would not by surrounding the opera house where they had met, following the Reichstag Fire which may or may not have been started by the Nazis, with men drawn from the Sturm Abteilung. It is clearly a political move. The context shows that quite clearly. It's also possible that he said it because he meant it. Your theory is a good one, but it is not the only one. Furthermore, I'll think you'll have quite a difficult time proving your case.

I never denied this. However, it is also clear from what he said in private, with those he trusted, and perhaps even cared for, that he had no liking for traditional Christianity. As I have shown you, he was not a Catholic - as his actions in imprisoning a quarter of all Catholic priests as well as other persecutions should show. Fear of the reprisals was all that prevented him and the rest of the Nazi Party from more vicious attacks, as shown by their own notes. Cue aforementioned contradiction.

My point was rather that if Hitler were a Catholic as you said, he would be going against a morality that was absolute and of the highest imperative. And this absolute moral imperative has its basis in what? The highly contradictory Bible? Your incredulity is not proof, nor it is a sound argument.

Stalin and Mao, however, went against more relative moralities, which would be easier to bend and break. Is your argument against non-religious ethics or the authoritarians that held such "ethics"?

They were atheist, and presumably had some morality. I'm glad you included "presumably". Did you have something other that supposition?

Their actions, therefore, would seem to be due in part to their morality, if they in fact believed in a morality. I would posit that their consciences were severely malformed, but then this should be quite clear. Indeed it is! Unfortunately, this puts your argument on shaky ground.

It is also interesting to note the number of atheist states, and what has happened in those cases. The only one I can think of is Turkey, where even now it is dangerous to be Christian, outward displays of religion can be dangerous, many Greek Orthodox have been deported due to the Istanbul Pogrom and the Patriarch of Antioch, last I heard, was under house arrest, while his office, cemeteries et al. have been bombed and otherwise assaulted. According to the UN, Turkey is 99% Muslim. The state may be officially secular, but the people are not. State imposed secularism is very different from cultural secularism, as I'm sure you're well aware.

What of Norway?

Darth InSidious
04-08-2007, 06:06 PM
Funny, I don't recall claiming that you did. :)

I was simply making a point. A point that you appear not to argue here, but do later in your post. Since there appears to be a contradiction, I have to ask for clarification. Was Hitler a Catholic or wasn't he? If he was not, then what were his theological views?
He wasn't, at least in what he believed in private. I think this much is quite clear from his actions.

Considering the number of conversations you've "excused" yourself from, I caution you that your use of this tone is quite hypocritical, sir.
I see no correlation between the two.

The only way that comment could be taken out of context is if it were preceded by something along the lines of "The following is something that you will never hear me say" or followed by "sike!" or "not!".

I suggest you check your dictionary.

It's also possible that he said it because he meant it. Your theory is a good one, but it is not the only one. Furthermore, I'll think you'll have quite a difficult time proving your case.
No, its not the only theory. But it is the one which fits most with events, Hitler's character, the actions of the Nazi Party etc - in short, the context.

Cue aforementioned contradiction.
I never denied that he held a religious belief - only that he was Catholic.

And this absolute moral imperative has its basis in what? The highly contradictory Bible? Your incredulity is not proof, nor it is a sound argument.

Actually, in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, founded in Tradition and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the New Testament, which is believed by Catholics to be at the least, inspired by the word of God. Furthermore, the Pope is, as I am sure you are aware, infallible on matters of faith and morals. IF (and note that this is a hypothetical situation) Hitler had been a Catholic, as you inferred, he would have gone against an absolute moral standpoint, as opposed to a relative moral standpoint, from which one can veer more easily.

Is your argument against non-religious ethics or the authoritarians that held such "ethics"?
My argument is that moral relativism is easy to manipulate to your own ends - easier than absolute moralities, at least.

I'm glad you included "presumably". Did you have something other that supposition?

Indeed it is! Unfortunately, this puts your argument on shaky ground.

I think perhaps you missed the point - the combination of moral relativism and a malformed conscience is, I think you will agree, a dangerous one.

According to the UN, Turkey is 99% Muslim. The state may be officially secular, but the people are not. State imposed secularism is very different from cultural secularism, as I'm sure you're well aware.
Yes, but it does nonetheless seem that as a secular state, Turkey is failing to defend the Patriarch from the mob, which would seem to show a pro-Islamic bias. Whether this is on the ground or in the parliament buildings, it would seem to be there.

What of Norway?
Is this the same Norway with an established Lutheran church? What of it?

Scyrone
04-08-2007, 06:10 PM
Atheism isn't a belief... it is a lack thereof.

I would have to disagree on this matter. Everything is a belief, but not everything is a religion. Atheism is the belief of no religion or any superiority of being in mankind or in the Universe for that matter.

Some believe they have the right and duty to persecute religion and that gives Atheism a bad name.

The thing is that the majority of anti-Atheists persecute everyone who does not believe what they do. This is completely natural in idea, but unnatural in how it goes down. Personally, I feel there are a lot of Christians who believe that since they think they are right they have every right to persecute, as long as they are not persecuted back.

But, I think it is likely that Atheism will soon take over the world. There is no need for God, and we will finally be waking up to that realization. Soon, the shackles of religion will be broken, and all religions will die. This is my view, and it is based on the fact that they approach the issue in a logical manner, and they got the aid of Science.

Even though I am a strong Satanist (LaVey Satanist; basically extreme Atheism), I do not believe this statement is true. We have the logical aid of science, but the majority of people now days ignore science completely and focus on numbers, e.g. 80% of Americans are Christians so it must be true. Look at American principles today, basically anti-homosexuality, anti-abortion, anti-divorce, anti-anything-against-God. The way the world is going I think that Christianity will soon takeover almost the majority of everything. All because of belief. No true religion is fact, only few are. Those who base religion of the now and the human-life are true; not science, not belief, but reality. Don’t mean to be bias here, but Satanism is one of the only religions that is true fact. We don’t focus on disproving God, we focus on ourselves, our lives, and our carnal nature displayed in every living being. Nobody admires that way of living anymore.

"persecution of religion"

Persecution of religion is more of denying the existence of any other belief other than your own (or religion for that matter), there is nothing wring with it, but sometimes the ways it goes down is completely intolerable to the persecuted.

If you're saying that theists aren't harming anyone by being theists and should be left alone, you're wrong. American theism is influencing our ability to prepare our children for the future by introducing pseudo-science such as Intelligent Design and working to vilify legitimate science such as evolutionary theory. By far the largest voting group is Evangelical, therefore they are determining which elected officials make it into public office and which agenda items are put on the front burner. The list goes on and on.

I would say so far this is the most accurate quote of how America is portrayed now.

Islam is arguably the fastest growing religion in the world and they are the ones churning out terrorists by the dozen. Muslims with college educations go to their deaths "knowing" that their actions will a) kill Allah's enemies and b) ensure their place in paradise. We might say, "well that's ridiculous", but then again we're Muslim-atheists.

Well, not necessarily. Islam is not what the Radical extremists of Iraq and Iran make it out to be. Truly, Islam is peaceful. I think this is a bad portrayal of Islamic belief.

Honestly, I just saw how long the thread was, so of course I am not going to look at every post.

I think that the way Atheists are perceived is an abomination to all of mankind. For a people who try to promote the human way of living and how to make humanity greater, they get too much criticism. Do people not see that they are helping all of us with there ways? If you dislike Atheists and believe they are wrong then tell me how your beliefs make us better? Tell me how Christianity will help us? Will there be another 15-18 Crusades sprouting from Christianity? (or has that already started on the grounds of Iraq, and North Korea?)

Nancy Allen``
04-08-2007, 07:37 PM
North Korea has nuclear weapons and is threatening to use them. There are more grounds to attack them than Iraq, but it hasn't. Unless Kim Jong declares Jihad or a war on believers religion can be safely ruled out as a motive.

Being intolerent of religion, Anti-theism, I think that gets a lot of backs up. But it goes the other way as well. I don't want to hear you preaching Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Atheism to me. I don't care if you're peddling Jedi beliefs, I'm not interested. Same goes for politics, I don't care if you're Democratic, Republican, Labor, Liberal, an extreme Greenie, a fence riding wuss or any combination of the above. If you're any of those things, great, you are, and I apologise if my words upset you at all. You're not going to do yourself any favors bringing it up at every opportunity. I think that's part of the problem with Atheists in that some do beat people into the ground about it and are arrogant, bullying, condescending, double standered, egomaniacal, Jae can probably direct you to an example but unless she does I don't think it's my place to. The same could be said of those who believe in religion, I may have even seen such cases, but whenever the topic comes up the no right to belief Atheist stance is something I've always seen stick out and I think others can say the same thing.

This is a warning for flaming--this sounds way too much like an attack on Scyrone, and even if it's not it's general name-calling and definitely not in the friendly spirit of this forum. Keep it civil, please. --Jae

I didn't mean it to be, and I apologise.

Don't edit moderator edits or delete warnings, either. --Jae

Achilles
04-08-2007, 09:10 PM
He wasn't, at least in what he believed in private. I think this much is quite clear from his actions. Really? How? Isn't killing promoted in the Bible? Aren't there grounds for anti-semitism in the NT? So how would Hitler's actions contradict Catholicism? Or is it more likely that they contradict your view of Catholicism?

I see no correlation between the two.The correlation is that one that excuses themselves from tough questions should not presume to act as though they have a superior intellect.

I suggest you check your dictionary. Gladly. Which word?

No, its not the only theory. But it is the one which fits most with events, Hitler's character, the actions of the Nazi Party etc - in short, the context. The context as you see it. Let me try this another way? Do you believe that Usama bin Laden really believes in Islam?

I never denied that he held a religious belief - only that he was Catholic.Ok, then which religion did he subscribe to?

Actually, in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, founded in Tradition and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the New Testament, which is believed by Catholics to be at the least, inspired by the word of God. Furthermore, the Pope is, as I am sure you are aware, infallible on matters of faith and morals. IF (and note that this is a hypothetical situation) Hitler had been a Catholic, as you inferred, he would have gone against an absolute moral standpoint, as opposed to a relative moral standpoint, from which one can veer more easily. So in other words, because some men you've never met said so. The Pope in certainly not infallable, however I do acknowledge that you've been conditioned to think so because of your religious traditions. If you have some evidence to support your claim, I'd be more than happy to have a look at it.

IF Hitler was a Catholic, then he would have been yet one more person that cherry-picked from the Bible to support his or her viewpoint. Perhaps if the Bible were less contradictory, such actions wouldn't be possible.

My argument is that moral relativism is easy to manipulate to your own ends - easier than absolute moralities, at least.I'm sorry. Who here is arguing for moral relativism? My argument (as is the case for most atheists and some moral philosopers) is that absolute morality does not come from God. In many cases the morals that are attributed to God are found lacking compared to morals that can be derived for reasoned examination of ethics.

I think perhaps you missed the point - the combination of moral relativism and a malformed conscience is, I think you will agree, a dangerous one. Agreed! Hence why I'm an atheist.

Yes, but it does nonetheless seem that as a secular state, Turkey is failing to defend the Patriarch from the mob, which would seem to show a pro-Islamic bias. Whether this is on the ground or in the parliament buildings, it would seem to be there. I will not be moving the goalpost, sir. I asked for an example of an atheist state run amok and you offered a 99% Muslim country.

Is this the same Norway with an established Lutheran church? What of it?Yes, the Norway where only 36% of the population considers themselves religious compared to the 46% that consider themselves non-religions (with an additional 9% explicitly atheistic). Any Norwegian mobs looking to take over the world that we should be concerned about? How's their murder rate? Adult literacy? All I know is that they've held the top spot on the UN Human Development Index for the last 7 years.

Nancy Allen``
04-08-2007, 09:15 PM
Here's something I wanted to offer up. A friend of mine had his cat operated on, his leg had to be amputated, and he was praying daily for it to be given a good quality of life. Well the cat's gone missing, it was locked up, there was no way it could have escaped, there's nothing at all to show that it did escape or is somehow hiding. Maybe, just maybe, God answered the prayer and had done something to benefit the cat. Can Atheists in their infinite wisdom provide any other explanation?

Emperor Devon
04-08-2007, 09:31 PM
Don’t mean to be bias here, but Satanism is one of the only religions that is true fact. We don’t focus on disproving God, we focus on ourselves, our lives, and our carnal nature displayed in every living being. Nobody admires that way of living anymore.

Too much sometimes IMO. Some of the Satanic Rules sound more greedy than simply placing importance on the self.

If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.

LeVayen Satanism despite the name has some okay ideas (mainly the "do unto others as you would have them do to you" ones), but some of them are very harsh IMO.

I would hesitate to call it true Atheism - Atheism is nothing but a disbelief in God (or Gods) without any other philosophies. Even the idea of living a good life and helping others which many Atheists believe isn't unique to their non-religion. That LeVayen Satanists also view Satan a prominent symbol makes them even less similar (as Atheism has no such things).

Satanism is a lot more like Objectivism or individualism IMO. If you've read anything by Friedrich Nietzsche or Ayn Rand you can see a ton of similarities between their philosophies and LeVey's (who he said influenced his writings considerably).

SykoRevan
04-08-2007, 10:53 PM
I agree with Emperor Devon more than I do with Scyrone, especially about Satanism being an extreme Atheism. Although I cannot agree with either when it comes to whether Atheism is a belief or a nonbelief. In my opinion, it is like the "glass half empty/glass half full" philosophy, in that it depends on the view of the Atheist whether they simply do not believe in any religion, or as I see it, a belief that there is no God. And any comparison between Atheism and Satanism is, quite simply, misplaced (and in my opinion, the Atheist equivalent of blasphemy), as the two are completely different. The only people I have heard saying that Atheism and Satanism are alike are religious people, including clergy and my own parents, who's view was obscured, and who I frankly thought were ignorant. Not saying Scyrone is ignorant for his comment, but he should know the line between the two is very finely drawn.

Achilles
04-08-2007, 11:59 PM
Although I cannot agree with either when it comes to whether Atheism is a belief or a nonbelief. In my opinion, it is like the "glass half empty/glass half full" philosophy, in that it depends on the view of the Atheist whether they simply do not believe in any religion, or as I see it, a belief that there is no God. It's a crude, but apt, analogy to think of it as a scale. To say that atheism is a belief in no God would be like saying atheism is at -100 on the scale. In fact, atheism is the scale at 0. I don't have a belief that there is no God because there is no reason at all to believe that there is one. Basing atheism on belief categorizes it with other beliefs, where it clearly does not belong.

And any comparison between Atheism and Satanism is, quite simply, misplaced (and in my opinion, the Atheist equivalent of blasphemy), as the two are completely different. My understanding of Satanism is limited, so please forgive me if I'm getting it wrong here. My understanding of Satanism is that it is a belief in God while renouncing him. Believing in the existence of Satan requires the belief in the existence of God. Atheist have no reason to believe in either.

The only people I have heard saying that Atheism and Satanism are alike are religious people, including clergy and my own parents, who's view was obscured, and who I frankly thought were ignorant. Not saying Scyrone is ignorant for his comment, but he should know the line between the two is very finely drawn. It's a common misconception, as I point out above.

SykoRevan
04-09-2007, 01:03 AM
It's a crude, but apt, analogy to think of it as a scale. To say that atheism is a belief in no God would be like saying atheism is at -100 on the scale. In fact, atheism is the scale at 0. I don't have a belief that there is no God because there is no reason at all to believe that there is one. Basing atheism on belief categorizes it with other beliefs, where it clearly does not belong.

Like I said, it's all about how the individual views it, and I think comparing belief to a scale is indeed a crude way to view something as complex as the beliefs of another. There is Weak Atheism, which is more along the lines of Agnosticism, then there is Strong Atheism, which can be associated with Anti-theism, which is not only a disbelief in religion, but an outright oppostion to it. I'm pretty much the latter. I view my own brand of Atheism as not just a skepticism of religion, but an outright oppostion to the existence of a deity of any kind. It's how I view my own beliefs, and I know that others view things differently, but I know that some people see Atheism as a lack of belief, but I view my own as a belief in itself. So if someone asks me "do you belief God doesn't exist?" I'll proudly say "Yes I belief that God does not exist."

Achilles
04-09-2007, 01:17 AM
*shrugs*

To each their own, however I do see your point that it can be difficult to operationally define atheism. From my perspective, "outright opposing the existence of a deity" would be something like trying to kickbox with an imaginary opponent :). I find carrying an "anti-belief" to be equally productive, but as you point out we each have our own way of seeing things.

Nancy Allen``
04-09-2007, 06:06 PM
Atheism and religion in itself are not problems. A large part of the problem is from the smugness people get from it that makes them think they are better than everyone else. If people chose not to look down the noses of those who do not hold the beliefs they do then I think it would be far more openly accepted and not criticised.

JediMaster12
04-09-2007, 06:45 PM
Atheism and religion in itself are not problems. A large part of the problem is from the smugness people get from it that makes them think they are better than everyone else. If people chose not to look down the noses of those who do not hold the beliefs they do then I think it would be far more openly accepted and not criticised.
Dare to dream Nancy Allen but it is a nice dream. On a general note, this discussion on atheism is one on a minority group. Like other minority groups, there are certain characteristics that classify it as such and hence we get stereotypes. One could say that an atheist is a hard core science person who believes in big bang and evolution but that doesn't classify all of them. That is part of the problem that we have in getting along. We are very polarized in our perceptions of people that it is hard to see that there are people who don't fit the mold. If you are looking for someone to blame, blame it on the forefathers with the concept of slavery or blame the media for aggravating the stereotypes. We can all point fingers but the hardest part is owning up to the fact that we may be wrong in our perceptions.

Achilles
04-09-2007, 06:59 PM
Like other minority groups, there are certain characteristics that classify it as such and hence we get stereotypes. One could say that an atheist is a hard core science person who believes in big bang and evolution but that doesn't classify all of them. Indeed, considering the general lack of understanding about science, it would not surprise me to learn that a great many atheists are unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of the big bang or evolution theories.

Most of the atheists that I know or whose works I've read have a strong background in science, however not all the scientists I'm familiar with are atheists.

We are very polarized in our perceptions of people that it is hard to see that there are people who don't fit the mold. Agreed! This article (http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/gods-dupes1/) by Sam Harris does a great job of showing that there are varying degrees of faith. The problem (as he points out) is that even the relatively moderate faithful can hinder reasoned discourse.

I think the point that Nancy and a few others contributors to this thread might miss is that the general argument against religion is not pointed at individuals, rather the institution.

Nancy Allen``
04-09-2007, 07:11 PM
We can all point fingers but the hardest part is owning up to the fact that we may be wrong in our perceptions.

Now that is a dream. People will not face up to the fact they are wrong no matter how many times they are shown to be. I have, others have, I'm sure you have as well. Ferrous Cranus you might call them. To be fair I think it has a lot more to do with human nature than religion or Atheism.

Achilles
04-10-2007, 12:14 AM
People will not face up to the fact they are wrong no matter how many times they are shown to be. I don't know that I would apply that to all people, but yes, I certainly know what you mean. Certainly some people can be objective about their beliefs and are willing to cast aside old explanations when they find them to be no longer useful or true. To your point, some people are unwilling to let go of their beliefs no matter what evidence or argument is provided.

To be fair I think it has a lot more to do with human nature than religion or Atheism. I agree that it's in our nature to be egocentric, however some endeavors are better than others at negating this. I would say that any institution that claims to have absolute truth is going to be especially guilty of this.

Nancy Allen``
04-10-2007, 09:19 AM
Though this type of hypocracy shows in religion as well. People are only too happy to apply some of the dogma to themselves and leave the rest of it to others. Enforcing the Ten Commandments is fine when they're not the ones breaking them. Though if there's nothing else Anti-theists wish to take away from religion they should take this: He who is without sin cast the first stone. By that people can be critical of others, but they should look at themselves and see how well they hold up to their level of scrutiny and criticism. I'd be the first to admit I wouldn't do well but it's certainly something people want to think about.

Scyrone
04-10-2007, 03:19 PM
This is a warning for flaming--this sounds way too much like an attack on Scyrone, and even if it's not it's general name-calling and definitely not in the friendly spirit of this forum. Keep it civil, please. –Jae

Thank you, Jae, but although it was attack-like, I must say that I don’t mind things like these. Me being a fierce “Religion/Politics/Philosophy talker” these questions and ‘attacks’ are necessary for my growth. But I thank you anyway.

You may not mind an attack, but we moderators do. ;) Flaming is unnecessary, it invites flaming in return, and it's counter-productive to learning. It's also against the rules here. :) --Jae

I don't want to hear you preaching Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Atheism to me.

Many people have told me this everywhere I go on the internet and in RL; all I have to say is that I can preach all I want to you, but it is up to you if you wish to listen or not. So if you don’t want to listen to me then ignore my ‘preaching’s’. ;)

I think that's part of the problem with Atheists in that some do beat people into the ground about it and are arrogant, bullying, condescending, double standered, egomaniacal

So below 3% of the population affects 300 million people? Atheists seem arrogant at many times, but I must say that it is not right to only point out Atheism. EVERY religion and belief is arrogant. Everyone believes they are right. That is the way of life and living. You cannot believe in something you do not believe is true. So in this rightful belief in everyone, there is certain arrogance. Honestly, Christians have many problems. It is hard to see what they truly believe in these days. It is so hard to see what they believe that they had to separate into a multiple of different denominations to help their own views better even out. There was a case awhile ago (I live in OH, but I don’t know if it happened here or not) that a group of Christian guys were verbally abusing a Mormon girl day after day at school. They made remarks such as “At least I don’t have 5 moms” and remarks that replaced Mormon with ‘Moron’. After awhile the girl got angry and called the guys “a bunch of Christian fa—ots.” The girl was sent to the office and put on a 3 week suspension for offending the guys religiously. The guys got off free because they were only expressing their religious freedom. I am not saying this happens all the time, but Christians are A LOT of times arrogant and they get away with it. They think there preaching to me about God is good for me when really it makes me want to hit them in the face. Why? Because it is ignorant, arrogant, and selfish for someone to come up to me and say I am wrong and have no proof to back it up.

but whenever the topic comes up the no right to belief Atheist stance is something I've always seen stick out and I think others can say the same thing.

It comes up because most religions make a big mess out of it.

Can Atheists in their infinite wisdom provide any other explanation?

Yes, the cat died and the vet took it to a place to have it’s remains placed delicately into many other things.

Yes, it wasn’t the prayer that healed the cat, it was the belief of the boy that the cat would feel better. Maybe the cat was better being dead.

Yes, it could be a lie.

Now provide an explanation for this. Since transfossils HAVE been found and early primitive being related to humans HAVE been found, and dinosaurs HAVE been proven to exist and have been related to some more evolved forms of animals, then how can evolution be wrong?

If Jesus bled, could be born, could die, could grow from young to old, could eat and drink, could have feeling, could feel happiness and suffering, could cry, and could go to the bathroom, then he must be human right? Maybe those magic tricks he performed were just tricks and the people he healed were his REAL followers. If he went to crowds to heal people then why heal everyone and not just select people to heal? Maybe it was all just a set-up by a magician to make everyone follow him. Could you answer that (in all your wisdom of course ;) )?

Some of the Satanic Rules sound more greedy than simply placing importance on the self.

Greed fuels all of society. Why not give all your money to the poor and give your internet away to someone who needs it to find a job? Because you would not want to give up your possessions. That’s Greed, and Greed is not bad.

If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.


When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.


Would you take everything into literal meaning? If you go to ‘Sea World’ then do you expect to go to another planet covered in Water? The Satanic Bible was meant for those who could understand and interpret it into those who have the quality for it. If someone robbed your house then wouldn’t you want them out? If you are on another person’s property are you going to make them mad? If someone was on your property and decided to vandalize them wouldn’t you tell them to stop? If they don’t would you call the police? Don’t take destroy into literal meaning.

"do unto others as you would have them do to you"

That’s only a small part of it. LaVey Satanism focuses more on one’s self and one’s life.

Not saying Scyrone is ignorant for his comment, but he should know the line between the two is very finely drawn.

Well actually this is correct to a limit. Forgive me if I misinterpreted wrongly. Satanism and Atheism are the same as in believing there is no superior God, but they are very much different in true ideal and philosophy.

My understanding of Satanism is that it is a belief in God while renouncing him. Believing in the existence of Satan requires the belief in the existence of God.

Haha, don’t worry my friend, you are with all the other 90% of Americans. This is not Satanism. I would post the link but I know it is over PG-13 material. If you want it then I suggest PMing me if you want the link.

The thing is pastors and preachers will do things and say things to hound and pound on Satanists like myself. They will do anything to keep us from showing what we truly believe. We do not believe in Satan, Demons, God, Heaven, or Hell. All they have to do is look at our Bible, the Satanic Bible, and see the truth. I read the Christian Bible all the time. It helps me understand what a Christian is trying to say to me and how I can refute there arguments. Human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, capturing children and adults, and having massive orgies are all but rumors started by “Christian Satanists” (people who are Christians who worship Satan).

Achilles
04-10-2007, 04:49 PM
Though if there's nothing else Anti-theists wish to take away from religion they should take this: He who is without sin cast the first stone. By that people can be critical of others, but they should look at themselves and see how well they hold up to their level of scrutiny and criticism. I'd be the first to admit I wouldn't do well but it's certainly something people want to think about. I think that as you point out, this should be guidance for all people, not simply non-theists. As I've stated repeatedly, some groups are more prone to self-analysis and in some cases it's strongly encouraged.

Since the flagship of this is arguably science and atheists tend to be science-minded (not always but a lot of the time), I think it's safe to say that you should save your concern for a group that really needs it. :)

Being critical of ideas should never be viewed as a bad thing.

Haha, don’t worry my friend, you are with all the other 90% of Americans. This is not Satanism. I would post the link but I know it is over PG-13 material. If you want it then I suggest PMing me if you want the link. After posting that I did a little reading on your brand of satanism and saw that my analysis was indeed incorrect. Rather than retract it, I thought it best to leave it so that you educate others by correcting me.

Darth InSidious
04-10-2007, 06:12 PM
Really? How? Isn't killing promoted in the Bible?

You shall not kill.
"You have heard how it was said to our ancestors, You shall not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you, anyone who is angry with a brother will answer for it before the court; anyone who calls a brother 'Fool' will answer before the Sanhedrin; and anyone who calls him 'Traitor' will answer for it in hell fire."
From the New Jerusalem Bible, Reader's Edition, first published 1985, text (c) 1985, ISBN 0-232-51930-7 .

Here we have, in Christian terminology and according to Catholic teaching, the Father and the Son both condemning killing (more often translated 'murder' due to theological developments and interpretations of the text). Clearly, these are important precepts. Of course, it isn't always possible to remain peaceful, yadda yadda, that's a discussion for another thread. I'll start one ASAP. Anyhow, Aquinas, IIRC and Augustine both also add to Christian understanding of war, specifically Just War, and define that one should only go to war in a Just War. Scripture and Tradition both however, are not very keen on war.

Aren't there grounds for anti-semitism in the NT?
I'd say no. It is the Sadducees and the Pharisees who move against Christ in the gospels, and the Romans who put him to death. The apostles and Jesus were Jews, after all (admittedly this fact was glossed over in the past...)

When the reached the place called The Skull, there they crucified him and the two criminals, on on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.' Then they cast lots to share out his clothing.
This would also seem to support my position.
So how would Hitler's actions contradict Catholicism? Or is it more likely that they contradict your view of Catholicism?
The thing about Catholicism is that, due to the enshrinement of a single interpretation of Scripture, the existence of the Tradition as an equal partner with Scripture, and Papal Infallibility, there is only one Catholicism. Doctrine only develops, it doesn't change. That's the theory, anyway. The occasional person who does make it onto the Throne of Peter who decides to, say, declare a fourth person of the Trinity, or legitemise simony tends to be declared Antipope...

Yes, it does go against 'my' version of Catholicism. But there is only 'my' version :)

Gladly. Which word?

"Context".

The context as you see it. Let me try this another way? Do you believe that Usama bin Laden really believes in Islam?
I couldn't say without studying Islam more closely, and indeed the various subsects thereof. Do I believe that he follows the Islam that those muslims I know and/or am friends with? No.

Ok, then which religion did he subscribe to?
A non-denominational Christianity that he described as 'positive' Christianity. A sort of militant version, with Jesus leading a holy war against non-Aryans...
So in other words, because some men you've never met said so. The Pope in certainly not infallable, however I do acknowledge that you've been conditioned to think so because of your religious traditions.
I believe that the Pope is infallible, in matters of faith and morals, and this is part of Catholic doctrine. Whether or not you agree with this is somewhat irrelevant to the conversation. It is part of the Catholic faith.

If you have some evidence to support your claim, I'd be more than happy to have a look at it.
Sorry, which claim exactly?

IF Hitler was a Catholic, then he would have been yet one more person that cherry-picked from the Bible to support his or her viewpoint. Perhaps if the Bible were less contradictory, such actions wouldn't be possible.
If Hitler were a Catholic, he sorely tested the supremacy-of-conscience doctrine. I think he would have had to have been very unfamiliar with the gospels (and so probably lapsed), using the supremacy of conscience and relying on half-remembered medieval history and the OT to back him up.

I'm sorry. Who here is arguing for moral relativism? My argument (as is the case for most atheists and some moral philosopers) is that absolute morality does not come from God. In many cases the morals that are attributed to God are found lacking compared to morals that can be derived for reasoned examination of ethics.
I was just airing my own opinion on relativism. As for absolute morality, how many people examine their ethics regularly?

Agreed! Hence why I'm an atheist.
Could you expand on that a bit, please?
I will not be moving the goalpost, sir. I asked for an example of an atheist state run amok and you offered a 99% Muslim country.
You never stated it should be a *culturally* atheist state as I recall...

Yes, the Norway where only 36% of the population considers themselves religious compared to the 46% that consider themselves non-religions (with an additional 9% explicitly atheistic). Any Norwegian mobs looking to take over the world that we should be concerned about? How's their murder rate? Adult literacy? All I know is that they've held the top spot on the UN Human Development Index for the last 7 years.
And where 86% of the population are members of the national church.

Nancy Allen``
04-10-2007, 06:31 PM
If Osama Bin Laden is ever captured I'll be sure the 'cast the first stone' message is passed on to him. It's important in everyday life as well.

The cat was found, at home, as though nothing had happened. This was after intense prayer. So how did he get out?

My understanding of why Jesus didn't do this and didn't do that when he could have is because he didn't want to be shown as a trickster who follow the whims of what people wanted. Yes, he was human, the story goes that he was made human so that he could be sacrificed for sin.

Because most religions make a big mess of...Atheism? Could you explain this to me? The arrogance Atheists have is the fault of religion?

The actions of Christians as you had pointed out shouldn't be allowed. That's exactly how they feel when Atheists go 'ZOMG WTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11.' It goes beyond discussion of religion and the validity of it.

I'll make my feelings of religion simple. This isn't flaming or criticism or anything of the sort. Below are my feelings towards the kind of religion or non belief you choose to follow.

I don't care.

When it becomes clear that it's causing problems however, such as Christian bombing of abortion clinics, Islamic terrorism and Atheist anti theism, that's what I do care about.

Achilles
04-11-2007, 01:12 AM
<snip uncontested examples>

Here we have, in Christian terminology and according to Catholic teaching, the Father and the Son both condemning killing (more often translated 'murder' due to theological developments and interpretations of the text). Clearly, these are important precepts. I fully acknowledge that there are parts of the Bible that unequivocally advocate non-violence. I also fully acknowledge that there are parts of the Bible that unequivocally, not only condone but promote murder. Such examples are most prevalent in the OT, but exist in the NT as well. How do you reconcile this?

You have an encyclopedic knowledge of Catholic doctrine. It would be difficult not to be impressed by this. The problem I see in this dialog is that this is similar to having memorized the dictionary while debating whether or not the words are misspelled. In other words, quoting Aquinas, Augustine, etc will not help to reconcile that the Bible contradicts itself. By these contradictions, the Bible is shown to be an imperfect source. Furthermore, since the Bible is the closest thing we have to evidence for god, religion itself has no foundation.

Scripture and Tradition both however, are not very keen on war. This argument can only be supported by cherry-picking.

I'd say no. It is the Sadducees and the Pharisees who move against Christ in the gospels, and the Romans who put him to death. The apostles and Jesus were Jews, after all (admittedly this fact was glossed over in the past...) I appreciate that this is your opinion on the matter, however we cannot say with any degree of accuracy that your interpretation is the only possible one. Anti-semites quote the bible as well and there is little denying that the scripture they invoke is indeed there. We can debate whether or not it is being taken out of context, however since we're arguing interpretations, it difficult to set ground rules for "winning".

Yes, it does go against 'my' version of Catholicism. But there is only 'my' version :) But you say this right after conceding that there are other (albeit "unofficial") versions. From a historical perspective, Lutheranism is a version of Catholicism.

I couldn't say without studying Islam more closely, and indeed the various subsects thereof. Do I believe that he follows the Islam that those muslims I know and/or am friends with? No. So from your perspective he is not truly Muslim, yet from his perspective he is but your friends might not be. Both quote the same source to support their position. This is the exact same situation with any religious claim, including the claim that Hitler was not Catholic even though he professed to be.

A non-denominational Christianity that he described as 'positive' Christianity. A sort of militant version, with Jesus leading a holy war against non-Aryans... A version that could easily have a foundation based on cherry-picked bits of religious doctrine. Even the four canonical gospels cannot agree on a single interpretation of Jesus and those were the four that were deemed sufficient for representation in the bible.

I believe that the Pope is infallible, in matters of faith and morals, and this is part of Catholic doctrine. Whether or not you agree with this is somewhat irrelevant to the conversation. It is part of the Catholic faith. But your belief is not proof and that is essential to the conversation. As professed in another thread, you're also willing to accept that gravity might actually be nothing more than a universal affinity for cake.

Sorry, which claim exactly? The claim that the pope is infallible...in whichever context you'd like to use. This is a rather impossible position to defend, so if you would like retract your comment, I'll drop the matter.

If Hitler were a Catholic, he sorely tested the supremacy-of-conscience doctrine. I think he would have had to have been very unfamiliar with the gospels (and so probably lapsed), using the supremacy of conscience and relying on half-remembered medieval history and the OT to back him up. *shrugs* You appear to be willing to concede the point then.

I was just airing my own opinion on relativism. As for absolute morality, how many people examine their ethics regularly? Not nearly enough, in my estimation. It's difficult for me to blame people on an individual basis though. Moral philosophy isn't exactly standard fare in any elementary curricula. Furthermore, a large percentage of the world's population are enculturated into a spoon-fed system of ethics that they are encouraged not to examine.

Could you expand on that a bit, please? Sure, I'd be happy to. You said, "I think perhaps you missed the point - the combination of moral relativism and a malformed conscience is, I think you will agree, a dangerous one."

Since religion claims to have a monopoly on absolute truth and those versions of truth make conflicting claims, these systems of morals are relative. Since this belief in absolute truth is frequently accompanied by (or arguably, the source of) dogmatic thinking, the more "fundamental" a person is, the more malformed their conscience is (as shown by various behavioral experiments).

Therefore, my decision has been to reject any claim to prepackaged system of absolute truths in favor of a reasoned system of ethics (I have the benefit of having taken several ethics courses as part of my undergraduate and graduate programs). Additionally, I also reject fundamentalism, especially the religious flavor.

As anyone here will be able to point out, religious fundamentalism is not the sole source of moral relativism or malformed consciousness, but I think the evidence is on my side when I say it certainly the leading source.

You never stated it should be a *culturally* atheist state as I recall... True. If you would like to continue to argue that Turkey is an atheist state, I'll be happy to listen to what you have to say. Next time, I'll be sure to be more specific with my wording.

And where 86% of the population are members of the national church. Well, I could pull up stats on frequency of church attendance and sources that show such membership is largely to satisfy ceremonial functions (weddings, funerals, etc), or we could just accept that Norwegian people are largely non-religious yet somehow manage to consistently set the standard for social wellness. The purpose here was to argue that religious societies do not make for good societies.

Take a look at the results of this survey (http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_impo.htm). Here are the 10 least religious countries surveyed:


Slovakia 29
Italy 27
South Korea 25
Vietnam 24
Germany 21
Russia 14
Bulgaria 13
Japan 12
France 11
Czech Republic 11
50% of them are listed in the top 30 countries on the UN Human Development Index (Italy, Germany, Japan, France, and the Czech Republic. Here's thelink (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index#Top_thirty_countries_.28HD I_range_from_0.965_down_to_0.885.29)). I'm sure that these results could have been more impressive (although 50% is very statistically significant), however only 8 of the top 30 nations were included in the survey. 3 were in the top 10 (Canada, Japan, and the U.S. in that order).

If religiousnesses were truly beneficial to society, the top 10 would have looked more like this:


Senegal 97
Indonesia 95
Nigeria 92
India 92
Pakistan 91
Ivory Coast 91
Mali 90
Philippines 88
Bangladesh 88
South Africa 87


Yes, several of these countries are poor, so let's look at the G8 (ranked by position on the Index):

Canada. 30% religious (11th on the poll). #6 on the Index.
Japan. 12% religious (3th on the poll). #7 on the Index.
United States. 59% religious (18th on the poll). #8 on the Index.
France. 11% religious (tied for 1st on the poll). #16 on the Index.
United Kingdom. 33% religious (12th on the poll). #17 on the Index.
Italy. 27% religious (9th on the poll). #18 on the Index.
Germany. 21% religious (6th on the poll). #21 on the Index.
Russia. 14% religious (4th on the poll). Not listed in top 30 on the index.

Only the U.S. is largely religious. It is twice as religious as the next closest "religious" nation in the top 10. Based on the evidence, we can conclude that even rich religious societies (such as the U.S) are not significantly better societies than non-rich non-religious societies (such as Czech Republic).

If you would like, I might be willing to break out a separate analysis for predominately Catholic countries. Just let me know.

Thanks for reading.

Achilles
04-11-2007, 01:44 AM
Note to moderators: Double post allowed because of post and quote character limits. Now you won't get zinged, Achilles. :D --Jae
Hi Nancy,

I'm breaking my response to you out into a separate message because of the length of my response to DI.

If Osama Bin Laden is ever captured I'll be sure the 'cast the first stone' message is passed on to him. It's important in everyday life as well. I'm not sure what that would accomplish. UBL is an extremely pious man within his religion.

The "cast the first stone message", as you refer to it, is a parable about passing judgment on others. As it stands, this has absolutely nothing to do with anything being actually discussed in this thread. The moderators have been extremely vigilant about personal judgments. As I am now pointing out for a third time, this discussion is about evaluating reasons and beliefs, not judging other people. In other words, this is a red herring.

My understanding of why Jesus didn't do this and didn't do that when he could have is because he didn't want to be shown as a trickster who follow the whims of what people wanted. Yes, he was human, the story goes that he was made human so that he could be sacrificed for sin.In G.Mark and G.Luke, Jesus wasn't bashful about performing miracles at all. He was somewhat secretive about his identity in Mark, but I tend to think that mark wrote Jesus this way as a plot device.

The actions of Christians as you had pointed out shouldn't be allowed. That's exactly how they feel when Atheists go 'ZOMG WTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11.' It goes beyond discussion of religion and the validity of it. Could you please provide one example of someone debating like this? If you cannot, I would appreciate it if you would stop flame-baiting with your caricatures of atheists.

When it becomes clear that it's causing problems however, such as Christian bombing of abortion clinics, Islamic terrorism and Atheist anti theism, that's what I do care about. I would very much like to be able to take this at face value, however you seem incredulous of every example of mainstream fundamentalism provided for you.

mur'phon
04-11-2007, 04:39 AM
And where 86% of the population are members of the national church

You can be considered a member if: one person in your family is a member/have been baptised, you have been baptised, or for no reason at all. Combined with the fact that getting out of the church is close to impossible, it's no surprise that a lot are members without knowing it. I have been removed from the list 4 times, yet for all I know I might still be a member.

Achilles
04-11-2007, 04:59 AM
Aren't most of the Scandinavian national churches like this as well? I know Sweden is.

Nancy Allen``
04-11-2007, 07:39 AM
Sure.

The thread has us examining the faults in religion and Atheism, so looking at ourselves and seeing that we are free of fault, 'he who is without sin cast the first stone', I would have thought would be quite relevent.

Certainly. Here's a thread on the forums where religion was threated with redicule and flamebait.

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=173590

And here's some sites I found that support attacking religion and those who follow it.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070406050722AAC9HXY
http://www.antitheism.net/blog/very_irreverand_bill/20061029/religious_tolerance_over_rated_political_correctio n
http://www.dpjs.co.uk/anti.html
http://www.dpjs.co.uk/killgod.html
http://community.livejournal.com/antitheism/profile

You painted me the picture of religious evil before. Now put it in a frame. From what I understand reading what you've told me in previous threads George Bush, a Christian, wants to force Jesus returning which would destroy the world. To do this he intends to throw the world into such chaos that Jesus, if he does exist (and if Atheists don't believe in God why do they buy this story?), will have to return and bring about the events in Revelations to restore order. And Bush has appointed a number of fellow Christians to follow this plan. Does that sound close to this fear of this fundamentalism you're talking about?

Achilles
04-11-2007, 11:22 AM
The thread has us examining the faults in religion and Atheism, so looking at ourselves and seeing that we are free of fault, 'he who is without sin cast the first stone', I would have thought would be quite relevent. It's not relevant at all. The parable is about personal judgment. As I am now pointing out for a 4th time, this is about evaluating reasons and beliefs. The two are not similar at all.

If your example were applicable, then you would be advocating that we not evaluate reasons for anything. As such, we'd still be sitting in caves eating meat raw off the carcass because a deficit of critical analysis of thoughts and ideas would have left us in the stone age.

Certainly. Here's a thread on the forums where religion was threated with redicule and flamebait.<snip> In all fairness to you, I only skimmed these links. Only one was a LF thread, and not one from this forum. In none of them did I see 'ZOMG WTF THERE IZ NO GOD LOLZ!1!!11ONE!1!!11ELEVEN!1!!11.'. So again, I respectfully request that you cease using this inaccurate representation of your opponents' arguments. If you do not, you will leave me no choice but to begin reporting posts.

You painted me the picture of religious evil before. Now put it in a frame. From what I understand reading what you've told me in previous threads George Bush, a Christian, wants to force Jesus returning which would destroy the world. To do this he intends to throw the world into such chaos that Jesus, if he does exist (and if Atheists don't believe in God why do they buy this story?), will have to return and bring about the events in Revelations to restore order. And Bush has appointed a number of fellow Christians to follow this plan. Does that sound close to this fear of this fundamentalism you're talking about? I'd say you've almost accurately captured a small part of the argument. The important (and scary) part would be the percentage of the american population that supports/shares this view. Pinning the whole thing on Bush is a little unfair: He did have be elected after all. Instead focus on the fundamentalist movement and I'd say you'd be a lot closer.

PS: One does not have to believe something themselves to be terrified of others that do. If all the fundamentalists lived on an island out in the middle of the ocean and wanted to blow themselves up, that would be one thing. If they lived on the island, but had nukes and believed that they had to take us out first before blowing themselves up, that would be another thing, wouldn't you say?

Thanks for your response.

Jae Onasi
04-12-2007, 05:42 PM
Split thread from "Your Views on Atheists". Carry on the Theism/Atheism debate here.

Nancy Allen``
04-13-2007, 07:29 PM
Would it be fair to say then that Atheists treat those who believe in religion with quite a bit of contempt and resentment? Given the arrogant, bullying, condescending, double standerd, egomaniacal and downright nasty attitude some have towards them?

As for the other thing, to add to what I said, the voters are to be held responsible? Were they in on this plot to force Jesus' return at all? What about the people Bush had elected into these positions of power? Did they rig the 2000 elections to make sure he won? Where does September 11 fit into all of this? An incident that was allowed to happen to set Bush's plan into motion or a set up?

Achilles
04-13-2007, 08:48 PM
Would it be fair to say then that Atheists treat those who believe in religion with quite a bit of contempt and resentment? Given the arrogant, bullying, condescending, double standerd, egomaniacal and downright nasty attitude some have towards them? It would be accurate to say that some atheists treat some theists with contempt some of the of the time, yes. Would it be accurate to say that the same scenario is true for theists with regards to atheists?

What you've just described is this group known as "people". You can't pin such behavior on one group. Unless you want to cast the first stone ;)

As for the other thing, to add to what I said, the voters are to be held responsible? I suppose you could. I don't advocate that, but it's one alternative. What I would prefer to see is a cultural revolution whereby people choose rationality over superstition and reason over faith. The only way I see that happening is if rational people speak out against irrationality (e.g. ridding ourselves of the fallacious fiat that you have to respect other people's religious beliefs).

Were they in on this plot to force Jesus' return at all? Yep. They went to their churches and read their right-wing, special interest group voter guides and then went to the polls and voted just how they were told to by their religious leaders. The evangelicals became very insular after the Scopes monkey trial but when Roe v. Wade happened, they began to unify. President Bush is one of them and they very much wanted him in office.

What about the people Bush had elected into these positions of power? I think the word you're looking for is "appointed". The public generally decides elections.

Did they rig the 2000 elections to make sure he won? From some points of view, the answer is yes. You can do a google search and make your own decisions based on your research.

Where does September 11 fit into all of this?
This is a good question. If you're asking for my personal opinion, I haven't made up my mind what to think about the events of 9/11. There are two sides to every story and both the "official story" and the "conspiracy theories" have elements that I don't buy. I believe that there is overwhelming evidence that a plane did not hit the pentagon, nor did flight 93 crash in Pennsylvania. It's obvious that planes hit the WTC, however I've yet to see any evidence that makes me belief that the resulting fires caused WTC 1,2, & 7 to collapse. Was the government complicit? I don't know. I'm not convinced by the conspiracy theories. Did the neo-conservative movement benefit from these events? They certainly did. If you want to explore this further, I'd recommend starting a new topic.

Regardless of what I think, 9/11 was inarguably the catalyst for the war in the middle east and that does benefit the Rapture Right.

Nancy Allen``
04-13-2007, 11:59 PM
Yes it would be fair that theists can be just as nasty as Atheists have been, and it's wrong to be that way no matter what side of the arguement you're on. I've seen the Atheist arguement brought up again and again and every time it's been the Atheists doing the attacking but I have no doubt that theists would say something that's flame baiting as well.

As for Bush wanting to use religion to destroy the world, any comments Jae? Anyone?

Achilles
04-14-2007, 01:16 AM
Yes it would be fair that theists can be just as nasty as Atheists have been, and it's wrong to be that way no matter what side of the arguement you're on. I've seen the Atheist arguement brought up again and again and every time it's been the Atheists doing the attacking but I have no doubt that theists would say something that's flame baiting as well. I'm still not sure what this has to do with anything we've discussed here, but it would seem your argument has reached some form of conclusion. Perhaps you could continue this sentiment (if it is not dead) in the "Your views on atheist" thread that this thread was split out from.

As for Bush wanting to use religion to destroy the world, any comments Jae? Anyone? Nancy, if anyone is interested in responding to my points, they will. Many of my points have been repeated 2 or 3 times in various threads, so anyone wanting to do so has had ample opportunities.

I say all this because I would like to ask you stop invoking Jae. You've done this more than a few times and it really concerns me. She is very much capable of deciding which of my points she will respond to and those that she will not. If she were interested in engaging my arguments she would have done so without your request.

So please, respond to my posts if you want to and pass on them if you want to as well, but please quit asking others to take over your arguments if you get stuck.

Thanks in advance! :)

Jae Onasi
04-14-2007, 01:24 AM
I think using Bush's belief in the doctrine of pre-millennialism to say that Bush actively wants to be the one who brings about the end of the world is completely idiotic. If Bush is knowledgeable enough about the Bible to know the difference between pre-and post-millennialism, he knows enough to know that the Bible says no one knows when Christ will make His return, as if anyone could force Christ to come back by trying to nuke something. I can't believe anyone would take that leap of logic in the first place, and I can't believe that anyone would actually take that seriously. Bush has never said anything like that, Bush won't say anything like that, and Rice and Cheney would beat him profusely around the head if he even suggested doing anything like that. It's about as intelligent as saying Lieberman would bomb an Arab country with pork chops if he ever got elected President.

Bush-bashing/Bush-loving should go in a different thread than this, too, as should the treatment of Atheists in general. We've kind of steered off course from the Theism/Atheism debate and should get back on topic.

Achilles
04-14-2007, 01:44 AM
I think using Bush's belief in the doctrine of pre-millennialism to say that Bush actively wants to be the one who brings about the end of the world is completely idiotic. Assertions supported by....

If Bush is knowledgeable enough about the Bible to know the difference between pre-and post-millennialism, he knows enough to know that the Bible says no one knows when Christ will make His return, as if anyone could force Christ to come back by trying to nuke something. I can't believe anyone would take that leap of logic in the first place, and I can't believe that anyone would actually take that seriously....nothing but appeals to ridicule.

"X cannot possibly be true because I don't believe it".

Bush has never said anything like that, Bush won't say anything like that, and Rice and Cheney would beat him profusely around the head if he even suggested doing anything like that. You've raised this point before and I've responded to it before (Link (http://lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=2281777&postcount=22)). I never received a response in that thread, but perhaps you will be willing to offer one here. It's been a while, but IIRC at least a couple of those links quote Bush saying that God told him to invade Iraq. If not, let me know and I'll post the quotes (with sources) separately.

It's about as intelligent as saying Lieberman would bomb an Arab country with pork chops if he ever got elected President. Lieberman is jewish. If he were a rapture-ready christian that believed that war in the middle east would help speed up the return of his messiah (and if he was quoted making supporting claims), then I would think the same thing about him.

Bush-bashing/Bush-loving should go in a different thread than this, too, as should the treatment of Atheists in general. We've kind of steered off course from the Theism/Atheism debate and should get back on topic. That makes sense, however I would argue that my comments re: Bush are specific to this topic. I have no problem putting my general concerns about him in another thread if someone wants to start one.

PS: How come calling someone's beliefs "idiotic" is not considered loaded language, but labeling someone's beliefs "delusional" is? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Nancy Allen``
04-14-2007, 02:00 AM
You asked. I simply answered your question.

Is appeal to logic allowed? If so then logically speaking Bush would know, being a Christian, that he cannot possibly force Jesus to return. From my point of view, not waiting or asking for other's opinions, if you are to assert that then explain to me how in this time of Christian extremism there arn't mass terrorist attacks on Muslims. Why are so many Christians opposed to Iraq and the war on terrorism?

Is inviting someone with more knowledge on the topic than I do to speak their piece wrong? Saying to read your posts again when you get stuck? Or for one or two members to basically hold the floor rather than letting a particular point breathe and allow others the opportunity to respond?

Achilles
04-14-2007, 02:28 AM
You asked. I simply answered your question.If it makes this go away: fine, you're right. :)

Is appeal to logic allowed?Not only allowed but very much welcome.

If so then logically speaking Bush would know, being a Christian, that he cannot possibly force Jesus to return. Your logic is not his. People do things based on belief rather than logic all the time. It doesn't make sense that the rapture-ready would want to bring about the end of the world, but that fact doesn't stop them. That's the dangerous thing about faith: it's more valued more than reason by those that have it.

From my point of view, not waiting or asking for other's opinions, if you are to assert that then explain to me how in this time of Christian extremism there arn't mass terrorist attacks on Muslims.Where to start....

Christian doctrine does not promote terrorism, however it's perfectly ok with other forms of violence. You're trying to project the promoted tactics of one religion onto another. Although neither is rational, that doesn't mean that they are the same.

Christianity claims to be a religion of peace, therefore terrorism is out (for the most part), but war is just fine. In other words we don't need to militant civilians to carry out terrorist activities against those in the middle east, because we have an occupying military force. Now before you or anyone else claims that our presence is not an occupying force, I'd like for you to ask yourself how many permanent military bases we're building in Iraq. If you answer, "I don't know", I'd encourage you do to some research before replying.

Why are so many Christians opposed to Iraq and the war on terrorism?Bushes approval ratings average about 35% this month. While you might think that's low (and I would agree) keep in mind that means that 1 in 3 people think he's doing just fine. Ask yourself if that 35% represents moderate christians that, like so many, cherry-pick the bible for messages of love and peace or the fundamentalists that believe in the jesus of revelations that returns with a sword to cast sinners into a lake of fire.

Is inviting someone with more knowledge on the topic than I do to speak their piece wrong? Saying to read your posts again when you get stuck? Or for one or two members to basically hold the floor rather than letting a particular point breathe and allow others the opportunity to respond?Not at all, but I have to tell you that your multiple requests for Jae to step in might make one think that you're incapable of defending your points yourself.

Jae Onasi
04-14-2007, 02:39 AM
Bush's view on this specific topic could arguably be somewhat connected, and since we were already talking about it before the thread got split off, that's fine. I just don't want the thread to turn into a political/Bush discussion.

Delusional is a specific psychiatric term, and idiotic is not used in any kind of medical way in today's language. I take issue with anyone except one who is having a psychotic episode known as a delusion being labeled as delusional. I did not remotely link you or say 'Achilles' ideas are idiotic'. However, there have been any number of attempts (not necessarily by you) to label me or my ideas specifically as delusional, and there is a big difference.

There is a big difference between praying about the decision to go to war (and wouldn't you have some quiet reflective time before making a decision as big as going to war?) and espousing the belief that one is going to personally bring about Armageddon. I have seen no statements by Bush that say 'I'm going to do x to bring about Christ's return'.

The point about knowledge of pre/post-millennialism and knowledge that he can't bring about Christ's return by bombing the hell out of something is not an appeal to ridicule. Part of eschatology is knowing what the Bible says about Christ's return, and Bush knows these verses as part of pre-millennial doctrine. Since he's familiar with the verses that no one knows when Christ will return and that He'll return like 'a thief in the night', _and_ Bush has never said he was planning on bringing about Armageddon or Christ's return, then equating praying about the Iraq war/knowledge of eschatology with bringing about the 'end times' is false. The only way someone could make that incorrect leap in logic is to hear Bush is a pre-millennialist, go look that up without looking up the relevant supporting verses, and say also 'Bush prayed about the Iraq war! He therefore must be wanting Armageddon!!' That is a complete non sequitur. It ranks right up there with the logic of my favorite proof:
Dirt is brown.
Chocolate is brown.
Dirt has no calories,
Therefore chocolate has no calories.

Bush may do many dumb things, but saying he espouses the idea that he personally can bring about the end times is misleading at best and alarmist at worst. The only thing that this kind of comment does is scare the crap out of people unnecessarily. I get very angry about those with an anti-Christian bias (and I'm thinking more generally along the lines of the media than anything else) misquoting and misusing the Bible and people's beliefs in order to paint someone in a negative way. If someone disagrees with Bush, fine. None of us is going to agree with him all (or even most) of the time. Publishing the truth about what he has actually said is certainly appropriate. However, don't use sensationalism and scare tactics based on an insufficient knowledge of a particular doctrine to try to make Bush look like something he is not. That's disingenuous.

Achilles
04-14-2007, 06:35 AM
Whew. A lot to unpack here...

Bush's view on this specific topic could arguably be somewhat connected, and since we were already talking about it before the thread got split off, that's fine. I just don't want the thread to turn into a political/Bush discussion. Noted.

Delusional is a specific psychiatric term, and idiotic is not used in any kind of medical way in today's language. It is true that this is one of the meanings, just like one of the meanings for "idiot" is a psychological term. Whether or not it is still used that way is a non-issue.

I think it goes without saying that most people hear "idiot" in the context of "a foolish or stupid person" rather than, "someone with extreme mental retardation". Similarly, I don't think people hear "a persistent false psychotic belief" when they hear the word "delusion", rather "something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated". A belief can be shown to be false, where as "idiot" in any context (other than the "unused" professional context) can only be taken offensively, "delusion" is a valid label. Therefore, it makes no sense that someone willing to accuse someone's argument as being idiotic should take offense at having their belief referred to as delusional. At the very least you make some attempt to discover the person's intent rather than presume to know what context they are being used in.

I think the simplest solution here would be to retract your earlier statement, but truthfully, I don't get that ruffled over words, so I really don't care. I only brought it up because I found it to be extremely hypocri...double-dealing. My apologies for the side-bar.

Point taken, it fell out of the 'friendly' category. I apologize. --Jae

Apology accepted. Since this wasn't a moderator warning, I'm assuming that it's ok to re-edit. Thanks.

I did not remotely link you or say 'Achilles' ideas are idiotic'. However, there have been any number of attempts (not necessarily by you) to label me or my ideas specifically as delusional, and there is a big difference. Fair enough. In the spirit of open dialog then, what did you mean by:

"I think using Bush's belief in the doctrine of pre-millennialism to say that Bush actively wants to be the one who brings about the end of the world is completely idiotic."

Keep in mind that you posted this after I made such an assertion.

And yes, I have made blatant attempts to label your ideas delusional. I don't shy away from that. In the context I provided earlier in this post, I believe that they are. The good news is that sufficient counter-argument should be enough to persuade any reasonable person that they are not (although such arguments have not been forthcoming). However, there is a moratorium on using the term, therefore I've taken to utilizing the thesaurus to make my points. It will be interesting to see if such a moratorium is extended to "idiotic", considering I've argued that this can only be taken as a derogatory term, whereas "delusion" cannot.

There is a big difference between praying about the decision to go to war (and wouldn't you have some quiet reflective time before making a decision as big as going to war?) and espousing the belief that one is going to personally bring about Armageddon. I have seen no statements by Bush that say 'I'm going to do x to bring about Christ's return'. I'm not sure how to proceed here, because I doubt I have the sufficient skill to point out all the problems with this thinking to a theist. That isn't a dig, rather an commentary on the chasm that exists between theism and non-theism.

Let me start off with a quote:

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.” - Sam Harris

If Bush had said he thought long and hard and finally came to a decision, I would have some confidence that his faculties of reason were used to come to that conclusion. Instead, the story is that he prayed and god told him to do it. This tells me that in no way were his faculties of reason used, rather he consulted the metaphysical equivalent of a magic 8-ball...to determine our nations foreign policy...knowing that we are the only military superpower in the world. Why this doesn't set off red flags for anyone is beyond me, however I have to take into consideration that there is a large percentage of my fellow Americans that think this was a perfectly normal thing to do.

On to the crux of the matter.

As we have seen in various threads (and in fact in many history books) world leaders do crazy stuff all the time. Putin appears to be on a killing spree, Kim Jong Il wants to wage war against the U.S. on the broken backs of his people, Hitler invades Poland, Communist China imprisons and murders there own citizens for staging democratic protests, etc, etc, etc. Murder, corruption, insane leaders twisted by their own agendas, the list goes on and on. But not here.

Haliburton wins no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq. But that has nothing to do with the fact that Cheney was CEO for several years. Bush 1 and Bush 2 both invade Iraq, but that has nothing to do with their family ties to Saudi Arabia. Bush 2 declares war on Usama bin Laden (who is believed to be strafing the Afghanistan/Pakistan border) as part of his war on terror, but he's primarily focused on Iraq. His reason: To bring about democracy in the middle east.

Let's break for a moment and take a look at the prophesied "signs of the second coming":

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." - many false churches of jesus which will deceive many. mormons and jehovah witnesses maybe?
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:..." - Like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rumors? Like the ones about Iran and North Korea. How about Chavez's claim that U.S. tried to have him assassinated? Darfur? Iraqi Civil War?
"and there shall be famines,..." - Well it would be obvious to point out the much-publicized African famines of the 80's. Somalia in the 90's? Darfur now?
"...and pestilences,..." - HIV/AIDS? SARS? Avian influenza?
"...and earthquakes, in divers places." - Japan had an undersea earthquake the other week. Indonesia shortly be before that. The whopper in Indonesia in December 2005.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." - America isn't very popular right now because of its thinly veiled theocracy.
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." - Clearly Jesus is referring to LF and Kavar's Corner specifically :D. Seriously though, I imagine that the conflict between atheist and theists is a potential explanation.

Now...do I believe any of this? Heck no!

But do I think the rapture right does? You'd better ****ing believe I do.

How many of these points do I think that neo-conservative, rapture-ready christians believe Bush has direct control over? Bullets 2, 6, and 7 directly (foreign policy, "go it alone", and "compassionate conservatism", respectively). The rest just happen to be coincidentally going on. Maybe not all that persuasive on it's own, but consider that 44% of americans believe that jesus will definitely or very probably return in the next 50 years, and I think it's obvious that significant portion of the voting public doesn't care what it says about pre/post-millennialism in some book, they're doing everything they can to make this baby happen now.

Back to my point.

If Bush and his administration were moderate Christians, I probably wouldn't be too concerned. However, Bush and many of his appointees are unabashedly hard-core, evangelical christians. So the argument that none of this adds up and Achilles is being melodramatic doesn't hold up. There is genuine cause to be afraid.

I want so save some energy for the rest of my response, so I'll end this section here.

The point about knowledge of pre/post-millennialism and knowledge that he can't bring about Christ's return by bombing the hell out of something is not an appeal to ridicule. No, Jae, but the part about you not believing that Bush (and the rest of the rapture right) believe that is an appeal to ridicule. I keep pointing that out. It's not what you believe, it's about what they believe.

Part of eschatology is knowing what the Bible says about Christ's return, and Bush knows these verses as part of pre-millennial doctrine. Since he's familiar with the verses that no one knows when Christ will return and that He'll return like 'a thief in the night' Do we really want to start comparing all the christian doctrine that he should know about to what he actually espouses?

Suppose you have a deeply-held belief that picking up pennies brings about good luck. Suppose the doctrine of this belief states that at some point, events will unfold, and the lifting of a special penny will bring about all believers winning 100 billion dollars. No one knows when this penny will be lifted or where. Being one of the believers, do you pass penny lying on the street or do you stop and pick them up? Do you pick them up with anticipation? Is it feasible that some percentage of believers might take to purposely leaving pennies laying about for others to pick up in the hopes that they might hasten the jackpot? Maybe at some point, believers start going into banks and changing out bills for pennies. At first, just singles, but maybe (for the cause), they start changing fives, tens, twenties, asking for their paychecks in pennies (what's a few thousand dollars now when my faith tells me that $100 billion is just around the corner if I just believe enough?)

Perposterous right?

_and_ Bush has never said he was planning on bringing about Armageddon or Christ's return, then equating praying about the Iraq war/knowledge of eschatology with bringing about the 'end times' is false. The only way someone could make that incorrect leap in logic is to hear Bush is a pre-millennialist, go look that up without looking up the relevant supporting verses, and say also 'Bush prayed about the Iraq war! He therefore must be wanting Armageddon!!' That is a complete non sequitur. That may be and I have to tell you that I sincerely hope you're right. However I think I've made a respectable case for showing that you're not. Even if I'm 99% wrong about this, that 1% more than I'm comfortable with.

It ranks right up there with the logic of my favorite proof:
Dirt is brown.
Chocolate is brown.
Dirt has no calories,
Therefore chocolate has no calories. This is satire, correct?

Bush may do many dumb things, but saying he espouses the idea that he personally can bring about the end times is misleading at best and alarmist at worst. The only thing that this kind of comment does is scare the crap out of people unnecessarily. I encourage everyone to do their own research, review the fact, and form their own opinions. If I'm wrong, please come back and show me why because I would certainly sleep better at night. (sorry Jae, you just haven't done it yet :D).

I get very angry about those with an anti-Christian bias (and I'm thinking more generally along the lines of the media than anything else) misquoting and misusing the Bible and people's beliefs in order to paint someone in a negative way. If someone disagrees with Bush, fine. None of us is going to agree with him all (or even most) of the time. Publishing the truth about what he has actually said is certainly appropriate. However, don't use sensationalism and scare tactics based on an insufficient knowledge of a particular doctrine to try to make Bush look like something he is not. That's disingenuous. It certainly would be. However your opinion that it the information is inaccurate doesn't make it so.

Thanks for reading.

Nancy Allen``
04-14-2007, 08:16 AM
Where is the logic in all this? It may be that I cannot comprehend how big this plot is but from what we've ascertained Bush intends to destroy the world so that Jesus will return and bring about Revelations. Logically he knows he can't force Jesus to return but he's going to destroy the world anyway trying to do so. The people who voted for him in 2000 and 2004 are Christians and want Jesus to return, want Bush to force Jesus' return. The people Bush appointed to positions of power are Christians and are in on Bush's plan, they made sure Bush won no matter what the votes were. September 11 was allowed to happen or set up by Bush so he can set this grand plan into motion, first by attacking Afghanistan and then Iraq, with the retalliation for his actions throwing the world into further chaos. To add to the drama Bush continues to support Israel rather than help Palestine wipe them out, something he knows will cause further strife. And even though everything is tied up in Afghanistan and Iraq Bush is looking at other targets such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. And all of this isn't because Bush is after the oil that Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are rich in but to do the logically impossible and force Jesus to return and 'save' the human race through what the fairy tale known as the Bible has fortold in Revelations. Does that about sum it up? Am I missing any pieces of the puzzle? So where does logic come into this? Logically Bush cannot force Jesus to return, logically Christianity is meant to be a myth in the first place isn't it? Logically a devestated world is no use to anyone. Logically positive relations with America and the rest of the world look about as positive as communism did. Logically the military would be exhausted to really no avail. Logically Bush could be attempting to cull the weak who would be killed during his actions, but to what logical purpose?

Achilles
04-14-2007, 08:58 AM
Where is the logic in all this? It may be that I cannot comprehend how big this plot is but from what we've ascertained Bush intends to destroy the world so that Jesus will return and bring about Revelations. Nope. Pretty please recognize that this is a movement for which Bush is a figurehead.

Logically he knows he can't force Jesus to return but he's going to destroy the world anyway trying to do so. The people who voted for him in 2000 and 2004 are Christians and want Jesus to return, want Bush to force Jesus' return. No logic to it. I don't know (and neither do you) that Bush (or his supporters) "know" that they can't force (or to my point, influence) events.

The people Bush appointed to positions of power are Christians and are in on Bush's plan Close. I don't know if I'd call it "Bush's plan". Many of the key players have been around for a long time (wolfowitz, cheney, rumsfeld). Many people see the current administration as the product of the last few years but these guys have been in control since the 70's minus the 8 years Clinton was president.

they made sure Bush won no matter what the votes were. It's slightly more complicated than that, but essentially yes. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research.

September 11 was allowed to happen or set up by Bush so he can set this grand plan into motion, first by attacking Afghanistan and then Iraq, with the retalliation for his actions throwing the world into further chaos. That's one of the theories. Look up "Project for a New American Century". Take note of who signed the statement of principles (especially those that are in key administrative roles). Finally, read "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (published September 2000). Then tell me what you think.

To add to the drama Bush continues to support Israel rather than help Palestine wipe them out, something he knows will cause further strife. Not quite. One of the more popular signs of the 2nd coming is that Israel will be returned to the Israelis. Bush doesn't support the Palestinians, rather he supported a two-state solution before general elections put Hamas in power. Now all bets are off.

And even though everything is tied up in Afghanistan and Iraq Bush is looking at other targets such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Nope. Saudi Arabia is an ally (SA alliance with the U.S. is why UBL hates us). Prophecy says "war" and Bush thinks god is on his side. So what if everyone else can see that we're spread too thin. How do you think the Roman Empire was toppled?

And all of this isn't because Bush is after the oil that Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are rich in....We already have a partnership with Saudi Arabia. Arguably, keeping Saddam (a dictator that we put into power to keep Iran in check) around would have kept oil prices stable. Maybe Bush wanted the oil to keep China from getting it, but China is looking to South America for oil, so....*shrugs*

I'm sure there's a case for it being "all about the oil", but there also seems to be a case for "the oil was just fine". Aside from the fact that world oil production peaked in 2005 but I'm not sure what invading the middle east would have done to change that. Make Haliburton rich maybe?

but to do the logically impossible and force Jesus to return and 'save' the human race through what the fairy tale known as the Bible has fortold in Revelations. Not a matter of logic. We left that arena the moment religion got involved.

"but to help foster the conditions set forth by prophecy and to help set the stage for Jesus to return and 'save' the human race through what the fairy tale known as the Bible has foretold in Revelations." might be closer to what is argued to be the case.

Be careful not to set up a false dichotomy here. Arguing the the U.S. gov't was after the oil does not automatically exclude the possibility that they were after religious conquest as well. There are other possible answers too, so don't tie yourself down to an either/or argument.

Does that about sum it up? Am I missing any pieces of the puzzle? So where does logic come into this? Where did I lose you?

Logically Bush cannot force Jesus to return, Logic has nothing to do with it. We're in the realm of faith now.

logically Christianity is meant to be a myth in the first place isn't it? Yep, but as I've stated dozens of times, it's not about what I/we believe, it's about what they believe. This point is essential to your understanding of the problem. I cannot stress this enough.

Logically a devestated world is no use to anyone.After the rapture, christ will sustain the earth. Sure walking the tightrope might seem risky, but not so much if you think there's a safety net the size of rhode island beneath you. Doesn't matter whether or not it's real, only that you believe it's there.

Logically positive relations with America and the rest of the world look about as positive as communism did. Not sure I take your meaning. The opinions of others means jack-squat when you believe that truth is on your side.

Logically the military would be exhausted to really no avail. And if you believe that god is on your side? He's the one that told you to go, after all.

Logically Bush could be attempting to cull the weak who would be killed during his actions, but to what logical purpose? Not sure. That's your theory, not mine. You'd have to tell me.

Nancy Allen``
04-14-2007, 11:37 PM
I'm having a look at these sources, but I'm wondering, are you hedging your bets with religion? The Bible's meant to be fiction isn't it? Bush can't bring back a fictional character, but he's trying, so maybe religion is real. Either way if he is trying to throw the world into chaos and force Jesus to return he's doing a very half hearted job about it. A few nukes should do the trick. Leave the devestation of Iraq rather than trying to bebuild and strike somewhere else.

Achilles
04-15-2007, 12:48 AM
I'm having a look at these sources, but I'm wondering, are you hedging your bets with religion? I'm not sure what this means. Could you expand on this please?

The Bible's meant to be fiction isn't it? Bush can't bring back a fictional character, but he's trying, so maybe religion is real. Or maybe the rapture right is dealing in something other than reason. Guess which one of those scenarios we have more evidence for.

Either way if he is trying to throw the world into chaos and force Jesus to return he's doing a very half hearted job about it. A few nukes should do the trick. Leave the devestation of Iraq rather than trying to bebuild and strike somewhere else. If the Bush administration were to begin launching nuclear weapons unprovoked, it would not take long at all to for other countries to say enough is enough and stage an intervention. I said these people are irrational...not stupid.

That's the bigger problem. The smaller problem is who would he nuke?

Nancy Allen``
04-15-2007, 01:00 AM
How about the traitors such as France and Germany, who refused to have anything to do with Iraq?

Seriously if chaos, ergo forcing Jesus to return is his plan why the need to be subtle?

As I said you believe the Bible is fiction, but Bush is trying to force Jesus to return even though according to the Bible he can't, so maybe you're thinking that it might be true. Maybe Bush can force this fictional Jesus to return and bring about Revelations.

Achilles
04-15-2007, 01:14 AM
How about the traitors such as France and Germany, who refused to have anything to do with Iraq? That's a good idea. Why don't you write to him and ask why he hasn't started nuking people yet? In the mean time, I'll stay here and try to figure out what this line of thinking has to do with what we were discussing. :)

Seriously if chaos, ergo forcing Jesus to return is his plan why the need to be subtle? The Bush administration has been anything but subtle. I think you're trying to take my arguments to an extreme that I have not suggested. While you are more than welcome to do so, it won't help to move the dialog forward.

As I said you believe the Bible is fiction, but Bush is trying to force Jesus to return even though according to the Bible he can't, so maybe you're thinking that it might be true. Maybe Bush can force this fictional Jesus to return and bring about Revelations.Really, Nancy, my thinking on this should be crystal clear to you by now. It's not about what I believe, it's about what the rapture right believes. What part of that am I failing to explain adequately?

Thanks.

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 01:29 AM
Ya know, Atheism is a faith too. you can't say any religion is right or wrong, cause there just isn't enough evidence either way. personally, i'm a Christian, cause it makes sense to me and it's what i choose to believe. what you believe won't change reality. the universe is the way it is. And what is this about Bush destroying the world to effect Christs return? I mean, that's kinda up to God last I checked.
ps: thanks Achilles, appreciate the welcome. figured i'd stop by this thread and stalk you till you convert!!! joking....i hope......but seriously, i mean if you wanna.....:) God, er, i mean....primordial ooze:laughing:.....bless you kind sir....have a good day

Achilles
04-15-2007, 02:03 AM
Ya know, Atheism is a faith too. It is not. Faith is belief with little, no, or contradictory evidence. Faith makes positive statement regarding belief. Theism makes the claim that a god or gods exists without any evidence.

Atheism is belief-neutral. In order for atheism to be considered faith, it would have to make some positive statement regarding the existence or non-existence of god. Since there is no evidence for the existence of a god and one cannot prove non-existence of anything, atheism cannot possibly be based on faith.

In summary: sorry, sir. You're wrong :D

you can't say it's right or wrong, cause there just isn't enough evidence either way. There is no evidence at all and that's the whole point of being atheistic. Theists presume to know something without any evidence. Atheists recognize that there is no evidence and therefore remain neutral.

personally, i'm a Christian, cause it makes sense to me and it's what i choose to believe. what you believe won't change reality.
Actually, sir, what you believe won't change reality. :)

the universe is the way it is. Indeed. ;)

And what is this about Bush destroying the world to effect Christs return? I mean, that's kinda up to God last I checked You'll have to ask Nancy Allen about that one as it is her caricature of my argument. As such, she's the only one that will be able to explain it.

EDIT: Whoops! There's more now :D

ps: thanks Achilles, appreciate the welcome. figured i'd stop by this thread and stalk you till you convert!!! Good luck with that! You have quite a bit of work ahead of you. :D

joking....i hope......but seriously, i mean if you wanna.....:) I'll believe just as soon as there's some evidence. If you can provide some, I'll be happy to make the switch.

God, er, i mean....primordial ooze.....bless you kind sir....have a good day You do the same.

Take care.

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 01:21 PM
It is not. Faith is belief with little, no, or contradictory evidence. Faith makes positive statement regarding belief. Theism makes the claim that a god or gods exists without any evidence.

it contradicts itself. a lot. to use a slightly overused argument, just for fun, where did matter origionate? hmm? that's what i thought...:)

There is no evidence at all and that's the whole point of being atheistic. Theists presume to know something without any evidence. Atheists recognize that there is no evidence and therefore remain neutral.

ugh, i don't get it. could you explain the neutrality thing? i'm not sure i understand. and are you a Theist, or an Atheist?

Actually, sir, what you believe won't change reality.

that's true

Good luck with that! You have quite a bit of work ahead of you.

oh, don't worry, i'm diligint:nut:

I'll believe just as soon as there's some evidence. If you can provide some, I'll be happy to make the switch.

Oh i will....you just wait

sir.....;)

Gargoyle King
04-15-2007, 01:28 PM
It is not. Faith is belief with little, no, or contradictory evidence. Faith makes positive statement regarding belief. Theism makes the claim that a god or gods exists without any evidence.

Atheism is belief-neutral. In order for atheism to be considered faith, it would have to make some positive statement regarding the existence or non-existence of god. Since there is no evidence for the existence of a god and one cannot prove non-existence of anything, atheism cannot possibly be based on faith.

In summary: sorry, sir. You're wrong :D

:lol: - i like that last bit, a straight to the point conclusion! I agree with this statement, like you said Atheism cannot be a 'belief' of 'faith' (i ain't gonna lie - i'm one of them) as Atheists strive to prove the non-existance of a god or gods (depending on faith); in contrast a person of faith believes in their heart unflinchingly that God exists. I believe what people believe in is their own accord, i respect believer's just as non-believers because at the end of the day it's that person's choice in life and no-one can tell them otherwise.

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 02:24 PM
who founded Atheism?


I believe what people believe in is their own accord, i respect believer's just as non-believers because at the end of the day it's that person's choice in life and no-one can tell them otherwise.

ok, i agree with that

Achilles
04-15-2007, 03:19 PM
it contradicts itself. a lot. Religion? Yes, I know ;)

to use a slightly overused argument, just for fun, where did matter origionate? hmm? that's what i thought...:) The Big Bang, of course :)

Ok, that's the "how" not necessarily the "where". I'll be serious now.

The answer is that I (we) don't know (although science has many hypothesis and theories that are based on evidence). The truth is that you don't know either (no one does), but your religion claims to have an answer that cannot be proven.

The difference between religion and science is that science accepts that and then tries to find out, whereas religion just makes something up and declares it "truth" despite an utter lack of evidence.

ugh, i don't get it. could you explain the neutrality thing? i'm not sure i understand. and are you a Theist, or an Atheist?Atheist (although I have to tell you, the term is ridiculous).

Picture a number line that goes from -100 to 100. Theism (positive or negative) is anything other than 0. Anti-theism is anything less than 0. Positive theism is anything greater than 0. Atheism is 0.

In order to deny a god or gods, you have to first believe in one, which is why I reject the definition of atheism that suggests that it's "a denial of god". To accept or deny a god is to make a positive statement (one way or another) regarding that god's existence. True atheism (imho) does not make a positive statement in either direction, seeking to remain neutral.

Any atheist that says that he or she wouldn't accept god or gods if evidence was presented has beliefs just as dogmatic as the religion(s) they claim to oppose.

Is that easier to digest? Let me know if I can clarify anything further.

Oh i will....you just wait I look forward to seeing what you bring to the table :)

who founded Atheism? Atheism is a natural state, therefore it has no founder. Everything in the universe is atheistic until it is indoctrinated into a religious tradition.

Think about it for a second:

a = without
theism = belief in the existence of a god or gods.

Little babies are without belief in the existence of a god or gods. Same thing goes for trees, rocks, stop signs, planets, stars, nebulae, etc. Everything is atheistic until it has been indoctrinated (I prefer the term brainwashed, but that gets me banned :D), into a religion.

You, yourself are extremely atheistic and probably don't even realize it. You probably don't believe in Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, Hades, Osiris, Ra, Isis, Amun, Ptah, Amaterasu, Owadatsumi, Susanowo, Brahma, Vaishnava, Allah, Yahweh, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Celestial Teapot, or any of the hundreds of other deities that I have not listed here. You are completely atheistic to all the gods that "exist" now or have ever "existed"...except one. Atheists just extend their disbelief one god further than you. :)

I hope that gives you something to chew on. :D

Take care.

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 04:24 PM
huh. that actually makes sense. the part where atheists reject ALL gods, whereas theist accept one, but reject all others. by the way, what kind of atheist are you? darwinian(there's that image of a monkey in my mind a gain:)), or something else? and do you believe in evolution?

Achilles
04-15-2007, 04:33 PM
huh. that actually makes sense. the part where atheists reject ALL gods, whereas theist accept one, but reject all others. Yeah, I kinda think so too ;)

by the way, what kind of atheist are you? To be honest, I'm not sure how one would go about categorizing atheists. How do we categorize people that don't believe that Elvis is still alive?

darwinian(there's that image of a monkey in my mind a gain:)), or something else? and do you believe in evolution?Yes, I accept that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the theory (NOT HYPOTHESIS!) of evolution. I accept that conclusion until a better explanation which fits the evidence is presented. My offer to answer any questions/challenges/reservations that you have about ToE over in the evolution thread still stands :)

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 04:40 PM
the THEORY of evolution was founded by charles darwin when he studied finchis on the galapogos (or however it's spelled) islands. what he witnessed was survival of the fittest, which i accept as true, cause logically the most fit will survive to reproduce. no one has witnessed the evolution of a new species. besides, do you REALLY believe the 300000000000000 years ago, you're great^999 grandparent was an ameoba?? i mean, i feel much better knowing that there was an intelligent designer creating all this. wouldn't you?

Dagobahn Eagle
04-15-2007, 04:53 PM
the THEORY of evolution [...]Yes, the scientific theory of evolution. Like the scientific theories of atoms and gravity. All proven.

no one has witnessed the evolution of a new species.Actually, believe it or not... they have (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciation#Observed_instances). Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Here are some more (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html).

besides, do you REALLY believe the 300000000000000 years ago, you're great^999 grandparent was an ameoba?? i mean, i feel much better knowing that there was an intelligent designer creating all this. wouldn't you?Doesn't really matter, when it comes down to truths, right? I don't want the Holocaust to have been real either... it still is.

Achilles
04-15-2007, 05:15 PM
the THEORY of evolution was founded by charles darwin when he studied finchis on the galapogos (or however it's spelled) islands. what he witnessed was survival of the fittest, which i accept as true, cause logically the most fit will survive to reproduce. You're using the word theory out of context. It has a very definitive meaning when used in a scientific context. Wikipedia to the rescue. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory)

no one has witnessed the evolution of a new species. Wrong. We discover new species all the time. Some go extinct. Others appear from nowhere. We do observe evolution on the micro scale all the time and there is substantial evidence that shows that it happens on the macro scale as well.

Predictions are just as powerful as observations within the scientific method. If I hypothesize that whales evolved from land mammals, I don't have to have seen it happen with my own eyes to test my hypothesis.

If I look at the modern whale I can find hip and pelvic remnants. From this I can hypothesize that whales evolved from land mammals. From this I can assume that if I look a little bit into the past (a few million years) I can find fossils that are very whale like but have hind legs or flippers (like Basilosaurus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilosaurus)). I can hypothesize that if I go back even further (a few more million years), I can find similar fossils of mammals that were equipped for both life on land and life in water (such as Ambulocetus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambulocetus)). Finally, I can hypothesize that if I go back even further (more millions of years), I can find fossils of fully land-based mammals that share characteristics with the other fossil finds (like Pakicetids (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakicetid)).

So even though there's no possible way that I could have ever witnessed such a transformation with my own eyes, I can certainly find an awful lot of evidence that support my hypothesis. Since I can create similar "family trees" for almost any animal that we know about and make similar predictions, we graduate our hypothesis into theory. Until we can figure out a way to go back in time and witness every single genetic mutation that's ever occurred, we cannot bestow the highest honor possible, which is the status of law. I guess we'll just have to be ok with being 99.99999% certain :D

Compare that to a few hundred conflicting stories about invisible skydaddies that made everything out of dirt, dust, ash, or clay in a single day and tell me which one of those options seems to make the most sense. :)

besides, do you REALLY believe the 300000000000000 years ago, you're great^999 grandparent was an ameoba?? Sure. You have to have single-cell life before you can have multi-cellular life (aka "you have to walk before you can run").

i mean, i feel much better knowing that there was an intelligent designer creating all this. wouldn't you? I'd feel better knowing that I was a billionaire, but that isn't going to make it true. ;)

No, I would much rather have the truth than a fable. There's no certainty in fables.

Thanks for reading.

PS: Really though, if we delve into evolution any further, we should take it to the appropriate thread.

BruceLee_Reborn
04-15-2007, 06:34 PM
alright, alright. i'll go over there

JediKnight707
06-17-2007, 04:49 AM
Achilles, I'm going to pick you out here, because of a post I saw you make on the Athiest thread; but I'm only singling you out because you happened to mention it, not because you are alone in this particular train of thought.

You said that religion is harming our lives, but in this I believe you are wrong. I think that religion is how our society was created, its the basis for what we call society. We live by the Ten Commandments, or at least some of them, and to say that that's not right would be wrong.

The Ten Commandments state among other things:
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not murder

Aren't those the ground rules for civilization as we know it? Those are considered to be the worst offenses a man can commit, if you group torture and those sort of things with murder.

And you can even say that adultery is considered a capital offense in the eye of the public, which is what matters most. We all remember Bill Clinton for cheating on Hilary or whatever that situation was (I was too young). As a President I'm sure he was a great one, but the adultery always lingers in my thoughts--and I'd like to think I'm not alone in this--when I think of him.

You may say that George Bush is a bad President because he doesn't consider Athiests people. I've yet to see a President that was an Athiest. I'm not saying that Athiests would be bad Presidents, I'm merely saying that America is without a doubt the greatest country in the world. And when you think of a country as great, you must look to its leaders. So, if America is great, its leaders must have been great. I'm not saying they were great because they believed in God, I'm saying that this country is great because it was built on the beliefs of God.

I've never read the Bible in its entireity, as its way too long, and just didn't quite hook me (reading about God creating the World, while cool, just isn't attention-grabbing). So, maybe I'm wrong in this statment, but I don't think the Bible contradicts itself, nor do I think that Christianity contradicts itself. I'm not sure about this, as I'm not an expert, this is merely what I believe in.

Emperor Devon
06-17-2007, 05:24 AM
I think that religion is how our society was created, its the basis for what we call society. We live by the Ten Commandments,

Which, I might point out, are borrowed versions of already existing moralities. :) You don't think "don't kill your neighbor and he won't kill you" didn't exist before the Bible was written (or if you want to run with it, before Moses was supposedly around), do you? "I leave you alone and you leave me alone" is a concept that's been around for about as long as there were humans with the capacity to understand it, and it's hardly a concept that can be made any better or worse than believing in a deity.

As a President I'm sure he was a great one, but the adultery always lingers in my thoughts--and I'd like to think I'm not alone in this--when I think of him.

Clinton wasn't the first politician to be a skirt-chaser and he won't be the last. IMO, though, it's completely irrelevant for someone's qualities as a politician. As long as they can do a good enough job in office, their sex lives are irrelevant. Who they have sex with is their business, and as long as it doesn't interfere with their abilities to be President/something else it should remain theirs.

You may say that George Bush is a bad President because he doesn't consider Athiests people.

I can think of a whole lot more reasons to consider Bush one of the worst Presidents in our history apart from that, but I'm getting off-topic...

I've yet to see a President that was an Athiest.

How does this relate to their ability to consider people with diverging religious views people?

I'm not saying that Athiests would be bad Presidents, I'm merely saying that America is without a doubt the greatest country in the world.

I would disagree. :) A country is really nothing but the people and the possessions they own in it, and frankly it's extremely arrogant to consider ourselves better than everyone else. No human being is born superior to another, and where they live is not going to change that.

I've never read the Bible in its entireity, as its way too long,

You've missed out on some stuff. An explanation below the next quote follows:

So, maybe I'm wrong in this statment, but I don't think the Bible contradicts itself, nor do I think that Christianity contradicts itself. I'm not sure about this, as I'm not an expert, this is merely what I believe in.

I think whether the Bible contradicts itself or not is secondary to some of the absolutely monstrous things it claims:

'If your brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife tries to secretly entice you, telling you to go and worship other gods, gods of people living near you, or far from you, or anywhere on earth, do not listen to him.'

'You must kill them. Show them no pity. And your hand must strike the first blow.'

'Then the hands of all the people. You shall stone them to death.'

'If a man happens to meet a virgin woman who is not engaged to be married...'

'...And he seizes her and rapes her...'

'...but is caught in the act...'

'...the rapist must pay the girl's father fifty silver shekels.'

'She must marry the rapist, because he has violated her. And so long as he lives, he may not divorce her.'

'If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not listen to the voice of his father...'

'...or his mother...'

'...even when they punish him...'

'...his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town.'

'They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard."'

'All the men of the town must then stone him to death. You must banish this evil from among you.'

More quotes... (Kudos to Achilles for the link in his sig)

Cruelty and violence in the Bible (http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html)

Intolerance (http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html)

JediKnight707
06-17-2007, 05:52 AM
Which, I might point out, are borrowed versions of already existing moralities. :) You don't think "don't kill your neighbor and he won't kill you" didn't exist before the Bible was written (or if you want to run with it, before Moses was supposedly around), do you? "I leave you alone and you leave me alone" is a concept that's been around for about as long as there were humans with the capacity to understand it, and it's hardly a concept that can be made any better or worse than believing in a deity.


Well, of course its borrowed, every religion borrows something from a different religion. But would you not say that the Founding Fathers were Christians, and one might say that they were inspired in part because of the Bible?


Clinton wasn't the first politician to be a skirt-chaser and he won't be the last. IMO, though, it's completely irrelevant for someone's qualities as a politician. As long as they can do a good enough job in office, their sex lives are irrelevant. Who they have sex with is their business, and as long as it doesn't interfere with their abilities to be President/something else it should remain theirs.


As long as it doesn't interfere with their abilities, then it should be irrelevent. But with the media being the huge God (no pun intended) it is nowadays, it is going to interfere. It may be unfortunate, but its the truth. America, on the whole, cares about celebreties, and the President is a celebrity. So, the President is chewed out more so than anybody, as he is the leader. So, if a President is caught in a sex scandal, then the world is gonna know about it, and going to care about it. This would distract the President from his duties. Hence, it interferes.


I can think of a whole lot more reasons to consider Bush one of the worst Presidents in our history apart from that, but I'm getting off-topic...


Just using that as an example.



I would disagree. :) A country is really nothing but the people and the possessions they own in it, and frankly it's extremely arrogant to consider ourselves better than everyone else. No human being is born superior to another, and where they live is not going to change that.


To say that would be naive. A country is its military and political prowess. To say it simpler, a country is its image. And America projects the image of unity, freedom, strength, but most importantly: power. We are the Empire, just a more forgiving Empire. We've got the Death Star: our image. People are scared by us, we intimidate other countries. We have been truly attacked twice on our soil in the past 100 years or so. Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Countries are afraid to attack us.



I think whether the Bible contradicts itself or not is secondary to some of the absolutely monstrous things it claims:

It was a different time back then. Monstrous now, normal then. At least, that's what I think. No one knows what actually went on back.

Dagobahn Eagle
06-17-2007, 06:05 AM
The Ten Commandments state among other things:
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not murder

Aren't those the ground rules for civilization as we know it?Yes, but they certainly do not originally come from the Bible. Altruism is a base instinct in most, if not all mammals, as far as I know. It's been with us since before we evolved into homo sapiens, hundreds of thousands of years ago.

And we actually live quite differently than the 10 commandments want us to. There's no law against coveting thine neighbour's goods, in fact, the capitalist system of the West seems to revolve around getting your hands on as much as or more than what your buddies and family members have. Whatever happened to Thou shalt not covet thine neighbor's ox, or wife, or PlayStation?

I'm not saying they were great because they believed in God, I'm saying that this country is great because it was built on the beliefs of God.The statement that the USA was originally a Christian nation is history revisionism from religious fundamentalists. Several of the founding fathers of the US were atheists, and according to sources such as the Treaty of Tripoli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_tripoli#Article_11), the US was not started as a Christian State.

Oh, and regarding the Golden Rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity):
What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others.When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you.Many of these originate litterally centuries before the birth of Christ.

Darth InSidious
06-17-2007, 08:00 AM
I'd just like to point out that the supposed Golden Rule in the Sermon on the Mount/Sermon on the Plain/somewhere in Mark is not Jesus teaching: ""Do unto others as you would have done unto you" - this is the law and the prophets". Jesus is setting a standard higher than the old - that you must treat others better than you would wish to be treated yourself. That's the point of the Beatitudes/Six Antitheses, and the parables of Matthew 25 (Where the Beatitudes are outlooks, Matthew 25 is the practical applications, IIRC).

Nancy Allen``
06-17-2007, 09:48 AM
I'd just like to point out that a lot of the Bible quotes ED quoted have, as far as I understand it, been superceded by New Testement, Jesus dying for our sins, ect. I'd also like to point out that such trains of thought are absolute BS by any standered. Then again, daring God's athority by declaring that even he couldn't sink the Titanic probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

Samnmax221
06-17-2007, 11:04 AM
I'd just like to point out that a lot of the Bible quotes ED quoted have, as far as I understand it, been superceded by New Testement, Jesus dying for our sins, ect.
God needs to look into this great thing called Concept Mapping (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_mapping) before he starts writing things down.

Emperor Devon
06-17-2007, 05:05 PM
To say that would be naive. A country is its military and political prowess. To say it simpler, a country is its image. And America projects the image of unity, freedom, strength, but most importantly: power.

It scares me whenever countries adopt the idea that they infallible, all-powerful bastions of freedom and might. It's attitudes like that which led to the WWs and Iraq.

It was a different time back then. Monstrous now, normal then.

Erm, why is it you've been advocating how important it is for people to follow the word of a book you've labeled as "monstrous"?

I'd just like to point out that a lot of the Bible quotes ED quoted have, as far as I understand it, been superceded by New Testement, Jesus dying for our sins, ect.

Might I ask why God never stated the Old Testament is now non-canon?

No problem, I've got some New Testament quotes to provide as well.

'Whoever divorces someone...'

'...and marries another...'

'...commits adultery.' (Punishable by death, I might add)

'Whoever marries a divorced woman...'

'...commits adultery.'

'You have heard how it was said "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."'

But I say to you: offer no resistance to the evildoer.'

'If someone strikes you on the right cheek...'

'...offer him the other as well.'

'Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.'

'I have not come to bring peace but a sword.'

'I have come to bring fire to the earth.'

'And how I wish it were blazing already!'

'You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery."'

'I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully...'

'...has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'

Nancy Allen``
06-17-2007, 07:24 PM
I think it's less a case of the Old Testement being non canon and more a case of it explaining how things were. Like a history book, saying this was crime and punishment in those times.

Christians are not evil people. If you can believe that, then it's a start.

GarfieldJL
06-17-2007, 07:44 PM
I think it's less a case of the Old Testement being non canon and more a case of it explaining how things were. Like a history book, saying this was crime and punishment in those times.

Christians are not evil people. If you can believe that, then it's a start.


I can say that the old testiment has some groundings in how we live our lives though. The Ten Commandments was a cornerstone in early law.


Getting back to topic, I'm going to say you need to have just as much faith to believe no god exists as someone that believes in god.


Also Devon you need to study your history.

World War I was started due to a guy being assassinated and his country demanded retribution and went to invade another country. This caused countries allied to both countries to get involved starting the first world war.

World War II was started by Japanese expansion in the Pacific in conjunction with Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union expanding their empires. Though Germany later backstabbed the Soviet Union. The Japanese then turned around and made a grievous error in judgement when they attacked Pearl Harbor which dragged the US into the war officially.

1st Persian Gulf War was to liberate Kuwait from Iraq which had invaded.

2nd Gulf War was partially due to bad intelligence combined with (not sure if US intelligence learned of this before we invaded) the fact that France was taking bribes from Saddam to vote against any resolution that would authorize force to ensure Saddam wasn't making WMDs. Further one could argue that Saddam smuggled a bunch of stuff to Syria while we were trying to get the UN on board.

Dagobahn Eagle
06-17-2007, 08:34 PM
Gulf War was partially due to bad intelligence [...]Nonsense. It was started with lies and deliberate misleading. I think the Downing Street Memos and the other debates over at the Senate, in particular elaborate posts such as this one (http://www.lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=1434831) more than prove as much.

Further one could argue that Saddam smuggled a bunch of stuff to Syria while we were trying to get the UN on board.Yup. One could also argue that the government of Iceland is secretly building a Borg Cube underneath its capital of Reykjavik. Without evidence, though, the statement is worthless diplomatically and politically.

Getting back to topic, I'm going to say you need to have just as much faith to believe no god exists as someone that believes in god.Seeing that science is covering more and more of the roles of religion, I'm inclined to disagree.

mur'phon
06-18-2007, 08:06 AM
And America projects the image of unity, freedom, strength, but most importantly: power.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but where I live the image is more like: power, greed and arogance.

We are the Empire, just a more forgiving Empire.

Yes, because the U.S have "never" staged coups in countries that it didn't like...............

[/QUOTE]People are scared of us [/QUOTE]

And this makes the U.S great?

we intimidate other countries.

Some countries, others like Iran, don't apear to care much

We have been truly attacked twice on our soil in the past 100 years or so

If terrorist attacks counts as attacks, the U.S is far from the country who have suffered most attacks

Anyway, this is geting off topic, If you want you can make another thread.

Ray Jones
06-18-2007, 08:35 AM
Countries are afraid to attack us.Hey, or maybe they just don't want to attack other countries? I mean, why don't you go over to you neighbour and beat the crap out of him and take over his house with pool? Because you're scared or because you don't feel like doing so?

Darth InSidious
06-18-2007, 09:35 AM
No, it's just impractical. JK707's attitude is one reason a lot of people quite like the idea :)

GarfieldJL
06-18-2007, 12:01 PM
Nonsense. It was started with lies and deliberate misleading. I think the Downing Street Memos and the other debates over at the Senate, in particular elaborate posts such as this one (http://www.lucasforums.com/showpost.php?p=1434831) more than prove as much.

Not likely, seriously if Bush deliberately did something like that he would have been impeached by now.


Yup. One could also argue that the government of Iceland is secretly building a Borg Cube underneath its capital of Reykjavik. Without evidence, though, the statement is worthless diplomatically and politically.


There is a significant difference because we know that Saddam had WMDs, what's bothering me is where did several tons of Chemical Weapons, anthrax, and other biological agents went. If you don't believe he ever had any WMDs ask the Kurds.


Seeing that science is covering more and more of the roles of religion, I'm inclined to disagree.

Many scientists are actually just out to try to prove god doesn't exist. There is a bunch of things that could be used to prove the existance of god as well.

ET Warrior
06-18-2007, 01:39 PM
Many scientists are actually just out to try to prove god doesn't exist. There is a bunch of things that could be used to prove the existance of god as well.I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't actually know many scientists, because any scientist who is out to "prove god doesn't exist" isn't a very good scientist.

I say this for several reasons, the main one being that is 100% impossible to do so, and anyone with a solid background in the sciences will know this. They'll also be aware that it's impossible to prove that god does exist.

By very definition any god exists completely outside the realm of science, there exists no test that can prove or disprove anything related to the supernatural.

What scientists are trying to do is learn new things about how the universe works by developing new hypothesis and tests that can provide useful information and allow them to make sound predictions.

Emperor Devon
06-18-2007, 03:15 PM
I think it's less a case of the Old Testement being non canon and more a case of it explaining how things were.

Would it not be prudent to include, "hey Bible-readers, just so you know, the first half of this book is to explain what things were like back then"? With how the Bible is, as it and many other people claim, the literal word of God, it ought to be extremely clear on what parts of it should taken seriously. It's been nothing but the contrary.

That's one of the problems with holy texts. Since they're holy and unquestionable, you'll have people who still follow laws meant for civilizations that existed thousands of years ago while there's now way to rewrite them like with today's laws.

Like a history book, saying this was crime and punishment in those times.

Which a fair number of people today are still saying is the unquestionable word of God. If it was a history book someone in the Bible should've said so, rather than declaring anyone who did not follow it a godless heretic who'd burn in hell.

Christians are not evil people. If you can believe that, then it's a start.

I do not believe them to be inherently immoral people. I do, however, believe that your capacity to be a moral person is less inhibited if you do not follow any religions.

Also Devon you need to study your history.

World War I was started due to a guy being assassinated and his country demanded retribution and went to invade another country. This caused countries allied to both countries to get involved starting the first world war.

I would say the same to you. Franz Ferdinand's assassination just an excuse for an extremely nationalist group of nations to fight a war they'd been eager to have for years with each other, thanks in part to the attitude I criticized Jedi_Knight_707 for (belief in being the best country on earth, being strong and powerful, the sole voice of reason in the world, etc). That one heir to one country being shot is too minor a thing to spark a continent-wide war over, there had to have been and there were background reasons.

World War II was started by Japanese expansion in the Pacific in conjunction with Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union expanding their empires.

You should look in to the reason why they were expanding their empires. A great deal of that was due to, again, the arrogant attitude I described above.

Not likely, seriously if Bush deliberately did something like that he would have been impeached by now.

Would it? The decision to invade Iraq was a profitable one for the oil industry and the military-industrial complex. With how much influence the people connected to those unfortunately possess in our government and how closely tied the Bush family is to those people, good luck the impeachment.

The invasion stank worse than sauerkraut soaked in oil on a hot day. A group closely tied to his family and his father in particular (the CIA) approaches Bush, saying that there are WMDs in the very country his father coincidentally invaded a presidency earlier but never finished the job with. Never mind the complete lack of any evidence there were WMDs or how the CIA was basing their position on assumptions rather than proof, or that the invasion would be beneficial to the industries that had gotten the Bush family to where it was... (Though this is getting very off-topic, perhaps it would be better in another thread)

Darth InSidious
06-18-2007, 04:32 PM
I say this for several reasons, the main one being that is 100% impossible to do so
Only a Sith deals in absolutes, ET :xp:

Would it not be prudent to include, "hey Bible-readers, just so you know, the first half of this book is to explain what things were like back then"? With how the Bible is, as it and many other people claim, the literal word of God, it ought to be extremely clear on what parts of it should taken seriously. It's been nothing but the contrary.
Re-read the Sermon on the Mount. It seems to me that it's fairly clear. If that doesn't help, IIRC, 'Acts' contains some stuff on the Council of Jerusalem, which is explicit on what of the OT applies post-NT. If not, I'm sure Paul will have something to say on the subject. He usually does.

I think one of the mistakes being made here is treating the Bible as a single, cohesive work. Plainly it isn't. It was written over millennia, and rather than being a single work, or picture or pattern, I would say that certainly the Old Testament is rather a written account of the ongoing divine revelation to our antecedants.

Dagobahn Eagle
06-18-2007, 06:42 PM
Only a Sith deals in absolutes, ETIt is actually 100% impossible to prove a negative (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proving_a_negative). In other words, no one can prove for sure that a given thing doesn't exist.

Not likely, seriously if Bush deliberately did something like that he would have been impeached by now.That's like looking at a rapist who went free and going 'nah, if he was really guilty, he'd have been in jail by now'.

There is a significant difference because we know that Saddam had WMDs, what's bothering me is where did several tons of Chemical Weapons, anthrax, and other biological agents went.And if you had bothered to read the post I linked to, it'd have answered your question.

GarfieldJL
06-18-2007, 06:47 PM
So you mean to tell me it never existed, don't give me that garbage because he used chemical weapons against the Kurds, it was one of the charges brought against Saddam in his trial.

You can't tell me he disposed of everything because he kept moving things around on the UN weapon inspectors, if he did destroy the stuff he wouldn't have anything to hide.


Back to original topic, there are several things that seem to indicate that there was divine intervention. The very fact life exists, because it is extremely difficult for amino acids to form because there are a lot of chemicals that more readily react to the components of amino acids than the building blocks react with each other.

Nancy Allen``
06-18-2007, 07:00 PM
I do not believe them to be inherently immoral people. I do, however, believe that your capacity to be a moral person is less inhibited if you do not follow any religions.

You're forgetting one very important facet here. There's a general rule that if one's religion interfere's with their humanity, then there's something wrong with their religion. Example? Condemning homosexuals. Not quite, it's the condemnation of homosexual activity. Witches, not just condemning Harry Potter but wanting to burn those who declare themselves witches at the stake. It says that we are meant to follow the law, and murdering someone who is supposed to be a witch is against the law. This is the stumbling block abortion clinic bombers, plane hijackers, ect, stumble over.

Dagobahn Eagle
06-18-2007, 07:28 PM
Garfield, instead of putting words in my mouth, I suggest you actually read the post I linked to. And the Downing Street Memos.

Re-read the Sermon on the Mount. It seems to me that it's fairly clear.
Not to me. And after half an encyclopedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sermon_on_the_Mount#Structure_of_the_sermon) later, it's even less so.

ET Warrior
06-18-2007, 07:32 PM
The very fact life exists, because it is extremely difficult for amino acids to form because there are a lot of chemicals that more readily react to the components of amino acids than the building blocks react with each other.Just because it was extremely unlikely does not prove anything one way or the other. That is the point. A god or gods are just impossible to prove or disprove, no matter what methodology you take.

Nancy Allen``
06-18-2007, 07:36 PM
So why do people try and disprove the existence of God, or perhaps more accurately they hound people about why there is no God?

tk102
06-18-2007, 07:50 PM
It is actually 100% impossible to prove a negative (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proving_a_negative). In other words, no one can prove for sure that a given thing doesn't exist.Can you quote the portion in that link that supports that claim, DE? I'm not finding it.

True_Avery
06-18-2007, 08:29 PM
So why do people try and disprove the existence of God, or perhaps more accurately they hound people about why there is no God?
That is a valid point I think. If there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of something, then why bother being on either side of the spectrum?

I'll ask you a similar question:

Why do people try and prove the existence of God, or perhaps more accurately they hound people about why there is a God?

I think you would be amazed at how much hounding there is of the religious and the non-religious by other religious people who believe themselves to be infallible. Atheists and the religious have a lot in common, particularly the fact both like to state that their belief system is right and yours is wrong by trying to show evidence to their opinion. Another reason why I personally believe right and wrong to be a relative point of view.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes, ET.
I guess that makes the majority of humanity a Sith in my opinion. Lovely Star Wars quote, but it comes off as really silly when used in a real debate :P

Just because it was extremely unlikely does not prove anything one way or the other. That is the point. A god or gods are just impossible to prove or disprove, no matter what methodology you take.
Impossible to prove, most likely. Even if we somehow proved existence of a God or the proof that a God does not exist, I doubt the world would change all too much. People would accept it and deny it, which, to be quite honest, is exactly what we do to this day.

I think it is a silly debate personally because I both believe and do not believe. You cannot prove to me a God exists, but you also cannot prove to me a God does not exist. I will not state my view as fact, but as opinion and viewpoint.

Dagobahn Eagle
06-18-2007, 09:26 PM
Can you quote the portion in that link that supports that claim, DE? I'm not finding it.I'm sorry, wrong article. Here you go (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability). Although it should be mentioned that the appropriate section (Theism) lacks citations:(.

Nancy Allen``
06-18-2007, 09:50 PM
That is a valid point I think. If there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of something, then why bother being on either side of the spectrum?

I'll ask you a similar question:

Why do people try and prove the existence of God, or perhaps more accurately they hound people about why there is a God?

I think you would be amazed at how much hounding there is of the religious and the non-religious by other religious people who believe themselves to be infallible. Atheists and the religious have a lot in common, particularly the fact both like to state that their belief system is right and yours is wrong by trying to show evidence to their opinion. Another reason why I personally believe right and wrong to be a relative point of view.

Oh I don't think I would be amazed, they go about it quite a bit. To answer your question though I think it comes down to beliefs, whatever they may be. I'm sure there would be war between Atheists who believe in science and Atheists who don't, Atheists who comdemn religion and those who don't, the same as there is with Prodestent, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Islam, ect. Perhaps a better question would be why do people want to go beyond the acceptance of their beliefs and go into trying to make others have the same beliefs?

Ray Jones
06-19-2007, 07:12 AM
That is a valid point I think. If there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of something, then why bother being on either side of the spectrum?That leads to the question of why bother with the possible existence of god for the whole life then? Why wars about gods? Hm.


Another reason why I personally believe right and wrong to be a relative point of view.the right and wrong of a statement, idea, conclusion, whatever is not relative. The belief if something is right or wrong is. One can believe it is right there is one god who fiddled together this universe. One can believe it is right there is no god around and the universe popped out of nowhere just to exist. Both maybe wrong because in fact papa-god and mama-god were very in love with each other, so they went to their favourite Asian restaurant to eat spaghetti and meatballs. And after that they made god-love. They made god-love to hot and demanding that the rubber they used broke. But nothing happened so the got themselves a god-dog. And that god-dog makes god-dog-poo. And every time he makes a pile of god-dog-poo, a new universe is created.


Impossible to prove, most likely. Even if we somehow proved existence of a God or the proof that a God does not exist, I doubt the world would change all too much. People would accept it and deny it, which, to be quite honest, is exactly what we do to this day.I think scientists would try to catch an exemplar of god for studying purposes like if it can differ between colours, perform simple tasks or if it has some kind of social behaviour (which I doubt in case of a single deity). I think in case we find proof for god to exist the most thrilling question would be: which RELIGION does she follow?


I think it is a silly debate personally because I both believe and do not believe. You cannot prove to me a God exists, but you also cannot prove to me a God does not exist.That is funny because most people just "believe" in what they can examine through their physical senses, except for that one thing. Also, that is one useless statement to make. You either do believe in god, or do not. Your statement, opinion, view, or whatever you call it is merely a way to coward yourself out of trouble to explain why you believe or not, because grandma would be shocked and your friend would laugh, or the other way around. In the end your statement indicates that you don't believe else you would say so.

Calling someone a coward, or making that inference, is flaming here. Don't flame. --Jae

Corinthian
06-19-2007, 07:31 AM
The whole point of Faith is that it cannot be proved, or it isn't Faith. God's existence can not be proven or disproven, you either believe or you don't.

True_Avery
06-19-2007, 07:55 AM
the right and wrong of a statement, idea, conclusion, whatever is not relative. The belief if something is right or wrong is. One can believe it is right there is one god who fiddled together this universe. One can believe it is right there is no god around and the universe popped out of nowhere just to exist. Both maybe wrong because in fact papa-god and mama-god were very in love with each other, so they went to their favourite Asian restaurant to eat spaghetti and meatballs. And after that they made god-love. They made god-love to hot and demanding that the rubber they used broke. But nothing happened so the got themselves a god-dog. And that god-dog makes god-dog-poo. And every time he makes a pile of god-dog-poo, a new universe is created.
The idea of right and wrong is belief and opinion created by the viewpoint of someone based on the society they live in and the upbringing they received, whether it be by themselves or from their parents. One person can say God does not exist, another can say God does exist. Both believe they are right and the other is wrong. Thus, the idea (or at least the belief) of right and wrong is relative to me because I believe that every action, every opinion and veiwpoint taken has an equally "good" and "bad" repercussion and that no opinion is right or wrong and that applies to my opinion as well. Although I contradict myself in having an opinion of my own. I'm not exactly sure if you are mocking me, disagreeing with me, or agreeing with me to be honest.

Although science does have some ideas that can be stated to be right and wrong. If one person says "You are breathing!" and the other person says "No, I am not." then the other would be wrong in this day and age. But, if the other person states that they are merely absorbing the life given to them by god everytime they draw breath and that it is not the air that keeps them alive, but god, how do you prove him wrong? Sure, science states that when you breath the oxygen is used to power your muscles and brain and it has been concluded as such, but we make scientific discoveries all the time that disprove theories and conclusions before us. Maybe in a thousand years we can be proven wrong on that like so many other things. Maybe reality itself can be proven wrong somehow. Science and Religion are simply ideas being applied to what we have and a conclusion being created from that information. At the core, they are almost the same to me and the constant bickering does not help either side.


I think scientists would try to catch an exemplar of god for studying purposes like if it can differ between colours, perform simple tasks or if it has some kind of social behaviour (which I doubt in case of a single deity). I think in case we find proof for god to exist the most thrilling question would be: which RELIGION does she follow?
Indeed, and if we could not get an answer I suspect people would probably fight over the right to call god theirs.


That is funny because most people just "believe" in what they can examine through their physical senses, except for that one thing. Also, that is one useless statement to make. You either do believe in god, or do not. Your statement, opinion, view, or whatever you call it is merely a way to coward yourself out of trouble to explain why you believe or not, because grandma would be shocked and your friend would laugh, or the other way around. In the end your statement indicates that you don't believe else you would say so.
That is a pretty black and white way to look at the world. The truth is I do not care. I neither believe a god exists, or a god does not exist because there is no evidence to my eyes that either one is fact. I have yet to see someone give me infallible proof that a god exists or does not exist. So, I sit in the middle between the two and watch them yell at eachother as I simply live my life in the gray. Some of us find the gray or the illusion of the gray quite a comfortable place to live.

And so that makes me a coward? I have taken the trouble to explain my viewpoint in as few words possible. I am far more afraid of what people might think of other aspects of who I am then what religion I am a follower to. I could care less what my family thinks of my veiws because they do not have control over who I am, and my friends do not care or they would not be my friends.

I do not really mind if you hate me or like me for my opinion because if I really cared I would not dare post, but please do not disrespect me by calling me a coward and labeling me to a side because I will not pick a side in this timeless debate.

Darth InSidious
06-19-2007, 08:52 AM
Garcon? Sense of humour for the whole table.


Not to me. And after half an encyclopedia article later, it's even less so.

Fair enough. For this discussion, I'll be using BibleGateway.com's NIV translation, just so you know. If you really want, we can go back to the koine, but I'll have to brush up beforehand. Might be able to manage the Vulgate. I suppose what I was getting at as the key phrase in particular was:


"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Embolding added by me)

Furthermore, the Six Antitheses (the six sets of paragraphs beginning 'You have heard how it was said', and 'but I say to you' set a standard higher than the old standard of 'do unto others'.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
^Also translated in the Jerusalem Bible as "you must be perfect" - probably an imperative of some sort, but I'm not sure. So I don't know about you, but to me it seems quite clear that where in the Jewish law there had been specific precepts, Jesus has radicalised them to being broad principles of behaviour. And if we are to 'be perfect', then laws on rape etc clearly no longer apply - such things are no longer applicable since they are clearly unacceptable to Jesus, and so, presumably are part of the 'wide path'.

That's the way it seems to me, anyway :)

SilentScope001
06-19-2007, 09:55 AM
Perhaps a better question would be why do people want to go beyond the acceptance of their beliefs and go into trying to make others have the same beliefs?

1) One has to gratify his ego. :)

2) Here's a theory I have been having: People are secretly afraid that their Ideas are, well, wrong. For example, look at the USSR and the USA. The USSR believes they are forming a utopia...and the USA...well, they believe they are forming a utopia. So why didn't the USSR and the USA shrug each other off and say, "Alright, let go form utopias!" Because both the USA's view of a utopia and the USSR's view of a utopia state that the other side's view of a utopia is just plain wrong.

In which case, the USSR and the USA want to PROVE that the other side is wrong, they want to show it to the whole world that the USA is really a capitalist dystopia or that the USSR is a communist dictatorship. If not, then both the USSR and the USA fears that other people may see the other side as nice...and most importantly, they fear that people will see their side as being wrong.

What I am trying to say is that the USA and the USSR really waged this war in order to tell themselves "Look, see, people believe in me, and not the USA. That must mean I am right! See, I'm right! I'm so right!" It is used to conceal their true fears, since the other side act as proof against their own side, and if the other side is defeated, their side can feel safe in their own ideas. Think of it more as "pre-emptive strike", if you will.

And it's the same thing here. Religious people and Atheistic people hate each other's ideas because the Atheistic acts as a way to counter the Religious Idea, and the Religious Idea act as a way to counter the Atheistic Idea. Nobody wants to face up to the fact that their own beliefs may be wrong, so they have to attack and remove the offending Idea that causes them to question and believe.

Nancy Allen''', I am writing some sort of book about Ideas and how exactly they work in today's world. I wonder if you do Beta reading, and if so, would you like to review my work if it gets done?

Nancy Allen``
06-19-2007, 10:06 AM
Sure I'll have a look. You might want to pass it on to a couple of experts as well as they'd know a lot more than I would.

Ray Jones
06-19-2007, 10:29 AM
The idea of right and wrong is belief and opinion created by the viewpoint of someone based on the society they live in and the upbringing they received, whether it be by themselves or from their parents. One person can say God does not exist, another can say God does exist. Both believe they are right and the other is wrong. Thus, the idea (or at least the belief) of right and wrong is relative to me because I believe that every action, every opinion and veiwpoint taken has an equally "good" and "bad" repercussion and that no opinion is right or wrong and that applies to my opinion as well.I think you speak about the right and wrong of the own, perceived truth. I speak about the states of right and wrong of a statement. I mean there are people believing god is existent and there are those who "believe" he is not. Both have their own perceived truth of what they believe is correct, right, the truth. What I talk about is the "right"or "wrong" as in testible fact which exists regardless of any belief (for example the dog-poo-universe).

I'm not exactly sure if you are mocking me, disagreeing with me, or agreeing with me to be honest.I think I agreed in general, disagreed in particular and mocked not you but the fact that so many seem to know the right belief. ;)

Although science does have some ideas that can be stated to be right and wrong. If one person says "You are breathing!" and the other person says "No, I am not." then the other would be wrong in this day and age. But, if the other person states that they are merely absorbing the life given to them by god everytime they draw breath and that it is not the air that keeps them alive, but god, how do you prove him wrong?
I don't. Because ..
Sure, science states that when you breath the oxygen is used to power your muscles and brain and it has been concluded as suchBingo. No need to add extra magic. ;)
but we make scientific discoveries all the time that disprove theories and conclusions before us.Usually, theories which science has proven to be correct don't change. Whatever conditions extend the "theory of breathing", the fact that we right now breathe air, and use its oxygen to power our system won't change and cannot be proven wrong anymore.

Maybe in a thousand years we can be proven wrong on that like so many other things.Depends. I don't think the fact that the earth is round won't change. Global warming or games causing violence on the other hand...

Maybe reality itself can be proven wrong somehow. Science and Religion are simply ideas being applied to what we have and a conclusion being created from that information. At the core, they are almost the same to me and the constant bickering does not help either side.Religion is what was before science. Religion was the attempt to explain things and find rules for a peaceful together when mankind was not able and had no time to investigate their environment because they had to survive.

Indeed, and if we could not get an answer I suspect people would probably fight over the right to call god theirs.And according to the religions everybody would be right, wouldn't they?

I do not really mind if you hate me or like me for my opinion because if I really cared I would not dare post, but please do not disrespect me by calling me a coward and labeling me to a side because I will not pick a side in this timeless debate.Okay, I cowardly withdraw my cowardly comment about you behaving cowardly and cowardly apologise.

Nancy Allen``
06-19-2007, 10:45 AM
Fifteen thousand years ago everybody knew Earth was the centre of the universe, five hundred years ago everybody knew the world was flat and five years ago everybody knew that Bush wouldn't be reelected. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.

SilentScope001
06-19-2007, 10:51 AM
Fifteen thousand years ago everybody knew Earth was the centre of the universe, five hundred years ago everybody knew the world was flat and five years ago everybody knew that Bush wouldn't be reelected. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow

Technically, five hundred years ago, everyone knew the Earth was round. There was scientific proof that the Earth was round, by the Greeks. The problem was this: How big the Earth actually was? If it was too big, then it would be physically impossible to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Asia.

I think the more accurate statement would be: Everyone knew there was no such thing as the American continent.

Windu Chi
06-19-2007, 10:59 AM
the right and wrong of a statement, idea, conclusion, whatever is not relative.
I disagree, everything seems to be relative.
This relativity of knowledge and information continues to forever change.
Also since Quantum Mechanics experiments suggest other universes of alternate histories and other realities, any truth is relative.
No, truth of any kind seems to be constant truth.
Truth is variable! :)

Nancy Allen``
06-19-2007, 11:02 AM
The quote's actually from Men in Black, but the point is we know now what everybody knew then, some of us are so damn sure there is or isn't a God. Regardless of your belief good for you I say. But it's today's equivilent of the belief the world was flat however many years it was they believed it.

Windu Chi
06-19-2007, 11:05 AM
The quote's actually from Men in Black, but the point is we know now what everybody knew then, some of us are so damn sure there is or isn't a God. Regardless of your belief good for you I say. But it's today's equivilent of the belief the world was flat however many years it was they believed it.
Nancy are you talking to me, or just talking to everybody here? ;)

Darth InSidious
06-19-2007, 11:12 AM
Technically, five hundred years ago, everyone knew the Earth was round. There was scientific proof that the Earth was round, by the Greeks. The problem was this: How big the Earth actually was? If it was too big, then it would be physically impossible to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Asia.

I think the more accurate statement would be: Everyone knew there was no such thing as the American continent.

Actually, there was a rather fierce debate in philosophical/scientific circles over whether the Earth was round or flat.

Ray Jones
06-19-2007, 11:29 AM
Fifteen thousand years ago everybody knew Earth was the centre of the universe, five hundred years ago everybody knew the world was flat and five years ago everybody knew that Bush wouldn't be reelected. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.Yes, but that doesn't change the *unchangeable* fact that Fifteen thousand years ago Earth was not the centre of the universe, five hundred years ago the world was not flat and that Bush was reelected.

Nancy Allen``
06-19-2007, 11:36 AM
No, but that is what people knew as fact back then, the same as people know as fact there is or is not God.

Ray Jones
06-19-2007, 11:44 AM
No, it's what people assumed because they couldn't certainly test it and thus not prove it. It were theories, hypotheses, ideas, nothing more.

True_Avery
06-19-2007, 02:20 PM
I think I agreed in general, disagreed in particular and mocked not you but the fact that so many seem to know the right belief. ;)
Ah, well, good enough for me :P

I don't. Because ..
Bingo. No need to add extra magic. ;)
Usually, theories which science has proven to be correct don't change. Whatever conditions extend the "theory of breathing", the fact that we right now breathe air, and use its oxygen to power our system won't change and cannot be proven wrong anymore.
Yeah, when I think back that 5am idea does seem rather stupid. I'm freakin tired right now as well, so I'll try and make an acceptable example later to make myself seem less stupid.

Depends. I don't think the fact that the earth is round won't change. Global warming or games causing violence on the other hand...
Well, there are a lot of things we saw as fact a few hundreds years ago and had, to ourselves, proven right. I'm not saying they were right, I'm just saying that everyday things we know as fact are proven and disproven. There are some things, however, that I highly doubt can be proven wrong, making my breathing example all the more silly. I apologize for that, but I think you get the idea I was trying to get weakly across anyway.

Religion is what was before science. Religion was the attempt to explain things and find rules for a peaceful together when mankind was not able and had no time to investigate their environment because they had to survive.
Well, religion will always be there to fill in the gaps for science. I doubt humanity can disprove religion on everything and even if it did, religion would still exist. You destroy science as we know it, religion is still a science by base definition as far as I can tell. The two are stuck with eachother for the rest of human's time on this earth, so a little more respect between the two could do wonders. But overall, I agree with your statement.

And according to the religions everybody would be right, wouldn't they?
And then they would rip eachother to pieces as they have done since the beginning of human history. Even if God was proven and presented before me, and I was looking directly at Her in heaven or on earth or whatever or knew 100% that She existed I still wouldn't join any of the religions personally. I might be a lot more spiritual than I am now, but I believe God just wants us to be spiritual, not religious. To not confuse dogma for spirituality and just live life to the best we can.

Okay, I cowardly withdraw my cowardly comment about you behaving cowardly and cowardly apologise.
Wow.

Ray Jones
06-19-2007, 06:33 PM
I'll try and make an acceptable example later to make myself seem less stupid.Not so much stupid but quite weird and pretty much screwed. XD


Well, there are a lot of things we saw as fact a few hundreds years ago and had, to ourselves, proven right. I'm not saying they were right, I'm just saying that everyday things we know as fact are proven and disproven. There are some things, however, that I highly doubt can be proven wrong, making my breathing example all the more silly. I apologize for that, but I think you get the idea I was trying to get weakly across anyway.I think with the time mankind became more carefully with stating facts. I don't think we'll see things like the flat earth is round very often anymore. I mean the earth was supposed to be flat because that's what it looked like, and it was the center of the solar system because it was the easiest way to have the sun etc moving around it. We looked on our everyday world and simply drew analogies. Since we are able to prove in many ways how it really is I doubt that will ever need correction.

So I seriously doubt that many if not all proven and tested physical laws will ever face a fundamental change. Maybe we have to add new stuff and dependencies and whatnot, but nothing basic will change.

However, I won't and cannot deny the possibility that we will have to change mind about some things where we currently have not really a concept about, just some untested theories and ideas. For instance how gravitation or any other of the fundamental forces work. Or how life began.


Well, religion will always be there to fill in the gaps for science.I think, basically, religion is ought to give hope in bad times and science is ought to have answers during good times. Also, religion shows how we live together and science where we live together. Religion is static and science is underlying a permanent change.


Even if God was proven and presented before me, and I was looking directly at Her in heaven or on earth or whatever or knew 100% that She existed I still wouldn't join any of the religions personally. I might be a lot more spiritual than I am now, but I believe God just wants us to be spiritual, not religious. To not confuse dogma for spirituality and just live life to the best we can.If I would ever be presented to a god, and if it really turns out that she participated in creating the universe I would thank her for three things: raspberry-buttermilk ice cream, LEGO and the process of creating offspring. No really.

John Galt
06-19-2007, 07:13 PM
Observation: When science does actually manage to disprove a bit of dogma(such as the old belief that God lived above the clouds), dogma just changes in such a way as to make the assertions impossible to prove or disprove with current technology.

pardon the non-sequitur.

Emperor Devon
06-21-2007, 06:03 PM
You're forgetting one very important facet here. There's a general rule that if one's religion interfere's with their humanity, then there's something wrong with their religion. Example? Condemning homosexuals. Not quite, it's the condemnation of homosexual activity. Witches, not just condemning Harry Potter but wanting to burn those who declare themselves witches at the stake. It says that we are meant to follow the law, and murdering someone who is supposed to be a witch is against the law. This is the stumbling block abortion clinic bombers, plane hijackers, ect, stumble over.

Uh... huh? I've looked at that through every perspective I can think of, but to put it bluntly you're blatantly contradicting yourself and only making my previous statement about religion inhibiting morality more true.

Nancy Allen``
06-21-2007, 07:05 PM
Okay, look at it this way then. There's a story of a group of monks who were religious, the visual clues indicate they were Christian. Now they had taken in a man people believed to be a demon and treated him as their own. But one of them couldn't stand by and allow the evil to infiltrate his temple, so he went to the village who feared the man and told the villagers where he was. They try and hunt down the man, unsuccessfully, and all that they achieve is part of the temple being burnt down. Most telling is when this monk confronts the man he had set the villagers on and the man has the chance to kill him, but doesn't, saying it is not his place to judge. This story illustrates that we shouldn't cast judgement on others, and the danger of taking your religion too far.

JediMaster12
06-26-2007, 01:17 PM
This story illustrates that we shouldn't cast judgement on others, and the danger of taking your religion too far.
Ah but what constitutes as taking it too far? Evangelizing because it is written that His disciples should spread the word? Or is it something like the insurgents killing the infidels in the name of Allah?

Nancy Allen``
06-26-2007, 07:45 PM
The world, including the Muslim world, sees the latter as certainly going too far. Not only do such acts condemn their religion it's meant to be not allowed according to the Quran. I'm not sure if it's a specific passage or if such acts contradict what is written, I know that suicide (suicide bombings, hijacking and dying in the plane crash) is against Islam. The Bible says the law overrides religion, except when the law has us sin. Now that could go off into a whole other topic on whether not killing infidels is a sin but I think if murder is a sin then it sort of cancels it out. However some would think preaching religion is going too far, it's something that should be outlawed, and there are those who go further than that, those who have it in for religion and outright condemn it. I'm not talking about Atheism, it goes further than that, those who stir and stir and push and push in the hopes of making the other party give up their beliefs or provoke a negative reaction which they can then use to portray religion in a negative light.

Emperor Devon
06-28-2007, 03:18 AM
Okay, look at it this way then. There's a story of a group of monks who were religious, {snip}

I honestly don't see what this story proves apart from that religious superstition (belief in demons in this case) can lead to the destruction of property.

Totenkopf
06-28-2007, 05:33 AM
Okay, look at it this way then. There's a story of a group of monks who were religious, the visual clues indicate they were Christian. ....

Problem with your allegory is that it doesn't say anything at all about the villagers being religious, and they're the ones who actually caused the damage. It does seem to speak to the "law of unforseen consequences", such that the monk probably didn't intend for 1/2 the monestary to be burnt to the ground. Also, for people of religious faith, specifically Christians, I think there's the admonition "judge not, lest ye be judged", though somehow I don't believe that speaks to the question of law and order so much as to us thinking we're really better than anyone else in the eyes of God. The other popular one is "let he w/o sin cast the first stone". That one, no doubt, is often cited by the opponents of capital punishment. But really, whether it's religion or any -ism, there's always the danger that carried to an extreme, there will be ugly consequences.

Nancy Allen``
06-28-2007, 08:20 AM
Did I mention that the 'demon' was in fact religious, probably even more devoted than the people he was with? Could the fact he spared the one who wanted him killed have something to do with how devoted he was to his religion? How about reversing the story, have a man who is believed to be religious taken in by Atheists. One of them doesn't want the lies to possibly affect them and takes action. Could it be said that Atheist superstition of the effect religion may have on people would cause similar events? To push the idea further could it be argued that because Atheists do not believe in religion they can bestow themselves as being more moral than someone who does?

Jae Onasi
07-01-2007, 11:55 AM
I just found this link for a debate (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/craig-smith_harvard00.html) in 2003 between Dr. William Lane Craig and Dr. Quentin Smith, and thought you all might find it interesting. Enjoy.

Achilles
07-18-2007, 12:54 AM
*shudders*

I can't say that I've read that particular debate, however I have white-knuckled my way though several of Dr. Craig's other debates and resources. As someone who is frequently guilty of heaping un-earned credibility upon those that hail from academia, I find it particularly distasteful that this man has a doctorate.

For instance, in this (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/rediscover2.html) article, he offers several flimsy arguments for the existence of jesus, however fails to support any of them. Most frequent reason? "I don't have time to cover this now". As though someone was holding a gun to his head as he sat at the word processor.

Jae Onasi
07-18-2007, 01:45 AM
Two doctorates, plus post-doc work.

Craig's BA in communications from Wheaton College, 2 MAs from Trinity University which is highly regarded, a doctorate from the University of Birmingham (England) and a second doctorate from the University of Munich, along with the further research at University of Louvain in Belgium disqualifies him how? Don't you think that if he was really unqualified, _somewhere_ along the line _someone_ would have said "Hey, you know, maybe we shouldn't give this guy his first doctorate, let alone a second...." I don't think he could have fooled that many profs if he really was a hack.

Whether you agree with him or not, he's earned those doctorates with a tremendous amount of hard work. I'm very familiar with Trinity in particular (I live fairly close to it and my brother-in-law struggled through a year of master's work there, and he's a very intelligent man) and the standards at that school are extremely high--it is not a cake walk to get a degree there, particularly graduate degrees. None of the other universities are breezes to get a degree from, either.

The article is just that--a short article of an excerpt from a larger book. There's more discussion in the book itself, obviously, and in this debate (http://www.holycross.edu/departments/crec/website/resurrection-debate-transcript.pdf).

Achilles
07-18-2007, 02:13 AM
Context, Jae. I have three degrees (an AA, a BS, and a MA). Does that make me qualified to practice medicine? The answer to that question is most likely "no" unless my field of study was medicine.

What you defense of Craig failed to mention is that while his BA is in Communications, his other degrees are in philosophy of religion, church history, philosophy, and theology respectively.

I'm sure if he and I were to sit down for tea while debating the contributions of Kierkegaard, he would wipe the floor with me. Conversely, should the topic venture into business, I imagine that I would have the advantage.

Regardless, the fact remains that the man has either no exposure to critical thinking or little regard for it. All the doctorates in the world aren't going to save him for fallacious thinking unless he opts to employ them (as he so obviously does not in his publications).

I'm sure that he had to put forth a great deal of effort to earn his degrees, however they appear to have had little impact on his facility with logic. Considering that a great deal of his coursework deals with a field of study that specifically disregards logic, that is not surprising to me, however it does make it very difficult to take his doctorate seriously.

Unfortunately, his devotion to subject bereft of intellectual rigor shows in the work that he publishes on the internet. It saddens me to know that there are individuals who will see the "Dr." in front of his name and automatically assign his work credence that it does not deserve.

So to summarize (and hopefully answer your question if I've failed to do so above), the question is not whether or not he is "qualified", but whether or not his arguments are logically sound. Considering the volume of letters both before and after his name, I'm sure he's "qualified", although sadly that does not prevent him from displaying poor critical thinking skills. I hope that clarifies.

EDIT: LOL! While doing some additional digging, I found that Craig is also a fellow at the Discovery Institute. Any attempt to paint him as an intellectual giant just became 100-fold more difficult :D

Nancy Allen``
07-18-2007, 09:07 AM
You...I don't mean you directly, this is for everybody...you can have every PhD, doctorette, whatever under the sun. That means squat without a little common sense.

Jae Onasi
07-18-2007, 11:44 AM
I fail to see how doctorates in theology and philosophy disqualify him from discussing theology and philosophy. The existence of God is both a theological and philosophical topic.

Just because he believes in God he's supposedly biased? Since when are atheists the only ones qualified to discuss theology? With your logic, atheists are just as disqualified in discussing religion, then, because of their anti-theistic bias.

Yes, Craig is a fellow in the Center for Science and Culture which is a program of the Discovery Institute, presumably because of his philosophical expertise in the existence of God. Since one of Craig's arguments has been that a universe of this complexity could not have been built up in defiance of the 2nd law of thermodynamics without a creator, this does not surprise me.

You likewise disqualified Dr. Metzger out of hand, a man who had a doctorate in theology from and taught at Princeton, as well as having been a visiting Fellow at both Cambridge and Oxford. The man was one of the leading experts in Bible translation and you'd throw away his entire body of work as worthless because he also was Christian. Having degrees in theology or Bible but yet actually believing in God disqualifies them for any kind of work in the field? That makes no sense to me. You can't brush aside their theological and philosophical contributions out of hand just because you don't like their beliefs. I don't like Dawkins' beliefs and it certainly biases his science and philosophy, but I'm not going to discount his work out of hand just because he's an anti-theist.

Physicists have degrees in physics because they love the subject and believe that their work in that field is important. You spent the time and financial commitment to get your degrees in business because you enjoy that subject (I hope!) and want to do well in the field. I have a doctor degree because I love doing medical work on people's eyes and think that helping them see well is important. I would likewise expect theological and Biblical scholars to actually love the field they're studying and believe that their work has importance for mankind in some way.

Why would anyone who hates God and the Bible first of all want to study the many years in the field to get a doctorate, much less spend an entire career on it, unless they have some kind of underlying agenda? It's those people I don't trust.

John Galt
07-18-2007, 03:04 PM
Why would anyone who hates God and the Bible first of all want to study the many years in the field to get a doctorate, much less spend an entire career on it, unless they have some kind of underlying agenda? It's those people I don't trust.

I think that's going a bit too far. I don't HATE religion, religious people, nor your or anyone else's god. I simply choose to not to believe in them.

I used to be EXTREMELY religious, a Southern Baptist, to be specific. However, I found myself having to stretch reason to its limit in order to justify a lot of specific beliefs, and that ultimately led me to question the merit of faith itself.

Of course, I think it is just as wrong for me to try and push my beliefs on others as it is for them to try and push their philosophies on me or anyone else.

Achilles
07-18-2007, 05:02 PM
You...I don't mean you directly, this is for everybody...you can have every PhD, doctorette, whatever under the sun. That means squat without a little common sense. For once, I find that you and I are in complete agreement :D

I fail to see how doctorates in theology and philosophy disqualify him from discussing theology and philosophy. The existence of God is both a theological and philosophical topic. I find it a little alarming that you are once again raising the "qualified" strawman, especially since I went to such lengths in my last message to rebuke it. "Qualified" has nothing to do with anything.

Just because he believes in God he's supposedly biased? Strawman. Who mentioned anything about bias?

Since when are atheists the only ones qualified to discuss theology? Strawman. Who made the claim that only atheists can discuss theology?

With your logic, atheists are just as disqualified in discussing religion, then, because of their anti-theistic bias. Strawman. This isn't even close to anything that I've said. Again, "qualified" was strawman introduced by you.

My statement was that all of his degrees have not helped his critical thinking skills. If you'd like to debate my point, it's right there.

Yes, Craig is a fellow in the Center for Science and Culture which is a program of the Discovery Institute, presumably because of his philosophical expertise in the existence of God. Please help me understand how this makes DI any less of a sham? I find it mildly offensive that this groups has associated the concept of "discovery" with their agenda of "let's try to find stuff that supports the dogmatic worldview that we've already adopted". Discovery is a noble endeavor. What this groups does is not discovery.

Since one of Craig's arguments has been that a universe of this complexity could not have been built up in defiance of the 2nd law of thermodynamics without a creator, this does not surprise me. How very arrogant of him to presume to know that the creation of the universe violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I'd like to see what evidence he has to support the view that our universe is indeed a closed system. This is completely separate from the extreme arrogance that is necessary to suppose that one "could know the nature of" a being capable of producing such an event, assuming that his initial presumption is correct. Interestingly, you seem to feel as though he is a qualified expert in a very specialize field of science after pointing out that his specialization is in philosophy and theology (and we've both determined that he doesn't hold any degrees, advanced or otherwise, in a physical science).

You likewise disqualified Dr. Metzger out of hand, a man who had a doctorate in theology from and taught at Princeton, as well as having been a visiting Fellow at both Cambridge and Oxford. The man was one of the leading experts in Bible translation and you'd throw away his entire body of work as worthless because he also was Christian. Strawman, but I'll play.
I would tend to *dismiss* the academic contributions of Dr. Metzger out of hand, because his field of study is equivalent to that of imaginary friends. Should his work contain detailed accounts of how the birth and rise of Christianty have impacted western culture from a historical *AND* objective viewpoint, then I imagine I would find his work worthwhile and fascinating. However, if it is strictly theological, then it carries little more weight than telling me that he has post-graduate degree in Klingon and that he considers himself a "prominent linguist".

Having degrees in theology or Bible but yet actually believing in God disqualifies them for any kind of work in the field?Strawman.

That makes no sense to me. Me either. Since it's your statement and not mine, perhaps you'll be so kind as to expand on it for me?

You can't brush aside their theological and philosophical contributions out of hand just because you don't like their beliefs. Technically, I could, however I haven't. I *have* "brushed them aside" because they are logically unsound, which is a perfectly valid reason for not paying one's arguments any credence. "Liking" what they have to say has nothing to do with it. I imagine I would "like" it a great deal if it made any sense or any support or could bear the weight of any kind of logical scrutiny.

I don't like Dawkins' beliefs and it certainly biases his science and philosophy, but I'm not going to discount his work out of hand just because he's an anti-theist.

EDIT/CORRECTION: Re-reading some old posts, it seems that I had misunderstood a debate in which you had participated. I withdraw my comment that you are unfamiliar with Dawkins. I stand corrected, as it seems that you have been exposed to some of Dawkins' work.

Physicists have degrees in physics because they love the subject and believe that their work in that field is important. You spent the time and financial commitment to get your degrees in business because you enjoy that subject (I hope!) and want to do well in the field. I have a doctor degree because I love doing medical work on people's eyes and think that helping them see well is important. I would likewise expect theological and Biblical scholars to actually love the field they're studying and believe that their work has importance for mankind in some way. Yep, I'm sure that they do. However such an observation does very little to address the fact that theology and biblical study (I'm using the broad, sweeping language that I generally try to avoid here) do not promote logic or critical thinking and require suspentions of both in order to exist.

Case in point: Compare this (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=177505) post with this (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/rediscover2.html) article. Sit down with the logical fallacy link in my signature and tally how many fallacies I used in my argument and then compare that to the number in Dr. Craig's. Compare the use of facts in my post and the contrast that with the "just trust me" lines in his. This man has 4 more degrees than I do, however his article falls very short of the intellectual rigor that one should expect from someone with 2 doctorates.

Why would anyone who hates God and the Bible first of all want to study the many years in the field to get a doctorate, much less spend an entire career on it, unless they have some kind of underlying agenda? It's those people I don't trust. I'm not sure what this has to do with what we were discussing. Since we're on the subject though, do you happen to have any examples of people that have doctorate degrees in the theology that advocate against theism or is this simply a hypothetical exercise?

Thanks for your response.

SilentScope001
07-18-2007, 09:02 PM
You...I don't mean you directly, this is for everybody...you can have every PhD, doctorette, whatever under the sun. That means squat without a little common sense.

Common sense is so overrated. When you study something far too much, you end up having beliefs that would easily prove common sense wrong.

Example:Some idiot in Greece (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristarchus_of_Samos) believed that the Earth was revolving around the Sun, and that Stars was far, far away, and not as close as people believed. Obivously, that was stupid. Common sense said that the Earth was in the center of the universe, and that stars are close by. Good thing common sense prevailed over the idiots.

Ray Jones
07-19-2007, 10:50 AM
The "knowledge" of the earth as centre of the universe was not entirely idiocy. In fact, it was for a long time (and as long as it could not be testified) the best explanation humans had for the movement of the sun. Try to find a better solution when you have no telescope or anything helpful regarding that.

SilentScope001
07-19-2007, 02:36 PM
The "knowledge" of the earth as centre of the universe was not entirely idiocy. In fact, it was for a long time (and as long as it could not be testified) the best explanation humans had for the movement of the sun. Try to find a better solution when you have no telescope or anything helpful regarding that.

Exactly, I know that it's not really idiotic. In fact, I really do consider the guy who believed the Sun was in the center of the universe was an idiot, considering he went against the grain.

The fact that he was proven right however just shows irony. Just because common sense dictates that A is true doesn't really mean that A is true.

Achilles
07-30-2007, 02:55 AM
I found this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/04/AR2006030401369.html) article the other day and it reminded me of Jae's comment in post #228. I'm not sure if this gentleman's situation is what she was referring to, but it did remind me that there are examples of people the devote their lives to studying religion and then lose their faith and use their knowledge to help others. Acknowledging this, I felt it prudent to share the link and admit that I should soften my stance with regards to my last comment in post #230.

Thanks for reading.

Achilles
08-08-2007, 11:45 PM
This is a continuation of a conversation found in this this (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?p=2356232) thread.

How so? I could say the same about faith vs. reason. Reason may win, but that doesn't make it right. It just means that the fight is between chalk and cheese. I guess I would need an example of how reason would win but not be right before I could respond intelligently. Also, we probably also need to operationally define "right" and "win". If "right" is arriving at a predetermined conclusion and "winning" is feeling good about it, it's completely different process then when "right" means finding the best answer supported by the facts and "winning" is having the truth.

Faith (in a religious context) and Reason don't mix. Religious faith requires the suspension of reason. The more faithful one is, the more dogmatically they reject reason. In fact, one's faith is measured by their ability to believe in the face of reason. How one can speak of being "right" with this as a foundation is a puzzle to me.

Even following the biblical canon, this doesn't add up. Allegedly, god made us in his image. Which means that he obviously would have the ability to reason and wanted us to have it as well. Yet we are then given a set of rules which promote blind obedience and a suspension of reason. That is an example of an argument that is hypocritical and unable to support its own weight.

Could you extrapolate? See above.

IIRC, I was originally trying to prove that your position required an input of faith/alternative synonym. Which position? Also, it would probably help to clarify if we could agree on a definition of faith.

Achilles
08-09-2007, 06:59 PM
This is a response to a post from this (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?p=2356692) thread.

Yeah, I think that is a logical enough premise. Then why is it that modern people with their unprecedented access to knowledge and information choose the path of religious faith?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I was generally of the thought that Science, is basically a hypothesis that stands because it can't be disproved. e.g. With reguards gravity no stone has ever fallen to the ground ergo the hypthesis is correct. In otherwods science disproves a theory. Comparing hypothesis and theories is like comparing catepillars and butterflies. Here's some info that might be helpful:

In scientific usage, a theory does not mean an unsubstantiated guess or hunch, as it can in everyday speech. A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations which is predictive, logical and testable. In principle, scientific theories are always tentative, and subject to corrections or inclusion in a yet wider theory. Commonly, a large number of more specific hypotheses may be logically bound together by just one or two theories. As a general rule for use of the term, theories tend to deal with much broader sets of universals than do hypotheses, which ordinarily deal with much more specific sets of phenomena or specific applications of a theory.
...and...
The defining characteristic of a scientific theory is that it makes falsifiable or testable predictions about things not yet observed. The relevance, and specificity of those predictions determine how (potentially) useful the theory is. A would-be theory which makes no predictions which can be observed is not a useful theory. Predictions which are not sufficiently specific to be tested are similarly not useful. In both cases, the term 'theory' is inapplicable.

In practice a body of descriptions of knowledge is usually only called a theory once it has a minimum empirical basis. That is, it:

* is consistent with pre-existing theory to the extent that the pre-existing theory was experimentally verified, though it will often show pre-existing theory to be wrong in an exact sense, and
* is supported by many strands of evidence rather than a single foundation, ensuring that it is probably a good approximation, if not totally correct. I hope that helps, although I'm sure there's just enough jargon there to ensure that it doesn't :(

I feel I may be making a post in the evolution thread. Strictly speaking I am completely sat on the fence, I am unsure currently of how life has changed on earth. All I know is; the earth is 6Billion years old; there is alot of animals who are related in various ways which inhabbit the earth. etc etc A vast majority of people are scientifically illiterate. That many people are confused about evolution is understandable and that many people don't even truly understand the basis of the theory is to be expected. What I can't wrap my head around is how people that claim to be rational will then go on to say that they reject it. It would seem to me that one should at least understand something before accepting or rejecting it.

I say all that because I'm glad to hear that you're willing to admit that you don't know and that you're also willing to learn more before you make up your mind one way or the other.

Not all religious people do that, it is dangerous to group all who believe one thing to group them all to behaving and thinking in the same way. Maybe. I will argue that I've never encountered a theist that doesn't do that to some extent, but I acknowledge that my statement was sweeping and apologize.

If the God hypothesis is unnecessary. ;) I'll tell you what; you provide your reasons for why you think it isn't and I'll supply my arguments for why I think it is. Hopefully one or both of us will learn something and neither of us has to abandon our positions if we don't want to :)

jonathan7
08-09-2007, 07:50 PM
This is a response to a post from this (http://lucasforums.com/showthread.php?p=2356692) thread.

Then why is it that modern people with their unprecedented access to knowledge and information choose the path of religious faith?

Most people are sheep, whatever the truth is doesn't matter most people follow the rest of the herd. From my perspective their is a spiritual side to man which is why you see so many religions around the world as man seeks to fill that need. The athiest world view of course has a different explanation for this; irrationality. Back to people and sheep; Zimbardo has done some facinating work within the area... have you read his latest book? President Bush would do well to read it, but then it has words longer than 5 letters so I doubt he could.

Comparing hypothesis and theories is like comparing catepillars and butterflies. Here's some info that might be helpful:
...and...
I hope that helps, although I'm sure there's just enough jargon there to ensure that it doesn't :(

I think I've got the gist of it :)

A vast majority of people are scientifically illiterate.

Agreed I come across alot of people who think they know something about science I am always greatly concerned by people who clearly don't even understand the basic concepts of which they are trying to argue. Most people don't really consider the grander side of life; is their a creator? Or are we a product of chance? People are too bothered with mundane things like who is Brad Pitt sleeping with? (I've never understood the fascination myself). Still as I'm doing so well at recall quotes of great philosophers today (I wonder how accurate I'm being) here's one of Socrates; "The unexamined life is not worth living."

That many people are confused about evolution is understandable and that many people don't even truly understand the basis of the theory is to be expected. What I can't wrap my head around is how people that claim to be rational will then go on to say that they reject it. It would seem to me that one should at least understand something before accepting or rejecting it.

I say all that because I'm glad to hear that you're willing to admit that you don't know and that you're also willing to learn more before you make up your mind one way or the other.

The great Greek also said; "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing". The more I understand of the universe the more I understand how little I truly know, the answer to one question causes me only to ask 2 more questions in its wake. No matter how much knowledge we ever accquire in an given field we can always learn more. I don't confess to having a full understanding of evolution, I have what are points/questions/problems which at this moment in time I cannot see a solution for; perhaps they will be answered perhaps not... we shall see. :)

Maybe. I will argue that I've never encountered a theist that doesn't do that to some extent, but I acknowledge that my statement was sweeping and apologize.

Perhaps I don't think I have ever done that. I'm a big one for questioning everything, I get very turned off by people of any religious background that ever say to an awkward question 'you should just belief' as I always think saying that is a sign of a cult. However being a Christian is undoubtly a part of who I am, and as Qui-Gon says; "Your focus determines your reality".

I'll tell you what; you provide your reasons for why you think it isn't and I'll supply my arguments for why I think it is. Hopefully one or both of us will learn something and neither of us has to abandon our positions if we don't want to :)

Hehe, I am happy to do that; your forget my favourite philospher is Nietzsche so I am well acquianted with the other side of the philosophical argument. I will get around to doing that tommorrow or on saturday :)

Achilles
08-09-2007, 08:02 PM
The athiest world view of course has a different explanation for this; irrationality. There is nothing irrational about our spiritual nature. However attributing the source of it to an invisible man in the sky is highly irrational.

jonathan7
08-09-2007, 08:09 PM
There is nothing irrational about our spiritual nature. However attributing the source of it to an invisible man in the sky is highly irrational.

Hehe, what would be your explanation of this spiritual side then? Man being frightened of his own finiteness or an explanation for a primitive mind of the reason for exsistance?

Achilles
08-09-2007, 08:21 PM
Physiological response. Evolutionary mutation of the brain that provided a benefit to early hominids and, as such, was genetically beneficial and therefore passed down.

Nancy Allen``
08-10-2007, 10:19 PM
Atheists talk about the evil of religion and religious acts, whether it be god ordained killing or the Crusades or Islamists answering the call to Jihad. Given such a negative portrayal one would expect that the church would not like all their holy texts being exposed as a lie, which is what some are trying to achieve. And yet to the best of my knowledge nothing had been done in response to it despite the efforts to convince followers to no longer be duped by religious leaders. If religion is half as bad as some claim why haven't religious leaders taken action?

Achilles
08-10-2007, 10:30 PM
Given such a negative portrayal one would expect that the church would not like all their holy texts being exposed as a lie, which is what some are trying to achieve. I would contend that there are lots of reasons that religious people (and religious leaders specifically) don't like having their beliefs held up to scrutiny. For the evangelists that purposely deceive others for personal gain, there's the fear of exposure and accountability. For others it might be a fear of loss of status. If I had to take an educated guess, I would say that the biggest factor is the fear of being wrong, or more specifically, the fear of being seen as stupid.

It seems to me the people question their faith from time-to-time. To suddenly admit that religion just doesn't add up might be more of a blow to the ego than some people can take (especially if they have status within their community or have been dogmatic in the past).

And yet to the best of my knowledge nothing had been done in response to it despite the efforts to convince followers to no longer be duped by religious leaders. I'm not sure I follow. Could you please clarify your point?

If religion is half as bad as some claim why haven't religious leaders taken action? Well I'm sure the reasons vary. If we were to talk specifically about those that manipulate others for personal gain; why would they want to take steps to add transparency if the lack of transparency is what they are counting on? That would seem kinda self-defeating to me.

Nancy Allen``
08-10-2007, 11:03 PM
To suddenly admit that religion just doesn't add up might be more of a blow to the ego than some people can take (especially if they have status within their community or have been dogmatic in the past).

Ah. This is a very valid point to make. In terms of atheists, antitheists, however you like to label them, who do their level best to do just that, to make theists see that religion doesn't add up, it might be well worthwhile for them to keep in mind that such exposure could be moreof a blow to theists than they can take.

Just on that I question religion all the time, when something doesn't make sense. Classic example, who does god order killing? I think the answer is to uphold the law of the time, something of people asking his stance on what action to take if the law says this and he says not to kill (murder). Or in the case of the Crusades it was to prevent Islam from taking over Europe, the atrocities that were committed thousands of years ago are still thought to be relevent to militent Muslims today and the society we live in would have taken a drastic change, for the worse it's felt, had action not been taken.

I'm not sure I follow. Could you please clarify your point?

The church hadn't tried to silence those who are exposing the truth on religion, from an atheist standpoint, being a pack of lies, not to put too fine a point on it.

Achilles
08-10-2007, 11:31 PM
Ah. This is a very valid point to make. In terms of atheists, antitheists, however you like to label them, who do their level best to do just that, to make theists see that religion doesn't add up, it might be well worthwhile for them to keep in mind that such exposure could be moreof a blow to theists than they can take. Worthwhile how?

Just on that I question religion all the time, when something doesn't make sense. Classic example, who does god order killing? I think the answer is to uphold the law of the time, something of people asking his stance on what action to take if the law says this and he says not to kill (murder). You lost me again.

Or in the case of the Crusades it was to prevent Islam from taking over Europe, the atrocities that were committed thousands of years ago are still thought to be relevent to militent Muslims today and the society we live in would have taken a drastic change, for the worse it's felt, had action not been taken. Interesting that you think militant muslims are upset about the Crusades and not the perceived meddling that western powers have participated in over the past 150 years. ;)

The church hadn't tried to silence those who are exposing the truth on religion, from an atheist standpoint, being a pack of lies, not to put too fine a point on it. Expose how? To whom? Like when Falwell and his ilk demonize atheists perhaps?

Jae Onasi
08-11-2007, 12:42 AM
You know, God is bigger than any of us, Nancy, including atheists, theists, and everyone in between.

And yes, I would agree most of us question faith from time to time.

Nancy Allen``
08-11-2007, 01:44 AM
Worthwhile how?

If people, atheists, antitheists, whoever are trying to expose religion as a lie and they know how much their efforts might harm some people then they might want to stop for a moment and ponder if they should go ahead. To attack religion, knowing how much harm attacking religion can cause, is probably a low class act carried out by those whose desire is to ruin lives.

You lost me again.

I'll try and explain this as simply as I can. People in Biblical times would be following the word of god, including the command not to kill that god spelt out to Moses and he delivered to his people. Now the laws at the time were very diffierent to the laws we have today, with death being dealt out to those who broke laws aside from the ones of murder or pedophilia. Rape for example. Now someone is guilty of a crime that by law states that the perpetrator be put to death. But the word of god is not to kill (murder). My take on this part of the bible is that god said that such a person is to be put to death, we are assuming it is a physical death as opposed to a spiritual death (going to hell), because people are also to uphold the law and by killing this person it is not murder (hence changing kill to murder) as it is judecial. So why isn't this carried out today? In a few select places it still is, and we are to follow the law of the land. Because we do not kill people for rape anymore means that by rights we are not to. Perhaps we should but that's neither here nor there. A similar example was in paying taxes to Ceaser, even though it was unpopular and unethical it was the law, and Jesus stated that the law is to be upheld.

Interesting that you think militant muslims are upset about the Crusades and not the perceived meddling that western powers have participated in over the past 150 years. ;)

To be fair however religion is not the sole accountability for it. On both sides of the conflict blame can be placed on occupation and efforts to stop criminal (drugs, bodgey products) and terrorist operations, as well as percieved infidelity not always stemming from religion, for example the fact women are not forced to wear abayas, are allowed to drive, go about unescorted, ect.

Expose how? To whom? Like when Falwell and his ilk demonize atheists perhaps?

How can I put this in a civil way? When Jerry Falwell died I said that I would have celebrated, based on a number of his controversial thoughts. I feel that he did religion a lot of disservice. What he did, not just to atheists but to a great many people, is very much what people criticize atheists of doing.

You know, God is bigger than any of us, Nancy, including atheists, theists, and everyone in between.

Quite right. Given the enormity of god in any form people choose to look at him as, and given how it is stated that we cannot comprehend god, it would be only natural to not understand and seek answers.

PoiuyWired
08-11-2007, 04:38 AM
Well, I think there needs to be some Separation between Theism, Religion, Religious Tradition, holybooks and priests.

My point being, these things are NOT one and the same. Being a Theist does not mean he have to be religious(he can choose to not get into religious activities and still considered Theist) and does not mean he has to follow some unwritten tradition of a sect. Hack he might choose to only believe in none/parts of a holy book collection, since we all know that these "canon collection" of books are defined by a bunch of priests and may vary from sect to sect. Priests are just professional(usually) humans trained with the skill set to deal with activities regarding a Religion.

Achilles
08-11-2007, 03:33 PM
I agree with everything there except the first sentence. I'm not sure what we hope to accomplish by having "Separation".

Also, just a reminder that many of the points made in the 2nd part of your post are obvious and true from a rational perspective but are utterly false from a religious perspective.

Prime
08-11-2007, 09:52 PM
I bit off the current stream, but as some of you likely know there was not long called Does God Exist? The Nightline Face-Off. (http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=3148940&page=1) The members of the Rational Response Squad (atheism side) squared off with Christians Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort (theism side) about the existence of God. The debate was moderated by Martin Bashir.

Just for those interested...

Achilles
08-12-2007, 01:51 AM
Meh...rational response squad. I liked it better when when Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins were our evil leaders.

Thanks for the clip, Prime. Unfortunately I could only stomach about 90 seconds of Ray Comfort's "argument" before I had to turn it off.