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Achilles
07-06-2008, 12:20 AM
Note: frankly, I think the headline is a bit of a herring, considering that the article itself points out that this is merely just another piece of evidence for an existing argument. Anyway...

Link to full article (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/world/middleeast/06stone.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)
JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time. Not just Jewish tradition, but almost every pagan religion as well. :dozey:

Skipping ahead:
Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the stone was part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day. Like the book of Isaiah?

I also thought that the last couple of paragraph were particularly interesting:Mr. Knohl said that it was less important whether Simon was the messiah of the stone than the fact that it strongly suggested that a savior who died and rose after three days was an established concept at the time of Jesus. He notes that in the Gospels, Jesus makes numerous predictions of his suffering and New Testament scholars say such predictions must have been written in by later followers because there was no such idea present in his day.

But there was, he said, and “Gabriel’s Revelation” shows it.

“His mission is that he has to be put to death by the Romans to suffer so his blood will be the sign for redemption to come,” Mr. Knohl said. “This is the sign of the son of Joseph. This is the conscious view of Jesus himself. This gives the Last Supper an absolutely different meaning. To shed blood is not for the sins of people but to bring redemption to Israel.”

Jae Onasi
07-06-2008, 12:47 AM
So, if you think Jesus is fake, you don't have anything to worry about, and this whole discussion theoretically for you is moot.

I'm not sure why this would be surprising in Biblical circles--a lot of the Old Testament looks forward to a Messiah. That this concept exists outside of the Bible is no surprise. Also, as noted above that Jesus is best understood through a close reading of Jewish history--Jesus was Jewish, after all. Of course it's going to help understanding Him if one is also familiar with the history, culture, and even geography of the area at that time. Trying to understand Jesus without knowing about the relevant history is like trying to understand Soviet Russia without knowing anything about Communism.

Achilles
07-06-2008, 01:03 AM
So, if you think Jesus is fake, you don't have anything to worry about,Worry?

and this whole discussion theoretically for you is moot.Since I'm stuck on the same planet with 2 billion believers, I wouldn't say it's moot in the slightest :D

I'm not sure why this would be surprising in Biblical circles--a lot of the Old Testament looks forward to a Messiah. That this concept exists outside of the Bible is no surprise. Also, as noted above that Jesus is best understood through a close reading of Jewish history--Jesus was Jewish, after all. Of course it's going to help understanding Him if one is also familiar with the history, culture, and even geography of the area at that time. Trying to understand Jesus without knowing about the relevant history is like trying to understand Soviet Russia without knowing anything about Communism.The point is that many christians think that the hero myth of jesus is somehow special or unique. This basically says "not only was it not special or unique in the context of mythology in general, it wasn't even special or unique within the context of the existing religion it was a schism of".

Totenkopf
07-06-2008, 01:17 AM
Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of California at Berkeley, said that the stone was part of a growing body of evidence suggesting that Jesus could be best understood through a close reading of the Jewish history of his day.

So much for the ingenuity of the human spirit, nevermind anything divine. ;) At some point, every "new idea" or different strain of thought had to start from someone.

Samuel Dravis
07-06-2008, 10:52 AM
In my experience the historical tale of Jesus has very little to do with people's belief in Jesus as God. Were you intending to address the latter, you'd have to look at how they were originally convinced (I'm not sure convinced is quite the right word, really) to believe.

Facts are malleable, in a way; very different worldviews can be built around the same facts. To believe in Jesus as God is not so much a fact that can be disproven but a worldview that cannot be false (or true). To change a worldview is a rather difficult thing. I am skeptical that presenting some facts will change anyone's mind.

Arcesious
07-06-2008, 02:11 PM
There are no 'true' or 'false' facts, only misinterpretted facts.

Achilles
07-06-2008, 02:57 PM
I am skeptical that presenting some facts will change anyone's mind.I would agree that you are right to be skeptical in many cases. I would however argue that there are many people that are persuaded by facts and logic and rational arguments. To state otherwise might be to suggest that atheism "just happens" and is no more a reasonable position than any other worldview.

My 2 cents.

Samuel Dravis
07-06-2008, 04:32 PM
I would agree that you are right to be skeptical in many cases. I would however argue that there are many people that are persuaded by facts and logic and rational arguments. To state otherwise might be to suggest that atheism "just happens" and is no more a reasonable position than any other worldview.There might be a slight misunderstanding here. I mean that an atheistic worldview is often the result of being exposed to facts, arguments, etc. If you're interested in facts then it certainly is better. Note, however, that the religious worldview is very, very often the result of being raised in a religious way.

I saw a good quote from CS Lewis about that: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." I don't think that many people are told as children "God exists, because..." However, it's quite natural for them to be told "God doesn't like that.."

My original post is about people who are religious in that way. They're unlikely to be convinced because the facts never (for them, at least) had anything to do with god's existence in the first place.

So no, I don't think that a religious point of view is equivalent to an atheistic one, at least as regards factual/rational investigation. Of course, I don't think that a religious point of view deals in facts (save tangentially) either, so there's not much competition.

Darth InSidious
07-06-2008, 04:51 PM
Since I'm stuck on the same planet with 2 billion believers, I wouldn't say it's moot in the slightest :D

Do feel free to leave if we make you feel uncomfortable. :p

Achilles
07-06-2008, 07:48 PM
My original post is about people who are religious in that way. They're unlikely to be convinced because the facts never (for them, at least) had anything to do with god's existence in the first place.Thank you for clarifying your point. It seems that we are in agreement here.

I would add that I continue to hold some hope that from time to time some people do become unsatisfied with "answers" that don't add up. Granted the people that are severely indoctrinated from the time of birth onwards aren't likely candidates for this (to your point), however it can happen and not everyone who calls themselves a theist fits into this mold anyway.

Do feel free to leave if we make you feel uncomfortable. :lol: Trust me, if someone offered to fire up Earth 2.0 and hang an "atheists only" sign on the door, I'd be the first in-line. In the mean time, I'll keep promoting rational thought to anyone who is willing listen.

Jae Onasi
07-06-2008, 09:12 PM
In the mean time, I'll keep prosyletizing atheism to anyone who is willing listen.
Fixed. ;)

Achilles
07-06-2008, 09:45 PM
Perhaps you'd like to explain how one goes about proselytizing a neutral position? :confused:

Totenkopf
07-06-2008, 10:22 PM
:lol: Trust me, if someone offered to fire up Earth 2.0 and hang an "atheists only" sign on the door, I'd be the first in-line. In the mean time, I'll keep promoting rational thought to anyone who is willing listen.


If that place were anything like software, it'd probably be buggier than the original. :lol:

Q
07-06-2008, 11:59 PM
Perhaps you'd like to explain how one goes about proselytizing a neutral position? :confused::lol:
Given this relentless agenda of yours, your position could hardly be described as neutral, Achilles. I mean, how many threads attacking religion have you started in the Senate and here in Kavar's in the past month or so? You've been spreading your message with all of the zeal of Billy Graham on meth. :p

And no, I'm not going to argue with you about this. We would both be wasting our time. Suffice to say that when it comes to this particular subject I prefer to remain irrational and stupid. :D

Totenkopf
07-07-2008, 12:34 AM
:lol:
Given this relentless agenda of yours, your position could hardly be described as neutral, Achilles. I mean, how many threads attacking religion have you started in the Senate and here in Kavar's in the past month or so? You've been spreading your message with all of the zeal of Billy Graham on meth. :p

QFT

Achilles
07-07-2008, 12:50 AM
:lol:
Given this relentless agenda of yours, your position could hardly be described as neutral, Achilles. I mean, how many threads attacking religion have you started in the Senate and here in Kavar's in the past month or so? You've been spreading your message with all of the zeal of Billy Graham on meth. :pYou appear to be confused. The position itself is neutral with regards to the question of the existence of god or gods. Therefore, "proselytizing" doesn't apply.

My position as to whether this neutral position is correct or incorrect (or rational vs. irrational) is not the question at hand (well, except for where you just tried to make it so by missing the point :xp:).

And no, I'm not going to argue with you about this. We would both be wasting our time.Then why comment? Seems rather disingenuous of you :(

Suffice to say that when it comes to this particular subject I prefer to remain irrational and stupid. :D Best of luck with that. ;)

Samuel Dravis
07-07-2008, 01:16 AM
Thank you for clarifying your point. It seems that we are in agreement here.

I would add that I continue to hold some hope that from time to time some people do become unsatisfied with "answers" that don't add up. Granted the people that are severely indoctrinated from the time of birth onwards aren't likely candidates for this (to your point), however it can happen and not everyone who calls themselves a theist fits into this mold anyway. Quite honestly I don't think I know of anyone who believes based on or because of the facts, strictly speaking. Interestingly, the same Lewis whom I quoted earlier converted to Christianity not because historical facts convinced him, but because of his own personal experiences with a feeling of joy and that which caused it (I draw this from Surprised by Joy, his autobiography of sorts).

I'd have a very difficult time understanding someone who was seriously swayed by the historical evidence on this subject, and if those people do exist they're probably in a rather tiny minority (as I'd expect from that kind of cognitive dissonance). I say this mainly because if they were to base their beliefs on scientific or historical facts alone they'd already be nonbelievers.

Of course, this thread is useful to people whom have understood the facts as being other than they are, e.g. that Jesus was alone in his three day resurrection. Even so, a correction on this point is not going to be a tiebreaker by any means, due to the curious nature of religious belief. I do agree it is an interesting discovery, though; religion is as much a part of the natural history of man as any of the many other things we do, and this discovery helps us understand ourselves to a greater degree. "Know thyself" is a command as useful to us as it was for the ancient Greeks.

Rev7
07-07-2008, 02:15 AM
I'm not sure why this would be surprising in Biblical circles--a lot of the Old Testament looks forward to a Messiah. That this concept exists outside of the Bible is no surprise. Also, as noted above that Jesus is best understood through a close reading of Jewish history--Jesus was Jewish, after all. Of course it's going to help understanding Him if one is also familiar with the history, culture, and even geography of the area at that time. Trying to understand Jesus without knowing about the relevant history is like trying to understand Soviet Russia without knowing anything about Communism.
QFE.
There are no 'true' or 'false' facts, only misinterpretted facts.
Could you explain a little bit more Arc? I'm a little confused with what you said...

Jae Onasi
07-07-2008, 02:57 PM
Perhaps you'd like to explain how one goes about proselytizing a neutral position? :confused:
If one argues that they can't know if God exists, that's conceivably a somewhat neutral stance, but basing a worldview on the concept that God therefore does not exist (or, we don't know, so we're going to assume He doesn't exist) can no longer be considered neutral. You either function in life as a theist or atheist, but neither of those are neutral even if the philosophical underpinnings could be argued as being neutral. You've come down on one side of the fence.
Given the types of threads you start about religion and specifically Christianity, and the arguments you make within them, it could be argued that you are actually anti-Christian (and I'm not trying to make that sound like a pejorative or flamebait, even if I disagree with your position). That is definitively not neutral.

Achilles
07-07-2008, 03:24 PM
If one argues that they can't know if God exists, that's conceivably a somewhat neutral stance, but basing a worldview on the concept that God therefore does not exist (or, we don't know, so we're going to assume He doesn't exist) can no longer be considered neutral.If one argues that they can't know if invisible pink unicorns exists, that's conceivably a somewhat neutral stance, but basing a worldview on the concept that invisible pink unicorns therefore do not exist (or, we don't know, so we're going to assume they doesn't exist) can no longer be considered neutral. Fixed.

Are you arguing that the rational course of action would be to act in some manner that is consistent with the possibility that IPUs are real? Or is there some argument from special pleading which makes your particular flavor of belief more valid than any of the hundreds of others that are available?

Stating that IPUs are not real is indeed leaving a neutral position (since you are making a positive statement about their non-existence). However I do not agree that living your life aware that there is no evidence for them somehow violates this neutrality.

You either function in life as a theist or atheist, but neither of those are neutral even if the philosophical underpinnings could be argued as being neutral. You've come down on one side of the fence. Not at all. Not accepting a hypothesis because it has no supporting evidence is not the same thing as saying that the hypothesis is false. Because there is no evidence with which a decision can be made, blindly rejecting the hypothesis is just as foolish a decision as blindly accepting it.

Given the types of threads you start about religion and specifically Christianity, and the arguments you make within them, it could be argued that you are actually anti-Christian (and I'm not trying to make that sound like a pejorative or flamebait, even if I disagree with your position). I would submit that it's more "anti-pretending to know stuff that you can't possibly know because there is no evidence". Furthermore, I would also argue that this position extends to topics far more diverse than just religion.

That is definitively not neutral.It most certainly is. My effort to point out that no one knows says absolutely nothing about one claim's validity over another (other than to highlight that both claims would be wrong).

I hope that helps to clarify.

P.S. you didn't answer the question :)

Darth InSidious
07-08-2008, 05:49 AM
First of all, stuff similar to this turns up all the time. Most of it is fake - convincing fake, but fake, nonetheless.

As for Knohl - an unorthodox scholar with an agenda claims that something partially illegible supports his thesis? Surely not!

Achilles
07-08-2008, 11:41 AM
First of all, stuff similar to this turns up all the time. Most of it is fake - convincing fake, but fake, nonetheless. Oddly, the stone is not really a new discovery. It was found about a decade ago and bought from a Jordanian antiquities dealer by an Israeli-Swiss collector who kept it in his Zurich home. When an Israeli scholar examined it closely a few years ago and wrote a paper on it last year, interest began to rise. There is now a spate of scholarly articles on the stone, with several due to be published in the coming months.Ms. Yardeni, who analyzed the stone along with Binyamin Elitzur, is an expert on Hebrew script, especially of the era of King Herod, who died in 4 B.C. The two of them published a long analysis of the stone more than a year ago in Cathedra, a Hebrew-language quarterly devoted to the history and archaeology of Israel, and said that, based on the shape of the script and the language, the text dated from the late first century B.C.A chemical examination by Yuval Goren, a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University who specializes in the verification of ancient artifacts, has been submitted to a peer-review journal. He declined to give details of his analysis until publication, but he said that he knew of no reason to doubt the stone’s authenticity.Moshe Bar-Asher, president of the Israeli Academy of Hebrew Language and emeritus professor of Hebrew and Aramaic at the Hebrew University, said he spent a long time studying the text and considered it authentic, dating from no later than the first century B.C. His 25-page paper on the stone will be published in the coming months. I agree that this doesn't necessarily rule out the possibility that the tablet is a fake. I guess my question is: if this tablet has been around for 10 years and has been examined by multiple people, wouldn't someone have noticed by now?

As for Knohl - an unorthodox scholar with an agenda claims that something partially illegible supports his thesis? Surely not!Indeed. In fact, I think one of the people interviewed for the story went a bit further:Regarding Mr. Knohl’s thesis, Mr. Bar-Asher is also respectful but cautious. “There is one problem,” he said. “In crucial places of the text there is lack of text. I understand Knohl’s tendency to find there keys to the pre-Christian period, but in two to three crucial lines of text there are a lot of missing words.” However, I think this continues to be indicative of a larger hypocrisy that I tend to notice in theological circles: one standard of evidence for one set of ideas and another, much more rigorous standard for a different set.

I would tend to think that orthodox scholars also have their agendas, yet because everyone is operating from the same play book, critical analysis is limited.

My 2 cents.

Darth InSidious
07-08-2008, 12:14 PM
However, I think this continues to be indicative of a larger hypocrisy that I tend to notice in theological circles:
This is Biblical Archaeology, not theology - which is, in any case, an area that neither of us are qualified to comment on. :)

I would tend to think that orthodox scholars also have their agendas, yet because everyone is operating from the same play book, critical analysis is limited.
Of course. But I'd trust orthodoxy over the crackpots any day of the week... after all, we don't pay serious credence to, say, creationists or Holocaust deniers, why should we grant such serious credence to the "unorthodox" in other areas?

Achilles
07-08-2008, 12:29 PM
This is Biblical Archaeology, not theology - which is, in any case, an area that neither of us are qualified to comment on. :) Thank you for the correction. I shall now adjust the barriers of my disdain for hypocrisy to include Biblical Archaeology :)

Of course. But I'd trust orthodoxy over the crackpots any day of the week... after all, we don't pay serious credence to, say, creationists or Holocaust deniers, why should we grant such serious credence to the "unorthodox" in other areas?I understand that this is your position, however this is not a position that I share. All I care about is the merit of the idea itself, not the source.

Darth InSidious
07-08-2008, 12:42 PM
Thank you for the correction. I shall now adjust the barriers of my disdain for hypocrisy to include Biblical Archaeology :)
I'm not sure that's going to make the headlines :p - that field is notoriously variable in the quality of the work done in it...

I understand that this is your position, however this is not a position that I share. All I care about is the merit of the idea itself, not the source.
Of course the idea is important, but it must be taken in context. In any case, one cannot, sadly, be an expert on everything, and failing that, as a general rule it is best to follow the experts, no?

Achilles
07-08-2008, 01:03 PM
Of course the idea is important, but it must be taken in context. In any case, one cannot, sadly, be an expert on everything, and failing that, as a general rule it is best to follow the experts, no?Which experts? :p

If there are two sides of a debate and both sides have "experts" on them, then the tie-breaker has to be the merit of the arguments themselves. To carry the point further, how many important discoveries are made by people willing to accept the status quo and try to quiet dissenting ideas simply because they don't match "conventional wisdom"? I would argue "not very many".

Totenkopf
07-08-2008, 09:23 PM
Of course the big problem also becomes how you rationalize to yourself that one idea is necessarily better than another in the first place, especially given how spotty the evidence probably is in the first place.

Jae Onasi
07-08-2008, 11:58 PM
@Achilles--I thought you were asking your question in an attempt at humor. How do you prosyletize? Talk about atheism as fervently as and with the same amount of faith as any theist, which you do. You even have a convert in Arcesious and perhaps a few others (no offense meant to Arcesious btw).

You can say that you don't know if God exists or not and claim that is a neutral position. However, the fact still remains that either God exists or He does not. Your lack of knowledge on God's existence (not being snarky here) has no bearing on God's actual existence. You choose to say ''I don't know'', but your actions and statements clearly indicate that you have chosen to _act_ as if He does not exist until you receive some kind of divine intervention. That is no longer neutral.

Invisible pink unicorn--is it omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, existing outside the time-space continuum of this universe, and having all the other traits of a supreme being? Then you may as well call it what it really is (God) and quit calling it by the wrong name. Is it any less than that? Then it is nothing more than a silly little man-made construct and has no relevence here, and in fact is a disingenuous technique by the atheist community meant to confuse people.

In regards to the tablets--
Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 refer to a messiah that would suffer and die for Israel's (and the world's) redemption. Seeing that mentioned in archaeological evidence is no surprise, and in fact could serve as more supporting evidence for the veracity of the Bible. I'm not sure why people are so surprised that themes that run through the Bible happen to have been discussed outside the Bible. There are a zillion concordances, commentaries, devotionals and other books about the Bible on bookshelves today. Now we have an ancient equivalent discussing the major themes of the Old Testament--the Messiah and redemption. That does not prove that this is a common theme in all religions, btw. All it proves is that someone a few millenia ago studied the Old Testament and decided to chisel his thoughts about it into some stone.

Arcesious
07-09-2008, 12:34 AM
You even have a convert in Arcesious and perhaps a few others (no offense meant to Arcesious btw).

All hail Achilles... All hail Achilles... lol. :p

jonathan7
07-09-2008, 12:37 AM
All hail Achilles... All hail Achilles... lol. :p

Greek half human deities seem to be making a comeback...

Arcesious
07-09-2008, 12:40 AM
Greek half human deities seem to be making a comeback...

You know who I mean... :xp:

jonathan7
07-09-2008, 12:49 AM
You know who I mean... :xp:

I was splendouring (new word!) in the irony of Achilles being deified! :D

Arcesious
07-09-2008, 12:52 AM
You should hear all the never before invented words I've come up with... Some of which are not necessarily proper english...

Q
07-09-2008, 12:52 AM
All hail Achilles... All hail Achilles... lol. :pOh, no. Just what the man needs: worshippers. :xp:

Achilles
07-09-2008, 01:25 AM
@Achilles--I thought you were asking your question in an attempt at humor. How do you prosyletize? Talk about atheism as fervently as and with the same amount of faith as any theist, which you do.I'm afraid this misses the point. You cannot "covert one's faith" if no faith is involved in the outcome. By definition your comment in patently false, however I did want to extend to you the courtesy of an opportunity to explain what you meant. Since it appears that you're stuck, I'll just accept the comment for what it is and move on.

You even have a convert in Arcesious and perhaps a few others (no offense meant to Arcesious btw).Interesting that his decision to examine religion critically came well after (and quite separate from) my attempts to point out the flaws in his former arguments. Therefore, I cannot take any credit for his choices.

You can say that you don't know if God exists or not and claim that is a neutral position. However, the fact still remains that either God exists or He does not. Indeed that is the case. However since we cannot know which of these two scenarios is true, I don't know what we stand to gain by pretending that we know the answer. I choose not to pretend to know the answer, therefore I choose to adopt the only rational position, which is neutrality.

Your lack of knowledge on God's existence (not being snarky here) has no bearing on God's actual existence. You choose to say ''I don't know'', but your actions and statements clearly indicate that you have chosen to _act_ as if He does not exist until you receive some kind of divine intervention. That is no longer neutral. Of course it is neutral. Making some positive statement regarding "His" (big assumption) existence or non-existence would be to leave that neutral position.

Invisible pink unicorn--is it omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, existing outside the time-space continuum of this universe, and having all the other traits of a supreme being? I don't have an answer. Using the exact same rationale that you present for the existence of god, then we should assume that all of these characteristics are present. Why? Because someone (anyone) can say that they are. And why should we believe them? Because the invisible pink unicorns themselves told the person that was the case. Why should this be convincing to anyone? Frankly, I think I've spent the better part of a year trying to get you to answer that one for me.

Then you may as well call it what it really is (God) and quit calling it by the wrong name. On what basis do you presume to know what the "right" name is? Who gave you the authority to speak definitely regarding the nature of god? For a religion that claims to hold humility as a virtue, it sure does seem to produce a lot of presumptuous followers.

Is it any less than that? Then it is nothing more than a silly little man-made construct and has no relevence here, and in fact is a disingenuous technique by the atheist community meant to confuse people.I certainly apologize if I've confused you, Jae.

The point of the argument is that since we can't speak definitively for them and we can't speak definitively against them, then we cannot rule them out. And if we can make presumptions about god's characteristics without any evidence then we can make those same presumptions about invisible pink unicornes without any evidence either. So at the end of the day, it's impossible to distinguish between the silly man-made construct some of us call god and the silly man-made construct we call invisible pink unicorns.

Once someone opens that door, anything can pass through it.

In regards to the tablets--
Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 refer to a messiah that would suffer and die for Israel's (and the world's) redemption. Seeing that mentioned in archaeological evidence is no surprise, and in fact could serve as more supporting evidence for the veracity of the Bible. Please expand upon this. I'm not sure I follow how a potential self-fulfilling prophecy can constitute supporting evidence for any claim.

I'm not sure why people are so surprised that themes that run through the Bible happen to have been discussed outside the Bible. There are a zillion concordances, commentaries, devotionals and other books about the Bible on bookshelves today. Now we have an ancient equivalent discussing the major themes of the Old Testament--the Messiah and redemption. That does not prove that this is a common theme in all religions, btw. All it proves is that someone a few millenia ago studied the Old Testament and decided to chisel his thoughts about it into some stone.Except that anyone that has studied other religions would know that it is common in other religions :dozey:

Now, according to this, we are led to believe that it was present in judaism too. One of those, "et tu, Brute?" moments, if you will.

Totenkopf
07-09-2008, 03:22 AM
@Achilles--I thought you were asking your question in an attempt at humor. How do you prosyletize? Talk about atheism as fervently as and with the same amount of faith as any theist, which you do.

I'm afraid this misses the point. You cannot "covert one's faith" if no faith is involved in the outcome. By definition your comment in patently false, however I did want to extend to you the courtesy of an opportunity to explain what you meant. Since it appears that you're stuck, I'll just accept the comment for what it is and move on.

:rofl:

Actually, you're being completely disingenuous, achilles. You claim to take a neutral position, but then proceed at any and every opportunity to ridicule and belittle theistic povs. Fact is, as has been stated numerously, that neither side has a lock on the truth. Atheists trust that an insuffiency of empirical evidence exonerates their belief that there are no gods or even a God. Since neither side can answer the question unequivocably, the antitheistic side (yours, frankly) really ought to learn some humility of its own.

mur'phon
07-09-2008, 04:29 AM
Tot: But as far as I know, Achilles haven't stated: "there is no god", rather he goes with "there is no evidence for a god, and hence it's no reason to believe in one". You don't need to deny a gods existence to be an atheist, simply not believing there is one is enough.

Totenkopf
07-09-2008, 01:22 PM
Problem is, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth on the issue. It's neutral to say that you don't know whether such entities exist, but choose not to BELIEVE untill more evidence comes in. Another to belittle the other side of the issue b/c it doesn't meet your requirements of rationality. Given that I'd have to look at too many posts to make sure he didn't utter the words "there is no god" verbatim, that has been the position of many of his posts. One of the reasons he so strongly embraces the FSM concept and tries to bludgeon the other side. I agree you can be an athiest and neutral so long as you recognize that it's your belief, and not established fact, that such entites don't exist.

Arcesious
07-09-2008, 02:00 PM
Being neutral isn't neutrality in the eyes of those who are not neutral.

Whoever said there were two sides to every question and answer was wrong. I have to say that there are three. A side positive, a side unknown, and a side negative.

We can't fully prove or disprove anything, but we do what we can. It would be impossible for anything to make any advancements if judgements of the value of something is never made. There will always need to be Athiests, and there will always need to be thiests. Agnostics don't really make many strong points in arguments because we consider all sides equally possible. Thiests will argue that agnostics are the opposite of their beleifs. Somewhat true, yes, but it is not efficient to examine a question or debate without judging all sides equally. I hold more to the athiest side, as does Achilles, and thiests usually hold mostly to the opposite side.

We all make judgements of the relevence of things- to not do so would make us never get anywhere. The reason I stick to the athiestic side is because it seems to have more solid method of judgement, known as the scientific method...

Totenkopf
07-09-2008, 02:38 PM
Being neutral isn't neutrality in the eyes of those who are not neutral.


A 2x edged sword, I'm sure you can appreciate.




Whoever said there were two sides to every question and answer was wrong. I have to say that there are three. A side positive, a side unknown, and a side negative.

The question of is there or isn't there really only offers 2 possible solutions (like any other yes/no question). Yes, but...and no, but... are merely nuances on that issue.



We can't fully prove or disprove anything, but we do what we can. It would be impossible for anything to make any advancements if judgements of the value of something is never made. There will always need to be Athiests, and there will always need to be thiests. Agnostics don't really make many strong points in arguments because we consider all sides equally possible. Thiests will argue that agnostics are the opposite of their beleifs. Somewhat true, yes, but it is not efficient to examine a question or debate without judging all sides equally. I hold more to the athiest side, as does Achilles, and thiests usually hold mostly to the opposite side.

So.....if mankind actually managed to discover "God" tomorrow, would there still be need of atheists? Or just anti-theists (ie who cares, it's evil whatever it is)? Agnostics only make the undefeatable point so far that neither side has conclusively proven their case. I'm afraid your friend Achilles has already chosen his side, not merely "leaning toward it" as you put it.



We all make judgements of the relevence of things- to not do so would make us never get anywhere. The reason I stick to the athiestic side is because it seems to have more solid method of judgement, known as the scientific method...

The scientific method can only deal with issues empirically. Either I have hard evidence to base my hypotheses and conclusions on or I don't. It is not geared to deal with what are likely more metaphysical concepts due to insufficient data. Any good scientist knows that a lack of data doesn't necessarily equate to nonexistence and therefore tries to deal with things that he can measure, not merely dismissing things that he can't. FTR, I believe it's possible that no such entities exist, but won't arrogantly reject them out of hand b/c they don't fit into my desired paradigm.

Det. Bart Lasiter
07-09-2008, 03:22 PM
ITT: ACHILLES' SPIRITUALITY MEGATHREAD

Whoever said there were two sides to every question and answer was wrong. I have to say that there are three. A side positive, a side unknown, and a side negative.Bleh. There's always a solution to a problem that's better than any others, even if you don't realize it (tl;dr: ignorance isn't an excuse). Accordingly, there's a right answer and a wrong answer.

Achilles
07-09-2008, 03:22 PM
Tot: But as far as I know, Achilles haven't stated: "there is no god", rather he goes with "there is no evidence for a god, and hence it's no reason to believe in one". You don't need to deny a gods existence to be an atheist, simply not believing there is one is enough.Good post :)

Being neutral isn't neutrality in the eyes of those who are not neutral. Ouch. *rubs forehead*

We can't fully prove or disprove anything, but we do what we can. Depends on the context of your statement. We can prove that 2+2=4. It is a fact that the earth revolves around the sun. We cannot prove or disprove the hypothesis that gravity is caused by invisible flying monkeys that live in my sock drawer. A thorough and enlightened discussion about gravitons may or may not render this latter hypothesis unnecessary, but that isn't the same things as stating that my sock-monkeys aren't real.

and there will always need to be thiests. Why?

This is akin to saying that there will always need to be people that believe the earth is flat or that human actions are controled by animal spirits. I don't see why such beliefs should be considered a necessity (let alone a benefit).

Agnostics don't really make many strong points in arguments because we consider all sides equally possible.Err...depends on what you mean by "agnostic". When you start getting into what it means to be atheistic and what it means to be agnostic, the lines get pretty blurry in some parts.

Thiests will argue that agnostics are the opposite of their beleifs. I would tend to think that anti-theists would be the opposite of theists. One holds a specific, positive belief about the non-existence of god. The other holds a specific, positive belief about the existence of god.

Anyone unsure or without a belief would seem to belong a different spectrum altogether, wouldn't you think?

Arcesious
07-09-2008, 04:13 PM
Anyone unsure or without a belief would seem to belong a different spectrum altogether, wouldn't you think?

I guess I'm trying to use 'Agnostic' as the most neutral position. Although if there is a term for soemthing truly neutral besides... I dunno, 'Neutralist' (Is that even a word?), then I'll start using that term.

As for always needing people of opposite veiws, I'm trying to make the point that it's important to always have someone who questions other beleifs, in order to make progress. IE, two people of opposite veiws argue about something and come to a whole different conclusion than the two sides they had first limited their debate to, making progress.

mur'phon
07-09-2008, 04:23 PM
Achilles: Great minds think alike:D

Arc: Opposing wievs are great for making progress, peace on the other hand tend to be harder to achieve in such a situation. Anyway, I don't really see theists and anti theists add much to progress by virtue of their beliefs, not that that tend to harm progress either.

Achilles
07-09-2008, 04:36 PM
I guess I'm trying to use 'Agnostic' as the most neutral position. Although if there is a term for soemthing truly neutral besides... I dunno, 'Neutralist' (Is that even a word?), then I'll start using that term.I guess I don't view agnostics as being "neutral" so much as "uncommitted". Thinking that it's equal parts likely and unlikely that god exists isn't exactly a reasonable position either.

As for always needing people of opposite veiws, I'm trying to make the point that it's important to always have someone who questions other beleifs, in order to make progress. I agree that's true, but to my point, do you think we still need people around to argue that the world is flat to keep the "world is round" people in line? We absolutely need to have an open forum in which ideas can be challenged, but I don't think purposely maintaining a populations of bad ideas for this purpose helps anyone.

They don't admit fat, sweaty guys into the Olympics just to keep the athletes on their toes do they?

IE, two people of opposite veiws argue about something and come to a whole different conclusion than the two sides they had first limited their debate to, making progress.Right, but how much progress can be made when a bunch of time is wasted refuting bad ideas? Keeping with the theme, how much effort would we be able to put into important, groundbreaking stuff like quantum physics if we still had to devote a substantial amount of time to debate with flat-earth proponents?

We can still have a debate within the scientific community without having to cater to flawed thinking.

Totenkopf
07-09-2008, 09:19 PM
I guess I don't view agnostics as being "neutral" so much as "uncommitted". Thinking that it's equal parts likely and unlikely that god exists isn't exactly a reasonable position either.

Yet more rational than claiming they do/don't when the evidence doesn't support your position. And, frankly, "I don't know" is a much more neutral position anyway.


I agree that's true, but to my point, do you think we still need people around to argue that the world is flat to keep the "world is round" people in line? We absolutely need to have an open forum in which ideas can be challenged, but I don't think purposely maintaining a populations of bad ideas for this purpose helps anyone.

Well, unless your going to use your defer to authority fallacy, people need to understand why those ideas are considered bad in the first place. At the very least, you'll need to explain why and where they fail.



They don't admit fat, sweaty guys into the Olympics just to keep the athletes on their toes do they?

What, you mean academic forums and organization seriously entertain the flat earthers, creationists, etc...?


Right, but how much progress can be made when a bunch of time is wasted refuting bad ideas? Keeping with the theme, how much effort would we be able to put into important, groundbreaking stuff like quantum physics if we still had to devote a substantial amount of time to debate with flat-earth proponents?

Since when have these people seriously blocked the road to such higher learning in the modern age? There are enough secular sources of funding on the globe to continue down the track of further discovery. Of course it also begs the question of how much more could be accomplished if scientists egos didn't get in the way by trying to reinvent the wheel and get all the credit? Seems the real problem in this era is financial investment and payoff in ideas, not "backward thinking yokels".


We can still have a debate within the scientific community without having to cater to flawed thinking.

I'm sure that goes on all the time currently anyway.

Lance Monance
07-10-2008, 01:31 PM
Problem is, he speaks out of both sides of his mouth on the issue. It's neutral to say that you don't know whether such entities exist, but choose not to BELIEVE untill more evidence comes in. Another to belittle the other side of the issue b/c it doesn't meet your requirements of rationality. Given that I'd have to look at too many posts to make sure he didn't utter the words "there is no god" verbatim, that has been the position of many of his posts. One of the reasons he so strongly embraces the FSM concept and tries to bludgeon the other side. I agree you can be an athiest and neutral so long as you recognize that it's your belief, and not established fact, that such entites don't exist.

If there's no evidence for something, the question whether it exists or not does not even arise in my mind. If you are labelling that a belief in nonexistance, then knowledge that is considered to be fact is a belief as well.

And essentially that's correct, we can never be 100 % sure about anything. But that stance doesn't get us anywhere. Therefore we tend to say "X does not exist" when there's no evidence for it.

I wonder why some people keep pointing out that we can't know for sure only when it comes to religious stuff.

Achilles
07-10-2008, 01:57 PM
Therefore we tend to say "X does not exist" when there's no evidence for it. Or, if I may, "there is no reason for us to think that X exists" when there is no evidence for X. A vast majority of people (including many participants in this thread) have absolutely no problem applying this thinking to every god that has ever been imagined, save one (hint: theirs).

KinchyB
07-10-2008, 02:14 PM
I wonder why some people keep pointing out that we can't know for sure only when it comes to religious stuff.

Ohhh, I can't resist!!! I don't know, and may never know, for sure what heritage I am. I got 6 nailed down (well, 5 technically, the 6th is fairly generic) but I'm pretty sure there are a few more. :lol: But seriously...I don't know :confused: blah, oh well, just had to break the trend of not knowing only in religious stuff. :)

Anyway...

A vast majority of people (including many participants in this thread) have absolutely no problem applying this thinking to every god that has ever been imagined, save one (hint: theirs).

I would tend to agree with this in general. When it comes to faith I think for the most part people are not open minded (may be willing to learn but learning is not necessarily being open minded). For myself, I'm not open minded in the fact I need physical proof of existence. If I didn't need physical proof I would have to accept all religions as being true and the probability of all of them being accurate is 0. So, until there is physical proof of the existence of any god (even the ones the built the pyramids :xp:) I'm going to be skeptical, so much for being open minded I guess...

Totenkopf
07-10-2008, 02:47 PM
Not sure why some people object to having it pointed out to them that they don't know what they think they know. There's no problem, in my mind anyway, with people choosing not to believe something due to insufficient information. But saying, I don't have sufficient info to demonstrate the existence of X (gods, ghosts, bigfoot, ufos, etc), therefore I have no reason to believe in them is not the same as saying they don't exist. It's pretty straightforward. Nothing wrong with skepticism, though.

mur'phon
07-10-2008, 03:25 PM
with people choosing not to believe something due to insufficient information. But saying, I don't have sufficient info to demonstrate the existence of X (gods, ghosts, bigfoot, ufos, etc), therefore I have no reason to believe in them is not the same as saying they don't exist.

And? As far as I know both me and Achilles belong in the former category, y'know those you don't have a problem with:D

Achilles
07-10-2008, 03:32 PM
For myself, I'm not open minded in the fact I need physical proof of existence. If I didn't need physical proof I would have to accept all religions as being true and the probability of all of them being accurate is 0. So, until there is physical proof of the existence of any god (even the ones the built the pyramids :xp:) I'm going to be skeptical, so much for being open minded I guess...Wow, you're much more demanding than I am. I'm perfectly willing to accept a logical argument for the existence of a deity or deities. Physical proof certainly would cut right to the chase, but I, personally, don't consider it a requirement for belief.

Totenkopf
07-10-2008, 03:48 PM
And? As far as I know both me and Achilles belong in the former category, y'know those you don't have a problem with:D

I'd agree that you certainly seem to. :)

KinchyB
07-10-2008, 04:27 PM
I'm perfectly willing to accept a logical argument for the existence of a deity or deities.

Well what would constitute a valid logical argument though? In all honesty, when it comes to religion, I'm not sure a logical argument exists.

IMO, the only reason people have faith is because they don't have facts. If you had facts you wouldn't need faith as the answer would be right in front of you. And truly the only thing religion is there for is so that people can cling to the idea that there is some meaning and purpose to our existence. For example, the idea of there being nothing once you die (just emptiness) scares people and forces them to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is "life" after death. But in order to believe this you have to put all critical thinking to the side and just "believe" or have "faith".

Achilles
07-10-2008, 04:35 PM
Well what would constitute a valid logical argument though? I guess I'll know it when I see it.

In all honesty, when it comes to religion, I'm not sure a logical argument exists. I would tend to agree. Can't rule it out though.

IMO, the only reason people have faith is because they don't have facts. If you had facts you wouldn't need faith as the answer would be right in front of you.Err...

I think I would disagree that this is the true for a lot of cases. Faith is maintaining belief even when the facts contradict that belief (i.e. "faith" is placing a greater value on belief than facts or reason). I think many people (especially educated people) know what the facts are, they just choose not to accept them.

And truly the only thing religion is there for is so that people can cling to the idea that there is some meaning and purpose to our existence. If you mean "inherent meaning and purpose" then I would probably agree with part of this. Life has as much (or as little) "meaning and purpose" as we choose to give it. We don't need religion to have them.

And on the other side of the coin, don't forget that religion can also be used to establish power and control.

For example, the idea of there being nothing once you die (just emptiness) scares people and forces them to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is "life" after death. But in order to believe this you have to put all critical thinking to the side and just "believe" or have "faith".Yep :D

KinchyB
07-10-2008, 04:47 PM
I would tend to agree. Can't rule it out though.


You do have a point here. It would tend to go against my thinking that anything is possible as well now that I think about it, so I definitely concede this point.


If you mean "inherent meaning and purpose" then I would probably agree with part of this. Life has as much (or as little) "meaning and purpose" as we choose to give it. We don't need religion to have them.

Yup, I did. :)

And on the other side of the coin, don't forget that religion can also be used to establish power and control.

So true...look at Tom Cruise... :¬:

----

Grammar edit :P

Achilles
07-10-2008, 04:49 PM
So true...look at Tom Cruise... :¬:I was thinking pointier hats, but okay.

Totenkopf
07-10-2008, 06:15 PM
I guess I'll know it when I see it.

One wonders that if a person can't come up with a logical argument (or example, definition..) on their own, how much stock can be put in their ability to recognize one if/when they see it?

Jae Onasi
07-24-2008, 06:52 AM
Frankly, I think I've spent the better part of a year trying to get you to answer that one for me.
You've spent the better part of the year responding to my thoughts on religion with sarcasm. I don't want to deal with the sarcasm, and the easiest way to do that is to just walk away from the conversation when it gets heated, whether it's religion, WTC, or any other thread. Sarcasm is rude, and I'm tired of being on the receiving end all the time. It's pretty clear that you posting without sarcasm on any religious topic is never going to happen, so it's pretty clear you and I shouldn't discuss that topic.

I'll be happy to discuss religion with anyone else who's willing to share their viewpoints with civility.

Achilles
07-25-2008, 04:11 PM
You've spent the better part of the year responding to my thoughts on religion with sarcasm. I don't want to deal with the sarcasm, and the easiest way to do that is to just walk away from the conversation when it gets heated, whether it's religion, WTC, or any other thread. Sarcasm is rude, and I'm tired of being on the receiving end all the time. It's pretty clear that you posting without sarcasm on any religious topic is never going to happen, so it's pretty clear you and I shouldn't discuss that topic.

I'll be happy to discuss religion with anyone else who's willing to share their viewpoints with civility.Why do I get the feeling that my pointing out your hypocrisy here is probably going to result in a flag while your lack of civility is going to be ignored?

Did you really need to bump the thread after it had been dormant for two weeks just to say something that probably should have been a PM? If you're looking for the last word, just say so.

Totenkopf
07-25-2008, 06:10 PM
Why do I get the feeling that my pointing out your hypocrisy here is probably going to result in a flag while your lack of civility is going to be ignored?

Did you really need to bump the thread after it had been dormant for two weeks just to say something that probably should have been a PM? If you're looking for the last word, just say so.

:rofl: The irony here is rich. You suggest Jae should have said something like that via PM and then proceed to try to get the last word "publicly" in a fit of your own hypocrisy. Almost epic in its presumption.

Seems this also highlights part of the reason that our mothers (figuratively speaking) warn us about discussing politics and religion (among other things) w/others. ;)

RyuuKage
07-25-2008, 06:20 PM
Note: frankly, I think the headline is a bit of a herring, considering that the article itself points out that this is merely just another piece of evidence for an existing argument. Anyway...

Link to full article (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/world/middleeast/06stone.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss)
Not just Jewish tradition, but almost every pagan religion as well. :dozey:

Skipping ahead:
Like the book of Isaiah?

I also thought that the last couple of paragraph were particularly interesting:

um...lol? this is hardly new. Judaism has all sorts of prophecies concerning the messaiah, they knew all this stuff already.

Q
07-25-2008, 07:30 PM
You've spent the better part of the year responding to my thoughts on religion with sarcasm. I don't want to deal with the sarcasm, and the easiest way to do that is to just walk away from the conversation when it gets heated, whether it's religion, WTC, or any other thread. Sarcasm is rude, and I'm tired of being on the receiving end all the time. It's pretty clear that you posting without sarcasm on any religious topic is never going to happen, so it's pretty clear you and I shouldn't discuss that topic.

I'll be happy to discuss religion with anyone else who's willing to share their viewpoints with civility.

Why do I get the feeling that my pointing out your hypocrisy here is probably going to result in a flag while your lack of civility is going to be ignored?

Did you really need to bump the thread after it had been dormant for two weeks just to say something that probably should have been a PM? If you're looking for the last word, just say so.<cue ominous timpani drumroll>

:rofl: The irony here is rich. You suggest Jae should have said something like that via PM and then proceed to try to get the last word "publicly" in a fit of your own hypocrisy. Almost epic in its presumption.Now it's my turn: QFT.

Achilles
07-25-2008, 07:30 PM
Judaism has all sorts of prophecies concerning the messaiah, they knew all this stuff already.Specifically that he would suffer as a martyr? All the books I've read that make reference to jewish messianic prophecy indicate that they were expecting a grand, temporal king ala Solomon, not someone of low birth that would be killed.

Jae Onasi
07-25-2008, 11:21 PM
Why do I get the feeling that my pointing out your hypocrisy here is probably going to result in a flag while your lack of civility is going to be ignored?

Did you really need to bump the thread after it had been dormant for two weeks just to say something that probably should have been a PM? If you're looking for the last word, just say so.

You get mad at me if I don't answer you, and then you get mad at me when I do, even if it's late. What do you want?

Do you honestly blame me for not wanting to have a PM exchange with you after the PMs I received in January? Yes, I can forgive that and said so long ago. However, it would be wise if we didn't put ourselves in the position where that kind of thing could be repeated.

@RyuuKage--Yep, Isaiah went into some detail on this, and said several hundred years before those tablets that Christ would be crucified. The Jews of Christ's day were expecting a political Messiah to redeem them, when the Old Testament's theme was always about a Messiah who would redeem the Jews to God rather than a political entity. So no, it doesn't surprise me either to see a reiteration of themes found in Isaiah written on some tablets. I feel like that's their equivalent of today's Bible commentaries.

Achilles
07-25-2008, 11:52 PM
You get mad at me if I don't answer you, and then you get mad at me when I do, even if it's late. What do you want? I think that it would be significantly easier for me to accept this had you actually posted to respond to some part of my point. You ignored several relevant questions and arguments and instead decided to respond to one single sentence from a post that I submitted 17 days ago with personal commentary that is in no way relevant to the discussion. Since you chose not to respond with anything constructive, I'm not going to be able to accept that you posted in the spirit of a dialog in good faith.

Do you honestly blame me for not wanting to have a PM exchange with you after the PMs I received in January? Yes, I can forgive that and said so long ago. However, it would be wise if we didn't put ourselves in the position where that kind of thing could be repeated.I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. Either your post was appropriate for this thread or it should have been a PM. If it's appropriate for this thread, then by all means, let's continue this discussion. Otherwise, I'm not sure how your concerns have anything to do with the inappropriateness of your post.

If your intention was to respond to my post in good faith, then you should have responded to the whole thing. If your intention was to vent your personal frustrations with how you perceive my tone, then it should have been a PM. So with that said, I hope you'll understand if I find there to be very little consistency in your message.

Thanks for reading.

Jae Onasi
08-05-2008, 01:08 PM
The discussion bifurcated to this particular topic. I addressed the points I wanted to address from your post. The rest I either didn't think needed further discussion, were addressed adequately by others, or were straying into the sarcasm realm where I don't want to go.

There's nothing to be discussed in PMs that can't be discussed here or in other threads.