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Old 07-26-2009, 04:03 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
Certainly. I looked up "superstition" in the dictionary, and found that a Christian's beliefs need not fit the description (though they obviously can). That was where my list of "doesn't-have-to's" came from, actually.
I guess I'm still not seeing it.

Christians believe that jesus was the son of god, born of a virgin, who died for our sins and was resurrected after three day to ascend into heaven.

That part alone hits every single branch on the way down out of the superstition tree.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
Only if you consider those things to be against nature, which to a Christian they would not necessarily be.
Well certainly there are all manner of things that I cannot rule out. We have yet to observe omnipotence or omniscience in nature. That doesn't mean that they don't exist. But that also means that we don't have good reasons to think that they do.

So if one were to suggest that we should accept those claims without observing them in nature, then they must remain supernatural constructs until such time that we can move them into the "natural" column.

And, obviously, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim in the mean time.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
As in my example, the omnipotence thing can be explained as merely the result of the sort of being that God is, just as my ability to walk is the result of my being a human being that is reasonably fit. Neither of these can be called unnatural by any stretch of the imagination.
As per above, I'm still not seeing it.

Locomotion is rampant throughout the animal kingdom. Many species are capable of bi-pedal locomotion. There is a naturalistic explanation for why it is that you can walk, run, waltz, tango, break-dance, etc. Surely it is amazing in the same way that our opposable thumbs allow us to efficiently utilize tools. You are right to say there is nothing "unnatural" here.

But where is the rationale for omnipotence? Where do we see vestigial parts in the evolutionary chain of history? We don't. It's...supernatural. One "being" alone allegedly possesses this trait (depending on who you ask) and we have absolutely zero evidence that any of it is true.

You're saying that christians don't have to believe in the supernatural to be christians. My question is, how in the heck can you still call them christians if you take away all the christian doctrine? What is left?

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
If it were to go as you describe, sure, you're quite correct. But few people believe in God because evidence leads them to it. In fact, I do not think any evidence would be sufficient to prove God's existence.
Surely an omnipotent being would be able to do something to convince you, Mr. Dravis. Even my skepticism doesn't go that far.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
From what I can tell, the story goes: Get born, learn about God from your parents, sunday school, friends, see Jesus on the wall, pray over the table and before you go to bed, etc etc. In none of these activities resides the action of "looking to make sure God's there" or anything like it.

And then look at the sort of thing which usually facilitates conversions later on in life. Spiritual crisis, loss of family members, despair at being a good person / over addictions, etc. These also do not involve examination of physical evidence. Kierkegaard is an interesting read on this subject, and I recommend his "The Sickness Unto Death."
I understand but these are all horrible reasons for belief. They are understandable reasons, but that doesn't excuse that they are horrible reasons.

As such, I direct you back to your own source:

"a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation"

Unless I'm missing something, christianity is superstition per your source and your argument above.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
So, my understanding of the question, in its natural environment, is that it is not empirical, and given modern Christianity, necessarily so; if there is no possible difference in evidence between two options, then appeals to a decision based on which side has the most evidence are nonsensical. The statement "God exists" effectively turns into an attitude towards life and declaration of the way the believer will go about living. Interpreting it strictly as an empirical statement is to ignore the whole surroundings within which the belief was formed and given meaning.
Okay, and how is this not special pleading?

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
Given this, your criticism is too limited to address the normal reasons for believing that a normal Christian might have, and for some people it may not address any of their reasons at all. It also would mean that belief in Christianity does not require a position of ignorance, since knowledge of evidence does not come into play.

Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
My main point, however, was that I only disagreed with Skinwalker over his use of "superstitious" as a necessary component to Christianity. I'm sure the two coexist quite well most places.
Per my arguments above, I maintain that you might be missing the point. The argument is not that superstition is a necessary component of christianity. The argument is that christianity is itself superstition. There is no duality to separate and contemplate individually.

Again, I am open to seeing arguments to the contrary, but in the mean time I maintain that if you attempt to remove the superstition from christianity you will find that there is nothing left after you are finished (you may have some nice stories promoting secular humanism, but that's it).

Thanks for the interesting discussion, Mr. Dravis.

Last edited by Achilles; 07-26-2009 at 01:20 PM. Reason: spellin'
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