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Old 08-29-2007, 03:30 AM   #1
Qui-Gon Glenn
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My God is better than your God!

Did that get your attention

Well, I do not believe in "God" per se.... obviously a topic for another thread. However, I was raised as a Christian, and formed my basic view of the world along that framework, however misguided it may have been. The framework I'm talking about is life on earth, and life after, be it in Heaven, Hell, or that wacky place called Purgatory (not Peragus, although I believe the places to be similar)

Learning to think critically towards the end of grade school, and then studying Philosophy at college, I have some slightly different ideas now versus when I started, but many of the big questions remain the same.... How did I get here? What am I supposed to be doing? What happens when this is all done?

According to Christian belief, and forgive me for my brevity in summation, we die. Then, we meet this cat Peter at a pearly gate, he reads the book of our life and passes judgment. Hooray, Heaven! or Oh, NO! Hell!! Or, if you're Catholic... Purgatory, you average underachieving mutt.

So, let's play this out a bit.... I die, Peter reads someone else's page during my judgment, and I go to Heaven (). I cruise around, looking for the historical wonders, the great minds of history, of "goodness". Yet, to my endless consternation, I can't find Gottama (the Buddha), I cannot find Krishna, I cannot find Mohammed. I can't find Sartre.... only Descartes fighting with Kierkegaard over something entirely over my head... and those two aren't acting angelically.

Christian Heaven is a pretty exclusive place. Oh, sure, there are the famous Jews from history, Elijah and Moses and crew.... or wait... are those facades? That's right, those guys are really hanging out in Judaic limbo.

Ok. Screw that. I go back to Peter and say, "Yo Jack. You messed up my reading.... I'm heading south for retirement." Plummeting like a lead weight, I arrive in the fiery confines of Satan and see billions of unhappy Chinese, Indian and Arabic peoples, and many others from groups I'm too ignorant to label, hanging out with all the ne-er-do-well Christians. Ahhh, there are all the friends I was looking for...

But wait. These people lived good lives. That Muslim never did anything but honor his God, his wife and his children. That Hindi served her community endlessly. Over there that Atheist spent his whole life teaching inner-city youth. That Jainist never even hurt a fly.... seriously! Yet they are condemned to my hell....

Is your God better than someone elses? Can you please tell me why? Don't answer with scripture and verse - I will berate and belittle you while I dissect your silly argument. Form an argument that we can all benefit from. I personally would sleep at night knowing once in for all which God was really the one I should pray to.

IMO, this is the cause of trouble. Fundamental beliefs built on fear.

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Old 08-29-2007, 06:08 AM   #2
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I have asked that question to every religious person I have talked to, so hopefully you'll get an answer to this other than "it is not up to me to judge".
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Old 08-29-2007, 07:01 AM   #3
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My God's better cause He eats K-L-Ration.......

Seriously, though, I don't ever recall being taught that all "nonbelievers" went to hell on general principle. Don't know what sect of Christianity you grew up with, qui_gon, but that's nothing I ever learned in 12 years of Catholic school (nor at home for that matter).


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Old 08-29-2007, 07:13 AM   #4
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As an atheist, this is a question I've often posed. I've only heard one answer to it and it's utterly idiotic. Listen to this, at least you'll have a good laugh.
While I was still in High School, instead of my regular class (an optional subject whose name I can't accurately translate), one day we were forced to attend what Americans call ''Sunday school'' (a class where a priest ''teaches'' you about religion). One last thing that needs to be pointed out - in my country the major religion is Christian Orthodox.
Anyway, during that class a friend asked the priest the question ''what happens to people of different religion when they die?''.
Here's what he got as an answer: When you're dying Archangel Gabriel comes to you and asks if you accept Christ and if you say yes you go to Heaven.
So, according to this it doesn't matter what kind of life you lead, if you accept Christ you go upstairs and if you don't then ''you're going down MoFo!''

Fortunately, I was too well mannered to laugh out loud during class. That was forty five minutes well spent.
I would still like to hear what religious people around here think on this matter. Maybe someone has a good, intelligent and believable answer.

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Old 08-29-2007, 10:07 AM   #5
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I think SoldierInGodsArmy makes a pretty compelling argument for the christian god.

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Old 08-29-2007, 12:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
My God's better cause He eats K-L-Ration.......

Seriously, though, I don't ever recall being taught that all "nonbelievers" went to hell on general principle. Don't know what sect of Christianity you grew up with, qui_gon, but that's nothing I ever learned in 12 years of Catholic school (nor at home for that matter).
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Well, I didn't necessarily grow up raised that way, but increasingly I see polarization, especially in the US, of religious factions. Fundamentalism is raising its ugly head every where you turn, regardless of the guise worn. I feel that many American Christians are leaning more and more towards this sort of Holy Exclusivity, with brainiacs like the masked man in Achilles' video leading the charge. (That was pretty darned funny)

I'm a big fan of Jesus. Historically, seems like a pretty cool dude. I'd love to sit at the campfire with him, and maybe Socrates... what a conversation. I'd probably end up quietly listening, since I can't hang with those intellects...

Son of God though? Any moreso than you or I? Come on.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I think SoldierInGodsArmy makes a pretty compelling argument for the christian god.
Unfortunately you are correct this is a “compelling argument” for why a lot of people believe in a Christian God. Fear of what will happen after this life on this earth is over brings most people to religion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by igyman
I would still like to hear what religious people around here think on this matter. Maybe someone has a good, intelligent and believable answer.
I don’t know if there is an INTELLIGENT or BELIIEVABLE answer to this question. At least I’ve never heard one and believe me I’ve searched.

I went though a similar experience in High School and got much the same answer as you, so I went to a different church and they explained that by only accepting God and Jesus in the name of their church would I be accepted into heaven. This confused me completely, first I can only find eternal happiness by accepting a Christian God and his son Jesus and then I was told that wasn’t true, I had to accept a Christian God in the name of his son, but only if I did so though this one Christian Church.

This got me to thinking about my ancestors, so I asked the question “What about people that never had an opportunity to hear the word of God, would they be accept into heaven?” The answer made me pretty much swear off Religion as an Institution as their answer was no. This even made me question my faith God, I could not come to grips as to why I would worship a God that was so unfair or malevolent to punish someone that was never given the opportunity to hear his/her word.

I could not have turn to atheism because I do believe in God (and NO I do not have any proof to support MY belief, nor do feel the burden to provide proof as I am not trying to convert people to my belief system). I however do not believe in the institution of Religion or anyone or anything that is arrogant enough to profess without doubt to speak for God. I could be wrong, but I have to live with myself in this life before going on to the next.

Quote:
Originally Posted by igyman
Fortunately, I was too well mannered to laugh out loud during class.
Unfortunately I am not as well mannered as you and have walked out of religious classrooms and church services when they starting condemning any groups or people to hell’s damnation. I do not believe it is my place to judge anyone, but myself. I’ve also been known to get up and walk out when the preacher turned his attention to politics.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Is your God better than someone elses? Can you please tell me why? Don't answer with scripture and verse - I will berate and belittle you while I dissect your silly argument. Form an argument that we can all benefit from.
Mod note: Berating and belittling someone is trolling and is a violation of forum rules. Don't berate or belittle anyone. It's also a great way to discourage people from joining in the discussion.


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Old 08-29-2007, 02:25 PM   #9
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^^^ Ok. I will then only dissect your argument, and point out the monumental flaws. I used those words to hopefully provoke an impassioned response (it's the demon inside of me (see the demon thread)).

Your second point is very well taken though.... I did want discussion, and the more the merrier. I guess I am too naturally a smart*ss. Thank you for the reminder.

Back on topic... I don't think anyone needs to justify a belief in God. If they believe, they believe. That's it, and enough for me. I may not agree, but that is ok. I believe in something too.... can't define it, and not sure what it does, but I believe too.

My problem with belief is that it becomes too exclusive, and if my beliefs and yours differ.... let's fight! So, we must stop our religions from competing, and instead see them as alternative avenues to the same destination. Real destination or not, can a critical thinker not see the grand sameness of all the major religions (and most of the smaller ones)?
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin
Unfortunately you are correct this is a “compelling argument” for why a lot of people believe in a Christian God. Fear of what will happen after this life on this earth is over brings most people to religion.
FWIW, I'm probably at least 50% kinda sure (but not really) that SoldierInGodsArmy is a comedian.

As some people know, I've sampled a great many flavors of religion over many years. After my exposure to the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses, I was more than a little terrified (don't worry though - indoctrination isn't child abuse). I took my concerns to a non-denominational pastor and asked how I was supposed to decide which religion was the correct one. He told me that in his opinion god was more concerned about us being good people and doing the right thing than whether or not we were members of the right church.

I'm sure many fundamentalists and evangelicals will disagree with this, but that conversation stuck with me (and ironically later helped me find the courage to become an atheist).

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
My problem with belief is that it becomes too exclusive, and if my beliefs and yours differ.... let's fight! So, we must stop our religions from competing, and instead see them as alternative avenues to the same destination. Real destination or not, can a critical thinker not see the grand sameness of all the major religions (and most of the smaller ones)?
But how does one negotiate absolute truths? If I know that my god the correct one and you know that your god is the correct one, then how can we find alternative avenue?

We can attempt to argue our viewpoints rationally, however since they are completely subjective, there are no agreeable criteria to work from.

We can become insular, but this is like estranged spouses: sharing the same house, the same food, and the air but miserable in our vigilance against contact.

At some point these worlds do collide and even though there might be a honeymoon period during which all is well, things eventually turn bloody.

So long as we insist on maintaining our faith, what other alternatives do we have?
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
FWIW, I'm probably at least 50% kinda sure (but not really) that SoldierInGodsArmy is a comedian.
I was fairly sure that was the case, but for a comedian to be truly considered funny there should be a grain of truth in their dialog, just exaggerated for comic appeal. I kept wondering if it was David Soul behind that mask (if anyone gets that you are truly old or like watching old television shows).

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Old 08-29-2007, 03:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin
I was fairly sure that was the case, but for a comedian to be truly considered funny there should be a grain of truth in their dialog, just exaggerated for comic appeal.
But that's what he did. Unless of course he was being literal and truly missed all the flaws in his thinking.

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Originally Posted by mimartin
I kept wondering if it was David Soul behind that mask (if anyone gets that you are truly old or like watching old television shows).
Didn't he play Ponch on CHiPs?
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
^^^ Ok. I will then only dissect your argument, and point out the monumental flaws. I used those words to hopefully provoke an impassioned response (it's the demon inside of me (see the demon thread)).
Just remember not to be too impassioned or try to provoke angry responses. Otherwise we mods will be forced to display our godlike powers.

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Old 08-29-2007, 04:30 PM   #14
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Got it. You see.... there are gods here that I have more evidence for than any God history has cited.

David Soul - see Salem's Lot (more obscure) or my favorite red car with a white strips on the side.... Starsky and Hutch baby. DO it.

I couldn't take him seriously- I thought it was Rob Dyrdek from Rob & Big behind the mask.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
But how does one negotiate absolute truths? If I know that my god is the correct one and you know that your god is the correct one, then how can we find alternative avenue?
Yes, the problem of the true believers. This is the exact problem of blind faith.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
We can attempt to argue our viewpoints rationally, however since they are completely subjective, there are no agreeable criteria to work from.
Well, there is room for argument, as long as both sides recognize the potential fallibility of their respective positions. Since we are arguing about something at this time truly unknowable, the person who clings to tightly to their subjectivity personifies an ass.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
We can become insular, but this is like estranged spouses: sharing the same house, the same food, and the air but miserable in our vigilance against contact.
At some point these worlds do collide and even though there might be a honeymoon period during which all is well, things eventually turn bloody.
So long as we insist on maintaining our faith, what other alternatives do we have?
Faith. This is the main issue, yes? Faith is ok, I think, as long has limits. Without limits, faith is blind, ignorant, and any other stupid perjorative you can think of.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Well, there is room for argument, as long as both sides recognize the potential fallibility of their respective positions. Since we are arguing about something at this time truly unknowable, the person who clings to tightly to their subjectivity personifies an ass.
But this would assume that we are not dealing with absolute truths (or perceived absolute truths). How can we ask someone that knows they are right to consider that they might be wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Faith. This is the main issue, yes? Faith is ok, I think, as long has limits.
ergo conditional faith. Religious faith is not conditional though. Back at our conundrum once again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Without limits, faith is blind, ignorant, and any other stupid perjorative you can think of.
I tend to prefer "irrational". Accurately describes the condition without unfairly burdening the possessor with uncorrectable position or questioning their aptitude
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by igyman
When you're dying Archangel Gabriel comes to you and asks if you accept Christ and if you say yes you go to Heaven.
So, according to this it doesn't matter what kind of life you lead, if you accept Christ you go upstairs and if you don't then ''you're going down MoFo!''
I'd actually like to define what heaven is. Perhaps a well-read believer good help me with this? Is heaven ever mentioned as a physical realm of existence within the bible? And if it is, is it one of those sections to be taken literally or metaphorically?

As a non-believer I can marvel at the sense of community that a group of church-goers can build and it's an incredibly healthy thing in a lot of (if not all) cases. These fellows help each other out, live in harmony and are there for one another when times are tough - a lot of them perform charitable acts and organise things for the larger community (not just for the believers but for everyone). Such sense of community is brought about by their collective belief in a god. And while I am looking at this from a sort of idyllic, William Blake-ish stance, surely this is heaven? Heaven is not so much a place but the belief in a god and the community and happiness that brings with it. Hell is living without a god - without that central gathering point we non-believers have to gather around other things, none of which seem particularly interesting - the love of a nation is dangerous, the love of a sport hardly builds a community, and the love of literature leads to long, dust filled conversations in quiet coffee shops.

FAUSTUS: How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell?

MEPHISTOPHILIS: Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it:
Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells,
In being depriv'd of everlasting bliss?
O, Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul!

Hell is not so much a place but more being deprived of god. Think on that.

But enough of my pseudo-philosophical ranting. The god you believe in, if you believe in one at all, is probably based entirely upon geography. If you were brought up in a small English village then, more likely than not, if you're religious at all, you're going to be an Anglican Christian. If you were brought up in Delhi then you're very likely to be a Hindu. If you were brought up in Ancient Rome then you'd be a pagan. The list could go on forever. So I don't think it's a question of "Why is your god better?" but more a question of "Which god best represents and symbolises the kindness and goodness that should be inherent in man?" If you have to believe in a god why not have it be the god of tolerance, equality, peace, enjoyment, and happiness?


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Old 08-29-2007, 07:48 PM   #17
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Qui Gonn: I think there's a difference in trust in a philosophical, doctrinal, or theological position of how you think things really are, and trust in God as a personality. I try to approach my faith in the second sense in looking for personal application, not to derive how I think that should be imposed on others, but what would not screw up a relationship between my God and I.

There is a leap into the dark, which is as you describe blind faith to be. I agree with that, but disagree that that is the only possibility as to how to approach a relationship with God. And while I am Christian (not fundamentalist by any stretch), but I'm sure that there are faithful of other religions that would probably say the same thing.

Faith can also be a leap into the light. A harmonization of faith and reason towards wholeness, rather than letting one side or the other to rule your life. I'd argue that like with any other relationship, a person can nurture a dysfunctional, or functional relationship to their Creator.

Pavlos: Actually, I'd very much agree with much of what you say. Heaven is a state of being in communion with God, and harmony with a larger community. Hell is the absence of that. I tend to think it's not describing literal places as such, but states of being after death. Both the Bible and Paradise lost were meant largely for people who had not much developed the capacity for abstract thought.

Achilles: How do people deal with absolute reality vs perceptual saleince reality? It's really the same question.

It's obvious that there is a material reality, even though in various instances of experiences it may appear radically different depending on what of use or harm you can actually notice in your environment, vs what dangers your eyes may not be open to. A two year old, a pair of lovers, and a military officer in the middle of a battle may look upon the same bridge across the same river and see three very different things.

A person has to be intellectually and philosophically honest. That includes admitting that there are vast regions where it's good to look at what thought has gone into an area before, and probably some value to be gained from leaning one way or another. But it is best to say in many cases, that we just don't know.
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
But this would assume that we are not dealing with absolute truths (or perceived absolute truths). How can we ask someone that knows they are right to consider that they might be wrong?
Consider this example. You are driving through a pastoral countryside if France, and are admiring the many fantastic barns, silos and mills. You cross over a bridge into a region known as Facade, full of similar barns silos and mills along with the pastoral countryside. Your friends happen to be meeting you in the middle of Facade, having come west while you came east. At the diner over baguette and tea, you discuss the beauty and sites of the region. You are astonished to find your friends discussing the unfinished backsides of barns and silos amidst the beautiful countryside... where you had a story of beautiful barn structures to recount. Hmmm....

1. You see the barns. You have seen barns before. In Facade, the barns appeared to you exactly as any barn or silo had appeared to you in the past.

2. You know that they are barns, silos, etc.

3. Your friends recount a story that upon investigation is true... the barns in Facade are facades.

4. You don't always know what you know... or what you know may not be true.

This is what I'm aiming at. Let us be clear... If anyone is being truly honest with themselves, a great deal of what we believe to be true, real, unshakeable, what have you, have some degree of contingency. Science is a great example of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
ergo conditional faith. Religious faith is not conditional though. Back at our conundrum once again.
Yeah... I know it is wishy-washy... as I've mentioned before, not a real firm position

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I tend to prefer "irrational". Accurately describes the condition without unfairly burdening the possessor with uncorrectable position or questioning their aptitude
Again, point taken. I think finally something has drilled in to my thickness.... I've been doing a lot of name calling the last few days... my apologies to all who have had to roll their eyes.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
As a non-believer I can marvel at the sense of community that a group of church-goers can build and it's an incredibly healthy thing in a lot of (if not all) cases. These fellows help each other out, live in harmony and are there for one another when times are tough - a lot of them perform charitable acts and organise things for the larger community (not just for the believers but for everyone). Such sense of community is brought about by their collective belief in a god.
True. Is it reasonable to propose (and/or accept) that such a sense of community is only possible through a belief in god? Considering that Maslow's needs hierarchy includes a tier for community and that non-christian religions have similiar (if not better) communities, I think such a case would be difficult to prove.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
And while I am looking at this from a sort of idyllic, William Blake-ish stance, surely this is heaven? Heaven is not so much a place but the belief in a god and the community and happiness that brings with it.
This would at least appear on the surface to be at odds with gods inspired word (aka the holy bible). Supposing this were true, what would happen after death?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
Hell is living without a god
Well you're here with the atheists and the deists and the buddhists and the hindus, etc. Therefore if hell is living without god and you're here with us, then you must be in hell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
without that central gathering point we non-believers have to gather around other things, none of which seem particularly interesting
Good will toward man and common decency?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
The god you believe in, if you believe in one at all, is probably based entirely upon geography.
Indeed, which is a strong argument against the case for god.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
If you have to believe in a god why not have it be the god of tolerance, equality, peace, enjoyment, and happiness?
Because to do so would be to admit that god is a product of our collective imaginations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
(sorry, I only read the part addressed to me)

Achilles: How do people deal with absolute reality vs perceptual saleince reality? It's really the same question.
I'm not sure that I agree (mostly because I'm not sure I understand the argument).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
It's obvious that there is a material reality, even though in various instances of experiences it may appear radically different depending on what of use or harm you can actually notice in your environment, vs what dangers your eyes may not be open to. A two year old, a pair of lovers, and a military officer in the middle of a battle may look upon the same bridge across the same river and see three very different things.
My father was a career police officer so I've never used drugs.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
A person has to be intellectually and philosophically honest.
Indeed (although I'm not sure I understand what "philosophical honesty" is).

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That includes admitting that there are vast regions where it's good to look at what thought has gone into an area before, and probably some value to be gained from leaning one way or another.
Could you please clarify this thought for me?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
But it is best to say in many cases, that we just don't know.
I wholeheartedly agree that it's important to acknowledge when one does not know something. Indeed I find it to be incredibly intellectually dishonest to claim to know something which is either bereft of evidence or by its very nature unknowable. I would assume that you agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Consider this example. You are driving through a pastoral countryside if France, and are admiring the many fantastic barns, silos and mills. You cross over a bridge into a region known as Facade, full of similar barns silos and mills along with the pastoral countryside. Your friends happen to be meeting you in the middle of Facade, having come west while you came east. At the diner over baguette and tea, you discuss the beauty and sites of the region. You are astonished to find your friends discussing the unfinished backsides of barns and silos amidst the beautiful countryside... where you had a story of beautiful barn structures to recount. Hmmm....
Ok, I think I'm with you so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
1. You see the barns. You have seen barns before. In Facade, the barns appeared to you exactly as any barn or silo had appeared to you in the past.
Ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
2. You know that they are barns, silos, etc.
Ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
3. Your friends recount a story that upon investigation is true... the barns in Facade are facades.
Ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
4. You don't always know what you know... or what you know may not be true.
You lost me. The things that looked like real things turned out be be fake things. I was able to investigate the fake things and empirically verify their fakeness.

This relates to absolute truth how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
This is what I'm aiming at. Let us be clear... If anyone is being truly honest with themselves, a great deal of what we believe to be true, real, unshakeable, what have you, have some degree of contingency. Science is a great example of this.
Science is a fantastic example of this. I couldn't agree with you more.

Sorry, but I have to ask again: this relates to absolute truth how?
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:49 AM   #20
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Well you're here with the atheists and the deists and the buddhists and the hindus, etc. Therefore if hell is living without god and you're here with us, then you must be in hell.
Oh absolutely, I'm down there with you in Hell . I'm aimlessly theorising and engaging in my own, rather primitive, brand of armchair philosophy.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Good will toward man and common decency?
Quite possibly. Again, I was merely pointing out what religion could do. I'm quite certain that non-believers - like you and I and so many others - could find something to gather around. But then again, most humans would find it difficult to congregate around such an abstract notion as common decency - it is a tragic fact that they need a face, an idol to order them. I must also wonder whether or not, in a lot of cases, our kindness and decency is merely a result of guilt.

I did write a rather long reply to this point but on reading it through again, it didn't actually make much sense (posting before my morning cup of tea is not a good idea, it seems).


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Old 08-30-2007, 03:01 AM   #21
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Hell is not so much a place but more being deprived of god. Think on that.
I guess that's how a believer would feel, but I, as someone who doesn't believe in god, don't feel like I'm in hell because of it. I don't feel like I'm in heaven either, I feel like I'm on Earth, where there are good people and bad people, greedy and generous, violent and peaceful - all in all people who make mistakes.

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Originally Posted by Pavlos
So I don't think it's a question of "Why is your god better?" but more a question of "Which god best represents and symbolises the kindness and goodness that should be inherent in man?"
The bigger question is - do we really need a deity to represent all that for us? Can't we just believe in those things as they are and not associate them with any god?
Like Achilles said above, good will and common decency.

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Old 08-30-2007, 03:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Achilles
My father was a career police officer so I've never used drugs.
Ok. That wasn't what I was refering to at all. What I meant is that people are affected by their environment largely based on how they percieve interpret the environment in which they live. The things or people in their environment that affect them, may not be the things that they have assigned as important though, and sometimes you get very different pictures of a situation depending on who is doing the observing and reporting of the same events.

Look at our international policy for an example. We have one party that believes that the biggest threat to the U.S. is from outside. We have the other party who believes that what we're doing to ourselves in response to the events from outside is a bigger threat. Same events, but a different details they percieve and think are important, and different details they choose to ignore.

The same objective reality underlies both points of view. The consensus of each partys' reality would present very different realities to us though.
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Originally Posted by ACHILLES
Indeed (although I'm not sure I understand what "philosophical honesty" is).
Sorry. I spoke redundantly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACHILLES
Could you please clarify this thought for me?
Ok. It's just carrying Aristotle's thought that an unexamined life isn't worth living to the next step. An unexamined faith isn't worth having.

If you're going to have a belief in the existence of or non existence of God, you should at least be widely read so that every time you hear or read something new that happens to be true, it doesn't threaten the whole foundation of everything you stand for and believe. It's the point of view of a lot of fundamentalists that hold ideas as dangerous, because even though they claim to have faith, they are afraid that more information might rip them away from their beliefs.

Actually, having seen this in so many fundamentalists who fear that they might be wrong, it's why I look with a certain amount of skepticism at Dawkins and other atheists who categorically say they refuse to debate theists.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:35 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
But then again, most humans would find it difficult to congregate around such an abstract notion as common decency - it is a tragic fact that they need a face, an idol to order them.
I don't know if every local chapter does this or just mine, but the American Humanist Association offers an alternative to "traditional Sunday service". They meet for breakfast and invite a speaker to come and give a presentation on some topic (politics, philosophy, etc).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlos
I must also wonder whether or not, in a lot of cases, our kindness and decency is merely a result of guilt.
It's possible. Religion gives us a handful of reasons to behave kindly. Unfortunately, I don't consider any act of kindness performed under durress to be sincere, therefore anyone that behaves kindly and decently out of hope for god's reward or fear of god's wrath is arguable niether kind or decent in my humble opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
The same objective reality underlies both points of view. The consensus of each partys' reality would present very different realities to us though.
I think you're making a strong case for being wary of those that profess to have access to absolute truths. If so, I assure you you're preaching to the choir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Ok. It's just carrying Aristotle's thought that an unexamined life isn't worth living to the next step. An unexamined faith isn't worth having.
I agree. The unfortunate reality is that faith does not hold up to scrutiny. That's why it's called "faith" (firm belief in something for which there is no proof). Those that examine religious faith must become skilled at self-deception in order to maintain it. Hence why I consider religion to be dangerous: it rewards us for not thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
If you're going to have a belief in the existence of or non existence of God, you should at least be widely read so that every time you hear or read something new that happens to be true, it doesn't threaten the whole foundation of everything you stand for and believe. It's the point of view of a lot of fundamentalists that hold ideas as dangerous, because even though they claim to have faith, they are afraid that more information might rip them away from their beliefs.
I agree that being well read is important. Unfortunately, if you're not reading critically and/or sampling from a variety of sources and viewpoints, then you're likely only reading works that reinforce what you already think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Actually, having seen this in so many fundamentalists who fear that they might be wrong, it's why I look with a certain amount of skepticism at Dawkins and other atheists who categorically say they refuse to debate theists.
http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/20...810_a_main.asp
http://colorfulnotes.blogspot.com/20...d-collins.html
http://www.ttf.org/index/about/news/...ns-in-alabama/

Here are a few links to just a handful of debates that Dawkins has participated in. I'm not sure, but I think that you may have erroneously misinterpretted Dawkins' refusal to debate with Dr. Craig and a general unwillingness to debate at all. The reason that Dawkins refuses to do this is because Dr. Craig debates dishonestly, which is currently being discussed in another thread if you'd care to join us.

If fairness though, you did qualify "other athiests" as well, so if you have other, valid examples I'd be more than happy to take a look at them and consider your point.

Thanks!

Last edited by Achilles; 08-31-2007 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:28 PM   #24
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Ok... the barnyard facade case was a epistemological test of knowledge. Had you not had your friends correct you on what was really going on in Facade, you could have gone on happily believing that Facade was full of beautiful barns and silos just like the neighboring counties. Everything about the facade barns was perfect... there was no way to distinguish the phoniness unless you took the prescribed route from the opposite direction.

This is illustrating the malleability of truth, or the lack of absolute truth. I guess that's what I'm trying to get at Achilles.... I do not believe in absolute truth when human judgment is involved. Mathematically, we can illustrate some very simple truths that I believe can be called absolute, but the work gets exponentially harder from there.

@Pavlos and Achilles - Hi. I live in this "hell" as well. Could be worse Funny that true Buddhists, if there are any (many Asians practice religion syncretically), are the least harmful, kindest Atheists around... certainly they should roast!
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Ok... the barnyard facade case was a epistemological test of knowledge. Had you not had your friends correct you on what was really going on in Facade, you could have gone on happily believing that Facade was full of beautiful barns and silos just like the neighboring counties. Everything about the facade barns was perfect... there was no way to distinguish the phoniness unless you took the prescribed route from the opposite direction.
Conditional faith. You eat food with conditional faith that it is not poisoned. If the food tasted funny or if it was prepared by your arch-enemy or a restaurant of ill repute, your conditional faith would be suspended.

Religious faith does not work like this. You believe no matter what. No amount of evidence can change your mind. Ever. Poison you say? Bah...tastes delicious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
This is illustrating the malleability of truth, or the lack of absolute truth. I guess that's what I'm trying to get at Achilles.... I do not believe in absolute truth when human judgment is involved.
I don't believe in absolute truth period. Hence why I'm suspicious of religious people which claim to have a monopoly on it.
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:26 PM   #26
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I think we are in agreement on all of these things Achilles. I guess I am advocating a different kind of faith for those who choose to involve themselves in a formal "faith". Follow the Baha'i Faith's doctrine of universal acceptance. Be tolerant and inclusive, recognize similarities and respect another culture's POV.

I think that the similarities in world religion is a result of humans across the world having the same questions to grapple with. Phenomenal events required phenomenal explanations, until more mundane ones were made available by human advance. Religion is a vestige of human misunderstanding and fear, IMO. That does not exclude the possibility of a deity - it is simply non-requisite.

Societies cling to their fear, under the warm cloak of common religion, and justify war with religio-centric self-righteousness.

I would posit that no god is better than your God.... (not speaking to you Achilles, or the other Atheists in the discussion) I think that is the angle I'm going for in this thread. If there are strong fundamentalist-types in the forum, I would hear them.
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Old 08-30-2007, 05:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
I think we are in agreement on all of these things Achilles. I guess I am advocating a different kind of faith for those who choose to involve themselves in a formal "faith". Follow the Baha'i Faith's doctrine of universal acceptance. Be tolerant and inclusive, recognize similarities and respect another culture's POV.
And if another culture's point of view advocated child sexual abuse, murdering outsiders, and torturing small animals? The problem with moral relativism is that it's relative.

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Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
I think that the similarities in world religion is a result of humans across the world having the same questions to grapple with.
I think that speaks to the commonality of the human experience. Not the existence of supernatural beings

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Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Phenomenal events required phenomenal explanations, until more mundane ones were made available by human advance. Religion is a vestige of human misunderstanding and fear, IMO. That does not exclude the possibility of a deity - it is simply non-requisite.
Well put.

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Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
Societies cling to their fear, under the warm cloak of common religion, and justify war with religio-centric self-righteousness.
Mmm...for the most part I agree. I don't think all religious violence/conquest is explicited malevolent. I truly believe that in our history that have been genuinely intentioned, yet misguided people that really thought they were doing the right thing by murdering, torturing, maiming, etc in the name of their god. In fact, I'd like to think that there have been more of these people than the truly evil ones that used religion as an guise for their perversions. My 2 cents.

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Originally Posted by qui_gon_glenn
I would posit that no god is better than your God.... (not speaking to you Achilles, or the other Atheists in the discussion) I think that is the angle I'm going for in this thread. If there are strong fundamentalist-types in the forum, I would hear them.
I think it's generally a silly question (no offense OP). Unless there was some objective criteria to use and some empirical way to test, it's similar to arguing whose favorite flavor of ice cream is superior.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:36 PM   #28
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I don't get too fussed over how I stand with other religions. I only ask that they are allowed to operate free of harassment. Of course if someone was going to commit an act of terror on the pretense of their religion, something that is quite the fallacy, you would of course intervene. The last thing you want however is to look like Jack Thompson making claims that games are made for pedophiles.
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