Religion: The Deuce

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Religion: The Deuce

Postby Azrael » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:49 pm UTC

Our last all encompassing thread about religion has died for your sins and thus, it rises again with the blessings of your benevolent Mega-Thread creators.

So: Talk about religion here. But remember that you're still in SB and the SB rules most certainly still apply.

Enjoy.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby rustedneurons » Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:11 am UTC

I would like to discuss this:
Nietzsche wrote:The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

To me, TV evangelists and Jesus don't really go hand in hand. I remember some statistic about how few people claiming to be Christian have read the bible, and it disturbs me. Not because I'm religious; I'd call myself an atheist, but I've always been fascinated by people's willingness to accept without investigation.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:09 am UTC

rustedneurons wrote:I would like to discuss this:
Nietzsche wrote:The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.

To me, TV evangelists and Jesus don't really go hand in hand. I remember some statistic about how few people claiming to be Christian have read the bible, and it disturbs me. Not because I'm religious; I'd call myself an atheist, but I've always been fascinated by people's willingness to accept without investigation.


It is most comfortable in life to accept popular belief, and not personally investigate. Hence the flooding of all spectrums of life with retards.

I disagree though, that the labeling others christian besides Christ is inaccurate. The term christian isn't about dying on a cross, nor performing a sacrifice for God's children. By christian it is meant to take upon oneself the name of Christ. to try to be like him.

That all somehow fail at this should be no surprise. Nor that there are people who misuse the title who most certainly arn't trying to be like him.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby rustedneurons » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:18 am UTC

slow2learn wrote:The term christian isn't about dying on a cross, nor performing a sacrifice for God's children. By christian it is meant to take upon oneself the name of Christ. to try to be like him.

I (and Nietzsche) never said it was. I interpret the statement as people are not understanding the message of Christ and misrepresenting it, not being like him at all - hence why the "last christian died on the cross".

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby sje46 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:24 am UTC

It is most comfortable in life to accept popular belief, and not personally investigate. Hence the flooding of all spectrums of life with retards.

Someone said this in another thread--not the official religion one--that you can't expect people to become experts on religion to see if their belief is the most logical one. And that is true; not everyone can pore over books and do research, etc, to make the most informed decision they can. These people still have lives to live, other things to worry about. But it does bother me when people don't do (or barely do) any research at all. This is an important thing, because what religion or lack of religion you chose affects how you live your life, and what moral choices to make. It is perhaps one of the most important decisions; some cults ask you to give money and some religions require you to never have sex before marriage, and some say you shouldn't have an abortion, and some churches (a few) protest at soldier's funerals calling them fag-enablers.

To suggest that a person should put in all his time is ridiculous, but to put in none of your time to see what is the most rational is even more ridiculous.

Is Nietzche(the forumite) a Christian? Perhaps he means that Jesus was the only person to successfully live a life according to the ideals of God without sinning once. All those (which would be everyone besides Jesus) who have sinned are not "perfect" Christians. And thus there is only one true Christian.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby poxic » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:34 am UTC

When I was in a fundamentalist church for a few years, I was certainly encouraged to read the Bible, both as formal study and reading for pleasure. And I did so -- I think I made it through twice, outside of studies during services or other events.

What I also found was a huge amount of tradition and interpretation around the book. I was taught things about the End Times that I honestly couldn't find in Revelation (or any other part); I was given interpretations of confusing passages that sounded very wrong to me, but that I assumed I had to take on faith until I was as good at this as the pastor was; I heard teachings, supported by scripture and otherwise, that were outright offensive to me, such as AIDS being God's punishment for homosexuality (this was circa 1984, before the disease became common in other populations).

There's a mix of Christ-like and very-much-not-so in the branch of Christianity that I was in. It was sort of like a head and heart thing, where the teachings were often about "being like Christ" but the traditions were very Southern US Bible Belt. (This church was in the Northern US, for what it's worth. I lived near Seattle for a few years as a teenager.)

I'm now off doing my own thing, having profoundly rejected both the writings and the traditions of the church. I admire its stated principles but not their execution. I could say the same for pretty much every organised religion that I've encountered, which is partly why I'm reluctant to investigate Buddhist gatherings in town. I like the philosophy, but I don't want to find out how it's been corrupted in practice. :|

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Edit:
All those (which would be everyone besides Jesus) who have sinned are not "perfect" Christians. And thus there is only one true Christian.

sje46, this isn't at all what either the New Testament or the tradition teaches. People are not required to be perfect. They are required to accept Christ as their saviour in order, more or less, to be able to wear Christ's perfection when they approach their God. The tradition states that Christian means "little Christ" (I have no idea if this is in fact what it means). Jesus could not have been a "little Christ" if he was the real one. The goal for every Christian is to become a "little Christ", whether or not they succeed.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby roc314 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:34 am UTC

sje46 wrote:Is Nietzche(the forumite) a Christian?
Nietzsche (who is not a forumite, but rather a philosopher (/me points at avatar)) is most definitely not a Christian. A significant chunk of his work was about the problems in Christianity and religion (e.g. he's the one who coined the phrase "God is dead").
rustedneurons wrote:I would like to discuss this:
Nietzsche wrote:The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
I think this quote applies to far more than just one specific religion. Once the founder of a movement/idea dies (hell, even when they're still alive), their work is taken and interpreted and changed by others. Nietzsche himself is the perfect example of this. After he died, his work was appropriated by the Nazis and used to justify their idea of the master race, even though none of his stuff said anything of the sort.

Basically, intent is subjective and no one will ever interpret your ideas the same as you do, so in a way, you are the only "true" follower of your idea. Everyone else is just following their interpretation of your idea.

EDIT: This quote, which comes in the paragraph after the one posted is good also:
Nietzsche wrote:To reduce being a Christian, Christianism, to a matter of considering something true, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to negate Christianism.
Last edited by roc314 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:39 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby apeman5291 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:38 am UTC

In the words of Leo Tolstoy, "Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal." :D

But also attributed to him is the following quote:
Tolstoy wrote:Blame me, but not the path I am taking. If I know the road to my house, and if I stagger along it like a drunken man, does that show that the road is bad? Show me another, or follow me along the true path, as I am ready to follow you. But do not discourage me, do not rejoice in my distress, do not joyfully cry out: 'Look! He said he was going to the house, and he is falling into the ditch!'


I think this holds true with the criticism that a lot of Christians get. Everyone (including them) expects perfection, but the fact is that perfection is impossible to attain. One of the lesser emphasized points of Christianity is that everyone is imperfect, completely and equally. So why would Christians be expected to follow along the straight and narrow?
If somebody claims to be a Christian, but clearly doesn't follow the principles of Christianity, then don't blame their failure on what they claim to be doing, but on what they are actually doing. As a Christian, the people who "do it wrong" piss me off as much as anyone else, but with the added bonus that I have to carry the negative stigma they put with my religion.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:04 am UTC

roc314 wrote:Basically, intent is subjective and no one will ever interpret your ideas the same as you do, so in a way, you are the only "true" follower of your idea. Everyone else is just following their interpretation of your idea.

Yes, but this is not to say that there isn't a correct interpretation of your idea. It would be foolish to say that all interpretations of your idea have merit.
roc314 wrote:
Nietzsche wrote:To reduce being a Christian, Christianism, to a matter of considering something true, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to negate Christianism.

I don't understand this one. Isn't "considering something true" the very definition of a belief? And how is that the same as a phenomenon of consciousness? And how does either negate Christianism? What would Christianity be if not for the belief that it were true?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby roc314 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:26 am UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote:
roc314 wrote:Basically, intent is subjective and no one will ever interpret your ideas the same as you do, so in a way, you are the only "true" follower of your idea. Everyone else is just following their interpretation of your idea.

Yes, but this is not to say that there isn't a correct interpretation of your idea. It would be foolish to say that all interpretations of your idea have merit.
If by correct you mean the interpretation you have of your idea, then yes. However, that doesn't mean that anyone else is going to have the "correct" interpretation.
roc314 wrote:
Nietzsche wrote:To reduce being a Christian, Christianism, to a matter of considering something true, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to negate Christianism.

I don't understand this one. Isn't "considering something true" the very definition of a belief? And how is that the same as a phenomenon of consciousness? And how does either negate Christianism? What would Christianity be if not for the belief that it were true?
Reducing a complex belief and moral system to nothing more than the idea that it is true is killing all other parts of it. If Christianity is about nothing more than Christianity being right, then you ignore the moral teachings and the goal of following Jesus. There's a difference between "I am a Christian because I think Christianity is right" and "I am a Christian because I agree with and follow the morals, ethics, and other teachings espoused by Jesus, upon whom Christianity is founded". Nietzsche is saying that the first is meaningless and contradicts the second.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:49 am UTC

roc314 wrote:If by correct you mean the interpretation you have of your idea, then yes. However, that doesn't mean that anyone else is going to have the "correct" interpretation.

Then you apply standard methods of research and investigation to determine which interpretation is correct. Granted, this is only good to the extent that the investigation becomes subjective due to lack of evidence, but it does nobody good to just eliminate the argument altogether by allowing people to grovel in their flawed, baseless interpretations.

Reducing a complex belief and moral system to nothing more than the idea that it is true is killing all other parts of it. If Christianity is about nothing more than Christianity being right, then you ignore the moral teachings and the goal of following Jesus. There's a difference between "I am a Christian because I think Christianity is right" and "I am a Christian because I agree with and follow the morals, ethics, and other teachings espoused by Jesus, upon whom Christianity is founded". Nietzsche is saying that the first is meaningless and contradicts the second.

Only if you consider Christianity to be merely a system of moral beliefs. And to quote my uncle, "That it ain't."

As most non-Christians so often try to demonstrate, it's possible to have you're own set of moral beliefs without an accompanying belief in the giver of those morals. The point in saying that Christianity is true is to say that if one is setting out to accomplish a moral lifestyle in the absence of belief, then they will fail to accomplish that which the morality was invented for in the first place: glorification of that same moral law giver. Moreover, if this law giver takes an active role in human lives by intervening with human will, the same person will fail to live out these morals in a way that receives the improvement, encouragement, and strengthening offered by this intervention.

Now, before I give the Biblical take on this, I'll first explain why a Biblical take is relevant, since some "Christians" might object to using it too extensively to define the Christian belief system. I have to say to them, in short: too bad. If you would like to add you're own perceptions of reality to your Christian belief system, that's fine, and isn't necessarily less likely to be correct than a Biblical one... just don't claim those beliefs to "what Christianity says about the subject."

That being said, the Biblical take (what Christianity actually says on the subject) is that beliefs do matter, and that beliefs are the foundation of what is important to being a Christian. Beliefs are doctrinally essential to salvation, sanctification, edification, and importantly, moral actions. The Biblical "goal of following Jesus" is only menially moral, and most intrinsically eternal, and I will provide scripture upon request for any of these claims.

So for Neitzsche to say, "True Christianity is about morals, not beliefs" (if I am to summarize him correctly) says more about what he wishes Christianity to be than what it actually is. He wishes Christianity to become just another tool in the box for worldwide moral improvement, but that is not what it is. If Christianity is in fact correct, then it wouldn't be surprising that the moral conclusions will lead to societal/personal improvement, and yet, if it were correct, the consequences of those moral decisions would be much, much greater.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:04 pm UTC

These threads tend to foucus very much on Christianity and indeed, the American Brands of Christianity; prehaps investigating and discussing other religion might be considered.
For instance, the rarely spoken of Deism. Thoughts anyone?

While not being one myself the one thing that I have allways found intresting in this religion is the notion of faith on reason.
Generally if people try to convert you to a faith -based religion they put foward arguements for their side, or refute your own rational. When one considers that the whole point of their religion is that for one to be a true follower one should simply "believe" in it regardless of whatever reason is put in front of you. I just find this element to most relgions rather intresting.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote:Only if you consider Christianity to be merely a system of moral beliefs. And to quote my uncle, "That it ain't."
roc314 wrote:Reducing a complex belief and moral system to nothing more than the idea that it is true is killing all other parts of it. If Christianity is about nothing more than Christianity being right, then you ignore the moral teachings and the goal of following Jesus.
Emphasis mine. I'm pretty sure you're grossly misunderstanding both Nietzsche's point and roc314--what I think the latter was saying is that Christianity is more complex than "Jesus was the son of God and He died for our sins". If that's all it means, then being a Christian isn't hard, interesting, or even relevant. You have to come to Christ on your own terms--you have to make peace with how Jesus lived his life and what he preached and incorporate it into who you are--otherwise you're just a person with who thinks some guy named Jesus was God.
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:Generally if people try to convert you to a faith -based religion they put foward arguements for their side, or refute your own rational. When one considers that the whole point of their religion is that for one to be a true follower one should simply "believe" in it regardless of whatever reason is put in front of you. I just find this element to most relgions rather intresting.
It's kind of a funny duality; on one hand, you have religious-minded folk trying to convince through rationality--and on the other hand, you have other religious-minded folk saying that rationality does not apply. You see this come up in arguments every so often (I've had very long, rational debates with someone on the existence of God, only for the person to up and say 'Well, they're GOD, rationality doesn't apply'--well, okay, so why didn't you just say that from the very beginning?). I think it's good for religion to remain in the domain of emotion and faith; that's where it does its best work. When it gets overtly involved in the sciences, you end up with... very muddled and problematic situations. Like Creation science.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:24 pm UTC

I suppose there's no better time to dive into this than at the start of a new thread.

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:These threads tend to foucus very much on Christianity and indeed, the American Brands of Christianity; prehaps investigating and discussing other religion might be considered.
For instance, the rarely spoken of Deism. Thoughts anyone?

While not being one myself the one thing that I have allways found intresting in this religion is the notion of faith on reason.
Generally if people try to convert you to a faith -based religion they put foward arguements for their side, or refute your own rational. When one considers that the whole point of their religion is that for one to be a true follower one should simply "believe" in it regardless of whatever reason is put in front of you. I just find this element to most relgions rather intresting.


I think Deism is a kind of boring subject for debate. Here's how I envision it going:

A: I think there's a non-interventionist, watchmaker style God who set everything in motion.
B: Do you have any reason to believe this?
A: Just a hunch, really.
B: Are there any implications of this that are relevant to our lives?
A: No, it's a bit of a moot point, when you get right down to it.
B: Fair enough, fancy a bit of tennis?

As for the issue of religious people giving you evidence, despite the call to beleive soley on faith, I think it's explained by the Doubting Thomas story, which I shall surely butcher because I haven't looked it up. Thomas wants proof that Jesus is back, and Jesus gives it to him. He's still blessed and all, just not as much as those who didn't want the proof. It's the next best thing. If you're not going to just believe, at least you might be convinced by some other means.

Wait, so you complain the the lively and ongoing discussion is boring ... but you don't even attempt to offer up something else to discuss? Perhaps this is not the thread for you to participate in.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:37 pm UTC

Tiax wrote:As for the issue of religious people giving you evidence, despite the call to beleive soley on faith, I think it's explained by the Doubting Thomas story, which I shall surely butcher because I haven't looked it up. Thomas wants proof that Jesus is back, and Jesus gives it to him. He's still blessed and all, just not as much as those who didn't want the proof. It's the next best thing. If you're not going to just believe, at least you might be convinced by some other means.
This really bothers me. Why is asking for some form of proof a bad thing? Why does it make you a lesser follower if you're initially a skeptic? There were plenty of messiahs during this period, and lord knows we've got plenty of religions today that are exclusive clubs that claim you're fucked if you don't buy their crazy-talk over all the rest. When we're talking about your immortal soul--when we're talking about where you'll be spending mother-fucking eternity--why is it a bad thing to go, "Hey, I'd like just a little evidence that you aren't an evil dude leading me straight to damnation"?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:42 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Tiax wrote:As for the issue of religious people giving you evidence, despite the call to beleive soley on faith, I think it's explained by the Doubting Thomas story, which I shall surely butcher because I haven't looked it up. Thomas wants proof that Jesus is back, and Jesus gives it to him. He's still blessed and all, just not as much as those who didn't want the proof. It's the next best thing. If you're not going to just believe, at least you might be convinced by some other means.
This really bothers me. Why is asking for some form of proof a bad thing? Why does it make you a lesser follower if you're initially a skeptic? There were plenty of messiahs during this period, and lord knows we've got plenty of religions today that are exclusive clubs that claim you're fucked if you don't buy their crazy-talk over all the rest. When we're talking about your immortal soul--when we're talking about where you'll be spending mother-fucking eternity--why is it a bad thing to go, "Hey, I'd like just a little evidence that you aren't an evil dude leading me straight to damnation"?

I absolutely agree, the idea that asking for evidence is somehow a Bad Thing is a Bad Thing. That said, if your goal is to attract and maintain devotees, I think it's a very good idea to discourage asking too many questions. It introduces a sort of cost/benefit analysis to demanding proof. If you do demand proof, and it is delivered, your beliefs are unchanged but now you're a little less awesome in the eyes of whoever you asked for proof. This saves everyone quite a bit of time.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby roc314 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote:Only if you consider Christianity to be merely a system of moral beliefs. And to quote my uncle, "That it ain't."

...

That being said, the Biblical take (what Christianity actually says on the subject) is that beliefs do matter, and that beliefs are the foundation of what is important to being a Christian. Beliefs are doctrinally essential to salvation, sanctification, edification, and importantly, moral actions. The Biblical "goal of following Jesus" is only menially moral, and most intrinsically eternal, and I will provide scripture upon request for any of these claims.

So for Neitzsche to say, "True Christianity is about morals, not beliefs" (if I am to summarize him correctly) says more about what he wishes Christianity to be than what it actually is. He wishes Christianity to become just another tool in the box for worldwide moral improvement, but that is not what it is. If Christianity is in fact correct, then it wouldn't be surprising that the moral conclusions will lead to societal/personal improvement, and yet, if it were correct, the consequences of those moral decisions would be much, much greater.
The Great Hippo was correct about what I was (attempting) saying.

Your line "says more about what he wishes Christianity to be than what it actually is" is kindof the point. Nietzsche thought that how many practiced Christianity in his time was varying degrees of wrong, stupid, and unethical. He thought reducing Christianity to the tautological "I believe in Christianity because it is true" killed what little meaning he thought it had. It was imposing morals that he thought don't exist upon people with absolutely no backing. A sort of tyranny, as it were.

Like most of Nietzsche's writings on Christianity, I think it applies to far more (Nietzsche used Christianity as a focus because it was the most prominent example in his time and location of what he argued against, but that doesn't mean his stuff doesn't apply to other groups/ideologies outside of that). The way I interpreted his statement was that blind faith in anything is bad. One needs to know the reason behind what they think/do. This goes for anything: lying is bad because Kant's categorical imperative says it is wrong, don't have sex before marriage because god hates it, if you were a true patriot, you'd support this war, I think X simply because it is true, it is self evident that as an absolute rule, we should avoid blindly following rules without questioning why. This is a critique of Christianity (or, more accurately, Christianity as it was practiced in Nietzsche's time), but it is also a critique of irrationality.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:23 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:This goes for anything: lying is bad because Kant's categorical imperative says it is wrong, don't have sex before marriage because god hates it, if you were a true patriot, you'd support this war, I think X simply because it is true, it is self evident that as an absolute rule, we should avoid blindly following rules without questioning why. This is a critique of Christianity (or, more accurately, Christianity as it was practiced in Nietzsche's time), but it is also a critique of irrationality.


I wholeheartedly agree with this. I would also like to point out that there is no way to get away from thinking X because its true.
For example

it is self evident that as an absolute rule, we should avoid blindly following rules without questioning why.


This appeals to a moral truth. I completely agree with it. But it is saying something is bad and that is because....

Ignorance is bad? <--- moral judgement
Actions without thought can lead to others pain? <--- still a moral judgement, what is wrong about causing others pain?

We form our morality based on our conscience. We 'feel' what is right, and what is wrong. I happen to feel certain ways because of my beliefs in the existance of a Supreme Creator, and the laws that he has passed to me.

Unfortunatly our Conscience Jiminy Cricket Shoulder Angels dont always agree. Hence the fight of the ages.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LuNatic » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:08 am UTC

slow2learn wrote:Ignorance is bad? <--- moral judgement


I would disagree. I would say that 'ignorance is bad' is common sense(if there is such a thing). Lets say you've just been bitten by a Taipan. You are not familiar with Australian snakes, but I claim to be and I say 'Don't worry, just stick a band-aid on and she'll be right mate'. If you (ignorantly) take me at face value, by the time you realise I'm wrong, it will be too late. In a world where a) people are wrong, or b) people tell lies, ignorance is inherently detrimental. Thus I would say ignorance is bad.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:44 am UTC

LuNatic wrote:
slow2learn wrote:Ignorance is bad? <--- moral judgement


I would disagree. I would say that 'ignorance is bad' is common sense(if there is such a thing). Lets say you've just been bitten by a Taipan. You are not familiar with Australian snakes, but I claim to be and I say 'Don't worry, just stick a band-aid on and she'll be right mate'. If you (ignorantly) take me at face value, by the time you realise I'm wrong, it will be too late. In a world where a) people are wrong, or b) people tell lies, ignorance is inherently detrimental. Thus I would say ignorance is bad.


But haven't you just turned a noun into an adverb? 'Ignorantly' taking someone's statement as true isn't 'ignorance'. Ignorance is not knowing whether or not the snake is poisonous. Trusting someone who tells you it isn't is, well, trust. Possibly stupidity. But, yes, ignorance is wrong but it isn't necessarily morally bad- I'm ignorant of the bus timetable in Stockholm but this does not make me a bad person (by itself).
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby JBJ » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:This really bothers me. Why is asking for some form of proof a bad thing? Why does it make you a lesser follower if you're initially a skeptic? There were plenty of messiahs during this period, and lord knows we've got plenty of religions today that are exclusive clubs that claim you're fucked if you don't buy their crazy-talk over all the rest. When we're talking about your immortal soul--when we're talking about where you'll be spending mother-fucking eternity--why is it a bad thing to go, "Hey, I'd like just a little evidence that you aren't an evil dude leading me straight to damnation"?


You're absolutely right. Asking for proof isn't a bad thing, but religious proof is an oxymoron. Extended sports analogy follows:

Religion is like playing a game without knowing the rules. You've got a pretty good notion that you have to play in order to win (afterlife, heaven), but you've got a bunch of different teams playing different games on the same field (Earth). Some of the rules are fairly logical; don't cheat, don't steal, don't injure or kill the other players, and these are adopted by pretty much all of the players.

Many of the teams have come up with their own rules (Bible, Quran, Torah, Vedas, hell... even Diantetics) and even have designated officials (preists, rabbis, mullahs, etc). They've been playing the game as a team for a long time, and even without any proof they are quite convinced they are playing it right (faith). At some time in the past, they may have had a really great player or two that played their version of the game so well, that convinced them it must be right (Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and yes, even L. Ron Hubbard). These guys were MVPs and go into the Hall of Fame for their respective teams.

Some of the teams are quite welcoming of new players, while others may allow new players to join, but maybe they can never become referees or play on first string. Other teams, notably the smaller ones (cults), are very aggressive in their recruiting and will go to great lengths to keep the players they do have. Sometimes in some of the larger teams a sub-group will form and play the same general game but in a different league with a slightly modified rule book. Like arena football vs. pro-football.

For the most part, the teams play their game among themselves. For some, there are sections of the playing field they feel is theirs, and they will fight anyone trying to play there as well (Jerusalem, Mecca, other sacred sites). Since they are all playing different games there's no way to form an unbiased match between teams and no way to keep score so it's impossible to declare a winner.

Some members of these teams were born and raised knowing only the game their family and friends play. If you grew up only knowing how to play baseball, bowling would seem foreign and strange. It may appeal to you, and you may want to try it, but your family and friends will likely encourage you stay on their team. If you do give bowling a try, it's possible your family and friends will not associate with you as much, or even at all.

Then there are some people who aren't sure what game they're best at (agnostics), or those who don't want to play at all (atheists). They may join up in a group from time to time, and many of them know the rules of various games enough to participate, but really their heart just isn't in it.

Regardless, nobody knows for sure if they were playing by the rules, or even the right game, until it's time to leave the field (death). So far, no one has come back onto the field after leaving to let anyone else know what the rules are. Some of the MVP's are alleged to have done that, but I am skeptical. Personally, I don't think there IS a rule book, nor is any particular game the right one. When I leave the field, if there is a god I believe I'll be asked one question: "Did you have fun?" I am going to answer, Yes, and I believe that's good enough to win.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

Somone mentioned that it was perfectly reasonable of Thomas to ask for proof due to the plethora of cults that existed in first centuary Israel; surely however the case is just as true now? For instance I'll relate some brief anecdote drawn vaugely from my daily life, I live in Ireland, we don't have Jehovah's Witnesses at the door instead we get the same elderly man (occasionally with one or two of his friends) who joins the Buskers and Street Preformers, save that where they demonstrate odd (and often pointless or redundant) skills in hope of money, he preachs damnation in hope of...(I'm not quite sure yet, he seems aimless as such.) Anyway, he will often rant on in tangents about how Jesus died for our sins and how we must abandon our filthy, sinful ways of decadence ect., the thought that crossed my mind when I first heard him was one I found amazingly problematic for all Proselytism Religions.

Essentially, why your religion over anyone elses? I mean we could say becuase I actually believe in this one, but then that would render both redundant and false the notion of you convincing me to your religion. We could say because it apeals to me sentiments over other ones? But surely your arguing that one should join this religion becuase it's the truth, not because it is apealing to my sensibiliteis and feelings. You could even argue that I should join on a quasi - Pascals Wager note (the whole "You will burn lest ye repent strikes me as similer to this) but then we're back to our original problem (and what I have allways felt to be the flaw in that wager); there's many mutually exclusive relgions who claim the same thing.

On an entirely different but related note: the logic of Pascals Wager dose work if its only a binary wager, like in the charming xkcd comic, but in the case of religion it is not "Belief in God? Yes/No" but rather "Which God/s do you believe in if any?"

So yes a person should have the right to seek reason and proof from a preacher if the preacher is trying to convert them. But, as I mentioned previously, let us say there is a non-Proselytism religion, id est a non-actively converting one as religions should be, then they can be completely "faith" and emotions based. Any religions that preach "faith" as the foundation of their belief should be non-converting then and simply wait for any person to come over to the faith in their own time.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:17 pm UTC

@JBJ I quite liked the analogy. I think it fits quiet appropriately. I believe in the game, and others believe in different rules to get there, while others completely want nothing to do with it.

The question everyone should decide for themselves is if the game is real. Which brings me to...

@Whimsical Eloquence
You are right, looking for evidence and proof is part of the process. It is extremely foolish to accept any statement as truth. Paul stated. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
There are simple truths that, for me, point to the possiblity of God existing. There is no conclusive evidence, but little things that make me feel like he is real.

I would agree with you that anyone claiming that you have to believe solely on their word is being manipulative and hiding something.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:37 pm UTC

If the game were real, and there was an entity which judged whether the players won or lost, and that entity was interested in seeing the players win, I find it hard to believe it wouldn't make the rules a little more clear. Otherwise it's difficult to envision that entity as anything other than a malicious trickster who revels in watching the mayhem and arbitrarily declaring people to have lost for failing to guess the rules.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:47 pm UTC

Tiax wrote:If the game were real, and there was an entity which judged whether the players won or lost, and that entity was interested in seeing the players win, I find it hard to believe it wouldn't make the rules a little more clear. Otherwise it's difficult to envision that entity as anything other than a malicious trickster who revels in watching the mayhem and arbitrarily declaring people to have lost for failing to guess the rules.


You are right. That is why I believe the end result will be completely fair to those who knew no better.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:54 pm UTC

But the responsibility on the part of the judge goes beyond that. Many of the rules the various teams have invented are really quite sinister if incorrect. If the judge is willing to watch them struggle under those unfortunate rules, all the while knowing that they would do just as well at the game, and be much happier if only they knew the real rules, I still would view him as malicious and sadistic.

In other words, the judge has the responsibility to both impart the correct rules, and deny incorrect rules. You alleviate the first responsibility by saying that there are no rules in need of being layed out. What about the second?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:38 pm UTC

Tiax wrote:But the responsibility on the part of the judge goes beyond that. Many of the rules the various teams have invented are really quite sinister if incorrect. If the judge is willing to watch them struggle under those unfortunate rules, all the while knowing that they would do just as well at the game, and be much happier if only they knew the real rules, I still would view him as malicious and sadistic.

In other words, the judge has the responsibility to both impart the correct rules, and deny incorrect rules. You alleviate the first responsibility by saying that there are no rules in need of being layed out. What about the second?


Oh! I should clarify. I do think there are correct and incorrect rules. The judge will take into account how you learned them, and be fully just with his judgment. (I have a problem with the linear outcome of just heaven or hell. It's rather... linear. :) )

Part of the rules of this game is the 'having to figure it out on your own.' Christ gave such a damning sermon to the scribes and pharisees because they had figured it out, and still didn't follow it.
KJV Matt 23:15 wrote:Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.


They knew better! As for the gentiles or samaritans, he gave no such damning view. They didn't know the same rules.

In brief review, I do not worry about the justness (is that a word?) of God.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby JBJ » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:48 pm UTC

slow2learn wrote:
Tiax wrote:But the responsibility on the part of the judge goes beyond that. Many of the rules the various teams have invented are really quite sinister if incorrect. If the judge is willing to watch them struggle under those unfortunate rules, all the while knowing that they would do just as well at the game, and be much happier if only they knew the real rules, I still would view him as malicious and sadistic.

In other words, the judge has the responsibility to both impart the correct rules, and deny incorrect rules. You alleviate the first responsibility by saying that there are no rules in need of being layed out. What about the second?


Oh! I should clarify. I do think there are correct and incorrect rules. The judge will take into account how you learned them, and be fully just with his judgment. (I have a problem with the linear outcome of just heaven or hell. It's rather... linear. :) )

Part of the rules of this game is the 'having to figure it out on your own.' Christ gave such a damning sermon to the scribes and pharisees because the had figured it out, and still didn't follow it.


What I was saying is that there are no rules. Continuing the sports analogy but along a slightly different setup, let's say your dad (God) told you to go outside and play with your friends. That's it. That's the only instruction he gave.

He's not going to come outside and tell you to stop rough-housing or to leave little Judas alone, or to otherwise interfere. He didn't tell you to play baseball, soccer, or hide-and-seek. That choice is up to you. He may be watching you through the window but he won't interfere or even call out to you. But you know that when you go back inside the house, he's going to reward you or punish you if you were good or bad.

You get outside and notice that everyone is playing in different games. You have no idea what they are playing or what the rules are. The first group you run into (your family) is the first team you join. They explain the rules to you and you learn how to play. The longer you stay outside the more you notice what other people are playing. Some of the games look familiar, some don't. Maybe the people down the street have a game that looks like more fun. You can pick up some of the rules by watching, or maybe talking with someone else who's familiar with it.

The point is, we invent the games we play. We decided on the rules. We decided which team(s) to join, or not to play at all. When we get back to the house, He's going to want to know if we had fun. He won't judge us by what we played, or even if we played at all. He won't judge us by what game we chose, or even if we followed the rules of the game we chose. He'll judge us on how we played, if we played fairly and in good spirit and had fun or if we were whiny and underhanded taking the fun away from others.

Edit: Clarification on those who don't want to play (atheists). That's not to say they'll be punished for not playing, there's no grudge being held for forgetting who sent them outside in the first place, as long as they aren't disrupting other people's fun and are just enjoying being outside and getting some fresh air.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:19 pm UTC

slow2learn wrote:
Tiax wrote:But the responsibility on the part of the judge goes beyond that. Many of the rules the various teams have invented are really quite sinister if incorrect. If the judge is willing to watch them struggle under those unfortunate rules, all the while knowing that they would do just as well at the game, and be much happier if only they knew the real rules, I still would view him as malicious and sadistic.

In other words, the judge has the responsibility to both impart the correct rules, and deny incorrect rules. You alleviate the first responsibility by saying that there are no rules in need of being layed out. What about the second?


Oh! I should clarify. I do think there are correct and incorrect rules. The judge will take into account how you learned them, and be fully just with his judgment. (I have a problem with the linear outcome of just heaven or hell. It's rather... linear. :) )

Part of the rules of this game is the 'having to figure it out on your own.' Christ gave such a damning sermon to the scribes and pharisees because they had figured it out, and still didn't follow it.
KJV Matt 23:15 wrote:Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.


They knew better! As for the gentiles or samaritans, he gave no such damning view. They didn't know the same rules.

In brief review, I do not worry about the justness (is that a word?) of God.

But the justness of god is vital. If we've got a malicious trickster god, we're pretty much boned no matter what we do. At that point, we're no longer players in a game, but pawns in scheme. If the judge is sitting there, watching people learn false rules that are malicious and evil, and is quite content to let that happen because he has arbitrarily decreed that "figure it out for yourself" is a rule, then he is clearly a malicious trickster god, and we're clearly boned.


JBJ: That poses another issue. The legitimacy of actions depends on the rules. If I'm playing American football, I'm allowed to tackle people. In fact, I would a detriment to the game if I steadfastly refused to. On the other hand, if I'm playing basketball, the opposite is true. If we're all allowed to play our own games, what's the standard for tackling? Again, this god seems neglectful and malicious, content to watch some people develop brutal games in the hopes of pleasing him, and unwilling to holler out the window that they would do just as well to play a nicer, friendlier game.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby slow2learn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:34 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:The point is, we invent the games we play. We decided on the rules. We decided which team(s) to join, or not to play at all. When we get back to the house, He's going to want to know if we had fun. He won't judge us by what we played, or even if we played at all. He won't judge us by what game we chose, or even if we followed the rules of the game we chose. He'll judge us on how we played, if we played fairly and in good spirit and had fun or if we were whiny and underhanded taking the fun away from others.

Interesting viewpoint.

I disagree with two things, although I do see how you've arrived at those conclusions.

God, although seemingly distant, is involved in this game. He ocasionally sends refs out to say how the plays go. Unfortunatly, we have a hard time proving who's sent by God, and who isn't. (remember the importance of ''having to figure it out on your own.')

Also, the existance of rules invented by man does not disprove that a Judge has passed the real rules to some players. I mean, obviously many of the rules we play are made up by us. This doesn't mean that all of them are.

Tiax wrote:"figure it out for yourself" is a rule, then he is clearly a malicious trickster god


It seems unfair to leave us alone to our own devises, but Part of the magic is that even left to our own devises some of us still choose to do good. The "figure it out for yourself" is part of the test. What kind of person are you when left to your own decisions, unmarred by higher authorities and demands.

Again, this god seems neglectful and malicious,


But again, he's got to leave us to our own devises, he's got to let bad things happen The existance of evil has oft been used to prove the non existance or demonization of god. In fact it also points to the opposite. Good exists, therefore so does evil.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:49 pm UTC

I'm not saying he has to stop bad things from happening. I'm saying if he's set up the game, he's got a responsibility to let us know when we've come up with a rule that compels us to do otherwise bad things. There's still plenty of opportunity to do bad things. Even if I know that I'm playing basketball, not football, I can still do all sorts of mean and underhanded things. There's no need to let me think I'm playing football so that I'll be out tackling people while trying to play fair. That's an unnecessary hurdle that only a malicious judge would put in my path. It adds nothing to the test of whether I'll play nice or not, all it does is skew the results by letting some people think they're playing nice when they're really not.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Terebrant » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:52 pm UTC

slow2learn wrote:
Tiax wrote:"figure it out for yourself" is a rule, then he is clearly a malicious trickster god


It seems unfair to leave us alone to our own devises, but Part of the magic is that even left to our own devises some of us still choose to do good. The "figure it out for yourself" is part of the test. What kind of person are you when left to your own decisions, unmarred by higher authorities and demands.

And others choose not to do "good". We don't know that "good" is something valued by the described god.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

Further, if god wants us to figure it out on our own, and wants us free of authority, what business does he have sending out occasional spokespeople? Just to muddy the waters and mess with our heads?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby JBJ » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:27 pm UTC

slow2learn wrote:
JBJ wrote:The point is, we invent the games we play. We decided on the rules. We decided which team(s) to join, or not to play at all. When we get back to the house, He's going to want to know if we had fun. He won't judge us by what we played, or even if we played at all. He won't judge us by what game we chose, or even if we followed the rules of the game we chose. He'll judge us on how we played, if we played fairly and in good spirit and had fun or if we were whiny and underhanded taking the fun away from others.

Interesting viewpoint.

I disagree with two things, although I do see how you've arrived at those conclusions.

God, although seemingly distant, is involved in this game. He ocasionally sends refs out to say how the plays go. Unfortunatly, we have a hard time proving who's sent by God, and who isn't. (remember the importance of ''having to figure it out on your own.')

Also, the existance of rules invented by man does not disprove that a Judge has passed the real rules to some players. I mean, obviously many of the rules we play are made up by us. This doesn't mean that all of them are.


I may concede that He occasionally sends refs out to make calls in the form of miracles, visions, epiphanies, etc... I can neither prove nor disprove them, but it reinforces my point that there is no "right" religion. The context of those miracles is specific to the religion chosen by the individual. A Christian may see the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese whereas a Buddhist will just see a tasty sandwich. A vision quest to a Native American is just a hallucination to a Hindu.

I agree there are some rules that are universal, and those I can attribute to God. Those are the ones that seem to be common among all religions; don't lie, steal, or kill. I also think that one of those rules is that you can't force someone else to play your game (aka join your religion). In essence, don't force your will over others.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Davide » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote:
roc314 wrote:
Nietzsche wrote:To reduce being a Christian, Christianism, to a matter of considering something true, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to negate Christianism.

I don't understand this one. Isn't "considering something true" the very definition of a belief? And how is that the same as a phenomenon of consciousness? And how does either negate Christianism? What would Christianity be if not for the belief that it were true?



No, because your disclaiming your belief by thinking "It's all in my head". Your seeing it not as truth, as it is meant too be seen.

I'm bad at describing moral issues like this.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:16 pm UTC

Allright, I'm back, and I'm obviously going to protest :) .

To play on your sports analogy some more what if the following possibility were true:

God actually does care what rules you're following as you play the game. Those that are playing with the wrong rules are doing so because they refused to attempt to figure out what the right rules were, and thus were intentionally or unintentionally deceived by the players of generations past, who had changed the rules either from ignorance or defiance. Long ago, and even today, God has habitually constructed signs with clear depictions of the rules, but they have been overlooked and buried by people who defiantly claim that the rules aren't clear enough or are unfair, again muddying it for future generations. Upon returning to the house, the players are then held responsible for the rules that they were playing. Thus, it would be best for the current players of the rules to do their best in determining what the real rules are.

Is this not a possibility?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Tiax » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:43 pm UTC

Lots of people who have tried very hard to figure out the right rules have failed, ergo god does an unsatisfactory job of making them clear. There is no particular rule set which can claim that its followers have tried harder than all the rest. The claim that too many people are muddying the waters is nonsense. Surely God is more than capable of being loud enough and clear enough to overshadow anyone who might be muddying the waters. This being the case, it is clearly his fault if people aren't getting it.

Your scenario is certainly possible in that it's consistent. The problem is that it is severely at odds with reality.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:51 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:When I leave the field, if there is a god I believe I'll be asked one question: "Did you have fun?" I am going to answer, Yes, and I believe that's good enough to win.
"Did you have fun?" they asked the serial child rapist.

"Oh, hell yes," he said, laughing on his way up to his mansion in heaven. "You've got no idea how many kids they've got back there."
MoghLiechty2 wrote:God actually does care what rules you're following as you play the game. Those that are playing with the wrong rules are doing so because they refused to attempt to figure out what the right rules were, and thus were intentionally or unintentionally deceived by the players of generations past, who had changed the rules either from ignorance or defiance. Long ago, and even today, God has habitually constructed signs with clear depictions of the rules, but they have been overlooked and buried by people who defiantly claim that the rules aren't clear enough or are unfair, again muddying it for future generations. Upon returning to the house, the players are then held responsible for the rules that they were playing. Thus, it would be best for the current players of the rules to do their best in determining what the real rules are.

Is this not a possibility?
Absolutely.

And it's just as likely a possibility that the Mormons are the only ones who read all of these hidden signs correctly. That's right; sorry, but 'Mormon' was the correct answer1. But if it's any consolation, Hell is stacked full of atheists who refuse to believe that it actually exists2.


1Yes, I stole this from south park. Yes, it was funnier then.
2Actually, thanks to a webcomic that I cannot find right now, I am convinced that atheists go to heaven and theists go to Hell, because God is fueled by irony.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Indon » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:For instance, the rarely spoken of Deism. Thoughts anyone?


As a deist, I can confidently say that there isn't much to say about deism.

I believe that the universe is ordered by a sentient being. I don't believe said being did anything fancy, and I feel that miracles, if they existed, would be evidence of a truly sloppy creator (because when you look at it closely, a miracle is a god forcing the results they want out of a universe they didn't make the right way in order to get those results - in the computer world, this would be called a 'hack').

Aaaaand that's about it.

There's one belief I would like to discuss, though, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a religion (Deism's debatable too for that matter). It's a belief I've observed in many and have come to dub 'neo-pythagoreanism'.

This is the belief that the universe has a logical/mathematical foundation underlying it (simple, eh). This is something taken as simply axiomatic in practice, but I've seen individuals literally profess it not as an axiom but as a belief. So I'd ask: Any of these neo-pythagoreans in the house?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby JBJ » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:05 pm UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote:Allright, I'm back, and I'm obviously going to protest :) .

To play on your sports analogy some more what if the following possibility were true:

God actually does care what rules you're following as you play the game. Those that are playing with the wrong rules are doing so because they refused to attempt to figure out what the right rules were, and thus were intentionally or unintentionally deceived by the players of generations past, who had changed the rules either from ignorance or defiance. Long ago, and even today, God has habitually constructed signs with clear depictions of the rules, but they have been overlooked and buried by people who defiantly claim that the rules aren't clear enough or are unfair, again muddying it for future generations. Upon returning to the house, the players are then held responsible for the rules that they were playing. Thus, it would be best for the current players of the rules to do their best in determining what the real rules are.

Is this not a possibility?


Can you provide some examples of what God has shown to be the rules?

Your proposal implies to me that there is a specific religion that God wants us to follow, thus he has created a set of specific rules and will judge us accordingly. I cannot resolve that to the variety of religions around the world, their practices, and their history. I'm also assuming a monotheistic viewpoint as that is the dominant religious belief today between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism totaling about 53-54% of the world. I'm not discounting that there may be a multiple gods waiting for us in the afterlife, if any at all. On that last note, I take a pragmatic view; if there is no afterlife then I won't know, so I'll go into it assuming that there is.

Back on track, nearly all religions have an established moral or ethical code. As stated before, they universally cover the big three Don'ts; lie, steal, kill. The Do's seem to vary greatly. So are you saying that in addition to the big three, there are some established Do's? One of the common Do's for thousands of years was to provide an offering, and in some cases a sacrifice. Are we supposed to go back to that?

EDIT:
The Great Hippo wrote:
JBJ wrote:When I leave the field, if there is a god I believe I'll be asked one question: "Did you have fun?" I am going to answer, Yes, and I believe that's good enough to win.


"Did you have fun?" they asked the serial child rapist.

"Oh, hell yes," he said, laughing on his way up to his mansion in heaven. "You've got no idea how many kids they've got back there."


JBJ earlier in that same post wrote:Some of the rules are fairly logical; don't cheat, don't steal, don't injure or kill the other players, and these are adopted by pretty much all of the players.


Yes, there are psychopaths and sociopaths out there that feel no guilt and find pleasure in causing harm to others. I think that type of behavior trumps any other hypothetical rules that we're discussing. But, if God really wants us all to be serial child rapists and we all missed that message, then I guess I'm going to hell.
So, you sacked the cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker?
The second cocky khaki Kicky Sack sock plucker I've sacked since the sixth sitting sheet slitter got sick.


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