Religion: The Deuce

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binggeba
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby binggeba » Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:53 pm UTC

I was just wondering, throughout this discussion, there have been many comparisons between "Various Religions" and "Atheism".

But wouldn't Atheism also be called a religion? I mean Atheists do have 'beliefs' just as any one from any other religion.

I was curious on what you all think about this.

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Idhan
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Idhan » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:07 am UTC

binggeba wrote:I was just wondering, throughout this discussion, there have been many comparisons between "Various Religions" and "Atheism".

But wouldn't Atheism also be called a religion? I mean Atheists do have 'beliefs' just as any one from any other religion.

I was curious on what you all think about this.


Religions are not just any beliefs. They're usually supernatural beliefs organized into a (fairly) coherent set, usually involving cosmology, the origin of the world, the afterlife, with accompanying rituals, clergy, etc.

"Iron atoms each have twenty-six protons" is not a religious belief. (Nor, for that matter, is the analogous-but-false belief that iron atoms each have two-hundred and sixty protons, or three protons.)

Neither, incidentally, is "having a severed rabbit's foot makes you more lucky." That's a supernatural belief, a superstition, or a magical belief, but it doesn't really fit into any particular religion.

Atheists can hold religious beliefs. For example, a Theravada Buddhist could be an atheist.

Theism -- monotheism and polytheism -- however, is a subset of religious beliefs. Not all religious people are theists, but all theists are religious. (If I'm missing any exceptions, correct me.)

People who are irreligious, on the other hand, are all either atheists or agnostics, depending on their degree of epistemic confidence.

Around these parts -- the English-speaking world which dominates this English-writing Internet forum -- religion is dominated by monotheistic views. As such, "atheist" is often used as a synonym for "irreligious," even though (as in the case of an atheistic Theravada Buddhist) this isn't strictly correct.

So, if you think of it as comparison between "Various Religions" and "Irreligiousity," then you can more clearly see the dichotomy than with "Various Religions" and "Atheism." "Irreligious" clearly doesn't belong to the set of "Various Religions."

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:18 am UTC

binggeba wrote:I was just wondering, throughout this discussion, there have been many comparisons between "Various Religions" and "Atheism".

But wouldn't Atheism also be called a religion? I mean Atheists do have 'beliefs' just as any one from any other religion.

I was curious on what you all think about this.


Atheism(weak or strong) is a view on metaphysics just as theism is a view of metaphysics. This does not mean they are both types of worship or tradition.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Coffee Stain » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:00 am UTC

Idhan wrote:Theism -- monotheism and polytheism -- however, is a subset of religious beliefs. Not all religious people are theists, but all theists are religious. (If I'm missing any exceptions, correct me.)

I would instead say that mono- and poly-theism have subsets which are themselves subsets of religious belief. I've heard the phrase "non-religious theist" tossed around from time to time, particularly by people who use it to self-describe. Deism can be seen as a type of theism, and is usually irreligious; I even suppose it is at least theoretically possible to hold a nonreligious belief in an omnibenevolent and active God as well.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:22 am UTC

Coffee Stain wrote:
Idhan wrote:Theism -- monotheism and polytheism -- however, is a subset of religious beliefs. Not all religious people are theists, but all theists are religious. (If I'm missing any exceptions, correct me.)

I would instead say that mono- and poly-theism have subsets which are themselves subsets of religious belief. I've heard the phrase "non-religious theist" tossed around from time to time, particularly by people who use it to self-describe. Deism can be seen as a type of theism, and is usually irreligious; I even suppose it is at least theoretically possible to hold a nonreligious belief in an omnibenevolent and active God as well.


I think it would depend on whether you define religion as a set of philosophical views that posit the supernatural, or any tradition that is ritualistic in nature; I tend to find the former more appropriate because something like eating a pop tart for breakfast every morning isn't religious in any conventional sense.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Coffee Stain » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:23 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Coffee Stain wrote:
Idhan wrote:Theism -- monotheism and polytheism -- however, is a subset of religious beliefs. Not all religious people are theists, but all theists are religious. (If I'm missing any exceptions, correct me.)

I would instead say that mono- and poly-theism have subsets which are themselves subsets of religious belief. I've heard the phrase "non-religious theist" tossed around from time to time, particularly by people who use it to self-describe. Deism can be seen as a type of theism, and is usually irreligious; I even suppose it is at least theoretically possible to hold a nonreligious belief in an omnibenevolent and active God as well.


I think it would depend on whether you define religion as a set of philosophical views that posit the supernatural, or any tradition that is ritualistic in nature; I tend to find the former more appropriate because something like eating a pop tart for breakfast every morning isn't religious in any conventional sense.

I'd say I find the appropriate definition of religion rather in between belief and ritual, or more importantly, that which connects the two. We don't eat pop tarts because we believe Poppa Tart will reward us for doing so; in fact, we don't eat the pop tart for any reason at all.* It seems odd to me to just define a subset of philosophical musings to be religious, because philosophical musings are really only in practice limited to human beings, while religion is wholly so limited. You could construct a logic machine that has a chance of positing the supernatural for certain (and in my view, useful) definitions of natural, but I would hardly consider the machine "religious" unless it felt the need to act on it, as humans often are.

*This is a point that is perhaps more apt for the discussion of religion's personal purpose, than its historical or anthropological purpose. I happen to think that, for the good majority of what humans do naturally, there are not very good non-circular arguments for "why" that person does what she does other than the existing "how" or "she just does." You could say, for instance, that you eat the pop tart "because" you need nourishment, but nobody told you that you need nourishment, and you probably didn't reason it out. In fact, I say that there is no set of reasoning that you derived from any set of self-evident premises that give you reasons you can use to say to yourself that you need nourishment, it just so happens that needing nourishment is a rather common, if unfounded, assumption. We are programmed to need nourishment, not to construct reasons why.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:29 pm UTC

We don't eat pop tarts because we believe Poppa Tart will reward us for doing so; in fact, we don't eat the pop tart for any reason at all.


Someone please make this a religion.

You could construct a logic machine that has a chance of positing the supernatural for certain (and in my view, useful) definitions of natural, but I would hardly consider the machine "religious" unless it felt the need to act on it, as humans often are.


Doesn't the supernatural fitting a definition of natural necessarily contradict the claim of it being supernatural? I imagine you could program a logic machine to recognize that it has finite knowledge, but that is a big gap from positing the supernatural.
*This is a point that is perhaps more apt for the discussion of religion's personal purpose, than its historical or anthropological purpose. I happen to think that, for the good majority of what humans do naturally, there are not very good non-circular arguments for "why" that person does what she does other than the existing "how" or "she just does." You could say, for instance, that you eat the pop tart "because" you need nourishment, but nobody told you that you need nourishment, and you probably didn't reason it out. In fact, I say that there is no set of reasoning that you derived from any set of self-evident premises that give you reasons you can use to say to yourself that you need nourishment, it just so happens that needing nourishment is a rather common, if unfounded, assumption. We are programmed to need nourishment, not to construct reasons why.


The why behind eating is to maintain survival, eating is either performed by the realization of that or the instinctual reaction to hunger.

I think its just a matter of definition to be honest, but I would rather base the definition of religion on the supernatural since I believe it gives the best ability to properly differentiate.
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Coffee Stain
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Coffee Stain » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
You could construct a logic machine that has a chance of positing the supernatural for certain (and in my view, useful) definitions of natural, but I would hardly consider the machine "religious" unless it felt the need to act on it, as humans often are.

Doesn't the supernatural fitting a definition of natural necessarily contradict the claim of it being supernatural? I imagine you could program a logic machine to recognize that it has finite knowledge, but that is a big gap from positing the supernatural.

I think I spoke a bit ambiguously there. I wanted to mean that the logic machine could have a chance of coming up with a useful definition of 'natural' such that, as to the existence of objects with the corresponding definition of supernatural, the machine would assign a nonzero probability.

'Natural' is often, as you say, defined exactly so that supernatural entities are also natural. That is, some would like to say, "If supernatural entities existed and were in fact common, they would be natural!" But this rests on an entirely useless definition of natural that is more or less "everything that exists." Definitions are useful for their distinctions, and such a definition emits no distinctions at all.

The why behind eating is to maintain survival, eating is either performed by the realization of that or the instinctual reaction to hunger.

The point is that nobody told you to need survival, nor did you construct the motivation as an argument following from a set of premises. You are just programmed to do so. By looking at you, I could determine why you need survival in the sense that I could discover the cause and effect relationships that lead up to you performing actions that continue your survival, but those relationships only constitute an explanation, not a motive. Again with the machine analogy, if you programmed an AI with a console to always respond "Eat" to the input "Carrot," and you then asked it "Why do you eat carrots?" I don't know if there could be an appropriate non-circular response. The action directly results from the programming, and the same is true for us, even if it is more indirect and abstracted.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Krong » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:46 am UTC

Coffee Stain wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:The why behind eating is to maintain survival, eating is either performed by the realization of that or the instinctual reaction to hunger.

The point is that nobody told you to need survival, nor did you construct the motivation as an argument following from a set of premises. You are just programmed to do so. By looking at you, I could determine why you need survival in the sense that I could discover the cause and effect relationships that lead up to you performing actions that continue your survival, but those relationships only constitute an explanation, not a motive. Again with the machine analogy, if you programmed an AI with a console to always respond "Eat" to the input "Carrot," and you then asked it "Why do you eat carrots?" I don't know if there could be an appropriate non-circular response. The action directly results from the programming, and the same is true for us, even if it is more indirect and abstracted.

It's interesting to point out that ascetic customs, which are common across religions and include fasting, chastity, and other uncomfortable or painful practices, explicitly reject the motivations provided by the body, either as a means for strengthening religious devotion or as a proof/effect of a strong devotion. It's kind of a way of escaping from the way in which the natural world "programs" us, of saying that one has decided to live life for a reason other than survival and/or reproduction. Taken to extremes, we have the idea of martyrdom, which has lately become unfortunately caught up in notions of dying while pursuing violence, and possibly passivity in the face of violent oppression before that. At its heart, though, it's the ultimate rejection of one's natural programming in pursuit of a higher purpose.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Dark567 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:01 pm UTC

Krong wrote:It's interesting to point out that ascetic customs, which are common across religions and include fasting, chastity, and other uncomfortable or painful practices, explicitly reject the motivations provided by the body, either as a means for strengthening religious devotion or as a proof/effect of a strong devotion. It's kind of a way of escaping from the way in which the natural world "programs" us, of saying that one has decided to live life for a reason other than survival and/or reproduction. Taken to extremes, we have the idea of martyrdom, which has lately become unfortunately caught up in notions of dying while pursuing violence, and possibly passivity in the face of violent oppression before that. At its heart, though, it's the ultimate rejection of one's natural programming in pursuit of a higher purpose.


Generally we no longer think of ourselves as programmed to survive so much as we are programmed to make sure our genes survive. This could involve things like fasting in order to preserve food for the entire family(who tend to share many genes) longer. You also seem to be assuming that religious nature isn't part of ones natural programming, if it is, it certainly isn't the rejection of one's natural programming to follow it and fast etc.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby quantumcat42 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

If you start by assuming that any action one takes is the result of natural programming, then you can arrive at the conclusion that fasting, chastity, and martyrdom are (surprise, surprise!) part of natural programming. However, since (taken on their own) these religious acts are directly opposed to the perpetuation of one's genes, you'd really need something stronger than the example given to rationalize their origin in "natural programming" without that sort of circular logic -- especially when the monk doing the fasting has no offspring to provide this excess food to...

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Dark567 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:51 pm UTC

quantumcat42 wrote:If you start by assuming that any action one takes is the result of natural programming, then you can arrive at the conclusion that fasting, chastity, and martyrdom are (surprise, surprise!) part of natural programming. However, since (taken on their own) these religious acts are directly opposed to the perpetuation of one's genes, you'd really need something stronger than the example given to rationalize their origin in "natural programming" without that sort of circular logic -- especially when the monk doing the fasting has no offspring to provide this excess food to...


It doesn't matter if the monk has family to provide the excess food too or not. Evolution could have very well encouraged us to fast in order to save food for our families, but that doesn't mean we won't fast without families. This is what one could call an "unintended consequence" of an evolutionary trait. Richard Dawkins explains this well in one of his lectures, and in a number of his books. He uses the example of birth control, which is a product of our intelligence(part of our natural programming), to subvert another part of our natural programming from working(we evolved to really like sex in order to reproduce). Evolution can sometimes select traits that in specific instances(the monk having no family, sex with birth control) are not conducive to survival but in the general population(persons in families, sex without birth control) good for survival.
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Yakk wrote:The question the thought experiment I posted is aimed at answering: When falling in a black hole, do you see the entire universe's future history train-car into your ass, or not?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby quantumcat42 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:41 am UTC

I don't disagree that there are circumstances in which certain behaviors might be counter-intuitively selected for -- but for religious acts of fasting, chastity and martyrdom, not only are they almost entirely abstracted from the potentially motivating circumstances (e.g. fasting is practiced as a meditative aid -- not in response to a food shortage) but they have also been historically significant precisely because they are difficult, precisely because they go against our natural instincts to survive and reproduce. Sure, you can make a case for the genetic benefit of just about any behavior, but that doesn't mean it's the most reasonable explanation.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby athelas » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

Regardless of the actual law, the important thing is whether the same situation would result in prosecution and/or conviction if it was a male doing it but not a female. There are lots of laws that are barely reinforced or reinforced in a heavily biased manner (see for example underage drinking and marijuana possession on college campuses, where they're both known to be widespread but college admins and local police agree to wink and mostly look the other way.)

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Greyarcher » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:47 am UTC

'Ello, Coffee Stain! I'm afraid my writing urge petered out before I could develop my post to my satisfaction. So while I had a reply for you sitting around for a week+, it did not necessarily convey anything succinctly nor effectively.

Unfortunately, I doubt my writing urge will kick in to help me polish this post to completion. Nevertheless, our discussion was of some interest to me, so I decided to finally post what I wrote regardless of the irritation it causes to my serious and perfectionist side.

The post is large, so I separated it into spoilered sections.

Section 1. Re-stating the main challenge
Spoiler:
Coffee Stain wrote:If we grant as the relevant case deities that belong to philosophies in which there is only one Deity, the question becomes simpler. If we go so far as to grant those philosophies greater credence, then the answer becomes clearer, although perhaps some will get caught up with that "if." At the very least, the Monotheistic Deity more elegantly avoids the objection, perhaps most obviously from the fact that there are less entities to prove!
Either you are misunderstanding me, or I you, because I don't see how this addresses the problem I raised. But I can be too verbose and elaborate. I had, essentially, one main challenge. I'll ignore precision and try and state it simply:

Consider a theist who believes in God. This theist believes all other gods are false. Historically, though, people have had many gods.* I propose that the theist cannot give a proper explanation for how all those false gods arose, without also discrediting the origin of his own God by making it explainable in the same manner.

Therefore, the two "ifs" that you spoke of granting seem to miss the point. The challenge is to deal with these other deities that you would discard as irrelevant.

It's worth mentioning: In my first post I closely tied this challenge to a discussion of character. Namely, the character of "originators" and the people who listened to them ("originators" being the first person/people who ever spoke of the new gods/goddesses). This wasn't really a separate challenge, but rather a discussion of where the challenge leads.

Specifically: Explaining the false gods means speaking of the "originators"--answering why they came up with false gods, and why people believed them. It's a question of the character, psychology, and/or culture of the originators. Of course, in the end, the exact character of most originators is mysterious and lost in time; thus, we might be tempted to pat our backs and say, "our religion's originators were different". But that dubious attitude just assumes exactly what is in question.

It's not about faith in one's god(s) anymore; it's about judging people. It's about looking at all the people back then, the originators, their gods, and the people who believed them. Assume that, according to the challenge I've presented, we've come up with an explanation: the originators of [false] gods came up with their gods for reasons Q, R, and S, and people believed them for reasons X, Y, and Z. Now we step back for a moment and don't assume our religion is true and special; if we think about what we know about the originators of our deity and the people of that time...can we honestly say that those reasons couldn't apply?

(For instance, when you trace back the originators of, say, Christianity, the analysis doesn't stop at Jesus; he represents a religious "break" from Judaism, but we can trace his deity back through Judaism. And what sort of folks existed in the early environment of Judaism? Henotheists and polytheists with their "false gods". Do we really have reason to think, "The people at the origin of our deity/religion were different from people who came up with false gods?")



*Just check some of the lists at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Lists_of_deities. People like deities, and have come up with a great many.

Section 2. Responding to some remarks that a monotheistic god is different. Dismissing an alternate question/challenge.
Spoiler:
Coffee Stain wrote:And the One entity that is said to exist by these various religions, as is often claimed by their respective historical greats, is owed many of his most important attributes by the existential reality that we occupy; not excluding, in addition to, or even preceding the type of historical testimonies you describe. Create a religion that claims the existence of a contingent and temporal (if non-physical) entity that represents, say, the Sun, and you owe an account for not only why your being has the contingent and temporal attributes he has, but also for why the explanatory power of a ball of fusion is not sufficient. Create a religion that claims the existence of a noncontingent, eternal entity that represents only itself, to which things such as the Sun owes their existence, and whose attributes are at least supposed to be perceived in a way other than your testimony itself, then the problem is reduced only to that of sufficient explanatory power, and you subject your claim to the ability of others to perceive Him in the same way.
This is a different question from my central challenge. It is a question about the coherence with one's religion or deity with the rest of one's understanding of the world. I don't think it's an interesting question. Mostly because it doesn't require theists to question their religious beliefs--nor the basis for their religious beliefs--but merely asks them to make their religious beliefs coherent with their non-religious beliefs. That's a weak challenge. It, basically, lets theists assume their religious belief is correct; they only need to defend against claims of incoherence. But defending an entrenched belief like that is much easier than establishing if we should have granted belief in the first place. That's why I prefer my question.

There are two reasons why I raised the question of false deities, and what the creation of countless false, fictional deities implies for the origin of one's own deity. First reason: it is a prior question that casts doubt on the entire phenomenon of "deities". Second reason: it approaches the question of religious belief from an angle that means a theist isn't necessarily defending an entrenched belief. Thus, standard reinforcement/self-affirmation arguments (which I speak more on next) don't really apply.

An example of such reinforcement? Providence. Providence is generally a matter of interpretation, which means it may be completely imaginary and is only evidence for people who already believe. Using providence as 'evidence' for God, then, is mere self-affirmation--which is to say, it affirms one's own belief but would not be compelling if one did not already believe. Reinforcing an entrenched belief is easy because of self-affirmation effects like that. The coherence question you raised above is similar. If you make your religious beliefs coherent with the rest of your beliefs about the world, this means that you avoided objections of incoherence. Avoiding objections doesn't really establish a reason to believe in God; despite that, it can still produce a self-affirmation effect and give a sense of confidence in the belief.

If we are told something is true, and come to believe it, self-affirmation/reinforcement arguments will now bolster our mindset, even if what we were told was false. If we have reason to suspect we hold a false belief because of this effect, the ideal test would be for a believer to step back to the position of a non-believer. Then they would judge whether they should grant belief from the start, overcoming at least the strongest objections before granting belief.

I think this happens normally with weakly held beliefs when someone tells us the belief is wrong and something else is true. Our mind says, "What?", we stop believing, and we go check if we have enough reason to believe. But strongly held beliefs put a stronger burden of proof on the person who says we're mistaken. What I wish to question is if there are sufficient reasons to strongly hold religious beliefs in the first place.

Either way, I doubt one can simply "stop believing" and reassess from a non-believer's perspective. Rather, it would be a difficult task of identifying and consciously putting out of one's mind areas of thought which tend to be merely self-affirming, and then tackling the question of whether to believe anew. And I think the question of religious belief--when tackled anew--is mostly a question of historical belief. Thus, the challenge I presented on "originators".
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby GoC » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:47 am UTC

binggeba wrote:I was just wondering, throughout this discussion, there have been many comparisons between "Various Religions" and "Atheism".

But wouldn't Atheism also be called a religion? I mean Atheists do have 'beliefs' just as any one from any other religion.

Depends what you mean by'belief'.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Sam7791 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:13 am UTC

I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.

And to all my Atheists, The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Kurushimi » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:38 am UTC

Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.

And to all my Atheists, The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?



I don't want to believe in an afterlife for the same reason I don't want to believe in Santa Claus, or pixies. Having Santa Claus be real would be epic. But, I opt not to believe in him because he isn't real. I'd rather not lie to myself to make myself feel comfortable. Its not as though life is pointless without God, anyways.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:10 am UTC

Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.

And to all my Atheists, The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?


Who says we don't want to? I can't speak for all atheists, obviously, but personally it's not that I don't want to (not that I want to either, I don't much care either way), it's that even if I did, I simply couldn't.

To make a rude comparison.
I don't see why people would want to go through the whole year, not believing in Santa.
Could you will belief in Santa, if you wanted to? I couldn't, I find him (too) to be wholly implausible.

Other than that, for Hell to be a motivator to believe, you'd have to believe in Hell in the first place.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Jimmigee » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:32 pm UTC

Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.


Are you not equally motivated by the possibility of burning in all the other avaliable hells? Why pick Christian hell to avoid?

Sam7791 wrote:
I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain.


How does an afterlife help you here? What is your purpose if there is an afterlife?

In regards to your overall view, I just can't imagine how you can see belief as a choice in this way. In particular, if you do have that choice, how does choosing to believe that billions of people are going to burn in hell for all eternity make you feel better about getting out of bed every day?!

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Kewangji » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:34 pm UTC

Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.

And to all my Atheists, The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?

The afterlife where people burn in hell forever is not something I want to believe in, and since I see the main Christian god as a pretty mean figure (who would send people to hell), I don't want to stay in a place where mainstream Christianity (involving hell) is true. I'd rather be dead. That's just one reason.

Also, why are you writing atheist with a capital A?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Kurushimi » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:08 pm UTC

The same reason he wrote Afterlife with a capital "A". People sometimes forget capitalization rules and capital things by accident.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Sam7791 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:37 pm UTC

Jimmigee wrote:
Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.


Are you not equally motivated by the possibility of burning in all the other avaliable hells? Why pick Christian hell to avoid?

Sam7791 wrote:
I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain.


How does an afterlife help you here? What is your purpose if there is an afterlife?

In regards to your overall view, I just can't imagine how you can see belief as a choice in this way. In particular, if you do have that choice, how does choosing to believe that billions of people are going to burn in hell for all eternity make you feel better about getting out of bed every day?!


Knowledge of other religions is not my strong point, so what other popular religions have a devastating outcome if you do not believe in it.

Thirty-one wrote:
Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.

And to all my Atheists, The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?


Who says we don't want to? I can't speak for all atheists, obviously, but personally it's not that I don't want to (not that I want to either, I don't much care either way), it's that even if I did, I simply couldn't.

To make a rude comparison.
I don't see why people would want to go through the whole year, not believing in Santa.
Could you will belief in Santa, if you wanted to? I couldn't, I find him (too) to be wholly implausible.

Other than that, for Hell to be a motivator to believe, you'd have to believe in Hell in the first place.


The difference between God and Santa Claus is we can prove that Santa Claus is not real. We can go to the north pole and scout for him, and we can place cameras at our Christmas tree to see if he comes. Obviously Santa Claus is not real because we can prove that our parents actually leave the presents for us. But with God, we can not prove or disprove him, so the only thing left is do you want to believe in him or not? And like I've stated earlier, I don't see why you wouldn't want to be in him, because if he isn't real, in my opinion, our lives are extremely shallow and almost meaningless.

And I'm using God as a generic term, it doesn't have to solely apply to Christianity

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Sam7791 wrote:I think the reason that most people are Christians is because of the consequences you will receive if you do not believe in it. Burning in hell for all eternity is a great motivator on converting to Christianity.
I hope thats not your only motivation for being Christian.

I don't know that there is an afterlife, I don't know that there is a God, I don't know what will happen to me if I die.

I do know that I am currently alive, I do know that there are gay individuals, I do know that the world is older then 6 thousand years, and I can be reasonably certain that Thomas Jefferson existed and was not just a fabrication of historians. So instead of living in my own world where my believes dictate what I think is right and wrong and how I behave, I'd rather live in the real world where reality dictates how I can treat other people and how I behave.

The only thing I don't get is why wouldn't you want to believe in an afterlife. I couldn't get out of bed each day knowing that my life servers no purpose and I'm just a very very small microscopic part of the evolutionary chain. I just don't understand why you would want to go through your busy day knowing that after you die, your life is over. It would just make me very sad and depressed if I didn't believe in an afterlife. Basically the thing I'm trying to get across is, as of now there is no scientific proof that can prove or disprove a God/Afterlife, so what it comes down to is do you want to believe in an afterlife or not?
I'm sorry that the real world does not fascinate and astound you, that you unable to enjoy living for the sake of joy itself, that you don't care about the future of humanity and or even the people close in your life that will out live you.

And yes I could 'choose' to believe in the Christian God, or I could choose to not take things on belief and instead accept my ignorance in many areas and live my life acting based on knowledge rather then belief. Thus allow myself to develop superior reasoning and thinking skills than those that choose to believe in things we don't know to be real. A belief that often results in actions that hurt people and society that we know exist, because of faith in a concept that we have no proof of existence. I choose to think rather than believe.

Either your trolling in SB (quite successfully) or need to read through the thread before posting in it.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:24 pm UTC

Sam7791 wrote:The difference between God and Santa Claus is we can prove that Santa Claus is not real. We can go to the north pole and scout for him, and we can place cameras at our Christmas tree to see if he comes. Obviously Santa Claus is not real because we can prove that our parents actually leave the presents for us. But with God, we can not prove or disprove him, so the only thing left is do you want to believe in him or not? And like I've stated earlier, I don't see why you wouldn't want to be in him, because if he isn't real, in my opinion, our lives are extremely shallow and almost meaningless.

And I'm using God as a generic term, it doesn't have to solely apply to Christianity


Maybe he wasn't in the day you checked the pole?
Maybe your parents are just covering up, because you weren't well behaved enough as a child?

People make excuses for their God not fixing things in the world, surely if you try hard enough, you can do the same for Santa.

And to repeat, it's not about not wanting to believe for me. My urge is irrelevant, I simply couldn't will belief even if I wanted it.
The guy is highly implausible to me, much like most other gods.
Could you will belief in Thor?

Other than that, if I could will belief in him, I still wouldn't.
The Christian God as I've come to know him is a mean bastard, with whom I would want nothing to do.
While I consider the tales about him to be untrue, some of them still appear as unjust enough to frustrate me.
Come on, Job? That was douchy.
Killing every first born Egyptian boy? Swell for them, I'm sure they'd done lots to deserve that.
I guess he was saving up his kindness for a later time..
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:56 am UTC

Thirty-one wrote:Come on, Job? That was douchy.
Do you know the actual story of Job? If you are trying to be on Job's side and show that God is a douche, then why was Job himself a faithful follower of God all his life? And, in fact, after all Job's suffering, God went on to bless him far more than he ever had before just as he will bless those faithful to him now in his new kingdom.
Killing every first born Egyptian boy? Swell for them, I'm sure they'd done lots to deserve that.
That's probably harder to answer than Job, but I'll note that contrary what we're used to thinking now in the modern world of rights and prosperity, no one is entitled to anything, even existence. Non-Israelites before the Messiah were not part of God's chosen people, nor did they have any entitlement to be, nor did God ever promise they were, and assuming God is creator, simply being created was already more than they "deserve."
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:30 am UTC

That's probably harder to answer than Job, but I'll note that contrary what we're used to thinking now in the modern world of rights and prosperity, no one is entitled to anything, even existence. Non-Israelites before the Messiah were not part of God's chosen people, nor did they have any entitlement to be, nor did God ever promise they were, and assuming God is creator, simply being created was already more than they "deserve."


So your answer is that god isn't being cruel because he's allowed to kill his children?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby icanus » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:37 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:Come on, Job? That was douchy.
Do you know the actual story of Job? If you are trying to be on Job's side and show that God is a douche, then why was Job himself a faithful follower of God all his life? And, in fact, after all Job's suffering, God went on to bless him far more than he ever had before just as he will bless those faithful to him now in his new kingdom.

Beating someone to within an inch of their life for a few decades isn't suddenly OK because, after they've taken the beatings and still come back for more, you tell them they've proved their love, stop beating them and buy them something pretty. Especially if you do it on a bet with your drinking buddy. Any sane person's advice to anyone in Job's situation would be "leave him and get yourself and the kids to a shelter".

duckshirt wrote:
Killing every first born Egyptian boy? Swell for them, I'm sure they'd done lots to deserve that.
That's probably harder to answer than Job, but I'll note that contrary what we're used to thinking now in the modern world of rights and prosperity, no one is entitled to anything, even existence. Non-Israelites before the Messiah were not part of God's chosen people, nor did they have any entitlement to be, nor did God ever promise they were, and assuming God is creator, simply being created was already more than they "deserve."

And people wonder why some of us wouldn't want to believe that mythology if what we believed were in fact a choice? Personally I see treating the vast majority of the human race as nothing more than meat-puppets, even if that decision is later reversed* as a far worse crime than merely murdering a kingdom's worth of infants.

*Out of curiosity, what are the references for the messiah changing the whole Israelites = Chosen People, Everyone Else = Stage Props dynamic? (I'm genuinely asking - I know this sounds snarky, but the only explicit reference I've been able to find with my basic biblical knowledge is Paul speaking in the debate in Galatians, and he relies on some pretty shaky "what God really meant by seed of Abraham was..." type logic)

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:10 am UTC

I agree with both of the answers above.

Worst pissing contest ever. If you're all powerful, give up the self esteem issues, just tell the devil that no, he can't play with your toys.
Truly a tale that disgusts me to the point of actually feeling quite upset (which doesn't often happen with (something I consider to be) fiction).
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:07 pm UTC

icanus wrote:
duckshirt wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:Come on, Job? That was douchy.
Do you know the actual story of Job? If you are trying to be on Job's side and show that God is a douche, then why was Job himself a faithful follower of God all his life? And, in fact, after all Job's suffering, God went on to bless him far more than he ever had before just as he will bless those faithful to him now in his new kingdom.

Beating someone to within an inch of their life for a few decades isn't suddenly OK because, after they've taken the beatings and still come back for more, you tell them they've proved their love, stop beating them and buy them something pretty. Especially if you do it on a bet with your drinking buddy. Any sane person's advice to anyone in Job's situation would be "leave him and get yourself and the kids to a shelter".
So Job isn't capable of figuring out what's right for himself? Your relationship abuse analogy isn't quite right because it compares a situation of a lot of abuse and a small token of redemption with relatively small abuse and far greater blessings. As a parent, would you make sure nothing could ever happen to your offspring no matter how old they got or how ungrateful they were, or let them have their own struggles so they can appreciate the good times to come (most parents do have the power to simply shelter their kids their whole lives if they wanted)? And the Bible never says God completely left Job - just as he is responsible for any abuse Job took from Satan, he is also responsible for being in control of Job's survival and blessings to come.

duckshirt wrote:
Killing every first born Egyptian boy? Swell for them, I'm sure they'd done lots to deserve that.
That's probably harder to answer than Job, but I'll note that contrary what we're used to thinking now in the modern world of rights and prosperity, no one is entitled to anything, even existence. Non-Israelites before the Messiah were not part of God's chosen people, nor did they have any entitlement to be, nor did God ever promise they were, and assuming God is creator, simply being created was already more than they "deserve."

And people wonder why some of us wouldn't want to believe that mythology if what we believed were in fact a choice? Personally I see treating the vast majority of the human race as nothing more than meat-puppets, even if that decision is later reversed* as a far worse crime than merely murdering a kingdom's worth of infants.
So God can't be real because he doesn't fit your personal view of the way things should be, a view with no actual objective basis? So you don't think it's bad to kill anything that's homo spaiens. Do you have any problem that God has let plants and animals he created die too? Do you yourself believe it that it's wrong to kill plants or animals? If so, what gives you the authority to assign special significance to every homo sapiens that ever lived when the creator himself apparently didn't?

*Out of curiosity, what are the references for the messiah changing the whole Israelites = Chosen People, Everyone Else = Stage Props dynamic? (I'm genuinely asking - I know this sounds snarky, but the only explicit reference I've been able to find with my basic biblical knowledge is Paul speaking in the debate in Galatians, and he relies on some pretty shaky "what God really meant by seed of Abraham was..." type logic)
That comes from the words of Jesus himself - made most clear from the Great Commission just before he left:
Matthew 28 wrote:Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Most of the debate in the early church was debate over whether or not to follow the old Jewish laws - although it was clear they didn't need them, the Jewish Christians were understandably worried about dropping all these laws when they had followed them so intensely for their whole lives.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:Your relationship abuse analogy isn't quite right because it compares a situation of a lot of abuse and a small token of redemption with relatively small abuse and far greater blessings.


I'm sorry, but relatively small abuse?
Doesn't he kill all his children? (Well, not himself, but he just stands by and watches it happen, which is obviously the same if you're all powerful.)
Granted he has nicer children afterwards, but if anything that's just reducing family to the status of livestock.

I'd be pretty damn upset if some sort of "gentle" all-mighty being did that to me.


So God can't be real because he doesn't fit your personal view of the way things should be, a view with no actual objective basis?


In fairness to the guy you're quoting, you're sort of taking it out of context. He/We were all previously asked by a poster why we wouldn't want to believe in a such and such god, as if it was a question of wanting to or not. He's simply saying that even if he had the choice, this isn't the kind of god that would make him want to believe.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:40 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:Worst pissing contest ever. If you're all powerful, give up the self esteem issues, just tell the devil that no, he can't play with your toys.

What if it's not a self-esteem issue? What if it happened to provide an illustration to people about having faith in the face of hardship? One of the toughest things to understand for Christians (and probably anyone that believes in a loving God) is why he lets bad stuff happen. The story of Job is a comfort for many people that struggle with this.

Thirty-one wrote:Truly a tale that disgusts me to the point of actually feeling quite upset (which doesn't often happen with (something I consider to be) fiction).

Our moral intuition will always fail in scenarios with perfect information. Most people would say that killing one baby is OK if you can guarantee that it will save 6 million other people from a terrible atrocity. But if someone actually does kill a baby, no one would defend them by saying, "Well, maybe it was the next Hitler!". It will always be bad moral policy to allow baby-killing because we can't have that perfect information. But God does have it. So our gut instincts about God's actions will fail. We can't rationally weigh the goodness of his actions unless we learn what would have happened otherwise. And since we can't know, many take it on faith that God only does good even when it runs counter to our intuition.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

guenther wrote:
Thirty-one wrote:Worst pissing contest ever. If you're all powerful, give up the self esteem issues, just tell the devil that no, he can't play with your toys.

What if it's not a self-esteem issue? What if it happened to provide an illustration to people about having faith in the face of hardship? One of the toughest things to understand for Christians (and probably anyone that believes in a loving God) is why he lets bad stuff happen. The story of Job is a comfort for many people that struggle with this.


Whatever works for them, I suppose.
To me, the answer of "why does God let bad things happen to good people" if to be found in the book of Job is "for no good reason"/"because he's allowed to, he made us". Personally I couldn't find comfort in that, and would be terrified by the concept of having to spend eternity with the guy after I died.

Thirty-one wrote:We can't rationally weigh the goodness of his actions unless we learn what would have happened otherwise. And since we can't know, many take it on faith that God only does good even when it runs counter to our intuition.


Personally, for this story, predicting what would have happened if God didn't let Satan have Job as his plaything seems to be rather easy. He'd have been stuck with his original family until they all died from whatever. Basically what I imagine what later happened to family 2.0.
If he's all-mighty, then whatever he wanted to happen to them, is what would have happened to them.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby icanus » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:So Job isn't capable of figuring out what's right for himself? Your relationship abuse analogy isn't quite right because it compares a situation of a lot of abuse and a small token of redemption with relatively small abuse and far greater blessings.

Substitute a single punch in the face and buying the victim a carribean island. Its still abuse. Moreso because if you accept the premise of the story, there is no shelter Job can go to, since god has the power to keep coming after him however far he runs.

duckshirt wrote:So God can't be real because he doesn't fit your personal view of the way things should be, a view with no actual objective basis?

No, I don't believe god exists because that's where the (lack of) evidence leads me, which is a whole other discusson. I was explaining why I also wouldn't want it to be true, regardless of what I think is true.

I try not to let what I want to be true influence my assessments of what I beleive to be true (and like to think I mostly succeed) - It'd be just great if cancer could be cured by eating uncooked wheat seeds, but sadly the evidence strongly points to that not being the case, so I sigh and move on. It is horrible to believe that humans kept their fellow humans as slaves based on the colour of their skin, but they did and I've seen the chains they used with my oen eyes, so have to I live with that knowledge.

In the case of the god of the old testament, I don't believe he exists and wouldn't want him to exist, so I lucked out on that one - what I want to be the case lines up nicely with what I believe to be the case. But neither of those is (or should be) contingent on the other.

And thanks for the reference - I'll check it out properly when I have some time.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

Thirty-one wrote:To me, the answer of "why does God let bad things happen to good people" if to be found in the book of Job is "for no good reason"/"because he's allowed to, he made us".

The Christian perspective is that God does get to do whatever he wants, and he doesn't have to justify his reasoning to us. Part of the faith is trusting that when he exercises his will, it's for a good purpose, even if we can't understand it. This is illustrated in Job--he is materially rewarded for being faithful while suffering, and he comes out spiritually ahead as well. Also, the book illustrates that even when all seems hopeless, God is still in control and will limit suffering to that which we can bear.

Thirty-one wrote:Personally, for this story, predicting what would have happened if God didn't let Satan have Job as his plaything seems to be rather easy. He'd have been stuck with his original family until they all died from whatever. Basically what I imagine what later happened to family 2.0.

Well, for Job personally, he came away with a deeper relationship with God. He learned he should love God and submit to his will even in the face of seemingly unjust suffering. So that's a win for Job, at least according to the Christian perspective.

And more broadly, it seems reasonable to think that Job's family and friends would be impacted by his deeper relationship. Perhaps Job helped foster a greater faithfulness among his community. And even broader still, we wouldn't have the book of Job if the story didn't take place. It's impossible to know how many people throughout the ages were inspired by it to better follow God's plan.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

guenther wrote:The Christian perspective is that God does get to do whatever he wants, and he doesn't have to justify his reasoning to us.


I'm aware of that. To someone not being bound to thinking he's awesome by default though the whole thing looks crazy. Crazy.

If (assuming I had a dog) someone killed my dog, then turned around and gave me two nicer dogs, I would punch them in the face, regardless of what their title was. If they were my children.. We'll "kind" would certainly never be a word I'd apply to them, regardless of how many children I had later, and how nice they turned out to be.
Treating people as livestock strikes me as caveman behaviour, not the work of a divine being.

Keep in mind that these are still answers to the question "why wouldn't one want to believe in God?", posed earlier in the thread.
I can see that if you already do, you might cut him some more slack. When you don't tough, there's no reason why you'd scrutinize
him less than you would a human being, especially given that he supposedly has every chance to impose his will, if he wants to. Humans don't.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Aldighieri » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:37 am UTC

Religion makes people comfortable, and since Christianity(As far as I am aware) is the largest religion in the US, branching into all of it's sub-aspects, it makes sense that many people choose Christianity as opposed to Atheism, Wicca, Satanism, Buddhism, or any other religion for comfort. On the flip side, many people dis-agree with Christianity, either due to crappy parents or reading up on Charles Darwin, etc. Personally, I was raised with Christianity, read the bible, saw a perspective that was different from what I was taught, and now am a believer in God, who does not affiliate with any existing Church. Why am I still a believer? Well, I have a belief that I was raised with, and don't see any reason to change. It isn't just about comfort, though, I use ideals from the bible and apply that to my moral code.

As for God doing whatever he wants with us, he created the universe and everything(42) from a single point(Big bang) and put all, or most life, on the planet. Considering that we are little specs of imperfection in his eyes, the fact that he hasn't outright destroyed us yet is what you could call... merciful. He created us as a means to an end, populating his kingdom. If we don't make the cut, then he sees no reason to keep us. Would you keep a magnet if it didn't do it's job? Would a computer be worth keeping if it used legacy technology? Get the point now?

As for Christians trying to convert other people. Genuine Christians(Not the television ones or the fakes who make tons of money, try street corner preachers.) honestly believe in hell-fire. So converting other people would mean that person won't go to hell. See the logic there? Personally, I don't feel a need to condemn anyone who doesn't agree with me. In fact, most of the time I won't even bring it up. Trying to force someone to join you is wrong, and ineffective. If the person truly wants to join, then they will do so willingly. So what those Christians on street corners preaching of hell-fire are doing is noble, their methods on the other hand, somewhat less than pleasant. Trust me, I get somewhat annoyed by them sometimes as well. 'tis why I don't affiliate with churches. I should also point out that saying you're Christian doesn't make you Christian. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with that title that is somewhat ignored by a large portion of the followers.

Sorry, I don't really have a thesis, I was just rambling a bit about my beliefs. Carry on. ^_^

Edit: Changed "your" to "you're"

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby lati0s » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:24 am UTC

Aldighieri wrote: On the flip side, many people dis-agree with Christianity, either due to crappy parents or reading up on Charles Darwin, etc.

Please tell me you mean Richard Dawkins.

Aldighieri wrote: Personally, I was raised with Christianity, read the bible, saw a perspective that was different from what I was taught, and now am a believer in God, who does not affiliate with any existing Church. Why am I still a believer? Well, I have a belief that I was raised with, and don't see any reason to change. It isn't just about comfort, though, I use ideals from the bible and apply that to my moral code.

If your goal is to believe what is true then the fact that you were raised with a belief, that it gives you comfort or that it provides a satisfactory moral code are not rational reasons for believing it.

Aldighieri wrote:As for God doing whatever he wants with us, he created the universe and everything(42) from a single point(Big bang) and put all, or most life, on the planet. Considering that we are little specs of imperfection in his eyes, the fact that he hasn't outright destroyed us yet is what you could call... merciful. He created us as a means to an end, populating his kingdom. If we don't make the cut, then he sees no reason to keep us. Would you keep a magnet if it didn't do it's job? Would a computer be worth keeping if it used legacy technology? Get the point now?

This contradicts the ideal that god is all loving and also the ideal that he is omniscient. If you love something you don't look at it for the benefit that it could give to you. If you love someone then you act in their best interests and not just when it turns out to be directly beneficial to you. If god was omniscient he would know if someone would fit his wants before he created them so he would have no reason to create people that 'don't make the cut'

Aldighieri wrote:As for Christians trying to convert other people. Genuine Christians(Not the television ones or the fakes who make tons of money, try street corner preachers.) honestly believe in hell-fire. So converting other people would mean that person won't go to hell. See the logic there?

They are no more noble than the schizophrenics that warn you of the looming alien invasion.


Aldighieri wrote:Personally, I don't feel a need to condemn anyone who doesn't agree with me. In fact, most of the time I won't even bring it up. Trying to force someone to join you is wrong, and ineffective.

Is this because you don't care about other people going to hell or is it that you don't believe in hell (which would mean that your previous statement implies that you do not consider yourself a

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mmmcannibalism
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:41 am UTC

As for God doing whatever he wants with us, he created the universe and everything(42) from a single point(Big bang) and put all, or most life, on the planet. Considering that we are little specs of imperfection in his eyes, the fact that he hasn't outright destroyed us yet is what you could call... merciful. He created us as a means to an end, populating his kingdom. If we don't make the cut, then he sees no reason to keep us. Would you keep a magnet if it didn't do it's job? Would a computer be worth keeping if it used legacy technology? Get the point now?


So I can kill my children if they aren't the means to a wealthy retirement I desired from them?

I use ideals from the bible and apply that to my moral code.


What is the rational behind your moral code.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Thirty-one » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:27 am UTC

Aldighieri wrote:Considering that we are little specs of imperfection in his eyes, the fact that he hasn't outright destroyed us yet is what you could call... merciful. He created us as a means to an end, populating his kingdom. If we don't make the cut, then he sees no reason to keep us. Would you keep a magnet if it didn't do it's job? Would a computer be worth keeping if it used legacy technology? Get the point now?


I suppose, technically, I could call that merciful, but I don't find that it applies. And any imperfection on humans part in my eyes stem from a poor design in the first place.
No, I wouldn't keep a fridge magnet that didn't do its job, but then I also wouldn't inspire these magnets to write stories where I was some grand, merciful being.

Aldighieri wrote:It isn't just about comfort, though, I use ideals from the bible and apply that to my moral code.


Do you use all of these ideals, every single one you could make out?
If not, how did you make your picks?
Did you check all of them against other translations of the book?

As for Christians trying to convert other people. Genuine Christians(Not the television ones or the fakes who make tons of money, try street corner preachers.) honestly believe in hell-fire. So converting other people would mean that person won't go to hell. See the logic there?


I do see the logic there. Until I look a bit closer at the situation.
Heaven is supposedly populated by nothing but believers, good or bad, plus God (a guy who doesn't strike me as all that likeable).
Hell is populated by non-believers, good or bad, plus the devil (?) (a guy who doesn't strike me as all that likeable, but at least doesn't pretend to be).

Apart from a slight change in temperature, I don't see the vast gain here.
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