The Problem with Religion

  
By:  Gordy327  •  8 months ago  •  455 comments


The Problem with Religion
"Religion is like a pair of shoes. Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes." --- George Carlin

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Religious and not News Chat


The late, great George Carlin probably said it best: " Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money. "

That simple, yet comically (and philosophically?) profound statement illustrates some problems generally associated with religion. These problems do not apply to all people practicing a religion or having a belief. But they can and do apply to some. While religion can do some good and benefit people to some degree, I will focus mainly on the problems of religion itself.

First, religion makes statements of "truth" without actually supporting them with anything empirical. The easiest example is the claim that "god exists!" But there is no evidence or proof of any god/s existing outside of someone saying they do. Some even go so far to claim their god, beliefs, and/or religion are "true" and all others are false. That's just a downright arrogant statement. If someone makes a claim for something, especially an outrageous claim, would you not want some kind of evidence? So why are claims of god generally accepted, no questions asked (or explanations offered)? That segues into the next problem of religion:

Second, religion requires the suspension of rational or critical thinking. This is easily seen with biblical stories, especially if someone takes such stories seriously or literally. Religious myths like young (or flat) earth creationism, the Great Flood, or Intelligent Design are not only lacking any supporting empirical evidence, but they are either logically impossible or even discredited by current scientific knowledge. So accepting religious myth requires the rejection of established science and logical contradictions, which is both irrational and intellectually dishonest. It's saying mere stories are elevated above or taken more seriously than reality. People are often introduced into religion (especially at an early age) by family, or accept it to fill some emotional need, or perhaps as a psychological disorder. Either way, it becomes irrational which requires blind acceptance over evidence and rational thought. 

Third, religion declares either punishment for disbelief (or the wrong belief/religion) or reward for belief. Never mind that some religions even invoked actual punishment and torture for a lack of or "false" belief and thought. This is essentially intellectual and emotional manipulation (and possibly even abuse) to play on peoples fears or desires. Some people also invoke a Pascal's Wager , which in itself is a logical fallacy and an irrational position. After all, promising someone an eternal heavenly reward for believing and following a religion's tenets does seem appealing. And the threat of eternal damnation in Hell for not believing or following (the "correct") religion is certainly a scary thing to contemplate. But people also blindly accept the "reality" of such consequences, no questions asked either. It's certainly a great way for religion to impose obedience and control over people and to discourage them from looking elsewhere for answers.

Fourth, religion can cause one to become sanctimoniously arrogant or have a superiority complex. How often do we see certain theists proclaim moral superiority because they have a belief in god, or believe god is the source of morality? The idea of god being the source of morality raises logical contradictions itself, but I digress. Some theists will even go so far to declare atheists or non-believers are inherently immoral or amoral because they do not believe in a god. That's quite a smug attitude, in my opinion. Or some honestly believe their religion is right and all others are wrong. Or they try to use religion as some kind of justification for various things. One example is when people declare they will pray for somebody (regardless if the other party wants it or not) who dissents from their religious way of thinking, with the intention of causing some kind of change or conversion for someone to align more with their belief or way of thinking. 

Fifth, religion is about dogma over science. Throughout history and even today, religion has been resistant to science. Science seeks to discover new knowledge and answers to problems and questions. Religion generally goes with "god did it" as an explanation, which is not really an explanation for anything. We see this with religious pushback against sound scientific principles such as evolution or the Big Bang, where some theists advocate and even attempt to impose ID or creationism, respectively. Some might flat out reject scientific evidence or explanation for no other reason than because it contradicts someone's personal beliefs. Or they think they can "foil" science by invoking logical fallacies like an irreducible complexity style argument. Religion will often not accept evidence which contradicts its dogma, but neither offer any evidence to support it. Where science wants evidence, religion wants blind acceptance. This harks back to religion's declarations of "truth."

There are other problems associated with religion and if anyone wants to discuss them, feel free to bring it up and discuss below. 


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Gordy327
PhD Principal
1  author  Gordy327    8 months ago

Your thoughts?

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.1  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @1    8 months ago

There are no problems with God or religion.  The problems lie with sinful man and how we relate to them now.  In the modern era the problem is with arrogant mankind who thinks that we have evolved beyond a need for God and can put ourselves in his place. Some chose to worship objects or the creation instead of the creator. Others bow down before logic and reason and worship them like the French did.  Others think science as we know it now calling themselves pro science think there is no all powerful or supernatural and that they can put an all powerful all knowing forever existing deity into a box of their own construct and accuse all others of being pseudoscience or believing in some sort of conspiracy theory quackery and thus we and our beliefs and sources to back them up just dismissed out of hand. Religion is real and there is no ultimate future without it.  Those are my thoughts.    

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
1.1.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @1.1    8 months ago
There are no problems with God or religion.  The problems lie with sinful man and how we relate to them now.

That's a matter of opinion. But if that's what you think, then address the points in the article highlighting the actual problems. Simply declaring there are no problems is unconvincing and a cop out.

In the modern era the problem is with arrogant mankind who thinks that we have evolved beyond a need for God and can put ourselves in his place.

Or maybe some have outgrown the need for god/s or religion.

Some chose to worship objects or the creation instead of the creator.

Freedom of religion and religious practice and all that, right?

Others bow down before logic and reason and worship them like the French did.  

Some appreciate logic and reasoning and don't treat it like a threat. It's illogical to "worship" logic and reason, as they are not religious concepts.

Others think science as we know it now calling themselves pro science think there is no all powerful or supernatural

Go ahead and present your objective, empirical evidence for the supernatural or all powerful. I'll wait.

and that they can put an all powerful all knowing forever existing deity into a box of their own construct and accuse all others of being pseudoscience or believing in some sort of conspiracy theory quackery and thus we and our beliefs and sources to back them up just dismissed out of hand.

Now you're not making any sense and that entire statement seems more emotional and irrational.

Religion is real

No one said it wasn't. The article (which you apparently didn't bother reading) only focuses on the problems with religion.

and there is no ultimate future without it. 

Again, mere opinion.

Those are my thoughts.  

Great. Next time, try addressing the actual points made in the article rather than your borderline proselytizing and irrational nonsense!

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.1.2  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1.1    8 months ago

I’ve said all I’m going say on this thread and stand by every word of it

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
1.1.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @1.1.2    8 months ago

Fine, goodbye!

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.1.4  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1.3    8 months ago

I changed my mind.  Bye now!  

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
1.1.5  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  MAGA @1.1    8 months ago

Should I automatically take offense to this since the French were specifically called out here? That's pretty presumptuous considering I come from a long line of French ancestry; and oddly enough, most were born and raised strict Catholic. It wasn't until my mother and her siblings rejected the belief that if they ate beef on Fridays that they'd burn in Hell or that because they had "premarital" relations [according to what definition of marriage, I always pondered] that they'd spend the afterlife in eternal flames next to the child rapist / murderer [because that's what those Catholic rituals, let's face it that's what they are, tell us will happen], that organized religion went away from our family. Generally speaking, the leaders of Catholicism don't want you to question things.

I think there are several flaws in organized religion and the stories written in the "good book(s)." Why shouldn't we ask questions regarding the gravity in which breaking one of the 10 commandments really means? Why are they all assumed equal? The fact that "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor" is assuming that "thy neighbor" does not have free will and that the two people are not single and decide to be married before "coveting" so to speak, I find questionable. God gave "man" free will, did he not? He labels us all sinners from birth and we're expected to repent for sins we have yet to commit. That's like me, someone that's never murdered anyone or ever plan to, repenting and suffering because it's assumed that I will, even if I don't or won't. Seems silly to me to make assumptions based on the simple fact that we're all labeled sinners from the moment we're born. If we're all sinners from the moment we're born, what happens to those that are stillborn or only take a breath or two and then die from complications? Does that mean those babies deserve a place in purgatory since they didn't have the chance to be baptized? What kind of God is that? That's why people like me ask questions of religion that have yet to be answered. I prefer to believe that MY God wouldn't punish an infant for not having a chance at life before it's taken. I like to believe that MY God is far kinder and more forgiving than the Christian God and one that doesn't judge a murderer the same as someone who had premarital relations or ate beef on Friday or had a child out of wedlock, again wondering who's definition of wedlock, I'm still unsure.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.2  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @1    8 months ago

This is what happens when people view religion as a problem;

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.2.1  TᵢG  replied to  MAGA @1.2    8 months ago

Are you suggesting that Gordy is advocating violence? 

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.2.2  MAGA  replied to  TᵢG @1.2.1    8 months ago

Stop trying to make personal the general idea that bad things happen when people in general start to act on the idea that religion is a problem or the problem to some issue.  

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.2.3  MAGA  replied to  MAGA @1.2    8 months ago

[[Off Topic]]

[Spare us the obvious off topic cut & paste and address the points made in the article.]

 
 
 
Tessylo
PhD Principal
1.2.4  Tessylo  replied to  MAGA @1.2.3    8 months ago
"...A group of Catholic churches around the country that were vandalized and burned over the weekend might be linked to the same George Floyd-related protests aimed at destroying symbols and statues."

Why are you posting that garbage here?  That's a lot of allegations for something that MIGHT BE LINKED to the . . . . . . 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.2.5  TᵢG  replied to  MAGA @1.2.2    8 months ago

Gordy is the sole author of this article.   On top of that, you replied to him directly noting that when people view religion as a problem, violence happens.

So I asked you a question:   "Are you suggesting that Gordy is advocating violence?"

Now you rephrase to "bad things happen when people in general start to act on the idea that religion is a problem or the problem to some issue".  Okay.

Do you consider Gordy's article to be 'acting on the idea that religion is a problem'?   Are you suggesting that Gordy should not identify problems for fear that some people will act on the idea and make bad things happen?    Should Gordy et. al. just hold their tongues because you are concerned that challenging religions will make too many bad things happen?

In short, what point are you trying to make?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
1.2.6  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @1.2.2    8 months ago
Stop trying to make personal the general idea that bad things happen when people in general start to act on the idea that religion is a problem or the problem to some issue

TiG asked a fair question. You're implying that violence is the result of people viewing it as a problem and that, by addressing the problems of religion, then I must be advocating violence, even if by proxy. Let's not forget all the violence religion has perpetrated over the centuries, and even today. Or is that no problem for you?

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.2.7  MAGA  replied to  MAGA @1.2.3    8 months ago

Really?  That’s what can happen when groups think that there’s a problem or problems with religion and act on them. How exactly is putting a portion of an article a skirting of the Coc?  Explain the actual intent to violate and who it was directed at?  I make no apologies for defending religion on a hit piece seed against religion.  

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
1.2.8  MAGA  replied to  Tessylo @1.2.4    8 months ago

It’s what happens when some people actually act on the problems they are having with religion.  Nothing more, nothing less

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
1.2.9  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @1.2.7    8 months ago
 That’s what can happen when groups think that there’s a problem or problems with religion and act on them.

You make that sound one-sided. 

How exactly is putting a portion of an article a skirting of the Coc?

It was off topic.

 Explain the actual intent to violate and who it was directed at?  I make no apologies for defending religion on a hit piece seed against religion.  

Your problem is your interpretation of the article as a "hit-piece." 

It’s what happens when some people actually act on the problems they are having with religion.  Nothing more, nothing less

And now you're making a sweeping generalization.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
2  Kathleen    8 months ago

I agree, there is nothing wrong with religion as long as you keep it to yourself or with the same believers.

However, if it interferes with the lives and rights of others, plus if it does harm, I am against that.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @2    8 months ago

Exactly. Unfortunately, keeping it to oneself seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1    8 months ago
Exactly. Unfortunately, keeping it to oneself seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days.

These days?

When was it any different?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.1.2  author  Gordy327  replied to  Krishna @2.1.1    8 months ago
When was it any different?

Good point.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
2.2  Tacos!  replied to  Kathleen @2    8 months ago
I agree, there is nothing wrong with religion as long as you keep it to yourself

I don't see any reason people should have to keep their religion to themselves. We share every other interest we have.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  Tacos! @2.2    8 months ago
I don't see any reason people should have to keep their religion to themselves.

Other than the fact other people may not be interested or share the same religion? Or that sharing one's religion can come off as arrogant or lead to judgmental attitudes!

We share every other interest we have.

Outside of this discussion forum, I generally don't. Unless someone inquires about it or I know if they share the same interest. I don't feel the need to share, much less impose much of myself on anyone.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
2.2.2  Tacos!  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.1    8 months ago
Other than the fact other people may not be interested or share the same religion?

How is a person to know that before sharing?

Or that sharing one's religion can come off as arrogant or lead to judgmental attitudes!

That's true of any interest. I'm pretty sure there are people who think they are better than me because I have no interest in seeing Hamilton. Or they think that Cubs fans are where it's at. Or they are vegetarians. Or atheists! jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

Lots of people like to share the things they are into. It might be religion, or art, or sports, or politics. They wear T-shirts, hats, jewelry, and they want to tell you about the show they saw or they game they went to. And if you don't know or care what they're talking about, you're not one of the cool people, and you know it. Religion is not unique in this regard.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  Tacos! @2.2.2    8 months ago
How is a person to know that before sharing?

Why would someone be compelled to share in the first place?

That's true of any interest.

If that's the case, then again, why would someone want or feel the need to share religion? 

Lots of people like to share the things they are into. It might be religion, or art, or sports, or politics. They wear T-shirts, hats, jewelry, and they want to tell you about the show they saw or they game they went to.

It seems more like attention seeking behavior. 

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.4  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.3    8 months ago
Why would someone be compelled to share in the first place?

As I mentioned in another comment, many religions are built around the idea that their faith is a wonderful gift to whomever believes.  So when some proselytize or wish to share their religion with others, they truly feel they are spreading good news or sharing a gift with others.  It isn't always out of malice or a sense of superiority, although perhaps sometimes it does come across that way.

It isn't always easy to gauge intent, but I do fairly often see well-meaning religious folks get berated for their beliefs or be accused of pushing their beliefs on others when in fact all they have done is explain how their faith has helped them cope with issues in their lives and are expressing hopefulness that others could perhaps benefit similarly.  Certainly in our culture anyway, they can't force people to listen, nor in most cases do they wish to. 

In those cases where people are simply celebrating how their faith has benefited them, I'm not sure I fully understand why some feel compelled to question their faith or beliefs publicly if what they are saying is not hurtful/harmful to others, even if their religion is not consistent with science.  Now if they say something to the effect that Trump was a gift from God, or that God will protect all of us from Covid-19 so don't bother with masks or distancing, then yeah something needs to be said and beliefs need to be questioned.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
2.2.5  Kathleen  replied to  Tacos! @2.2    8 months ago

Others may not mind, but it can get on my nerves eventually when that is all they talk about.  I don’t mind hearing a little here and there, but if it’s God this and God that in every sentence, get me out of there.....

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.2.6  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Freewill @2.2.4    8 months ago

They can share that info if I ask for it.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.7  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @2.2.4    8 months ago
many religions are built around the idea that their faith is a wonderful gift to whomever believes.  So when some proselytize or wish to share their religion with others, they truly feel they are spreading good news or sharing a gift with others.  It isn't always out of malice or a sense of superiority, although perhaps sometimes it does come across that way.

Maybe not malice or superiority. But at least sanctimonious arrogance.

but I do fairly often see well-meaning religious folks get berated for their beliefs or be accused of pushing their beliefs on others when in fact all they have done is explain how their faith has helped them cope with issues in their lives and are expressing hopefulness that others could perhaps benefit similarly. 

 have often said religion is used as a coping mechanism or for emotional comfort. 

In those cases where people are simply celebrating how their faith has benefited them,

It's not about how it benefited them. It's more about when they attempt to either push it onto others or make unsubstantiated claims based on faith, especially if it promotes willful ignorance.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.8  Freewill  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.2.6    8 months ago
They can share that info if I ask for it.

Hmmm.  If you ask for it?  In a one on one conversation maybe, but in an open forum is that how it works?  We can only share opinions or beliefs with those who specifically ask for it?  Sounds like a real bummer for those who champion freedom of expression.

How about this.  People are free to express that which is important to them and that which they feel might be beneficial to others, and then we are free to listen and engage or not?  I may not like what you have to say, but telling you that you can’t say it in an open forum unless I want to hear it is a bit over the top isn’t it?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.9  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.8    8 months ago

I interpreted her comment to be against proselytizing.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.2.10  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Freewill @2.2.8    8 months ago

I don't mean in a forum like this; I mean in face to face real life situations. 

I've had plenty of people try and push their religious beliefs on me without solicitation. I've also had wonderful conversations with some of my Muslim friends about why they think there's so many radicals under the name of their religion... because I asked out of curiosity and wanted to obtain their perspective. 

I agree that we should be able to engage if we choose in a forum like this.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.11  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.9    8 months ago
I interpreted her comment to be against proselytizing

I understand.  Although, proselytizing is technically defined as, the action of attempting to convert someone from one religion, belief, or opinion to another .

So what are most people doing in forums like this, or when they debate certain topics in public, in general?  Certainly part of it is attempting to convert, or at least nudge, others who might be listening from one belief or opinion to another.  Otherwise, why bother, right?  Certainly one could claim we are here simply to exchange ideas and learn from each other, but do you honestly feel that is what motivates most here?

As mentioned previously, a religious person often thinks that their belief or faith is beneficial to them and could be to others as well.  Just as you and I believe that our opinions based on logic, reason and science are beneficial to us and could be to many others.  So we proselytize as well.  Are we to be limited in expressing our beliefs and opinions only to those who ask for our opinion? 

One can only be "converted" by another's opinion or belief if one wants to be, or has reason to be.  We either listen or we don't, but do we have a right to silence the source or limit it to only speaking when spoken to?

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.12  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.3    8 months ago
It seems more like attention seeking behavior.

Lots of things can seem like that.  Certainly posting anything here is attention seeking behavior.  You didn't post this article hoping nobody would read it, right?  You wanted it to get attention, and congratulations it certainly has.

Maybe not malice or superiority. But at least sanctimonious arrogance. (from 2.2.7 above)

Anyone writing or seeding an article here, or even just commenting here, is engaging in attention seeking behavior.  If one seeks attention for what one truly believes will help other people, that doesn't automatically seem like sanctimonious arrogance to me.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.13  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.11    8 months ago

Proselytizing (the religious sense) is against site rules.   Most people in my experience do not consider the attempts to persuade others to their point of view as proselytizing.   For example, trying to convince someone of the correctness in a particular political, moral or scientific viewpoint is never (in my experience) considered to be proselytizing.

An article that puts forth a particular religious viewpoint, however, is likely to be proselytizing.   It depends, but if someone is arguing for a young Earth and is quoting scripture, there is a decent chance that they are proselytizing.   In contrast, if one is engaging in debate on the question of whether or not God holds slavery to be immoral and scripture is quoted, what we are seeing is likely a theological debate rather than proselytizing.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.14  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.13    8 months ago
Proselytizing (the religious sense) is against site rules.

Indeed.  I get that. I was just making a point.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.15  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.12    8 months ago
If one seeks attention for what one truly believes will help other people, that doesn't automatically seem like sanctimonious arrogance to me.

I am pretty sure that the sanctimonious arrogance Gordy refers to is encapsulated in claims of certainty such as:   the majority of the people in the world have the wrong religion and will find out too late on Judgment Day.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.16  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @2.2.12    8 months ago
Certainly posting anything here is attention seeking behavior.  You didn't post this article hoping nobody would read it, right? 

That's not exactly what I mean. It's one thing to happen to be noticed. It's another to actively bring attention to oneself. I'm probably not making myself clear though. I posted the article and waited for any comments. I didn't go all over NT advertising it and say "hey, check out my article!" 

Anyone writing or seeding an article here, or even just commenting here, is engaging in attention seeking behavior.  If one seeks attention for what one truly believes will help other people, that doesn't automatically seem like sanctimonious arrogance to me.

From a religious context, they are proselytizing or assuming one needs to hear about their religion/god, as if it's a better alternative for them or that their own beliefs are inferior or wrong. It's one thing to stand around and have someone inquire about your religion. It's quite another to go around yourself and actively tell people about your religion.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.17  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.15    8 months ago

Yes, exactly!

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
2.2.18  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Tacos! @2.2    8 months ago
I don't see any reason people should have to keep their religion to themselves.

Then why do so many of the "religious" get near violently offended when I share that I have a different belief?  

Why have so many people died because of that differing belief?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.19  author  Gordy327  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.18    8 months ago
Why have so many people died because of that differing belief?

One only needs to look at the world stage today and throughout history to see that. It's still going on, sometimes to catastrophic effect.

Then why do so many of the "religious" get near violently offended when I share that I have a different belief?  

Because they might think your belief is wrong and/or possibly a threat. Look at how some "religious" react when their religion/belief is questioned or challenged.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
2.2.20  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.19    8 months ago
Look at how some "religious" react when their religion/belief is questioned or challenged.

That tells me their belief (in their religion and themselves) isn't as strong as they want everybody to think.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.21  author  Gordy327  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.20    8 months ago
That tells me their belief (in their religion and themselves) isn't as strong as they want everybody to think.

That might be part of it. Perhaps they're led to believe their belief system is the "correct" one and all others are false and a guaranteed road to hell? Or perhaps they're so emotionally invested in their beliefs that any question/challenge is interpreted as a personal insult or attack on them. You can see how some get quite defensive about it at times.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
2.2.22  Tacos!  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.18    8 months ago

I’m sure it depends on the individual people and circumstances. I see no reason to paint with a stereotyping brush.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
2.2.23  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Tacos! @2.2.22    8 months ago
I’m sure it depends on the individual people and circumstances.

Lets look at christians in the US.  Question their belief system and many get so mad they are on the verge of violence.  Not that violence is unheard of for that belief system.  Others immediately play the persecuted victim card.

I see no reason to paint with a stereotyping brush.

Usually those that get upset about that are generally the ones I'm referring to.  But, I'm only responsible for what I say.  Not the reaction of others.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.24  author  Gordy327  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.23    8 months ago
Lets look at christians in the US.  Question their belief system and many get so mad they are on the verge of violence.  Not that violence is unheard of for that belief system.  Others immediately play the persecuted victim card.

To be fair, I don't think that would be limited to just christians. But given the number of christians in this country, it's expected that many would become quite vocal about it.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.25  Sparty On  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.20    8 months ago

Not really.    

Religious people are just as entitled to their truth as much as anyone else.    What I see here is more attacks against religion than attacks against non believers.    That’s not real life in my opinion.    Someone tells me they don’t believe and that’s end of it for most of us.    No skin off my nose.    Like most Christians I know, I’ve got zero need evangelize anyone.     And yet here, believers constantly get hammered for their beliefs.

I guess that must be skin off those folks noses ...... right?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
2.2.26  sandy-2021492  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.25    8 months ago

If some believers call unsupported beliefs "truth", those believers can expect to be challenged 

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.27  author  Gordy327  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.25    8 months ago
Religious people are just as entitled to their truth as much as anyone else.    

"Truth" is not subject to wishful thinking or popularity. It needs to be supported by evidence and facts to be truth. Religious people are entitled to their belief. But belief is all  it is. 

What I see here is more attacks against religion than attacks against non believers.    That’s not real life in my opinion.  

What I see are some religious people playing the victim or persecution complex.

  And yet here, believers constantly get hammered for their beliefs.

Perhaps because some believers are trying to posit their beliefs as fact or "truth," and then are challenged when they do so.

Someone tells me they don’t believe and that’s end of it for most of us.    

If believers would say "this is just my belief," that would be the end of it. But no. Some take it further and think their belief equals fact.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.28  Sparty On  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.26    8 months ago

Opinions do vary and I’m not going to get into the “faith” discussion with this group again.    That’s a goatF of a conversation with those who don’t accept the definition of faith because it suites “their” preferred narrative.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.29  author  Gordy327  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.28    8 months ago
Opinions do vary and I’m not going to get into the “faith” discussion with this group again.    That’s a goatF of a conversation with those who don’t accept the definition of faith because it suites “their” preferred narrative.

Faith is like an opinion: it's personal and subjective. But it's not fact or "truth." And Sandy is correct. Make a belief based claim as fact and expect to be rightfully challenged on it.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
2.2.30  sandy-2021492  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.28    8 months ago

Beliefs and opinions aren't "truth".  That is a fact.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.31  Sparty On  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.27    8 months ago
Some take it further and think their belief equals fact.

Like I’ve told you before Gordy.    The right tool for the right job.    I don’t use faith to solve engineering problems and I also don’t use calculus in my faith.

We won’t agree on this topic and nothing any of you say is going to shake my faith.    So I’ll leave it at that.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.32  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.30    8 months ago

That ties directly into the first point of the article: how religions (and by extension believers) cite beliefs as statements of truth. Of course, point that out and some complain or get defensive about it.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.33  author  Gordy327  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.31    8 months ago
Like I’ve told you before Gordy.    The right tool for the right job.    I don’t use faith to solve engineering problems and I also don’t use calculus in my faith.

That doesn't change anything I said. Claiming one's beliefs as fact, especially when empirically unsubstantiated, is intellectually dishonest and misleading at the very least or an outright lie at worst. Belief does not equal fact.

We won’t agree on this topic and nothing any of you say is going to shake my faith.    So I’ll leave it at that.

Immaterial. Shaking your faith is not my intent. But any belief based claim posed as truth or fact will invite a challenge.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.34  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.13    8 months ago
Most people in my experience do not consider the attempts to persuade others to their point of view as proselytizing. 

Sure.  Although that is technically the definition of "proselytizing".  We have had discussions about the precise definitions of terms in the past on other subjects and I know they matter to you a great deal, as do they me.

Most people in my experience think that a yearly tax refund is a gift, or that the Great Wall of China can be seen from space, or that a tomato is a vegetable.    My smart-ass point being that just because many don't understand what it means, have never seen it before, or have lived with the wrong impression for many years doesn't mean that "proselytizing" applies only to religion. 

For example, trying to convince someone of the correctness in a particular political, moral or scientific viewpoint is never (in my experience) considered to be proselytizing.

Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse here but with respect to those religious who simply wish to share what has been a very positive life experience for them and they think may be of some value for other people, are they not simply trying to convince someone of the correctness in their particular moral viewpoint?  Why is that any different than a non-religious person trying to convince someone of the correctness of their particular moral viewpoint?  Why is it proselytizing in one case, but not the other?  

Not all talk of religion sets out to make outlandish unsubstantiated claims of truth.  Much of it is simply "this is what my faith has done for me", "this is how it helped me get back on track when my life went sideways",  "this is how it helped me get through a tragedy", "this is how it opened my eyes to assisting the needy", "so perhaps it can be of value to you too", that sort of thing.  Why should this sort of religious talk be restricted as "proselytizing" while talk of other such viewpoints along the same lines is not?

I hope you don't think I'm trolling you on this.  I honestly expect you to show me the error in my thinking here as I seem to be stuck on this like a pesky fly on a peanut butter sandwich....  (-:

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.35  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.34    8 months ago
My smart-ass point being that just because many don't understand what it means, have never seen it before, or have lived with the wrong impression for many years doesn't mean that "proselytizing" applies only to religion. 

It is contextual.   In this forum, proselytizing applies to religious content only.   Probably because proselytizing is, in general, seen first in terms of religion and then beliefs.   That suggests that most consider proselytizing a religious act.   Oxford :

Proselytizing:  Convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion , belief, or opinion to another.

Note the order:  religion, belief (in general), opinion.   Technically, as you note, it can apply to all.   But the order (and common usage in my experiences) suggests the primary usage is religion.

Why should this sort of religious talk be restricted as "proselytizing" while talk of other such viewpoints along the same lines is not?

I do not see many articles proclaiming 'Why I am a Democrat' or making claims that Conservatism is the only way to go.   But lets pretend it happens.   If a religious person in this forum were to write an article advertising the benefits of finding Jesus, they would get hit with proselytizing.   If that same person wrote an article advertising the principles and the benefits of conservatism, I guarantee that they would not be moderated as proselytizing.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.36  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.35    8 months ago
If a religious person in this forum were to write an article advertising the benefits of finding Jesus, they would get hit with proselytizing.   If that same person wrote an article advertising the principles and the benefits of conservatism, I guarantee that they would not be moderated as proselytizing

Sure, because of the rules here.  My question is do you think that is fair just because the word Jesus appears in the title? Particularly if those "benefits" were derived from the personal experiences of that individual, or from the peaceful and sensible lessons that have been attributed to the teachings of Christ, and thus presented for the consideration (or not) of others?

Let's say this article was entitled "The Benefits of Religion" rather than "The Problem with Religion", which delves into "the benefits of religion itself" as seen by a Christian vs. "the problems of religion itself" as seen by an atheist/agnostic.  Both based on experience, both based on opinion, and both meant to inform or sway opinion.  Proselytizing too?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.37  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @2.2.36    8 months ago
Sure, because of the rules here.  My question is do you think that is fair just because the word Jesus appears in the title?

Religious proselytization is probably much easier to recognize than other forms of proselytization. But I would think that if something was flagged as proselytizing, be it religious, political, ect., then that would warrant an investigation and subsequent action.

Let's say this article was entitled "The Benefits of Religion" rather than "The Problem with Religion", which delves into "the benefits of religion itself" as seen by a Christian vs. "the problems of religion itself" as seen by an atheist/agnostic. 

I think it would depend on ho the information is presented. If it said religion was beneficial because XYZ, then that should be permissible. But if it said you should get religion because of its benefits, then that might be crossing the proselytization line. The difference might be you're allowing the reader to decide for themselves rather than actively or aggressively trying to convince them to your side. Of course, if the article states is religion is problematic or beneficial, I would ex.pect objective evidence to support the points or reasons why, rather than having someone merely make a claim to that effect

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.38  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.36    8 months ago
My question is do you think that is fair just because the word Jesus appears in the title?

No, it would be a judgment call based on semantics.   That is why you mods get paid the big $$.

Let's say this article was entitled "The Benefits of Religion" rather than "The Problem with Religion", which delves into "the benefits of religion itself" as seen by a Christian vs. "the problems of religion itself" as seen by an atheist/agnostic.

The title alone does not determine proselytizing.  But in this case the title actually suggests an analytical look at religion in general in terms of its net positives.  That would not be proselytizing.   I could write such an article and talk about how it brings people together socially, gives (in many cases) good moral education, does charitable work, inspires children to be good persons, helps unify the community, provides pastoral advice and comfort and in general provides people general comfort (even if it is based on ancient fiction).

However, if the article instead went into a pro-Jehovah's Witness pitch it would certainly be proselytizing.

Every situation must be evaluated individually.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
2.2.39  MAGA  replied to  Tacos! @2.2    8 months ago

It’s a control freak thing.  The vain attempt to silence the mere expression of something that makes them feel uncomfortable for whatever reason anywhere they can see or hear it.  A form of the cancel culture rage affecting the country now

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
2.2.40  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.1    8 months ago

Kind of like sharing ones political or sports affiliations?  

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.41  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @2.2.40    8 months ago

That too.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.42  Sparty On  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.33    8 months ago

And none of that changes anything I’ve said here either.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.43  author  Gordy327  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.42    8 months ago

That's fine. It's not like you've said much here to begin with. Certainly little pertaining to the article itself.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.44  TᵢG  replied to  MAGA @2.2.39    8 months ago

Having your claims of certainty challenged in a public forum on an article you seeded is not silencing you.   It is, if anything, probative.   It is a means to illustrate that you have not presented certain truth and, if you by some chance do proclaim truth, a way for you to actually convince your readers that you have something more than repeating what others of religious authority have told you.

Rather than constantly complain that your claims of certain truth are challenged, you can always support your claims with a cogent argument.   Who stops you from doing that?

And here you are on Gordy's article.   Gordy has made certain posits.   If you disagree, then put forth an argument that shows he is wrong.   Nobody is stopping you from doing that.   If you genuinely engage on the topic without getting personal your comments would not only be appropriate but welcome.  Note, however, that your comments will likely be rebutted.   That is not silencing you, it is countering your argument.   Big difference.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.45  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.44    8 months ago
If you disagree, then put forth an argument that shows he is wrong.   Nobody is stopping you from doing that. 

I've already told him that. Not surprising he just continued with the meta and complaining. 

but welcome.

Let's not go crazy here TiG, Lol

Note, however, that your comments will likely be rebutted.

And they have.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.46  TᵢG  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.45    8 months ago
Let's not go crazy here TiG, Lol

I am confident that you would welcome an argument from HA that was as I described:  "... if you genuinely engage on the topic without getting personal ...".

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.47  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.46    8 months ago
I am confident that you would welcome an argument from HA that was as I described:  "... if you genuinely engage on the topic without getting personal ...".

Welcome, sure. Actually expect it, not so much.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.48  TᵢG  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.47    8 months ago

Panning for gold.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.49  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.48    8 months ago

More like the Hope Diamond.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.50  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @2.2.37    8 months ago
Religious proselytization is probably much easier to recognize than other forms of proselytization.

Perhaps, if one is so inclined to insist on the distinction. 

The difference might be you're allowing the reader to decide for themselves rather than actively or aggressively trying to convince them to your side.

I see.  So how is anything written here by a religious person, whether it be simply an expression of how they feel their faith has helped them or even if it makes some claims that can't be substantiated, not allowing the reader to decide for themselves?  How does a written opinion, even if it is unsubstantiated, force a reader to submit to a belief that one does not wish to follow? The reader ALWAYS has the ability to decide for him/herself.   

If actively or aggressively trying to convince others to ones side is the litmus for unacceptable levels of proselytizing, then I submit that a vast majority of the articles and comments in this venue will fit that category.  Perhaps even this article could be viewed that way by some.

I think it would depend on how the information is presented.

I agree.  If it presents opinions or views as fact or truth, or insists that what is presented is beyond contestation, or if it berates, belittles, demeans or discounts other opinions or beliefs as having no other redeeming value, then yeah it deserves to be countered and in some cases deserves the attention of the moderators.

If it said religion was beneficial because XYZ, then that should be permissible. But if it said you should get religion because of its benefits, then that might be crossing the proselytization line. 

So a person can explain why their religion or faith is beneficial to them so long as they don't suggest to others in any way that it might be helpful to them as well?  So if an atheist were to explain what they see as problems with religion itself and post it on an open forum, such a person is not suggesting in any way that others should consider and perhaps adopt those opinions?  What is the purpose of posting opinions or ideas on an open forum, if not to get others to consider them? 

Honestly just trying to understand what appears to be a double standard.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.51  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.38    8 months ago
No, it would be a judgment call based on semantics.  That is why you mods get paid the big $$.

Yeah I'm absolutely farting through silk.  (-:

But in this case the title actually suggests an analytical look at religion in general in terms of its net positives.  That would not be proselytizing. 
Every situation must be evaluated individually.

OK.  Makes sense.  Thanks.

However, if the article instead went into a pro-Jehovah's Witness pitch it would certainly be proselytizing.

So one would need to recognize it as a pitch rather than an analytical look at religion in general in terms of its net positives?  What in your mind are some examples of that which might tip the scale in the direction of a pitch?  Perhaps I could part with some of my substantial moderator's windfall for your advice on what to look for.  (-:

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
2.2.52  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.25    8 months ago
Religious people are just as entitled to their truth as much as anyone else.

And that "truth" is what's challenged.  And when challenged, they threaten violence or immediately claim they are being persecuted.  They offer nothing to support their "truth".

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.2.53  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @2.2.50    8 months ago
Perhaps, if one is so inclined to insist on the distinction. 

I'm not sure about the distinction. It's just probably what we're used to seeing.

So how is anything written here by a religious person, whether it be simply an expression of how they feel their faith has helped them or even if it makes some claims that can't be substantiated, not allowing the reader to decide for themselves? 

Because it isn't targeting individuals with an intention or agenda. It doesn't get "in your face" about it, as it were.

Perhaps even this article could be viewed that way by some.

Doubtful. This article is an analysis of religion. There is no push to bring converts.

If it presents opinions or views as fact or truth, or insists that what is presented is beyond contestation, or if it berates, belittles, demeans or discounts other opinions or beliefs as having no other redeeming value, then yeah it deserves to be countered and in some cases deserves the attention of the moderators.

Agreed.

So a person can explain why their religion or faith is beneficial to them so long as they don't suggest to others in any way that it might be helpful to them as well? 

I would say more as long as they keep it about themselves rather than trying to make it about or apply it to others. Then others can decide for themselves. If I said "religion benefits me because this or that," that would be ok. But if I said "religion benefits me and it will benefit you too so you should try it," that might be going to far. Proselytizing is not always as obvious as say someone saying something like "believe in my god or the bible because it's truth and you burn in hell if you don't."

So if an atheist were to explain what they see as problems with religion itself and post it on an open forum, such a person is not suggesting in any way that others should consider and perhaps adopt those opinions?  What is the purpose of posting opinions or ideas on an open forum, if not to get others to consider them? 

Again, I think it depends on how the information is conveyed. I try to present things as an analysis and supported with evidence when possible. It's taking an objective look at something and that's about as far as it goes (resulting shitstorm not withstanding, Lol).

Honestly just trying to understand what appears to be a double standard.

Unfortunately, not everything is clear cut. There's probably a grey area in there somewhere.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.54  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @2.2.51    8 months ago
What in your mind are some examples of that which might tip the scale in the direction of a pitch?

Proselytizing typically takes the form of expressing (unsolicited) the claims of truth per religious authority.   Claims are made (per the authority) and often scripture is quoted as support.   The perceived intent is that the author is telling you truth per God.

There are many ways to engage in proselytizing and this (as is true for moderation in general) has subtleties.   Probably best to ask this now of your fellow mods since they have far more experience in categorizing content than I do.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.55  Sparty On  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.52    8 months ago

Who is they?    

As noted, not me, not most Christians I know.  [Taunting]

As for my truth don’t worry about it.

It’s fine.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Senior Participates
2.2.56  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.55    8 months ago
On the hand who’s in attack mode here? As for my truth don’t worry about it.

You seem to be.  I questioned your "truth" and here you are.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
2.2.57  Sparty On  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.2.56    8 months ago

Nah, you’re making that shit up in you head.    

This is a discussion forum not an echo chamber some would like to see.  

Well, sometimes it’s not an echo chamber anyway.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
2.2.58  MAGA  replied to  Sparty On @2.2.57    8 months ago

It’s becoming more of one by the day

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.2.59  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Freewill @2.2.11    8 months ago

I'm commenting because I like a healthy debate that doesn't involve rudeness or name-calling. I don't intend on "converting" anyone with my debate. I don't go to people's doors trying to "convert" people to my way of thinking, but Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses choose to come to my door and preach and attempt to convert me or request money.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.2.60  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Freewill @2.2.34    8 months ago
Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse here but with respect to those religious who simply wish to share what has been a very positive life experience for them and they think may be of some value for other people, are they not simply trying to convince someone of the correctness in their particular moral viewpoint?  Why is that any different than a non-religious person trying to convince someone of the correctness of their particular moral viewpoint?  Why is it proselytizing in one case, but not the other?  

But in my experience, people aren't simply sharing what religion has done for them. And for someone to presume that I want them to [basically] tell me I'm immoral because what I believe is wrong / not their religion or belief, it's insulting, is it not? Like I said before, I don't go around telling people what I think of their religion. I generally don't ask them questions when they start telling me about theirs either, because it will just keep them talking if I do. They truly BELIEVE they can convert me. I know I'll never get straight answers to my questions; therefore, I don't bother. There's been discussions that have made both parties think, but those discussions are with those that, while they believe that their religion is the "right" one, they understand that they're not having the discussion with me to convert me but to rather make one another think and ask questions of each other. I hope that made sense. I'm never trying to convince anyone to my "particular moral viewpoint." I just ask questions and many people don't like my questions.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
2.2.61  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Freewill @2.2.50    8 months ago

I actually find enjoyment with the conversations with you thus far, Freewill. This article is simply stating the personal thoughts about what Gordy finds as problems with organized religion. He's not pushing those that disagree with him to try and make them believe he's right. My interpretation is that he has yet to get the answers he's been seeking and so far, there's been no convincing answers here yet either. If I think that an article or seed here is something that will just piss me off, I skip right over it. If I think that an article or seed is going to include healthy debate or discussion, I might click even if the opinion of the poster is in opposition of mine. 

I'm finding your discussion to be neutral and observatory rather than combative. To me, that's the very definition of a healthy debate or discussion. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.2.62  TᵢG  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.2.61    8 months ago

I would say you have a good handle on our friend Freewill.   He is very thoughtful.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.63  Freewill  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @2.2.59    8 months ago
but Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses choose to come to my door and preach and attempt to convert me or request money

I've certainly seen my share of Jehovah's Witnesses at my front door, but Catholics?  That surprises me as that is not generally their MO.  I've been a cafeteria Catholic for over 30 years but have never seen any door to door proselytizing from the parishes I've frequented.  The closest I've seen to that would be the choir at the end of Mass singing, "Go make a difference, we can make a difference, go make a difference in the world..."

Funny story about a particular Jehova's Witness encounter.  One time I saw a couple of fellows coming down our court with their pamphlets and other materials and I quickly prepared a little makeshift shrine of all the crucifixes, candles, Holy Mother figurines and other trappings of a long Catholic upbringing (my wife's), and assembled them on the dining room table.  When they got to our house and rang the bell I answered the door and excitedly invited them in for a beverage at the dining room table.  After watching them squirm as they perused their surroundings, and before they had a chance to launch into their pitch, I went into a full on Catholic boot camp type of screed.  Fire and brimstone type stuff, almost like some of the high pressure Baptist stuff I had seen when I was a kid.  For some reason they didn't want to stay long, very busy I suppose.  Never had another encounter with JW at our front door since.  (-:

.... tell me I'm immoral because what I believe is wrong / not their religion or belief, it's insulting, is it not?

Indeed it is, if that is how they are presenting it.

There's been discussions that have made both parties think, but those discussions are with those that, while they believe that their religion is the "right" one, they understand that they're not having the discussion with me to convert me but to rather make one another think and ask questions of each other. I hope that made sense.

It makes perfect sense MsAubrey.  And I think all religious discussion should follow that pattern rather than the insulting type you mentioned earlier.

I just ask questions and many people don't like my questions.

I know precisely what you mean...

I'm finding your discussion to be neutral and observatory rather than combative. To me, that's the very definition of a healthy debate or discussion

Thank you MsAubrey.  I don't even think one needs to be neutral necessarily, but really listening and not being combative are a must.  Healthy debate or discussion requires all participants to be rational and reasonable.  Without that we end up with nothing but noise.

I actually find enjoyment with the conversations with you thus far, Freewill. 

Thank you MsAubrey.  I have enjoyed conversing with you and others here as well.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
2.2.64  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @2.2.62    8 months ago
I would say you have a good handle on our friend Freewill.

Are you saying I have love handles TiG?  I prefer to call it my "muffin top".  Which I have nearly eliminated by cutting back on portion sizes of all things....who knew... 

He is very thoughtful

Aw shucks... Thanks man.  I try to be. Seeing how pros like you do it helps me hone those skills. (-:  

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
2.3  Krishna  replied to  Kathleen @2    8 months ago

However, if it interferes with the lives and rights of others, plus if it does harm, I am against that.

I feel the same way.

In fact, I don't care whether people believe in God-- or not. (In fact I personally find it a bit strange when someone spends a lot of time and effort trying to convince people that God exists-- or, for that matter, that God doesn't exist!)

I also believe that some things are unknown-- and can't at this time be proven to be true of false. (Yes, I believe that the existence of a God cannot be proven or disproven!

if the believers believe that one particular God is the real one-- and that all the other Gods believe in are "Fake Gods" (sorta like "Fake News") I have no problem with that either.

The problem arises when people develop an unhealthy obsession with trying to convert others to their POV!!!

In fact once in a discussion on another site I said, I really don't mind in the least if someone worships idols! (Needless to say that really set people off, LOL :-)

My own personal view, BTW is-- I'm not sure if there is a God or not. And-- perhaps more importantly-- its not important to me to know.

Its not something I think about much if at all.

But, as you mentioned, I find the real problem comes when people feel a strong need to convert other to their POV. And worse yet-- when they try to pass laws based on religious views-- that try to force people to act in a way based on their religion. (And with real penalties if they don't).

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
2.3.1  Kathleen  replied to  Krishna @2.3    8 months ago

I don’t either, and I feel the same when someone tries to push their beliefs on you. People are very passionate about it too.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Freshman Guide
2.4  MonsterMash  replied to  Kathleen @2    8 months ago
there is nothing wrong with religion as long as you keep it to yourself or with the same believers.

Seems like Jesus disagrees with you. Mark 16:15 16. - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.

Why are people of faith expected to keep their thoughts to themselves while everyone else can express their thoughts on all subjects without being degraded?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.4.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  MonsterMash @2.4    8 months ago
Why are people of faith expected to keep their thoughts to themselves while everyone else can express their thoughts on all subjects without being degraded?

Perhaps because religious belief tends to be a personal affair, and something not everyone shares or doesn't share the same flavor? Or perhaps because expressing religious thought (depending on the circumstance) can come off as pushy, preachy, or annoying?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.4.2  TᵢG  replied to  MonsterMash @2.4    8 months ago

Religions are motivated to encourage their members to recruit other members.   This is of course obvious.   It is no surprise that the Bible portrays Jesus with this message.   It is essentially grass-roots marketing.   Also, it is obvious why some religions (e.g. Catholicism) encourages its members to make babies and raise them Catholic.

Why are people of faith expected to keep their thoughts to themselves while everyone else can express their thoughts on all subjects without being degraded?

Degraded?   Their claims and arguments are likely to be degraded, but it would be wrong to 'degrade' an individual.    Debates/discussions on religion / politics / morality / etc. should never go personal.   They should remain analytical and objective.   They should be about ideas and claims; content of an argument and not a focus on the person making the argument.

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Freshman Guide
2.4.3  MonsterMash  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.1    8 months ago
Perhaps because religious belief tends to be a personal affair, and something not everyone shares or doesn't share the same flavor? Or perhaps because expressing religious thought (depending on the circumstance) can come off as pushy, preachy, or annoying?

I think homosexuality is a personal affair that should be kept to ones self. I asked an old friend I hadn't seen in over 40 years if he was married and had any children. He said "No, I've always been gay" I didn't need to know that, all he had to say was he never married and didn't have kids. I didn't give a shit about him being gay, but he just had to let me know for whatever reason he had.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.4.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  MonsterMash @2.4.3    8 months ago

Homo and heterosexuality are personal affairs. It's not like the average person goes around telling someone they're straight. I'd say The same holds true for homosexuals. Although, I think most people assume someone is heterosexual  (assuming they think about these things). As for your friend, I can only speculate that he told you he was gay maybe because he thought you might be wondering why he was single and childless or that you would ask why he was still single. A "beat you to the punch" sort of thing. I don't know. 

 
 
 
MonsterMash
Freshman Guide
2.4.5  MonsterMash  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.4    8 months ago
As for your friend, I can only speculate that he told you he was gay maybe because he thought you might be wondering why he was single and childless or that you would ask why he was still single. A "beat you to the punch" sort of thing. I don't know. 

That was probably the reason. To be honest I always suspected he was gay so I would have just let it go without any questions if he had simply said No.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
2.4.6  MAGA  replied to  MonsterMash @2.4    8 months ago

That is the big question here

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.4.7  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @2.4.6    8 months ago

And the question was answered.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
2.4.8  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @2.4.7    8 months ago

Was it?  

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
2.4.9  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @2.4.8    8 months ago

Yes.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3  author  Gordy327    8 months ago

"Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself!" --- George Carlin.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
3.1  Release The Kraken  replied to  Gordy327 @3    8 months ago
"Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself!" --- George Carlin

I agree and maybe you should keep your intolerance for Religion to yourself. Then the forum would look a lot better. But then what would you have to say here? Not much i suspect.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.1.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  Release The Kraken @3.1    8 months ago

Is that what you think this is? Sorry, but pointing out flaws in a system or challenging claims made is not intolerance. I wonder if you make the same complaint to those who do push their religion in other articles?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
3.2  Sparty On  replied to  Gordy327 @3    8 months ago

“Thou shall keep thy atheism to thyself”

— Sparty On

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.2.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  Sparty On @3.2    8 months ago

Is someone trying to convert you to atheism?

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
3.2.2  MAGA  replied to  Sparty On @3.2    8 months ago

Right on!  

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.2.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @3.2.2    8 months ago

Works both ways too!

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
3.2.4  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @3.2.1    8 months ago

Those who spew anti theism should also follow Carlin’s advice.   

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.2.5  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @3.2.4    8 months ago
Those who spew anti theism should also follow Carlin’s advice.   

Since that's not happening, there's no issue. But that too works both ways: those who spew pro theism should also follow Mr. Carlin's advice, right?

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
3.3  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @3    8 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
3.4  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @3    8 months ago

Atheism is a religion so it’s proponents should do likewise 

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.4.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @3.4    8 months ago
Atheism is a religion

No, it's not. That makes no sense. Atheism being a religion is a contradiction in terms. And you still haven't addressed the notion of it working both ways! Or are you suggesting theists do not have to keep their religion to themselves, but atheists do?

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
3.4.2  MAGA  replied to  Gordy327 @3.4.1    8 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
3.4.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  MAGA @3.4.2    8 months ago
removed for context

Apparently you do not realize that atheism being a "religion" meant that atheism was just as recognized and protected in the eyes of the law as any religion. Not that it was an actual religion in itself. I noticed you didn't answer my previous questions either. I wonder why?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4  TᵢG    8 months ago

Very good identification of the problems with religion.    Ultimately, religion is a control mechanism — an extremely effective one.    With irony I have observed quite a few people complain about authoritarian officials using the pandemic to effect a gratuitous control over the people yet those holding this conspiracy theory of control are also proudly religious.   They, it would seem, are too deep into the dogma to recognize the control their religion has over their lives.   It is perfectly fine for the church to tell you how to conduct your intimate affairs but no way can government demand you wear a mask during a pandemic.

In the early days when religions were coming of age it is easy to see why they caught on.   People saw scary and disturbing things happening and naturally wanted answers (especially answers that gave a procedure one could engage in to help rectify the situation).   Religion offers gods with special powers and personalities to explain all the frightening unknowns of life.   This yields comfort and people were clearly quite willing to succumb to belief without evidence if the belief is comforting.  With indoctrination (which religions have perfected over the centuries) the lock of religions continue from generation to generation.   Thus, unfortunately, that comfort (and indoctrination) continues even today in spite of modern knowledge.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @4    8 months ago
Ultimately, religion is a control mechanism — an extremely effective one.

I think that might have been how religions started originally and then grew over many thousands of years.  As smaller tribes or groups of people came together to live in increasingly larger societies leaders probably felt the need to create what they thought were more universal moral codes, or a moral framework to keep those of different backgrounds from killing each other, to help bind the society together, or encourage cooperation.  Such was "education" those many thousands of years ago passed down through generations, perhaps to control, but also to guide and foster a spirit of looking out for one another on an ever larger scale.  Indeed many modern cultures are still held together by the moral framework built over many centuries.  Western culture was built on a framework of recognizing human individualism (as well as human nature) and political pluralism, including the concepts of democracy and representative forms of government and self-directed economies, all held together by a rule of law that was at least partially influenced by religion.

Oddly enough as populations grew larger and religions diverged and split, or popped up anew, they eventually became the source of discord between peoples, creating more of the problem they were initially meant to solve.  Which is certainly an unfortunate consequence, especially since the violent behavior in the name of some religions is actually counter to the moral framework around which the religion was originally built. 

...too deep into the dogma to recognize the control their religion has over their lives.

While adherence to a specific religion may seem like "control" to some, it is simply a choice to those who follow a particular religion, perhaps more akin to a "lifestyle".  Why would it be any different than any other moral framework when it comes to its control over the adherent?  The odd thing is that many who claim to follow a religion do not appear to operate as dictated by the moral framework of that religion anyway.  The only cudgel religions might use is a threat of eternal damnation, which in today's Western culture really doesn't seem to hold much sway insofar as the behavior of the living.   So the idea that there is "control" in that situation that is akin to the control of a king or a government that can impose penalties in the here and now, seems like a bit of an exaggeration.

Many religions are built around the idea that their faith is a wonderful gift to whomever believes.  So when some proselytize or wish to share their religion with others, they truly feel they are spreading good news.  Indeed many on the receiving end of that don't see it the same way, particularly if said religion involves dogma that is offensive to the moral code of others, which they often do.  Certainly those who wish to push it further and have certain religious dogma written into civil/secular law are crossing the line in our modern Western culture which interestingly enough was at least partially guided over the centuries by those same religions.  We just need to tell them that we don't wish to pet their dogma, as it has been known to bite. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freewill @4.1    8 months ago
it is simply a choice to those who follow a particular religion, perhaps more akin to a "lifestyle".  Why would it be any different than any other moral framework when it comes to its control over the adherent?  The odd thing is that many who claim to follow a religion do not appear to operate as dictated by the moral framework of that religion anyway.  The only cudgel religions might use is a threat of eternal damnation, which in today's world really doesn't seem to hold much sway insofar as the behavior of the living.

That depends on the society in which a religion is followed.  In theocratic societies, choice may be nonexistent, and cudgels may be literal rather than figurative.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.2  Freewill  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.1    8 months ago
That depends on the society in which a religion is followed.  In theocratic societies, choice may be nonexistent, and cudgels may be literal rather than figurative.

That is certainly true.  Perhaps the primary reason for maintaining distance between church and state.  I should have been more clear that I was thinking more along the lines of Western cultures, more like ours, as I believe that is what TiG was talking about in the part of his comment to which I was responding.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.1    8 months ago
That depends on the society in which a religion is followed.  In theocratic societies, choice may be nonexistent, and cudgels may be literal rather than figurative.

Look no further than the Middle East for that.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @4.1.2    8 months ago
Perhaps the primary reason for distance between church and state.

I tend to agree. The line of church and state was quite blurred in Europe a couple hundred years ago. That's why the Founding Fathers wanted that line established here when founding this country. And yet, there are still those who think no such line of separation exists or think this country was founded on biblical or "christian values." It's like they want a theocracy. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @4.1    8 months ago
While adherence to a specific religion may seem like "control" to some, it is simply a choice to those who follow a particular religion, perhaps more akin to a "lifestyle". 

Those who follow the 'be kind to others' philosophy inherent in many religions are, I submit, using religion to suit their (good) purposes.   Many families choose to send their kids to religious schools because, in the end, they typically help instill good moral values.

But that is not what I am referring to.  I am looking at the religion itself, at its core, and not the various modern institutions (and their programs) which have emerged from it.   At its core, religions (especially the Abrahamic) are true to their inception — they self-perpetuate based on fear, comfort and indoctrination.  This I consider to be control because it does influence behavior.   A benign example of this influence is compelling people to return to the church to worship and to make donations.  A malignant example are the suicide bombers of radical Islam.  

While I think your implication is correct that many would use religion as a lifestyle even if they did not believe the claims of the religion (and I think quite a few religious folks operate exactly that way already) I think that societies would be mostly secular if not for master strokes like:

If you believe, you ...

  • will be eternally in bliss
  • really do not die; this life is simply a stepping stone to Heaven
  • will see your passed loved one's again;  nobody is really gone forever
  • will be taken care of; no matter how dark your life might seem, God has your back
  • will always be forgiven for bad things if you repent

But if you do not believe, you will be eternally damned to suffer perpetual torment.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.6  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.5    8 months ago
If you believe, you ...
  • will be eternally in bliss
  • really do not die; this life is simply a stepping stone to Heaven
  • will see your passed loved one's again;  nobody is really gone forever
  • will be taken care of; no matter how dark your life might seem, God has your back
  • will always be forgiven for bad things if you repent
But if you do not believe, you will be eternally damned to suffer perpetual torment.

Note that all those points also appeal to emotion and/or provide emotional comfort. That might explain why gravitate towards or accept such religious doctrine so readily.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.7  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.5    8 months ago
they self-perpetuate based on fear, comfort and indoctrination

Fear and comfort... odd bedfellows don't you think?  How is something that one fears also a comfort?  It's interesting to consider that when contemplating the Old Testament one gets the sense that God is to be feared, somebody you don't want to cross.  Yet in the New Testament, the message of Christ and his disciples seems to be more comforting with respect to God's love for mankind.  Which begs the question did God change, and why?

Fear and indoctrination to create an illusion or promise of future comfort.  That formula sounds familiar.  A political tactic that seems to repeat itself throughout human history again and again and again.  Maybe religion isn't the problem. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.8  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.4    8 months ago
The line of church and state was quite blurred in Europe a couple hundred years ago.

Not even just a couple hundred years ago.  The mess the royal family of England seems to keep finding themselves in can be attributed in part to the fact that the monarch is also the head of the Church of England, and is therefore bound to uphold its teachings, in her own family, at least.  That requirement has led to abdication, the queen disallowing her sister to marry the man of her choice, and some question as to whether Charles would have to abdicate for marrying a divorced woman.  It probably doesn't have much effect on the population of England in general, but it certainly affects the personal lives of the nobility.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.9  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freewill @4.1.7    8 months ago
Fear and comfort...

It is, until you realize that they create the fear, then offer the comfort.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.10  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @4.1.7    8 months ago
How is something that one fears also a comfort?

Succinctly:

  • Fear:  If you do not believe, you will suffer eternal damnation
  • Comfort:  If you believe, you will have eternal life and all that comes with it.

Scare them to death and offer the best possible alternative.   An offer that cannot be refused.

Which begs the question did God change, and why?

A question I have oft asked but never do I receive a straight answer.   Typically, the answer is that the OT is the Old Covenant and that the NT is the New Covenant which supersedes it.   I am sure you would find such an answer to be the dodge that it is.   Especially since there is no clear definition for what constitutes the OC or the NC.

Maybe religion isn't the problem. 

I am happy to speak of religion as a political tool.   That, IMO, has been its purpose from inception.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.11  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @4.1.7    8 months ago
Fear and comfort... odd bedfellows don't you think?  How is something that one fears also a comfort?

"You'll burn in hell for eternity if you disobey god. But don't worry, he still loves you." Odd indeed.

Which begs the question did God change, and why?

God did seem to get a makeover in between the Old & New Testaments. Perhaps as a new religious advertising campaign?

Maybe religion isn't the problem. 

Maybe it is. Or at least, part of the problem.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
4.1.12  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.9    8 months ago
until you realize that they create the fear, then offer the comfort

All while holding out a silver tray for your 'weakly' donation...

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.13  Freewill  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.9    8 months ago
It is, until you realize that they create the fear, then offer the comfort.

Indeed. And then perhaps realize that such tactics aren’t limited merely to religion.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.14  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freewill @4.1.13    8 months ago

Of course they aren't.  But they are an integral part of many religions.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.15  Freewill  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.14    8 months ago
But they are an integral part of many religions

True

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.16  Freewill  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.1.12    8 months ago
until you realize that they create the fear, then offer the comfort
All while holding out a silver tray for your 'weakly' donation...

Or all while holding out their hand for your vote and/or a hefty campaign contribution... jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.17  Freewill  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.8    8 months ago
The mess the royal family of England seems to keep finding themselves in can be attributed in part to the fact that the monarch is also the head of the Church of England, and is therefore bound to uphold its teachings, in her own family, at least

Indeed.

It probably doesn't have much effect on the population of England in general, but it certainly affects the personal lives of the nobility

Please forgive me but I find it difficult to get all misty about that.  jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.18  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freewill @4.1.17    8 months ago
Please forgive me but I find it difficult to get all misty about that. 

Yes, they live lives of privilege, but also lives of restriction.  I can look on that with sympathy.  I don't think I'd want to trade places with them.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.19  Freewill  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.10    8 months ago
An offer that cannot be refused.

Reminds me of The Godfather.  I don't know, I think I'd fear eternal damnation less than a severed horses head in my bed as I slumber.

I am happy to speak of religion as a political tool.   That, IMO, has been its purpose from inception

Quite possibly so.  Although politicians don't appear to need that particular tool so much anymore when they can use the same tactics without it, or in fact against it from time to time (i.e. the fear of our Government becoming a theocracy if Catholics are elected)

jrSmiley_11_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.20  Kathleen  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.6    8 months ago

Can you be 100% sure that these claims are not true?

 I think that it’s impossible to claim either way.

 I am in the gray area on most of these issues. 

I can’t be totally sure, so I will not commit myself unless there is some miracle that we all find out the truth and everyone accepts it.

I do think that whatever it is... something or nothing, that it’s universal.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.21  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.20    8 months ago

Gordy has never claimed to be 100% certain those claims are not true.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.22  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.20    8 months ago

Crucially, Gordy has not argued that these claims are necessarily false.   

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.23  Kathleen  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.21    8 months ago

Actually I was asking him, plus I never said he did, I was asking if he thought they were. What I meant for claim is that “I” can’t claim it myself.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.24  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.20    8 months ago
Can you be 100% sure that these claims are not true?

Of course not. But some state those claims as if they were 100% true, even without any supporting evidence and based on nothing but mere belief or dogma.

 I think that it’s impossible to claim either way.

It's logically indefensible either way when a claim of certainty is made. At least until evidence becomes forthcoming. But a claim of certainty warrants a challenge and should be challenged.

 I am in the gray area on most of these issues. 

That would be the honest position to take. Essentially, that's saying "I don't really know for sure." It's one thing to say "I believe there's a god or afterlife." But it's quite another to state as fact "God exists and there is an afterlife!" Attempting to pass such claims off as truth is intellectually dishonest, even if that is not the intent.

I can’t be totally sure, so I will not commit myself unless there is some miracle that we all find out the truth and everyone accepts it.

And that is a perfect acceptable and honest position to take.

I do think that whatever it is... something or nothing, that it’s universal.

Fair enough.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.25  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.21    8 months ago
Gordy has never claimed to be 100% certain those claims are not true.

As I always say, "Show me the evidence!" jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.26  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.22    8 months ago
Crucially, Gordy has not argued that these claims are necessarily false.

Hmm, that might make for an interesting article. jrSmiley_26_smiley_image.gif

Certainly some religious claims can be shown to be "false."

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.27  Kathleen  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.24    8 months ago

Okay thanks...  I do honestly think that must people are not sure.  “I don’t know” that is what I feel.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.28  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.27    8 months ago
Okay thanks..

You're welcome.

I do honestly think that must people are not sure.  “I don’t know” that is what I feel.

It's those who do claim to be "sure" or certain that is suspect.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.29  Kathleen  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.28    8 months ago

Well, I do have another question. There are other religions out there besides the Christian religions.  Do you feel the same way about those as you do the Christian religions?  This question is not just for you, anyone can answer this one too.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.30  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.29    8 months ago
There are other religions out there besides the Christian religions.  Do you feel the same way about those as you do the Christian religions?  

In regards to religious claims made, yes.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.31  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.29    8 months ago

IMO, all religions share a common negative of being inherently control mechanisms.   Some belief systems such as Buddhism are pretty gray when it comes to calling them religions so there is a fuzziness to deal with.  

That established, the religions are different and thus have different pros and cons associated with them.   I find Islam to be the most troubling of the major religions due largely to the fact that it has not grown much from its ancient (brutal) foundations whereas religions such as the Catholic religion have evolved considerably (in the positive, although they have a ways to go IMO).   Judaism has evolved quite considerably.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.32  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.29    8 months ago

Many of them, yes.  Although we do not know the particulars of some religions in cultures that kept no written record, we do have archaeological evidence (and occasionally written records) that some required human sacrifice (think the Aztecs, Egyptians, and Druids).  Any religion that leads to murder is obviously problematic, and the fear it promotes that must be assuaged via human sacrifice is, as well.

More inclusive religions (Wicca, for example) tend to be less problematic, and while I don't find the tenets to be well supported by evidence, the morality to me seems to be sound - whatever you do, good or evil, will be revisited on you threefold.  So, it's best to do good.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.33  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.4    8 months ago
And yet, there are still those who think no such line of separation exists or think this country was founded on biblical or "christian values." It's like they want a theocracy.

Well to be fair I think most simply point out that the country was founded by people who believed in biblical or Christian values not that the country was necessarily founded on it.  There is a difference.  And there is much evidence in the writings of the founders to support the claim, as well as clear evidence that none would have supported a theocracy.  

Right or wrong, people who point such things out do so from the standpoint of lamenting what they see as the deterioration of moral character of todays politicians or leaders vs. the founders.  Again, morality being subjective, and the focus either being on specific issues or on a broader moral code, one could certainly argue it might be the other way around.  Such is the nature of a moral lens.

In any case, few are talking about installing the Pope as president, or holding the entirety of the canon of the Catholic Church up as the law of the land.   The fears some have of our country becoming a theocracy due to the sometimes vocal moral views, or the occasional Right to Life marches of the dwindling religious seems a bit over the top or irrational to me.  Just my opinion.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.1.34  Freewill  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.32    8 months ago
the morality to me seems to be sound - whatever you do, good or evil, will be revisited on you threefold. So, it's best to do good.

Perhaps it is best to do good because one truly wants to do good for the benefit of others, rather than to collect a threefold reward.  

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.35  sandy-2021492  replied to  Freewill @4.1.34    8 months ago

Of course. But that three-fold harm thing is quite the deterrent ;)

That is a problem I have with morality based on fear of punishment in general, and that's the morality usually prescribed by religion.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.36  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @4.1.33    8 months ago
Well to be fair I think most simply point out that the country was founded by people who believed in biblical or Christian values

That's an argument many make and seem to think it then applies to the country and its founding as a whole.

And there is much evidence in the writings of the founders to support the claim, as well as clear evidence that none would have supported a theocracy.  

The fact that the Constitution establishes a freedom of religion rather than a state religion, or even a religious preference over others, proves that establishing a theocracy or religious based society and system of government and law was never the intent of the Founding Fathers.

Right or wrong, people who point such things out do so from the standpoint of lamenting what they see as the deterioration of moral character of todays politicians or leaders vs. the founders.

And there are those (some here on NT) who defend today's politicians, including those with questionable moral character.

 Again, morality being subjective,

Some would even argue against that.

few are talking about installing the Pope as president, or holding the entirety of the canon of the Catholic Church up as the law of the land.   The fears some have of our country becoming a theocracy due to the sometimes vocal moral views, or the occasional Right to Life marches, of the dwindling religious seems a bit over the top or irrational to me.

While installing a theocracy is highly unlikely, there are those, like David Barton and the Wallbuilders, who state that the US is (or is based on) a "christian nation" and/or that the bible should replace the Constitution. While such notions are laughable, what makes them dangerous is that they have a platform to spew their misinformation and negatively influencing others. Especially if such individuals happen to obtain a position of power. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.37  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @4.1.34    8 months ago
Perhaps it is best to do good because one truly wants to do good for the benefit of others, rather than to collect a threefold reward.  

That would be the ideal situation. Do good just for goodness sake. Not because one wants a heavenly reward, avoid damnation, and/or because a religion tells them to be good.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.38  Kathleen  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.32    8 months ago

Okay, well the reason why I asked is because I rarely hear about these other religions on the site when it comes to debating and challenging.  They never seem to get much attention. Their particular beliefs don't seem to be challenged like the Christian religion. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.39  sandy-2021492  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.38    8 months ago

We tend to refute the claims we encounter.  There are many Christians here, two people of Jewish background that I know of, three American Indians (I assume of different faiths, but I don't know), and one Wiccan.  I don't know of any Muslims here.  So naturally, we encounter claims about Christianity and Judaism, due to Christianity's Jewish origins.  Since those are the claims we encounter, those are the claims we debate.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.40  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.38    8 months ago
well the reason why I asked is because I rarely hear about these other religions on the site when it comes to debating and challenging.  They never seem to get much attention. Their particular beliefs don't seem to be challenged like the Christian religion. 

I don't think there are many here who are proponents of those religions or their associated claims. So that's probably why they're not referenced or discussed often.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.41  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.39    8 months ago
So naturally, we encounter claims about Christianity and Judaism, due to Christianity's Jewish origins.  Since those are the claims we encounter, those are the claims we debate.

Those are also the claims that are put out there most often by their adherents.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.42  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.40    8 months ago

Yup.  Back on the Vine, there were a few Muslims, and I did have discussions with them.  One I remember was a Muslim woman (convert to Islam) who actually hadn't read the entire Quran, and had no idea that there was scriptural basis within it for the misogyny often seen in Islamic countries.  Another was a Muslim man in Pakistan, IIRC, who thought that polygyny was good for women, and recommended it even for non-Muslims, because single women everywhere must be the sexual prey of men.  He either was, or pretended to be, under the delusion that single women in the US were at the sexual mercy of any man who came along, with no right to say "no", and would therefore be better off even in a bad marriage than single.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.43  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.42    8 months ago
Another was a Muslim man in Pakistan, IIRC, who thought that polygyny was good for women, and recommended it even for non-Muslims, because single women everywhere must be the sexual prey of men.  He either was, or pretended to be, under the delusion that single women in the US were at the sexual mercy of any man who came along, with no right to say "no", and would therefore be better off even in a bad marriage than single.

That's just messed up! But such a misogynistic view of women, while probably most apparent in Islam, is not limited to it. Basically, a religion is teaching that women are inferior to or the "property" of the man, or otherwise subjugate women n some way. This is practiced in the Abrahamistic religions to some degree or another.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
4.1.44  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.43    8 months ago

From what I remember of the conversation, such a view of American women was part of the propaganda to which he was exposed.  He actually seemed to be sincerely concerned for single women here, on the basis that we aren't safe, and that marriage would secure our safety.

Yes, that's a primary problem I have with the Abrahamic religions.  To some degree, all three are either misogynistic, or have a history of misogyny, based in scripture, that they have overcome.  The churches in which I was raised held women to be subservient to men.  Men were expected to be loving husbands, but their word within the family was law.  I pretty much ignored that part of the sermons, and I think many of the married women made sure their husbands knew they did the same.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.45  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.38    8 months ago

It is probably because Christianity dominates the USA and the membership of this site.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.47  Kathleen  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.40    8 months ago

The expression  'Suspension of rational and critical thinking'.

Would that apply to people who are spiritual as well?

Some people including me have strong beliefs that our loved ones are watching over us. They also will leave you some kind of sign from time to time. 

This question is to all.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.48  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.47    8 months ago
Would that apply to people who are spiritual as well? Some people including me have strong beliefs that our loved ones are watching over us. They also will leave you some kind of sign from time to time. 

Yes! That is an emotionally based premise. It provides emotional comfort or coping. Bu.t I usually apply suspending rational/critical thinking to those who reject sound science or evidence in favor of dogma or emotion. It's like one doesn't even want to question their beliefs, especially when evidence contradicts that belief. Nothing particularly wrong with that unless one tries to posit such beliefs as fact rather than acknowledging that it's only a belief.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.1.49  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.47    8 months ago
Some people including me have strong beliefs that our loved ones are watching over us. They also will leave you some kind of sign from time to time. 

I am curious.   Do you consider the belief that our dead loved ones are watching over us to be the result of a comforting wish (on your part) or the result of you considering evidence critically and coming to a reasoned conclusion?

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.50  Kathleen  replied to  TᵢG @4.1.49    8 months ago

Sorry for all the questions. I just wanted to make sure I gather enough information on all sides for something I am working on.  I am on a mission....

I would have to say both. I am keeping a log and it does feel comforting to work on it and experience it. 

I have already talked to some people that are very religious. Most people do not talk about it, but on these sites there are plenty.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.51  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.50    8 months ago
Sorry for all the questions.

Nothing to be sorry for Kathleen. Honest questions are appreciated and encouraged. As I say (and sometimes do), question everything. jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

I just wanted to make sure I gather enough information on all sides for something I am working on.  I am on a mission....

Gathering as much information as possible about something is always a good thing.

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.1.52  Kathleen  replied to  Gordy327 @4.1.51    8 months ago

Thanks : )

Good, I will be asking questions from time to time. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.1.53  author  Gordy327  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.52    8 months ago
I will be asking questions from time to time. 

By all means jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
4.1.54  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  sandy-2021492 @4.1.39    8 months ago

I would say that my family's belief structure is closest to Pagan or Wiccan. When I did a college paper on different types of religion and performed several days / hours worth of research, including interviews with people I work with [global company], I came to that conclusion based on my research.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
4.1.55  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Kathleen @4.1.50    8 months ago

Before I read your response, I said, "A little of both for me." jrSmiley_86_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.2  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @4    8 months ago
Very good identification of the problems with religion.  

Thank you.

quite a few people complain about authoritarian officials using the pandemic to effect a gratuitous control over the people yet those holding this conspiracy theory of control are also proudly religious. 

Ironic indeed.

They, it would seem, are too deep into the dogma to recognize the control their religion has over their lives. 

The perfect control mechanism: being controlled without realizing it. Like a robot and religion is the remote control.

  It is perfectly fine for the church to tell you how to conduct your intimate affairs but no way can government demand you wear a mask during a pandemic.

Some people seem to let the church think for them. How many religious people condemn things like homosexuality or abortion just because their religion tells them so?

In the early days when religions were coming of age it is easy to see why they caught on.   People saw scary and disturbing things happening and naturally wanted answers (especially answers that gave a procedure one could engage in to help rectify the situation).  

True. XYZ happens because of this god or that one. A simple, yet satisfying explanation. Some things do not change apparrently.

Thus, unfortunately, that comfort (and indoctrination) continues even today in spite of modern knowledge.

It boggles the mind that people would remain willfully ignorant of some things in this day and age, all in favor of their dogma.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
4.2.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Gordy327 @4.2    8 months ago
Some people seem to let the church think for them. How many religious people condemn things like homosexuality or abortion just because their religion tells them so?

And in Catholicism, it's taught that we are all God's children and we are all loved. How does that work when you're also then told to condemn anyone that is deemed "different" in society? Isn't that teaching that we're not all God's children and we're not all loved? And why would abortion be a bad thing if that fetus should be sent straight to heaven anyways? Isn't that the goal, to be joined with God in Heaven? These are arguments I've had with my grandmother who was a devout Catholic... well, as she got older, it seemed that she didn't believe as hard as she once had. 

Isn't this how societal "norms" were developed in the first place? I mean, why isn't it okay for a woman to be the primary financial provider? Oh yeah... religious white guys deemed the woman should be at home taking care of the husband and children. BLAH!

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.2.2  author  Gordy327  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @4.2.1    8 months ago
it's taught that we are all God's children and we are all loved. How does that work when you're also then told to condemn anyone that is deemed "different" in society?

Indeed. Gays, for example, are referred to as "abominations." That doesn't sound all loving to me and it serves to ostracize a group of people.

And why would abortion be a bad thing if that fetus should be sent straight to heaven anyways? Isn't that the goal, to be joined with God in Heaven?

Exactly. But pointing out that logical inconsistency will get you a lot argument and contempt.

Oh yeah... religious white guys deemed the woman should be at home taking care of the husband and children.

The Abrahamistic religions are quite patriarchal.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.2.3  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @4.2.2    8 months ago
Gays, for example, are referred to as "abominations." That doesn't sound all loving to me and it serves to ostracize a group of people.

Indeed that is inconsistent with any religion that purports to support the idea of loving others as oneself.  The Catholic Church has allegedly softened their stance on that in recent years and now openly welcomes gay people for inclusion in the Mass, but still refers to their orientation as “disordered”.  A softer word perhaps than “abomination” but still not all that comforting to a gay person I’d imagine.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.2.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @4.2.3    8 months ago
 The Catholic Church has allegedly softened their stance on that in recent years and now openly welcomes gay people for inclusion in the mass,

But I don't think it's universal among Catholics or Catholic churches.

but still refers to their orientation as “disordered”.  A softer word perhaps than “abomination” but still not all that comforting to a gay person I’d imagine.

It's still erroneous and derogatory either way.

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
4.2.5  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @4.2.4    8 months ago
But I don't think it's universal among Catholics or Catholic churches.

Well it is outlined in the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church parts 2357 to 2359 which is global in scope:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357   Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, 141   tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." 142   They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358   The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359   Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

As I said, still not very comforting to gay people.

It's still erroneous and derogatory either way.

Indeed.  In 2358 it is written, " Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided ".  Really?  See parts 2357 and 2359 for "signs of unjust discrimination".  How did the author write that while keeping a straight face (no pun intended)?

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
4.3  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @4    8 months ago
With indoctrination (which religions have perfected over the centuries) the lock of religions continue from generation to generation.   Thus, unfortunately, that comfort (and indoctrination) continues even today in spite of modern knowledge.

In some cases!!!

With some people-- but not with others!

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.4  Kathleen  replied to  TᵢG @4    8 months ago
Ultimately, religion is a control mechanism

If you let it.  Most people I know still live their lives freely.

When religion comforts people, lets say if they lost a loved one, I leave that alone and would never challenge them. Would you agree?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.1  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.4    8 months ago

To be clearer, I am arguing that even if nobody today is influenced by any religion in any way, religion itself is a control mechanism.   Religion, by its very nature, is set up to control people.

When religion comforts people, lets say if they lost a loved one, I leave that alone and would never challenge them. Would you agree?

Absolutely!   For example, my 92 year old father-in-law is a devout Catholic.   When he was able, I was the one who took him to mass.   I would never say anything to him to cause him to question his faith because he is comforted by it.

However, a social media forum where people have the option to engage or not, seems to me the perfect place to discard those protective mechanisms and engage in discourse / debate as a means to get more of the truth on the table.

Would you agree?

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.4.2  Kathleen  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.1    8 months ago

Yes, but I do wonder what people that are grieving think when they see a lot of mocking and making fun of religion on a public forum. Not pointing fingers at anyone particular, just in general.  For example:  Let’s say a person lost a loved one and they believe in God. They are grieving and they decide to read this forum. Then they see someone calling God the Spaghetti monster or it’s make believe. That could be hurtful to somebody that sees this.  Do you think that religion should be mocked? I don’t  mean questioning it with science, I mean making fun of it...

What do you think..

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.3  TᵢG  replied to  Kathleen @4.4.2    8 months ago
What do you think..

I think that a social media forum is the perfect place to discuss matters that are awkward or impossible to discuss/debate in everyday life.   With regards to religion, I am against making fun of people and I have never warmed up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster derision.   But I am all for critical analysis of religions and the claims thereof.   I am in favor of full unabashed debate that holds no punches on the content but remains thoughtful, factual, reasoned and does not make things personal.

Those who wish to follow along and/or participate on critical analysis debates can (and should) do so.   Those who do not simply engage elsewhere.

Now, that established, look at this article by Gordy.   This is a critique of religion.   It is thoughtful, factual, reasoned and invites discussion / debate.   This is the style of articles that Gordy routinely (albeit occasionally) publishes (same with me).

 
 
 
Kathleen
PhD Principal
4.4.4  Kathleen  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.3    8 months ago

That is good to know, it would be nice for others to do the same. I have seen a lot of bashing on these religious topics. The author may have good intentions of discussing it, but there are the ones that feel the need to ruin it by mocking it as well. 

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
4.4.5  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.3    8 months ago
With regards to religion, I am against making fun of people and I have never warmed up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster derision.

The seeder seems to have no problem with it. Here and here .

This is the style of articles that Gordy routinely (albeit occasionally) publishes

So, apparently not as thoughtful and reasoned as you might think. This is relevant because it kind of makes it hard to take the seed seriously as some kind of objective analysis. It seems far more likely that it serves to rationalize a prejudice.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.6  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.5    8 months ago
So, apparently not as thoughtful and reasoned as you might think.

You cannot be serious, are you?  A few mentions of the FSM and that means Gordy is not, as a whole, thoughtful in his comments?   What you just did is strong evidence that you are intentionally trying to paint Gordy in a bad light and are willing to grasp at straws (in this case mere mention of the FSM) in your attempt.

It seems far more likely that it serves to rationalize a prejudice.

Does it?  Well that is very interesting psychoanalysis from you about Gordy, but Gordy is not the topic.   Debate the content, not the person.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
4.4.7  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.6    8 months ago
A few mentions of the FSM and that means Gordy is not, as a whole, thoughtful in his comments?

How many times does a person have to use a slur before you consider them a bigot?

willing to grasp at straws

You know, any time you have some minor piece of evidence to present, the details are crucial. But every time I point to details, you dismiss it as "nit-picking" or "pointless semantics" or "grasping at straws." Every time. You declare without argument that a point of view is confirmation bias. You don't actually engage with the content of comments, you just dismiss them while uncritically applying some to label to it.  Your bias is therefore plain and extremely well demonstrated. 

An amazing irony of all of this is that even though you avoid engaging with the content of comments more than anyone here, you accuse virtually everyone you disagree with of "meta attacks."

Well that is very interesting psychoanalysis from you about Gordy, but Gordy is not the topic.   Debate the content, not the person.

[Off topic!

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.8  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.7    8 months ago
How many times does a person have to use a slur before you consider them a bigot?

Let's focus then on an actual slur.   The slur 'faggot' is a derisive insult of male homosexuals — a personal attack based on who they are.   A parody on a religious idea such as FSM is ridiculing an idea, not a person.   In contrast, 'Bible Thumper' would be a slur about select Christians themselves.   Bigot is a potent allegation, better get your facts straight before you accuse another member of being a bigot.   And, by the way, I recommend you not engage in any further attacks on members here.

You know, any time you have some minor piece of evidence to present, the details are crucial.

Bullshit, you are just making this up.   Relevant details are crucial; not any insignificant scrap you can find.   Deeming Gordy a bigot and offering as evidence two general references to the FSM is slimy.

But every time I point to details, you dismiss it as "nit-picking" or "pointless semantics" or "grasping at straws." Every time.

Bullshit again.  In the local context what you just did was grasp at straws.   If I have claimed that of past things I am confident if we find the reference you will indeed have a comment that is 'nit-picking', engaging in 'pointless semantics' or 'grasping at straws'.    The fact that you get called out on this does not necessarily mean that you are being unfairly picked on.   You might just be doing what you are called out on.  

An amazing irony of all of this is that even though you avoid engaging with the content of comments more than anyone here, you accuse virtually everyone you disagree with of "meta attacks."

And at this point it seems you are clearly making me the topic.   I focus on the content of comments almost exclusively so you start with a demonstrable falsehood.   Second, meta declarations are not based on disagreement, they are based on being meta.  

The credibility and bias of the author is always relevant to a complete assessment of that person's analysis.

Yeah, but we do not have the right in this forum to spin character assassinations of others.   What you should do instead is address the content of what Gordy writes with a thoughtful rebuttal.    One need only follow this thread to show that your intention is to go personal and disrupt.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.4.9  author  Gordy327  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.8    8 months ago
The slur 'faggot' is a derisive insult of male homosexuals 

hat reminds me of a Family Guy episode. Lol

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.4.10  author  Gordy327  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.5    8 months ago
This is relevant because it kind of makes it hard to take the seed seriously as some kind of objective analysis.

What's not objective about the article's analysis?

How many times does a person have to use a slur before you consider them a bigot?

So FSM is a slur now? Interesting.

But every time I point to details, you dismiss it as "nit-picking" or "pointless semantics" or "grasping at straws." Every time.

Because that's what it is!

The credibility and bias of the author is always relevant to a complete assessment of that person's analysis

Once again, you make it personal rather than discussing the actual points made or their merit.

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
4.4.11  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @4.4.8    8 months ago
Let's focus then on an actual slur.   The slur 'faggot'

I think Flying Spaghetti Monster is an actual slur. And so do you or you wouldn't have written this:

I am against making fun of people and I have never warmed up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster derision.

Derision:

de-ri-sion

noun

contemptuous ridicule or mockery

But not you want to claim it's not an actual slur. Ok. jrSmiley_80_smiley_image.gif

Slur:

slur

noun

a derogatory insult or term applied to a particular group of people

I prefer to focus on the actual use of this actual slur as it is relevant, as I said, to assessing the content of the seed. Again, it is relevant because it reveals the bias of the author.

Yeah, but we do not have the right in this forum to spin character assassinations of others.

I haven't spun anything. I have stated facts, including links as proof.

What you should do instead is address the content of what Gordy writes with a thoughtful rebuttal.

I am trying to. Part of my process for considering the content is to examine the biases or motivations that shape that content. I have been entirely consistent in this. Your constant hostility, threats, and attacks are not actually helpful.

Consider the hypocrisy in your last comment:

You: we do not have the right in this forum to spin character assassinations of others Also you: you are just making this up . . . slimy . . . you start with a demonstrable falsehood . . . your intention is to go personal and disrupt

I mean, do you even see it when you do it? Are you able to be that self critical? I have invited you mulitple times now to focus on the content of my comments but you keep trying to attack me or act offended instead.

A parody on a religious idea such as FSM is ridiculing an idea, not a person.

So you will have no problem with me or anyone else ridiculing atheism. And you won't weigh it all when you consider any criticism we might have of the content of this seed. Correct?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
4.4.12  author  Gordy327  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.11    8 months ago

Enough with the slap fights guys. Let's get back on topic and discuss the point made in the article. Thank you.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
4.4.13  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.11    8 months ago
I am against making fun of people and I have never warmed up to the Flying Spaghetti Monster derision.

I just told you in my prior comment that FSM is derisive to an idea.  

TiG @4.4.8 A parody on a religious idea such as FSM is ridiculing an idea, not a person.

An idea is different than a person.  So why am I repeating myself Tacos!?   ( In the future I will likely not give you an inch given how you are trying so desperately to spin it into a false mile. )

And by the definition you posted for slur, can you truly not see that making fun of an idea is not 'a derogatory insult or term applied to a particular group of people'?  As I mentione, 'Bible Thumpers' is an example of a slur, not FSM.   I can break this down, but I suspect you realize the flaw in your argument.  Let me know if you want me to break this down.

I mean, do you even see it when you do it?

Irony.   Just look through the comments here and see where I make people the topic.   Then see where you make people the topic.   The only time I go from content to person is when I am responding to dishonest tactics and must address the person.   Look at our recent comments.   It is you making things personal and veering off the content of the topic.

So you will have no problem with me or anyone else ridiculing atheism.

If someone ridicules atheism I will address the content of their allegations / ridicule (if it matters to me).   As I have in the past by the way.   I will most definitely not just turn around as you are doing and make things personal.   

Note, by the way, the only reason I am addressing you in this comment is to expose what you are doing right now.   If you had focused on the content of this article (or sub-topics per threads), the only comment from me to you would be strictly on the content.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
4.4.14  MAGA  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.5    8 months ago

Exactly and a bitter and deep seeded one as well

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
4.4.15  MAGA  replied to  Tacos! @4.4.7    8 months ago

great post!  Every last word of it, especially the ending

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
4.5  MAGA  replied to  TᵢG @4    8 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
PhD Principal
5  sandy-2021492    8 months ago
Fourth, religion can cause one to become sanctimoniously arrogant or have a superiority complex.

And this can lead to violence.  It's easier to justify a war against people you see as evil, even if they're "evil" only because they worship differently from you (generic "you", of course).  Consider the Inquisition, Manifest Destiny, or the ongoing mess in the Middle East.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
5.1  author  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5    8 months ago
And this can lead to violence.  It's easier to justify a war against people you see as evil, even if they're "evil" only because they worship differently from you (generic "you", of course).  Consider the Inquisition, Manifest Destiny, or the ongoing mess in the Middle East.

Tis touches on another problem of religion which I didn't address: namely the divisiveness of religion itself. Just look at history to see that: Protestants vs Catholics, Christians vs Muslims, ect.. And that's on the macro scale. But even on the micro scale we can see it. People who don't join a certain religious group or otherwise leave one are viewed as outsiders or ostracized. Atheists are viewed with suspicion or deemed untrustworthy or immoral because they do not subscribe to any particular religious belief. 

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
5.1.1  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1    8 months ago
Atheists are viewed with suspicion or deemed untrustworthy or immoral because they do not subscribe to any particular religious belief

I think that is simply part of your 4th point in your article with regard to the arrogance or superiority complex that some religious might display.  Specifically that their moral framework or code is superior to those of other religions, or especially to those who have no religion.  Some can't seem to grasp the idea that one can form one's own moral code or compass without any religion setting that framework for them.  Although one could argue that even an atheist's idea of right and wrong, good or evil, was probably formed in their minds from a young age based on centuries of moral framework (some informed by religions) to which they are exposed from birth.  The same framework that has led to our modern rules of law and even unwritten expectations of social decorum or civil behavior.  In any case, morality can be highly subjective and everyone, religious or not, tends to view the world through their own moral lens.  Through my lens, I have known many atheists and agnostics who seem more morally centered to me than many Christians I've known.  

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
5.1.2  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @5.1.1    8 months ago
Specifically that their moral framework or code is superior to those of other religions, or especially to those who have no religion. 

They might think they're morally superior. 

Some can't seem to grasp the idea that one can form one's own moral code or compass without any religion setting that framework for them.

I've noticed. I have even been asked where I get my moral code from. As if I'm incapable of having morals without religion.

In any case, morality can be highly subjective and everyone, religious or not, tends to view the world through their own moral lens.

I agree. But some theists actually think morality is not subjective, as they believe morality comes from god. But just ask them if they think slavery is moral or not (god never prohibits or condemns slavery in the bible) and watch the smoke come out of their ears, Lol

 
 
 
Freewill
Sophomore Guide
5.1.3  Freewill  replied to  Gordy327 @5.1.2    8 months ago
I have even been asked where I get my moral code from. As if I'm incapable of having morals without religion.

I would never think of you or anyone else as incapable of having morals, but I think the question of where you feel  your moral code comes from is an interesting one to explore.  Some religious people think it comes from their religion, or their God as you pointed out, but is that really true?  If that were the case, how does a religious person explain their own immoral behavior when it occurs?  Where does that come from? 

Perhaps our morals simply come from the culture in which we are immersed from the time of our birth.  An amalgam of everything we see, hear, or learn, and based on centuries of different forces (including religions in some cases) that shaped that culture over time.  That is certainly how something that seems to be perfectly moral in one culture appears to be grotesquely immoral to those of another culture, or another time, or even in modern times.  This is observable in the present time regardless of a person's religion or lack thereof.  It appears to involve a combination of nature (innate concern for self preservation - human nature) and nurture (a product of our environment).

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
5.1.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  Freewill @5.1.3    8 months ago
Religious people think it comes from their religion, or their God as you pointed out, but is that really true? 

The claim I've heard is that god is the source of morality. So if that were true, then the follow up to ask, is slavery moral?

If that were the case, how does a religious person explain their own immoral behavior when it occurs?  Where does that come from? 

They might claim sin, being human and therefore imperfect, "the devil made me do it," ect..

Perhaps our morals simply come from the culture in which we are immersed from the time of our birth.  An amalgam of everything we see, hear, or learn, and based on centuries of different forces (including religions in some cases) that shaped that culture over time. 

Exactly. Morals tend to very by the culture. That is why morality is subjective.

It appears to involve a combination of nature (innate concern for self preservation - human nature) and nurture (a product of our environment).

Usually our parents or those close to us teach us morality at an early age. Our interactions with others and society as we grow and learn also teach morals.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
5.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Freewill @5.1.3    8 months ago
Perhaps our morals simply come from the culture in which we are immersed from the time of our birth.

I think our morality is an emergent property of biological and sociological evolution.   Our biology includes factors which influence how we behave.   For example, the amygdala will raise a fear response if it detects the presence of an individual with a skin color different from one's own.   This is done with very coarse optical, audible and olfactory senses (like trying to see a pixelated image) and no doubt is responsible for the flee response which likely saved the lives of many of our ancestors.   It is the frontal cortex, once it has had time to process its sensory information in context of a much more sophisticated base of information, that overrides the amygdala and shakes hands with a person of a different race.

Our morality is instinctual and logical based mostly on survival and comfort.   Killing children directly affects our instincts which have perpetuated our species.  But killing adults who we see as harmful to our local group is okay.  

Sociologically, as we moved from hunter/gatherer into agricultural communities the notion of property emerged.   Something substantial of value (the agricultural fields and products) now existed that had to be defended against theft.   This further evolved our morality.  

To me we can trace the evolution of our species and see how the moralities that exist today could have come to pass.   Importantly, we can also understand why we have differing relative moralities.   We can understand, for example, why some cultures consider honor killings to be just and moral when we see them as barbaric.   Relative morality is a product of sociological evolution and thus the various cultures of the world are 'species' of more ancient cultural mores and values.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6  Drakkonis    8 months ago
First, religion makes statements of "truth" without actually supporting them with anything empirical. The easiest example is the claim that "god exists!" But there is no evidence or proof of any god/s existing outside of someone saying they do.

This is a gross oversimplification. There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God, at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions. An example of this is the claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This claim can logically only be held by materialists, who claim that only the material universe, and the laws that govern it, exist. This is an extraordinary claim in itself because it isn't really testable, empirically. Since this is so, it is not a truth claim, it is a faith claim. So, not only can the materialist not prove that claims of God are extraordinary, they can't even empirically prove their own position, although they can provide evidence. 

Second, religion requires the suspension of rational or critical thinking. This is easily seen with biblical stories, especially if someone takes such stories seriously or literally.

This is laughably false and can only be believed by someone who's suspended rational or critical thinking. Or, is a materialist. "It's impossible for someone to be swallowed by a great fish, be puked up on a beach three days later and live to tell about it!" says the materialist. But, if there is a God who created the universe then it is reasonable to assume that this God can control it as well. And if God can do this, then what prevents Him from doing something miraculous? Last I checked, no one has proven that God doesn't exist. Since this is so, it is possible the story is true. 

Further, for such a claim to stand, one would have to explain how people of religion who are top scientists in their field, Nobel laureates, holding prestigious chairs in scientific fields are not, in fact, rational or critical thinkers. It doesn't really sell it to say, well, they don't think rationally or critically concerning religion. Who's going to buy that? It just makes the person making such a claim sound petty. The fact is, a great number of people of religion, especially Christianity, are great rational and critical thinkers. You should try reading some of their books. I can recommend some. 

Third, religion declares either punishment for disbelief (or the wrong belief/religion) or reward for belief.

Although "punishment" and "reward" are valid, I think of it in terms of "consequences". In any case, I'm curious as to why anyone would find this an actual problem. The reasons you give don't seem very valid, in my opinion, since reward or punishment is pretty much our lives from birth to death. If you do not eat right, you suffer. If you do, you tend to be healthier and happier. If you don't study in school, you're not as likely to do as well in life as someone who does. If you lie, not many will trust you. If you tell the truth, you will have the trust of many. If you work hard, you tend to get farther than those who slack off. 

I can keep going but life is a series of rewards or punishments for the things we do. Why should the ultimate point to life be any different? Further, I find it quite comforting that what we do in life matters. I am pleased that rape matters. I'm pleased that feeding the hungry matters. I am pleased there are consequences for both. I am pleased that life is not pointless. That there is a Being to whom it matters. More, a Being who knows what matters and chooses to reward those who choose what He thinks matters. 

I've heard people say a number of times that God is cruel because he wanted to keep knowledge from us. That isn't true. God didn't want to keep knowledge from us, except the knowledge of good and evil. The reason, as history has so amply proven, is we can't handle the knowledge. The only knowledge of good and evil we really have is that it exists. We certainly suck at knowing what is good and evil, except in terms so large we can't miss it, and even then we still often get it wrong.

And so our history is filled with evil. But God, in His mercy, says, "I know what is good and right. You can be forgiven and I'll show you the way. And, although it will be hard, in the end, evil will never trouble you again". So, really, the choice of either reward or punishment is up to us. Those who think otherwise really just want their desires to be right, whether they are or not, and not face consequences for them. That's why they think it's cruel. 

Fourth, religion can cause one to become sanctimoniously arrogant or have a superiority complex.

Well, you got one right, at least. We certainly see a lot of this one. The only thing I would argue with is that it isn't religion that causes it. After all, look at Richard Dawkins. He certainly is sanctimoniously arrogant and has a superiority complex. It certainly wasn't science that caused that. 

Fifth, religion is about dogma over science.

Totally wrong in every sense it could be. Atheists like to claim there is some sort of battel between religion and science. This is propaganda put out by atheists. The battle is between theists and atheists. This is so because most Christians have no issues with science. What they have issues with is some interpretations of science by atheists. In other words, the atheist says the science says X and if the theist disagrees, then the atheist claims the theist hates science. The reality is most often that the theist disagrees with the interpretation of the science by the atheist. 

Religion generally goes with "god did it" as an explanation, which is not really an explanation for anything.

Another gross oversimplification. Since our belief is not only did God create everything, He sustains everything. In that sense, God did do it. All of it. Every moment of it. That doesn't mean we don't believe science can tell us how it's done. As I have pointed out before, there's no way to tell the difference between lightning striking where it did because of the laws materialists believe in or that it struck where it did because God actively made it strike there at that moment and place. If every particle in existence acts the way it does at any given moment because God wills it to at that moment, it would just seem like the natural laws materialists think is responsible. Or, it could be that there really are the laws we think their are that governs the universe in the manner we observe and doesn't need God's constant attention. Still, they're there because God created them. How could you prove otherwise? You can't prove God didn't do it. 

What laws allow us to do is say, based on what we've observed and the experiments we've made, there's every reason to expect that the sun will rise in the east for the foreseeable future. It says nothing about why those laws exist or in what manner. Are they just part of a Godless, uncaring universe that just happened to turn out this way? Is it a set and forget sort of thing God did or does God make everything work the way it does from moment to moment? What experiment are you going to conduct to get an answer? 

What is not true about "God did it" is that we think anything we don't yet understand is just a case of "God did it" and it can't be understood. We don't really know why galaxies are moving faster than what the known mass of visible matter can account for. We don't just say, well, because God did it. We know it's possible we'll find out. The difference between us is that, for us, we think in terms of learning what God did to account for the movement of the galaxies. That is, we attribute whatever we discover to the work of His hand, not a factor of a random universe. 

Have a nice night : ) 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.1  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6    8 months ago
This claim can logically only be held by materialists, who claim that only the material universe, and the laws that govern it, exist.

What you are doing is a common twist of what is claimed.   The claim is NOT that the material universe is all that could possibly exist.   Rather, the claim is that -based on the evidence- all that we can detect thus far is the material universe.   It is not a claim of impossible, rather an observation of 'never evidenced'.   And when you return with your rebuttal of 'it is impossible to evidence that which is not part of the material universe ... that we are limited in our tools and senses' I will agree with you.   But then the question goes to you as to how you can claim that there actually is something beyond the material.

Note:  this is like those who claim that atheists claim there is no god when in reality atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god ... the condition of not yet being persuaded that a god exists.   Only the extreme gnostic atheists go one step further and claim there is no god.   That claim, by the way, is irrational if by 'god' they mean sentient creator rather than a specific, personal, highly attributed god such as that of the Bible.

Last I checked, no one has proven that God doesn't exist.

You define 'God' as the god of the Bible.   That literary character is self-refuting and thus does not exist.

God (of the Bible) is defined by the Bible.   This God is deemed true (and existing) because the Bible is deemed divine (at least those parts that define God and portray God speaking).   That is, God exists because the Bible says so and the Bible is divinely credible.   The critical problem with this reasoning is that God is defined as omnipotent, omniscient, perfect, omnipresent, eternal and omnibenevolent.   All one need do to demonstrate that God cannot exist as defined by the Bible is show a contradiction in the definition.   One glaring contradiction starts off in Genesis where God exacts punishment on Adam & Eve and all their progeny because they disobeyed Him.   Since God is omniscient He knew (even before he created Adam & Eve) that they would disobey Him.   He nonetheless created them accordingly (wired with the cognitive abilities of His choice) and placed them in a situation of His making knowing full well what they would do.    If God is omniscient then He knowingly set up Adam & Eve to fail knowing also that He would then effect a curse on them and their progeny.   In this example omniscience directly contradicts omnibenevolence.

Throughout the Bible, God (the character) is routinely learning bad things about His creations.   An omniscient (especially if omnipotent) entity cannot logically learn, regret, be surprised.   We can explore all sorts of examples where biblical accounts directly contradict the biblical definition of God.   A character with contradictions in its very definition does not exist.

Now, that said, there may indeed be a creator entity.   No contradiction in the abstract notion of a deity who created everything.   But when we move to a fully attributed god such as the Abrahamic God, the definition of said god proves that it does not exist as defined; it is self-refuting.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.1.1  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.1    8 months ago
What you are doing is a common twist of what is claimed.   The claim is NOT that the material universe is all that could possibly exist.   Rather, the claim is that -based on the evidence- all that we can detect thus far is the material universe.   It is not a claim of impossible, rather an observation of 'never evidenced'.

Not really. It's actually quite accurate, as you demonstrate here. The key is in the highlighted portion of your statement. As I have asked you before, what would such evidence look like? For all you know, the only reason the universe exists and anything happens the way it does from one moment to the next is that God wills it to. Yet, while giving a nod to what's "possible", you just go right back to materialist standard of, "based on the evidence". In other words, you keep going back to what you claim is a lack of evidence without knowing what evidence would look like. Kind of circular, don't you think? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.1.1    8 months ago
In other words, you keep going back to what you claim is a lack of evidence without knowing what evidence would look like. Kind of circular, don't you think? 

So basically, because there is no currently known way to evidence the supernatural, you deem it 'circular' when a person notes that they are not convinced the supernatural exists due to a lack of evidence.

Again, given you admit that there is no evidence, what convinces you that the supernatural exists?

See, my position is that supernatural (defined as the realm of God), has no persuasive argument of its existence.    I do not declare that it therefore does not exist.   Rather I do what is rational and hold that I am simply not yet convinced that it exists.   There is nothing circular about that.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
6.1.3  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  TᵢG @6.1.2    8 months ago
given you admit that there is no evidence, what convinces you that the supernatural exists?

This documentary chronicles the tongue-in-cheek religion of Pastafarianism, and the fact is they have exactly the same amount of supernatural evidence of their deity existing as any other religion on the planet, so this is really an expose on all religion. If people find this silly, then why aren't other religions seen in the same light?

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.1.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @6.1.3    8 months ago
religion of Pastafarianism

Now there's the "TRUE" religion! jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
6.2  pat wilson  replied to  Drakkonis @6    8 months ago

So ya got nothin'.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6    8 months ago
Atheists like to claim there is some sort of battel between religion and science. This is propaganda put out by atheists. The battle is between theists and atheists.

Explain that then to Ken Ham and his band of science spinners at Answers In Genesis.   Explain that to the Discovery Institute and its Trojan Horse attempts to portray Intelligent Design as science as a counter to bio-chemical evolution.

It is organizations like these which support the observation of religion vs. science.    There are, however, organizations like biologos which tries to explain religion in terms of non-compromised science.   The good guys.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.3.1  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.3    8 months ago
Explain that then to Ken Ham...

No group of people are homogenous. There exists a range in any of them. The same thing can be said of atheists. From what I've read, quite a few scientists who are also atheists wish Dawkins would stop talking. The point is that Gordy's generalizations are pretty useless for a serious discussion, given that they're mostly just popular stereotypes. It actually just comes across as if he needed to feel superior and was looking for an echo chamber to make that happen. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.2  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.3.1    8 months ago
No group of people are homogenous

I did not claim that.   My point was that the battle is not between everyday religious people vs. everyday scientists.   The 'battle' is due to religious organizations misrepresenting science to preserve their religious views; not between atheists and theists ... the people themselves.   If there were no organizations trying to discredit evolution (for example) then there would be no controversy.   If there were no organizations trying to teach kids that the Earth is 6,000 years old and other notions that fly in the face of modern knowledge but rather simply taught kids morality, etc. there would be no battle between religion and science.

It actually just comes across as if he needed to feel superior and was looking for an echo chamber to make that happen. 

Note how you just went personal and derogatory against Gordy.  And it flies in the fact of the evidence since Gordy is always out there in the public forum and certainly not someone who would need to hide in an echo chamber.   Let's focus on the content, not the people.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.3.3  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.3.2    8 months ago
Note how you just went personal and derogatory against Gordy.   Let's focus on the content, not the people.

Excuse me, TiG. My apologies. Apparently, only Gordy gets to be personal and derogatory. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.3.4  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.3.2    8 months ago
The 'battle' is due to religious organizations misrepresenting science to preserve their religious views; not between atheists and theists

Guess we'll just have to disagree on this one. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.5  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.3.3    8 months ago

Not sure what you are referring to, but NOBODY should go personal and derogatory.   It is one thing to state actual facts based on what an individual has expressed in comments.   But to presume Gordy needs to feel superior and seeks an echo chamber to stroke his ego is simply uncalled for.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.3.6  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.3.1    8 months ago
The point is that Gordy's generalizations are pretty useless for a serious discussion,

If that's what you really think, then why are you here?

given that they're mostly just popular stereotypes.

Not at all. They are basic assessments and also observed in discussion or practice.

It actually just comes across as if he needed to feel superior and was looking for an echo chamber to make that happen. 

How about addressing the points made in the article rather than making things personal!

Apparently, only Gordy gets to be personal and derogatory. 

Specify precisely where I went personal or derogatory! If you think that's the case, then by all means point out and flag the offending statement!

Guess we'll just have to disagree on this one.

So you don't think certain religious organizations have misrepresented science for their own agenda? Or that their views are just as valid as actual scientific views? A well known "battle" is the evolution vs creationism/ID debate, especially when it came to its introduction in schools. You disagree that wasn't 

a religious organization attempting to misrepresent science or impose their own ideas in lieu of science?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.7  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.3.4    8 months ago

Okay with me.   My key focus, thus far, has been on the demonstrable fact that the God of the Bible, as defined in the Bible, is a contradiction and thus cannot exist as defined.

A sentient creator might exist (for all we know) but the God character defined in the Bible does not.   Per @6.1

 
 
 
Tacos!
PhD Guide
6.3.8  Tacos!  replied to  TᵢG @6.3.2    8 months ago
Note how you just went personal and derogatory against Gordy.

There's nothing derogatory in this statement:

It actually just comes across as if he needed to feel superior and was looking for an echo chamber to make that happen. 

That reads to me like an honest assessment of the thought process behind the seed. It's also an honest statement about a reaction to the seed. I think that's a legitimate approach and one worth considering. Furthermore, this analysis is supported by the rest of Drakkonis' observations.

Declaring it to be personal and derogatory - without more support - strikes me as an attempt to shame the speaker into silence. Perhaps that is because an uncomfortable truth has been revealed. Just because people see things differently than you, that does not mean they are trying to be disrespectful.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.3.9  author  Gordy327  replied to  Tacos! @6.3.8    8 months ago
That reads to me like an honest assessment of the thought process behind the seed.

Then that assessment is wrong!

It's also an honest statement about a reaction to the seed.

What reaction? People can reply as they please (within CoC boundaries of course).

Furthermore, this analysis is supported by the rest of Drakkonis' observations.

And his observations have been refuted.

Declaring it to be personal and derogatory - without more support - strikes me as an attempt to shame the speaker into silence.

Claiming I an trying to feel superior or looking for an echo chamber is making the discussion personal. I am not the focus of the topic.

 Perhaps that is because an uncomfortable truth has been revealed. Just because people see things differently than you,

Then let's discuss the differences rationally and civilly.

that does not mean they are trying to be disrespectful.

See, I thought TiG was making an honest assessment too.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.10  TᵢG  replied to  Tacos! @6.3.8    8 months ago
There's nothing derogatory in this statement:
It actually just comes across as if he needed to feel superior and was looking for an echo chamber to make that happen. 

If I were to accuse you of engineering an echo chamber so that you could make yourself feel superior, you would not find that to be a derogatory personal comment? 

That reads to me like an honest assessment of the thought process behind the seed.

You can then insult anyone and simply claim it is your 'honest assessment'.

... strikes me as an attempt to shame the speaker into silence ...

And now you try to attack me personally ... suggesting that I am in some way trying to censor Drakk.   Even when my comments show that I am posing challenges for him to address.  

In my experience, the secular side of the argument tries to encourage thoughtful discourse and dissuade personal attacks, intellectual dishonesty and any other tactic that would deflect from the points of disagreement.

Note how this thoughtful article now has comments dealing with meta instead of the points Gordy made.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
6.3.11  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @6.3.7    8 months ago
A sentient creator might exist

Yes-- and his name is Bill Maher! He just keeps hitting 'em out of the park!

In this one, re: religion-- he is really on target!

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6    8 months ago
There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God, at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions.

Such as?

This claim can logically only be held by materialists, who claim that only the material universe, and the laws that govern it, exist. This is an extraordinary claim in itself because it isn't really testable, empirically.

I presume you are referring to the supernatural? There is nothing to suggest there's anything outside the material universe as we experience it. The extraordinary claim is the one stating or even implying there is something outside the universe. That may even be the case. But there is no evidence to support it. So such a claim cannot be a declaration of truth.

So, not only can the materialist not prove that claims of God are extraordinary,

So a claim of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity that exists (and presumably created the universe and everything in it) is not an extraordinary claim to you? What exactly qualifies as extraordinary to you?

they can't even empirically prove their own position, although they can provide evidence. 

What do you mean?

Or, is a materialist. "It's impossible for someone to be swallowed by a great fish, be puked up on a beach three days later and live to tell about it!" says the materialist.

Actually, yes, that is impossible. That can be scientifically analyzed and scrutinized too as to why such an occurrence would be imposible.

But, if there is a God who created the universe then it is reasonable to assume that this God can control it as well. And if God can do this, then what prevents Him from doing something miraculous?

You're starting from the assumption that there's a god and is actually capable of this. 

Last I checked, no one has proven that God doesn't exist.

A logical fallacy. One cannot prove the non-existence of something. Last I checked, no one has proven god exist (despite claims of certainty).

Since this is so, it is possible the story is true. 

No, it's not. Even considering this story is true is the perfect example of how religion requires the suspension of critical and rational thinking.

for such a claim to stand, one would have to explain how people of religion who are top scientists in their field, Nobel laureates, holding prestigious chairs in scientific fields are not, in fact, rational or critical thinkers.

No one ever said theists couldn't be intelligent or scientists and such. But scientists do not invoke god as a scientific explanation for something. They might believe god plays a part. But they seem able to keep religious beliefs separate from scientific inquiry. Dr. Francis Collins is an example of this.

The fact is, a great number of people of religion, especially Christianity, are great rational and critical thinkers.

I'm referring to those who reject what is known and evidenced in favor of dogma. Evolution vs creationism/ID is an example. Evolution is a perfect explanation for what we have observed and has objective, empirical evidence to back it. But some theists will outright reject evolution in favor of dogma and creationism, saying evolution is false or "pseudoscience perpetrated by godless scientists," or such things. To me, rejecting sound evidence and scientific principles in favor of one's own beliefs is quite irrational, especially when those beliefs are emotionally driven and lack any evidence.

Although "punishment" and "reward" are valid, I think of it in terms of "consequences".

Semantics.

In any case, I'm curious as to why anyone would find this an actual problem. The reasons you give don't seem very valid, in my opinion, since reward or punishment is pretty much our lives from birth to death.

The problem is it's used as a means of control and manipulation to coerce or force obedience. Such "consequences" cannot even be demonstrated but are imposed for even the most minor of infractions.

I can keep going but life is a series of rewards or punishments for the things we do. Why should the ultimate point to life be any different?

 The point isn't about reward/punishment in life, but rather in an afterlife. And much of that punishment/reward system is based on adherence or obedience to its specific religion. We have Muslim suicide bombers killing "infidels" because they think they will be rewarded in the afterlife. So do you not see how utilizing such a system, which only takes effect after you die, is problematic?

That isn't true. God didn't want to keep knowledge from us, except the knowledge of good and evil.

Good and evil are not difficult concepts. But god essentially wanted to keep us ignorant. And religion tries to do the same thing to a certain extent. But knowledge in itself is not a bad thing and it is something we collectively try to acquire. Well, most of us anyway.

And so our history is filled with evil.

While god does nothing about it.

After all, look at Richard Dawkins. He certainly is sanctimoniously arrogant and has a superiority complex.

I've listened to him speak and read some of his works. He doesn't come off like that. He can be blunt in his assessment of religion and in challenges to religious claims. But he maintains a logical and rational composure.

The only thing I would argue with is that it isn't religion that causes it.

I would disagree.

This is so because most Christians have no issues with science.

Young Earth Creationists certainly seem to have an issue with science, especially when it doesn't suit their narrative.

What they have issues with is some interpretations of science by atheists. In other words, the atheist says the science says X and if the theist disagrees, then the atheist claims the theist hates science. The reality is most often that the theist disagrees with the interpretation of the science by the atheist. 

It's not about the interpretation. It's about the evidence. A proper scientist will follow the evidence to where it leads, not to where they want it to go. A theist might do the exact opposite: start with an assumption and make the evidence fit.

Since our belief is not only did God create everything, He sustains everything. In that sense, God did do it.

That is nothing more than a belief and unsupported assumption. Just replace "God" with fairies, leprechauns, or gnomes and it's no different.

If every particle in existence acts the way it does at any given moment because God wills it to at that moment, it would just seem like the natural laws materialists think is responsible.

Again, you're starting with the assumption that "god did it," when there is nothing to suggest that to be the case. 

Still, they're there because God created them. How could you prove otherwise? You can't prove God didn't do it. 

Again with the logical fallacy and baseless assumption. You can't prove that fairies, leprechauns, or gnomes didn't do it either. Neither can you prove that god did do it or anything else. You simply believe that god did. Belief does not equal fact!

 It says nothing about why those laws exist or in what manner.

Laws are simply explanations to actions or natural phenomenon that is observed.  Asking why they exist is a philosophical question. Some people just like to invoke god as an easy answer.

Are they just part of a Godless, uncaring universe that just happened to turn out this way?

Could be.

What is not true about "God did it" is that we think anything we don't yet understand is just a case of "God did it" and it can't be understood.

There are many things we still do not understand or that is unknown. But many invoke god as an explanation for something not known or understood. Instead of simply and honestly saying "we don't know," some will say "god did it" or "god works in mysterious ways," which are just intellectual cop-outs. For example, in scientific discussions, I've had theists (who believe god created the universe) ask what happened before the Big Bang or how did the Bang happen. They are quick to invoke god as the cause. It's an emotionally satisfying "god did it" explanation that requires no further thought and sufficiently addresses a mystery for them. 

We don't really know why galaxies are moving faster than what the known mass of visible matter can account for.

That's why we have to concepts of dark matter/energy. While we do not yet know what they are, we now they are there based on the math. But it's disingenuous to say or assume it's god in some capacity.

we think in terms of learning what God did to account for the movement of the galaxies. That is, we attribute whatever we discover to the work of His hand, not a factor of a random universe. 

In other words, "god did it!" You pretty much prove my whole point.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Gordy327 @6.4    8 months ago
Such as?

The fact that we exist.

That we are intelligent beings.

That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life. 

That we have a sense of morality.

To name a few.

I presume you are referring to the supernatural?

No. I was referring to the statement "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Basically, it's nonsense to anyone who doesn't hold to a materialist bias. The main reason it's nonsense is that they have no basis for determining whether or not a claim of God is extraordinary other than it doesn't fit within the unproven assumption that there is nothing beyond the material. Basically, it just rests on an individual's decision not to believe without materialistic, empirical proof, even though they can't define what that proof would look like or think of how to test it. So, really, what was done in order to avoid having to face the holes in their own logic they came up with something that sounded profound, like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", without any proof whatsoever that it was true, in order to avoid giving the issue any real thought. 

What exactly qualifies as extraordinary to you?

That there is no God. That's certainly more extraordinary than saying there's no evidence of God. I think, since the overwhelming number of people throughout history have believed in God or god or gods in one way or another, most would not find a claim of God extraordinary. 

What do you mean?

What I mean is, a theist and an atheist can look at the same phenomena and say it is evidence for their position but neither can empirically prove their point. Fine tuning of the universe, for instance. 

Actually, yes, that is impossible. That can be scientifically analyzed and scrutinized too as to why such an occurrence would be imposible.

You're absolutely correct, as long as you stay within a materialist framework. But the moment one supposes God, you're wrong. It isn't impossible at all, unless you can prove otherwise. 

To give you an illustration, imagine the game, "Call of Duty." The game, which is a program, represents the universe. It is not possible that the avatars will do anything outside what they are programmed to do from within the program, such as suddenly stop fighting to play a round of golf or wander off to get their nails done at a salon. However, the programmer can make those things happen. 

You're starting from the assumption that there's a god and is actually capable of this.

Doesn't matter, since I was pointing out the flaws in your position, not trying to prove mine. I already know I can't prove it. 

A logical fallacy. One cannot prove the non-existence of something. Last I checked, no one has proven god exist (despite claims of certainty).

Context matters, you know. Unless one can prove God doesn't exist, God is certainly a possibility. Therefore, it is possible that someone could survive three days in a fish. In order for it not to be possible, one has to prove God, or something like Him, doesn't exist in order to remove the possibility. 

No, it's not. Even considering this story is true is the perfect example of how religion requires the suspension of critical and rational thinking.

You've left yourself with quite a problem.  It seems reasonable to say that any critical or reasonable thinker would agree that a God capable of creating the universe we observe would certainly manage to keep someone alive for three days in the belly of a fish. In order to sustain a claim of suspending critical and rational thinking, you have to say there's no possibility that there's a God who could make such a thing possible. Now, you could say it, but can you prove it? 

I think the best you can do is fall back on your materialism and simply insist that science doesn't allow it, which to me seems like a suspension of critical and rational thought. Certainly a refusal to think outside the box you've made for yourself. 

No one ever said theists couldn't be intelligent or scientists and such. But scientists do not invoke god as a scientific explanation for something. They might believe god plays a part. But they seem able to keep religious beliefs separate from scientific inquiry. Dr. Francis Collins is an example of this.

 Not as separate as you seem to think. Collins is like most Christians. Most Christians understand science pretty well. They know, had they the training, they could calculate the orbital flight path of a satellite without once invoking God, while at the same time, praising Him for the amazing system He set up that allowed us to make such calculations. I assure you Collins is no different. To put it another way, when Christians do science, they see it as a method of examining God's handiwork. Collins does, too. In that way, his science isn't different from his beliefs. 

I'm referring to those who reject what is known and evidenced in favor of dogma. Evolution vs creationism/ID is an example. Evolution is a perfect explanation for what we have observed and has objective, empirical evidence to back it. But some theists will outright reject evolution in favor of dogma and creationism, saying evolution is false or "pseudoscience perpetrated by godless scientists," or such things. To me, rejecting sound evidence and scientific principles in favor of one's own beliefs is quite irrational, especially when those beliefs are emotionally driven and lack any evidence.

Pretty much all Christians are creationists. Not all of them are the kind you're thinking of. That is, while you might find various opinions of how God did it, pretty much all of them will tell you God created us and that it wasn't the random process atheists think it is. You can probably find Christians that say they believe in evolution easily enough but what they really mean is that evolution is how God created man. They don't mean what you do, a unguided, random process. All of them believe that God intended to create us. 

Of course, you're mostly referring to the YEC types. While my personal opinion is that they are likely wrong, due to a too literal reading of the Bible, to definitively state that they are seems unwise to me. I say this because it seems to me in order to definitively state they are wrong is to attribute too much omniscience on ourselves. I generally go with the common scientific age of the universe and leave it at that, since I see no real practical point to the argument. 

Semantics.

If one doesn't think about it, I suppose. If one does, one sees that the focus changes from external to internal. That is, reward and punishment is imposed from without. Consequences, while still usually externally applied, focuses on internal choices. 

The problem is it's used as a means of control and manipulation to coerce or force obedience. Such "consequences" cannot even be demonstrated but are imposed for even the most minor of infractions.

Not necessarily. Depends on your point of view, don't you think? It seems, from what you've written here, yours is not very rational, considering you describe our own societies to a large extent. Laws do exactly what you describe. They exist to coerce and force obedience. Of course there are significant differences between our societal systems and God's. For instance, ours coerces and forces way more than God does. Ours forces us to pay taxes, drive according to the laws of the road, demands we don't steal and so on and there's millions locked up or executed for disobedience. Whereas God's laws are constantly broken and usually nothing happens. In other words, you aren't forced to go to church, worship God, give to charity, love your enemies or any of those things. So I have to wonder what you feel has been imposed. I mean, if God were really what you describe, why are you still breathing? yeah, I know. He doesn't exist. Or, He's not what you think, maybe?

But perhaps you speak of Judgement Day. My guess your problem with that is you feel God, should He exist, has no right to judge you, especially in light of what you feel the Bible reveals about Him. Nothing I could say will change that for you. Mostly because I don't think that's the real issue for you (and all who feel as you do). I think the root of it is you don't want anyone to be god of your life but you. You don't want to give up the desires of your heart for what He wants for you. Just my opinion. 

But speaking for myself, I don't see it the way you do. I don't believe God in order to avoid Hell. I don't see it as coercion, I see it as Him getting me to see the truth in the same manner any parent would their child. I see Him sparing no effort, not even His only Son in order to bring me into His kingdom. Why would a cruel, unjust God do that? 

The point isn't about reward/punishment in life, but rather in an afterlife. And much of that punishment/reward system is based on adherence or obedience to its specific religion. We have Muslim suicide bombers killing "infidels" because they think they will be rewarded in the afterlife. So do you not see how utilizing such a system, which only takes effect after you die, is problematic?

Yes, I see it as problematic, which is why Christianity is so obviously the true religion, because it isn't what you are describing here. No one can live a life good enough to get into heaven. You don't get there by good deeds. 

In the Old  Testament, when the Temple still existed, there was one day out of the whole year when the Chief Priest was allowed into the holiest part of the temple, where the ark of the covenant was kept. The process of purifying the Chief Priest took something like a week. There were special garments, rituals, cleansing baths and stuff I don't remember. Finally, on the seventh day, the priest was finally ready to stand before God in the holy of holies. 

There was a prophet who God gave a vision to of that day. He was standing in the holy of holies when the chief priest came in to offer the sacrifice. What God showed the prophet is what God saw. What he saw was the priest, who'd spent the whole week being purified for this moment, covered in feces from head to toe. All that effort, all the rituals and purification and he still looked like filth in his sin. That's how He sees all of us in our sin. 

Now, I'm really not trying to proselytize here. There's a point I want to make and if you bear with me, I'll get to it. But, from God's point of view, we are all evil all the time. All we can think about is doing more evil all the time. This is in contrast of how we think of ourselves most times. We compare ourselves to others in order to feel good about ourselves. We think some variation of, well, at least I'm no Jeffrey Dahmer. But we're so used to being what we are, we can't even begin to understand how God sees us or what's really so bad about us anyway? 

So, the point is, if we're really that bad in God's eyes and He's what you think He is, why are any of us still alive? Not only are we not good enough to merit heaven, we can't even begin to think of  how to attempt to be. So, doing good deeds counts for nothing because we aren't even doing them for the right reasons. Even our good deeds are contaminated by the filth of the sin we can't escape because it's literally a part of us. 

And, most importantly by an infinite amount, why would a cruel, unfair God come and die for our sins? To make it as if they had never been? Why would He do that for a creation that manifestly doesn't deserve it if He were so cruel? For free! He tells us we live in darkness, meaning we can't see the truth of our situation, and promises He will bring us into the light if only we will believe in what His Son did for us. Not, if you believe in my Son and do the right things. 

No other religion is like it. In Christianity, God does it for you. In all others, you have to earn it. Doesn't that make more sense? The One who created you is the one who does the work of making you clean? 

So, in the end, it's really one's own choice. The consequence. Each makes their own choice as to where they end up. After all, considering what you feel about my God, you wouldn't want to spend eternity with Him. 

Good and evil are not difficult concepts. 

Seriously? Then why is there such a fight over abortion? Why is there so much discord throughout all of human history? Why is it, with all of our effort, every society falls apart eventually? How is it we fight so much about what is right and what is wrong? 

But god essentially wanted to keep us ignorant. And religion tries to do the same thing to a certain extent.

What is your basis for saying so? God said do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It doesn't say we'd never acquire the knowledge. It may be that God would have eventually brought us to the point where we could have handled the knowledge without sinning. And there's not one thing in the Bible that suggests scientific knowledge was taboo. The opposite, actually. God wants us to see the work of His hand. The first thing He did was show all the animals He created to Adam to see what he would name them. God not only wanted him to know but to participate by naming them.  

But knowledge in itself is not a bad thing and it is something we collectively try to acquire. Well, most of us anyway.

No, it's not, and God has no problem with it. 

While god does nothing about it.

Untrue. He made you and I. We have agency, if we choose to use it. Most do, one way or another. Some for Him, some against. 

That's all I have time for tonight. Probably won't hear from me for a few days, if at all. My weekend is only 21 hours long and then back to work. But, if it isn't clear by now, I don't think your article was very thoughtful. I think you treated the subjects shallowly, which I find ironic, since you claim religion cuts off critical and rational thought. As far as I can see, such a claim is just shorthand for "there's no empirical evidence". Your criticism of religion was pretty harsh and demeaning, so I have not felt the need to restrain my criticisms of your arguments. While you may think I'm being personal, I feel I'm only responding in the tone you set. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.2  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.1    8 months ago

None of these are evidence of God (especially the Christian God).

The fact that we exist.

Our existence does not point us to the answer for how we came to be.   It is evidence that a complex life form is possible.   Science has given us a major hint as to how we came about via biochemical evolution, but we still do not know the origin of the first cell.   That lack of information does not point to God; it is simply 'we do not yet know'.

That we are intelligent beings.

Our intelligence shows that it is possible for intelligent beings to exist.   It gives no clue as to the origin.   (see above)

That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life.

Science has learned about the many factors of physics that all work together to allow a universe such as ours to exist.   Consider each of these factors to be a dial that can be set to a range of values.    Given these factors, it is estimated that there are 10500 possible universes that could result if one enumerates all the various settings for all these dials.   That is a staggering number.   The odds of any one particular universe resulting given these possibilities is 1 in 10500 and thus extremely, extremely rare.  

Theists claim that this means that some sentient intelligence of immense power set these dials at the extremely precise settings to allow carbon-based beings to exist on Earth.   Yet they fail to recognize that if those dials were set at different values, there might be silicon-based beings in awe that the dials of the universe were finely-tuned just for them.

In short, this universe is likely the only one where we would exist.   The odds of our universe existing are the same for any other universe.   But one universe did have to emerge (the dials had to be on some setting).   It just so happens that we won the lottery and can now kid ourselves that all of this was done just so that we could exist.    I am afraid there is zero evidence supporting that hypothesis.

That we have a sense of morality.

see TiG @5.1.5

My answer also explains why we can observe relative morality;  why different cultures have different mores & values and why cultures at different times in history have different mores & values.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.3  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.1    8 months ago
The fact that we exist.

Is not proof of anything other than that we exist. It's not like we're "special" or anything.

That we are intelligent beings.

We evolved into intelligent beings through our neurological evolution and development.

That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life. 

Are you kidding? The universe is quite hostile towards some life, especially human life: extreme heat, cold, radiation, ect.. However, life is composed of the most common elements in the universe. The human body itself is composed of about 60% water. So we're mostly made of hydrogen (the most common element in the universe), oxygen, carbon, and other common elements. All the ingredients to make life is there in the universe, so it's not surprising there's life in the universe.

That we have a sense of morality.

A social development and one that differs among various cultures.

I was referring to the statement "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Basically, it's nonsense to anyone who doesn't hold to a materialist bias.

Not at all. But take away "extraordinary" then. Same thing. A claim requires evidence. But the more outrageous the claim, the less plausible it seems unless there is evidence.

The main reason it's nonsense is that they have no basis for determining whether or not a claim of God is extraordinary other than it doesn't fit within the unproven assumption that there is nothing beyond the material.

Saying there is something beyond material is the assumption. But there is no evidence to substantiate that claim. 

like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", without any proof whatsoever that it was true, in order to avoid giving the issue any real thought. 

Extraordinary claims is what brings the challenge for proof (or evidence).

That there is no God.

There is no evidence to suggest there is a god. Of course there could be a god. But until empirical evidence is presented, then there is no reason to assume, much less be convinced there is a god. However, claiming that there is/is not a god with certainty is a logically indefensible position.

That's certainly more extraordinary than saying there's no evidence of God.

No evidence of god is accurate. Any non-objective or empirical "evidence" you give for a god can be applied to anything else, like fairies, leprechauns, or gnomes. To use your first example, "The fact that we exist," is one piece of "evidence" you present to show there's a god. Now just replace god with magical fairies. Do you see how the validity of your "evidence" falls apart? So, "the fact that we exist" is evidence for magical fairies.  That statement is just as valid as claiming it's evidence for god. 

I think, since the overwhelming number of people throughout history have believed in God or god or gods in one way or another, most would not find a claim of God extraordinary. 

An argumentum ad populum fallacy. Just because many people believe in a god doesn't make the claim of god existing true. Belief does not equal fact. That's why we need to go by empirical evidence.

But the moment one supposes God, you're wrong. It isn't impossible at all, unless you can prove otherwise. 

Again, replace "God" with magical fairies. Sure, wave a magic wand and anything is possible. But that is also irrational thinking. You're starting with an assumption and trying to make the scenario fit your assumption. If you're going to claim a guy can live inside a fish for several days because of god, then the onus of proof (or evidence to support the claim) is on you. It is not for me to disprove your claim.

imagine the game, "Call of Duty." The game, which is a program, represents the universe.

A rather poor analogy. The video game world and the real world are two different things. And once the program is complete, it cannot be altered without significantly altering the game itself.

Doesn't matter, since I was pointing out the flaws in your position, not trying to prove mine. I already know I can't prove it. 

At least you admit you can't prove your claims. But if you can't prove it (or provide evidence), then your claims lack validity and there's no reason to accept them at face value. My position is challenging such claims and requiring evidence, which is the honest position to take.

Unless one can prove God doesn't exist, God is certainly a possibility. Therefore, it is possible that someone could survive three days in a fish. In order for it not to be possible, one has to prove God, or something like Him, doesn't exist in order to remove the possibility. 

Of course there could be a god. But since there's no evidence, nor any evidence of anyone surviving living in a fish, there's no reason to assume there is one. 

It seems reasonable to say that any critical or reasonable thinker would agree that a God capable of creating the universe we observe would certainly manage to keep someone alive for three days in the belly of a fish. In order to sustain a claim of suspending critical and rational thinking, you have to say there's no possibility that there's a God who could make such a thing possible. Now, you could say it, but can you prove it? 

First you have to define god and what this god is actually capable of. Then you have to prove that such a god exists. Magical fairies could probably keep someone alive in a fish for 3 days too, right?

Certainly a refusal to think outside the box you've made for yourself. 

Present the evidence then. Because beyond that, anything else is just a fanciful story and nothing more.

I assure you Collins is no different. To put it another way, when Christians do science, they see it as a method of examining God's handiwork. Collins does, too. In that way, his science isn't different from his beliefs. 

Dr. Collins does not put forth god in his work as an explanation. He personally might see what he views as "god's handiwork." But from a scientific standpoint, he relies on evidence.

Pretty much all Christians are creationists. Not all of them are the kind you're thinking of.

You have your Young Earth Creationists and your Old Earth Creationists.

pretty much all of them will tell you God created us and that it wasn't the random process atheists think it is. You can probably find Christians that say they believe in evolution easily enough but what they really mean is that evolution is how God created man. They don't mean what you do, a unguided, random process. All of them believe that God intended to create us. 

Key word there is "believe," as that's all that it is. But a cursory look at evolution and the fossil record, among other things, will show that evolution is not a guided process.

While my personal opinion is that they are likely wrong, due to a too literal reading of the Bible, to definitively state that they are seems unwise to me.

And YEC's would think you or anyone else who doesn't share their beliefs are also wrong. This demonstrates the point in the article about religion claiming to have "truth" on a subject, even though it offers nothing of substance outside of mere belief.

If one doesn't think about it, I suppose. If one does, one sees that the focus changes from external to internal. That is, reward and punishment is imposed from without. Consequences, while still usually externally applied, focuses on internal choices. 

Still semantics. Reward/Punishment. Positive/negative consequences. Take your pick.

Whereas God's laws are constantly broken and usually nothing happens.

Which kind of diminishes the likelihood of a god existing.

So I have to wonder what you feel has been imposed.

It's not about what I feel. I alluded in the article that some religions have historically imposed coercion methods and punishments like torture and such for those breaking religion's tenets or beliefs. Essentially, force compliance with the religion or else. The idea of an afterlife reward/punishment system is the same thing. 

Laws do exactly what you describe. They exist to coerce and force obedience. Of course there are significant differences between our societal systems and God's.

I'm speaking within the context of religion, not society itself.

But perhaps you speak of Judgement Day.

No.

which is why Christianity is so obviously the true religion,

That's an arrogant statement to make. And one which many religions make too. That also proves the point about religion claiming to have "truth," in that they claim their religion s the "true" or correct religion. Such a declaration is quite pompous too and also causes divisiveness among religions.

And, most importantly by an infinite amount, why would a cruel, unfair God come and die for our sins?

Why would a supposedly omnipotent god need to die (require a blood sacrifice) for our sins in the first place. That makes no sense. An all powerful god could simply absolve sin with a wave of his hand. Of course, sin is just a religious concept anyway.

Doesn't that make more sense?

No.

So, in the end, it's really one's own choice. The consequence. Each makes their own choice as to where they end up.

If there were a god, there would be no such thing as choice. 

After all, considering what you feel about my God, you wouldn't want to spend eternity with Him. 

I haven't said anything about how I feel about your god. Otherwise, your statement is just an appeal to emotion.

Then why is there such a fight over abortion? Why is there so much discord throughout all of human history? Why is it, with all of our effort, every society falls apart eventually? How is it we fight so much about what is right and what is wrong? 

In a nutshell, humans are emotional, irrational idiots. Much of that discord is also the result of religious strife.

What is your basis for saying so? God said do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It doesn't say we'd never acquire the knowledge.

God wanted to keep knowledge away from us, correct? Depending on the belief system, some think is only good/evil. Others believe it is all knowledge. It also implies knowledge is bad and something to be avoided. 

God wants us to see the work of His hand. The first thing He did was show all the animals He created to Adam to see what he would name them. God not only wanted him to know but to participate by naming them.  

Naming an animal is far different than actually knowing anything about them.

Untrue. He made you and I.

That's nice. Prove it! Otherwise, that's just another baseless religious claim and platitude.

While you may think I'm being personal,

Not at all.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
6.4.4  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.2    8 months ago
None of these are evidence of God (especially the Christian God).

I always find it somewhat humorous when believers claim that our existence and apparent complexity somehow requires and/or proves the existence of a being trillions of times more complex by any standard. It's complete loony tunes logic.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.5  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.1    8 months ago
I think, since the overwhelming number of people throughout history have believed in God or god or gods in one way or another, most would not find a claim of God extraordinary. 

The belief in a God is not extraordinary, but the claim that a particular God exists is quite extraordinary.   This is a claim, at least for Christians, that there is a sentient entity of unlimited power (omnipotence) and unlimited knowledge (omniscience) that has always existed (eternal) and is perfect and is the very definition of good and loving (omnibenevolent).   And this entity has engaged in many interactions with ancient human beings with all sorts of contradictions to its definition such as being surprised or learning (non omniscience), killing everyone other than Noah and family (non omnibenevolence).

The Christian God, with all the specifics of the character, has no supporting evidence.   The claim of such a grand entity demands grand evidence yet, in thousands of years, we have nothing other than human beings insisting it is so.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.6  TᵢG  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @6.4.4    8 months ago

And when one raises this very point it is ignored.

I find it funny that Dr. William Lane Craig, probably the best theist debater today, makes the teleological argument which posits that the presence of apparent design means there must be a designer.  Yet he does not acknowledge that this means the designer would necessarily have a designer, ad infinitum.   He just glosses over that glaring failure of logic.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
PhD Guide
6.4.7  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.6    8 months ago
He just glosses over that glaring failure of logic.

I find that most religious zealots out trying to convince everyone that their brand of religion is the "true" religion are much like slight-of-hand magicians. They keep their followers attention off of the glaring hole in their act by exaggerated hand movements in the opposite direction of where you should be looking. The get their followers focused on a single point like describing all the complexities of a human, the eye, the hand, the brain, the "odds", and then magically, their followers completely avoid looking up at the giant flaw in their logic after they've made the giant leap to God and then the ridiculous additional leap to "Abrahamic/Hebrew God of the bible...".

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.8  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.2    8 months ago
None of these are evidence of God (especially the Christian God).

I have time to respond to this. Gordy makes the same statement. The reason your statements are in error is that they are stated definitively. That is, stated as fact. A factual statement would read "I do not consider any of these as evidence of God." I certainly consider them evidence, as do many others. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.9  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.8    8 months ago

Nope.   To be evidence, an observation must lead to the hypothesis.   There is nothing in your list of evidences that designate God.   I will illustrate this with examples:

The fact that we exist.

Where does this show that we were created by the Christian God?   Our existence could just as easily be used, per your logic, to be evidence that ancient aliens seeded Earth with creatures that evolved into homo sapiens.   It could just as easily be used to be evidence that we are in a Matrix-style simulation.  You are extrapolating well beyond the evidence and my examples illustrate how that can lead one almost anywhere.

That we are intelligent beings.

How does intelligence determine a necessary Christian God?   What if we were created by Brahma?   What if intelligence is simply an emergent property of evolution?   What if intelligence, as we see it, is just a tiny little blip difference between us and other Earth creatures and is largely insignificant when compared to the intelligence that is truly possible?   That is, what if our intelligence is not actually much of a significant difference from apes and that we are downright stupid when compared to the intelligence that is possible?

That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life. 

The appearance of fine-tuning, as I explained, is just that.   What if we just happened to be the lucky universe that emerged?   One had to emerge and be the lucky one and those creatures (if they exist) would argue that the universe was fine-tuned just for them.

That we have a sense of morality.

Why must there be a god to have a sense of morality?  Especially since the morality seems to differ per culture.   Further, deeming the Christian God to be the source of objective morality when one observes what this character does in the Bible (prime example, never condemning as immoral the owning of slaves) seems to be an incredibly weak argument.


I understand that you consider these to be evidences of the Christian God.   But that is simply you making an unsupported statement.   You have yet to show how these observations lead to the Christian God and not to other (more plausible and evidenced) explanations.

It is akin to ancient men looking up at the sky and surmising the sun and moon orbit the Earth which serves as the center of the universe.   Just because someone can dream up an explanation for observation does not mean the observation is evidence of the explanation.   Darwin's explanation for the origin of species was not found to be persuasive until corroborating evidence showed it to be credible and nowadays the level of multidisciplinary evidence finds it to be near certainty.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.10  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.8    8 months ago
 I certainly consider them evidence, as do many others. 

That is highly subjective, which isn't really evidence. It's more personal opinion. Actual evidence should be objective and empirical and supported by more than mere assumption.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.11  author  Gordy327  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @6.4.7    8 months ago
I find that most religious zealots out trying to convince everyone that their brand of religion is the "true" religion are much like slight-of-hand magicians.

Most religions probably think their religion is the "true" religion. Christianity is a perfect example. The claim has been made here that "Christianity is so obviously the true religion." 

The get their followers focused on a single point like describing all the complexities of a human, the eye, the hand, the brain, the "odds", and then magically, their followers completely avoid looking up at the giant flaw in their logic after they've made the giant leap to God and then the ridiculous additional leap to "Abrahamic/Hebrew God of the bible...".

In other words, "god did it" and just go with that. Many religions resort to that tactic as well and declare it "truth," which touches on the points made in the article.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.12  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.9    8 months ago
Nope.   To be evidence, an observation must lead to the hypothesis.   There is nothing in your list of evidences that designate God.   I will illustrate this with examples: 

 Nope?  

Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. 

To be evidence in this case, it just has to be evidence. We exist. The universe exists. We have a sense of morality.  We have intelligence. 

There is no incongruity in presenting God as the hypothesis concerning these things. Why the universe is as it is. Why we have a sense of morality. Why we have intelligence. Other things that can be added to the list.  

All you’ve done with your illustrations is point out that you can produce your own hypothesis as well. None of which has any more empirical evidence to support them than mine does.   

Further, these are just examples of physical, natural phenomena which are but a part of the list of evidence, some of which comes from other sources. Subjective experience, including my relationship with God, observations of humanity and reason to name a few. 

But really, it doesn’t matter. It is not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid. What’s important is that I consider them evidence.  

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.13  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.12    8 months ago
To be evidence in this case, it just has to be evidence. We exist. The universe exists. We have a sense of morality.  We have intelligence. 

That's just making evidence fit your own conclusions. 

There is no incongruity in presenting God as the hypothesis concerning these things. Why the universe is as it is. Why we have a sense of morality. Why we have intelligence. Other things that can be added to the list. 

That's already been addressed and see previous statement.

Subjective experience, including my relationship with God, observations of humanity and reason to name a few. 

Subjective experience is just that, subjective and anecdotal and is not really evidence. It is considered the lowest form of evidence. It amounts to little more than an explanation for something being "because I said so." 

But really, it doesn’t matter. It is not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid. 

It matters when one tries to posit their beliefs as fact. 

What’s important is that I consider them evidence. 

Again, subjective and probably emotionally based.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.14  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.12    8 months ago
Nope? 

You focus on the one word?   I would ask you to take the following as a summary followed immediately by an explanation.

TiG @6.4.9 ☞ Nope.   To be evidence, an observation must lead to the hypothesis.  

You could not possibly have missed that.

To be evidence in this case, it just has to be evidence.

Evidence of what?   The what is the hypothesis.   When you fill in the what, then my opening comment notes that the what must be logically determined by the evidence.

We exist. The universe exists. We have a sense of morality.  We have intelligence. 

Those are all facts.   What do these facts evidence?    The what is critical in order to determine if these facts are evidence of this what.

There is no incongruity in presenting God as the hypothesis concerning these things. Why the universe is as it is. Why we have a sense of morality. Why we have intelligence. Other things that can be added to the list.  

How does the fact that we exist, for example, serve as evidence of God?   The fact that we exist does not even serve as evidence that we were created.   But you take this fact and deem it evidence that:

  • we were created by a sentient entity
  • a supreme entity exists
  • our creator is the supreme entity
  • the supreme entity is singular (unique)
  • the supreme entity is in fact the Christian God (as defined by the Bible)

Yet the fact that we exist is evidence only that the conditions of our environment allow for us to come into existence and live.  Let me illustrate this with counter-examples:

Instead of being created by a sentient entity, we might have simply emerged over time (biochemical evolution).   If we were created, there is nothing that identifies the supreme entity as the creator;  we might have been created by an advanced alien force.   And there is nothing in our existence that determines that a supreme entity even exists or that the supreme entity is singular (just one supreme).   And clearly sans a singular supreme entity there is nothing in the fact of our existence that identifies this particular supreme entity as the highly attributed Christian God.

The fact of our existence does not, in any way, provide evidence for the Christian God.    A fact is not evidence simply because it is compatible with an hypothesis.   If that were so, then a fact such as our existence would be deemed evidence for any number of hypotheses such as the existence of an alien species of enormous power who seed planets with (to them) exotic life forms and then later come back and harvest from these planets.   To be evidence of the Christian God, your facts need to logically determine your hypothesis ... not merely be compatible with a broad range of hypotheses. 

I could do this same exercise for each item you mention but this really should be enough to be clear.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.15  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.14    8 months ago

To you and Gordy.

You could not possibly have missed that.

No, I didn't miss it. That's why I provided the actual meaning of "hypothesis" rather than what you posted. Since what I've said quite satisfies what constitutes an hypothesis, I have to wonder what your problem is. Maybe you missed that? So that you don't have to scroll up, I'll post it again.

Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

So, I'm sure you read this but you seem to ignore it and, instead, are trying to impose your own definition. Curious.

A fact is not evidence simply because it is compatible with an hypothesis.  If that were so, then a fact such as our existence would be deemed evidence for any number of hypotheses such as the existence of an alien species of enormous power who seed planets with (to them) exotic life forms and then later come back and harvest from these planets.

But a fact is very much evidence if it is compatible with an hypothesis. We exist. That is a fact. The hypothesis answers the question "why", at which the fact becomes evidence. The evidence that we exist is pretty well established with the exception of certain philosophical viewpoints. The hypothesis is the explanation as to why. So, what exactly is your problem? As far as I can tell, you seem to confuse "hypothesis" with "theory" and "evidence" with "proof". 

But again, why does this matter? It is not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid. What’s important is that I consider them evidence in a chain of evidence that leads me to conclude God. Is there a problem with that? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.16  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.15    8 months ago
But a fact is very much evidence if it is compatible with an hypothesis.

I explained and gave examples as to why that is not the case.

You offer the fact that we exist.   I agree with your fact.   Now, what does our existence evidence?

What if I were to immediately tell you that our existence is evidence that we came from the actions of alien species of enormous power who seed planets with (to them) exotic life forms and then later come back and harvest from these planets?

Would you say:  'sure, our existence is evidence of your hypothesis'?   The fact 'is compatible with' with my hypothesis so it is evidence of my hypothesis, right?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
6.4.17  Sparty On  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.15    8 months ago

[deleted]  [Criticize the content rather than make things personal]

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.18  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.15    8 months ago
We exist. That is a fact.

Yes, that is a fact. How is that evidence for a god?

It is not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid. 

It's not about what one believes. It's about what one can demonstrate through evidence. 

What’s important is that Iconsider them evidence in a chain of evidence that leads me to conclude God. Is there a problem with that? 

Yes! It is only your own belief and subjective and anecdotal at that. It is not quality enough evidence to establish an assertion as actual fact.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.19  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.15    8 months ago
The universe exists.

I think I will address another example, the above fact that the universe exists.   You suggest that this is evidence that the Christian God exists because it is compatible with that hypothesis.

I offer to you an hypothesis that our universe is actually a particle in a meta-universe;  that we are just raw material for a far grander existence.   Is the fact that our universe exists evidence of my hypothesis?   It is certainly compatible with my hypothesis.

The fact that our universe exists could also, by that reasoning, be evidence that our universe goes through a cycle of emergence, formation, degradation and eventual death (only to re-emerge from a singularity).   The fact of our universe existing is compatible with the hypothesis.

This fact is also compatible with the hypothesis that our universe is actually a holographic projection - a grand illusion.  

I can keep going but this should illustrate that simply because a fact is compatible with an hypothesis does not mean it evidences said hypothesis.

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
6.4.20  MAGA  replied to  Sparty On @6.4.17    8 months ago

Well said Sparty!  

 
 
 
MAGA
Senior Guide
6.4.21  MAGA  replied to  Sparty On @6.4.17    8 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Sparty On
Masters Principal
6.4.22  Sparty On  replied to  MAGA @6.4.20    8 months ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
6.4.23  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.15    8 months ago

I agree with your summation of the definition of hypothesis. However, a hypothesis must be testable to ascertain evidence. Your hypothesis is not testable; therefore can never be more than a theory / idea / belief.

"A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories."

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.24  Drakkonis  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.4.23    8 months ago
I agree with your summation of the definition of hypothesis.

Thank you. I honestly don't understand why TiG has a problem with this. 

However, a hypothesis must be testable to ascertain evidence.

You are correct. I would not normally speak of this in those terms for that reason. I was trying to point out that it actually does fit as a hypothesis, since TiG put it in those terms. 

Your hypothesis is not testable; therefore can never be more than a theory / idea / belief.

Probably more accurate to say it is unlikely to be more than those things through the scientific method. There's always the possibility that, were we smarter, the evidence and method to test is just staring us in the face but we don't see it. I think that's unlikely for various reasons, but I don't think it can be ruled out. 

And, of course, if we Christians are right, it will be more than those things one day. 

Thanks for your comment. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.25  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.24    8 months ago
Thank you. I honestly don't understand why TiG has a problem with this. 

I don't; I did not raise a problem with your definition of hypothesis.    My focus was on the concept of evidence.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.26  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.25    8 months ago
I don't; I did not raise a problem with your definition of hypothesis.    My focus was on the concept of evidence.

Okay, how much evidence is needed for a hypothesis and what kind does it have to be? 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
6.4.27  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.26    8 months ago

Must be able to test the theory for our analytical minds to be satisfied. There are no tests that us as human beings can create to unequivocally determine that there is or is not a God and how said God operates.

I might ask someone religious, how they have come to be religious and deem that they believe that there is a God? That is a discussion about faith rather than proof of something, however.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.28  Drakkonis  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.4.27    8 months ago
I might ask someone religious, how they have come to be religious and deem that they believe that there is a God? That is a discussion about faith rather than proof of something, however.

More or less correct. An informed Christian is likely to say it's based on a number of things, such as historical evidence, information from the physical world, a few of which I already mentioned. Does the Bible accurately reflect the human condition and explain why we are the way we are. Things like that. Most importantly, hearing His call and accepting the relationship. 

I think what disturbs atheists most about all that is that faith is the key. They seem to hate things they have to take on faith, even though a lot of their position is based on faith. (Don't tell them I said that : ) It's not the kind of faith one might have that there is other life out there on other planets. It doesn't really affect anything believing something like that. It's nice to think about but it doesn't really change one's life (although it might if we actually found some). I can't really describe it. It's not really a feeling, although those can be involved. It's like a more or less constant awareness that He's there but nothing overt. But you can lose that awareness if  you stop paying attention to Him. He normally doesn't force it, although He knocks me up side the head now and again when I do. Usually it isn't necessary because life doesn't feel as good when I'm not paying attention, if that makes any sense. 

As far as proof goes, I think the proof is meant to be in the eating, if you know what I mean. But, obviously, it's only proof to the individual. That is, the individual is convinced based on the evidence they encounter, even though it may only be subjective. But that it's subjective doesn't make it any less true. Sure, I may be deceived, but I'm convinced I'm not. And considering what is in store for me if I'm not deceived, well, I think it would be stupid to reject what I am convinced is true just because I can't empirically prove it. Does that make sense? 

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.29  author  Gordy327  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.28    8 months ago
I think what disturbs atheists most about all that is that faith is the key. They seem to hate things they have to take on faith, even though a lot of their position is based on faith.

Not at all. Atheists are simply not convinced on what is claimed or believed on faith. Most probably want empirical evidence.

It's not the kind of faith one might have that there is other life out there on other planets.

That's not an issue of faith. That's an issue of mathematics and probability to establish a degree of certainty.

It's like a more or less constant awareness that He's there but nothing overt. But you can lose that awareness if  you stop paying attention to Him.

Sounds more like a state of mind. Kind of a mind over matter thing. And probably more pronounced of one has already been convinced or convinces themselves it's there.

I think the proof is meant to be in the eating, if you know what I mean.

No, not really.

But, obviously, it's only proof to the individual. That is, the individual is convinced based on the evidence they encounter, even though it may only be subjective.

Subjective and anecdotal, which is the lowest form of "proof" or evidence. It's more emotionally based rather than objectively demonstrable.

But that it's subjective doesn't make it any less true.

It doesn't make it actually true either. Basically, it's a "lucky guess" if it turns out to be actually true.

Sure, I may be deceived, but I'm convinced I'm not.

That only further brings the veracity of the belief or claim into doubt.

And considering what is in store for me if I'm not deceived, well, I think it would be stupid to reject what I am convinced is true just because I can't empirically prove it.

That's essentially a Pascal's Wager, which is a flawed argument and logical fallacy. And do you not see that you bring your credibility into question when you even admit you could be deceived. Just because you've convinced yourself you're not deceived doesn't mean you're not. It just means you've only convinced yourself (essentially creating your own reality in your mind) of something, but no one else. Also, by convincing yourself you're not deceived means you are less likely to be on alert for signs that you might be.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.30  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.26    8 months ago
Okay, how much evidence is needed for a hypothesis and what kind does it have to be? 

I spent a lot of time @6.4.14 @6.4.16 and @6.4.19 addressing what constitutes evidence for an hypothesis.    Maybe it would be more effective if you explained why my answers did not answer this question.  

( Also, I think the question is poorly conceived; it is not a question of 'how much' but rather a question of correctness by virtue of the quality of demonstration provided by the evidence and supporting reasoning.  This is why falsifiability and prediction are such important factors.)

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.31  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.28    8 months ago
I think what disturbs atheists most about all that is that faith is the key. They seem to hate things they have to take on faith, even though a lot of their position is based on faith.

The words 'disturbs' and 'hate' presumes emotions that I do not think are there for the average agnostic atheist.   We object to the notion that truth can come from faith and the notion that religious faith is even a good thing.   Instead, we would argue that if one is truly trying to approach truth, simply accepting what another human being claims as truth is vastly inferior to being convinced based on solid evidence and reasoning.   The former is truth by declaration of an authority whereas the latter is truth by demonstration.   (In both cases, however, objective truth is never known to be realized.   We never truly know if we are 100% correct.)

They seem to hate things they have to take on faith, even though a lot of their position is based on faith. (Don't tell them I said that : )

It is simply wrong to think that skeptics (to be a bit more general) hold something as true based solely on faith.   Most skeptics, for example, could be said to have faith in the scientific method.   But that faith is more like 'trust based on demonstrated good results' and is very much not 'belief that the scientific method always produces truth'.   If the scientific method did not work as well as it does (demonstrably) then it would not have as much acceptance.   Religious faith, again and in contrast, is simply acceptance as truth based on the words of a religious authority.

It's not the kind of faith ...

I understand that very religious people think their belief has a spiritual foundation and that this foundation is something they can sense and thus is real to them.   This foundation (by any number of names) is their evidence.   This is, I am convinced, what causes one to admit upfront that they will not be able to convince another person, but that they know their beliefs are real.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.32  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.30    8 months ago
I spent a lot of time @ 6.4.14 @ 6.4.16 and @ 6.4.19 addressing what constitutes evidence for an hypothesis.    Maybe it would be more effective if you explained why my answers did not answer this question.  

Because none of the definitions of hypothesis supports what you said. 

a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation

A hypothesis is an assumption , an idea that is proposed for the sake of argument so that it can be tested to see if it might be true . In the scientific method, the hypothesis is constructed before any applicable research has been done, apart from a basic background review.

an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved :

A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it.

A hypothesis (plural: hypotheses), in a scientific context, is a testable statement about the relationship between two or more variables or a proposed explanation for some observed phenomenon .

Some examples of hypotheses

    • Hypothesis: All forks have three tines.
    • Hypothesis: There is no relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
    • Hypothesis: Plants require liquid water to survive.
    • Hypothesis: Cats do not show a paw preference (equivalent to being right- or left-handed).
    • Hypothesis: If plants are watered with a 10% detergent solution, their growth will be negatively affected. S

If you will notice, there doesn't seem to be any concern with "evidence" in the formulation of a hypothesis. So...

  1. The universe appears fine tuned for life, therefore an intelligence is responsible for creating it.
  2. The universe appears fine tuned for life because it it is only one of a multitude of universes and eventually one like this would be produced.

These are both hypotheses and both are likely untestable at our current level of tech and knowledge.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.33  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.32    8 months ago

No wonder, seems to me that you have flipped the question from evidence to hypothesis.

Let's reset back to what we were discussing and let me demonstrate (provide evidence) to back up my hypothesis (above).

Drakk @6There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God, at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions.

You are talking about evidence in support of an hypothesis that God exists.   You claim there is plenty of this evidence.   The focus is on the evidence.

Gordy @6.4Such as? Drakk @6.4.1 ☞ The fact that we exist.   That we are intelligent beings.  That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life.   That we have a sense of morality. To name a few.

Here you answer Gordy's question by delivering what you consider to be evidence that argues for the existence of God.   Seeing this (and disagreeing with you) I offer this:

TiG @6.4.2None of these are evidence of God (especially the Christian God).    (followed by a detailed explanation.)

Your response @6.4.8 (below) was odd in that it simply claims that all my statements are in error.   I would have expected you to not make such a categorical declaration and actually quote each error and note why it is an error.   The factual statements in my post certainly seem like facts to me.   For example:

TiG @6.4.2Our existence does not point us to the answer for how we came to be.   It is evidence that a complex life form is possible. 

First sentence argues that our existence (in and of itself) does not offer any explanation for how we came to be.   My second sentence (fact) is that our existence shows that a complex life form is possible.   This is a fact by definition.  

Drakk @6.4.8The reason your statements are in error is that they are stated definitively.  That is, stated as fact.  A factual statement would read "I do not consider any of these as evidence of God." I certainly consider them evidence, as do many others. 

My reply to the above odd statement was:

TiG @6.4.9 ☞ To be evidence, an observation must lead to the hypothesis.   There is nothing in your list of evidences that designate God.   I will illustrate this with examples:

Note, we are still talking about evidence.  We are discussing what it means to have evidence that argues for the existence of God.    This post now illustrates how your four examples are not evidence that argues for the existence of God.   I went into a paragraph of detail for each of your four examples.   Again, we are talking about evidence of God (not debating the meaning of the word hypothesis).

Your reply was:

Drakk @6.4.12 To be evidence in this case, it just has to be evidence.  We exist. The universe exists. We have a sense of morality.  We have intelligence. 

This is circular and offers no defining characteristics for evidence.

Drakk @6.4.12There is no incongruity in presenting God as the hypothesis concerning these things. Why the universe is as it is. Why we have a sense of morality. Why we have intelligence. Other things that can be added to the list.   All you’ve done with your illustrations is point out that you can produce your own hypothesis as well. None of which has any more empirical evidence to support them than mine does.   

Here you prove to me that you did not understand my point.   You are claiming God as the ('the') hypothesis resulting from this evidence but have not shown how the facts you stated determine the hypothesis that God exists.   Further you missed the point that the hypotheses that I presented are illustrating how the evidence you supplied can support all sorts of hypotheses.   And note again, we are talking about evidence of God; evidence is the focus.   Thus I replied with further detail to try to better make my point:

TiG @6.4.14How does the fact that we exist, for example, serve as evidence of God?   The fact that we exist does not even serve as evidence that we were created.   But you take this fact and deem it evidence that:
  • we were created by a sentient entity
  • a supreme entity exists
  • our creator is the supreme entity
  • the supreme entity is singular (unique)
  • the supreme entity is in fact the Christian God (as defined by the Bible)
Yet the fact that we exist is evidence only that the conditions of our environment allow for us to come into existence and live. 

The bullets expose the leaps one must make to go from 'we exist' to 'we were created by the Christian God'.   Next I show, with examples, how the very same evidence can produce all sorts of hypotheses.   Your evidence is not evidence that God exists but rather facts that are merely consistent with your hypothesis.

TiG @6.4.14Let me illustrate this with counter-examples:  ... A fact is not evidence simply because it is compatible with an hypothesis.   If that were so, then a fact such as our existence would be deemed evidence for any number of hypotheses such as the existence of an alien species of enormous power who seed planets with (to them) exotic life forms and then later come back and harvest from these planets.   To be evidence of the Christian God, your facts need to logically determine your hypothesis ... not merely be compatible with a broad range of hypotheses.  ...

Now here is where you shift gears from evidence of God to the definition of hypothesis:

Drakk @6.4.15 Since what I've said quite satisfies what constitutes an hypothesis, I have to wonder what your problem is.

In context of our greater discussion I will offer that my problem is that we were talking about what constitutes evidence that argues for the existence of God.   We were not debating the meaning of the word 'hypothesis';  that is not relevant to the discussion.

Next you offer this:

Drakk @6.4.15 But a fact is very much evidence if it is compatible with an hypothesis. We exist. That is a fact. The hypothesis answers the question "why", at which the fact becomes evidence. The evidence that we exist is pretty well established with the exception of certain philosophical viewpoints. The hypothesis is the explanation as to why. So, what exactly is your problem? As far as I can tell, you seem to confuse "hypothesis" with "theory" and "evidence" with "proof". 

Okay so now we are back to evidence.   Here you state that evidence would be a fact that is compatible with an hypothesis.   My next post explains why the mere notion of compatibility does not work:

TiG @6.4.16I  explained and gave examples as to why that [mere compatibility determines evidence] is not the case.

You offer the fact that we exist.   I agree with your fact.   Now, what does our existence evidence?

What if I were to immediately tell you that our existence is evidence that we came from the actions of alien species of enormous power who seed planets with (to them) exotic life forms and then later come back and harvest from these planets?

Would you say:  'sure, our existence is evidence of your hypothesis'?   The fact 'is compatible with' with my hypothesis so it is evidence of my hypothesis, right?

I appended this ...

TiG @6.4.19I think I will address another example, the above fact that the universe exists.   You suggest that this is evidence that the Christian God exists because it is compatible with that hypothesis.

I offer to you an hypothesis that our universe is actually a particle in a meta-universe;  that we are just raw material for a far grander existence.   Is the fact that our universe exists evidence of my hypothesis?   It is certainly compatible with my hypothesis.

The fact that our universe exists could also, by that reasoning, be evidence that our universe goes through a cycle of emergence, formation, degradation and eventual death (only to re-emerge from a singularity).   The fact of our universe existing is compatible with the hypothesis.

This fact is also compatible with the hypothesis that our universe is actually a holographic projection - a grand illusion.  

I can keep going but this should illustrate that simply because a fact is compatible with an hypothesis does not mean it evidences said hypothesis.

Notice that this is all about what would be evidence of God.   You offer facts that you view as evidence that God exists because the fact is compatible with the hypothesis that God exists.   Yet I illustrate that the very same facts can, when compatibility is your criteria, be deemed evidence of many other contradictory hypotheses.   

I would have expected you to acknowledge my point (at least).  And if you still did not agree, I would have expected you to show how my examples are wrong and thus show how compatibility alone is sufficient to deem a fact as evidence for an hypothesis.  

I am surprised, I admit, that you instead focused on the definition of hypothesis when all along we are discussing evidence for the existence of God.   How you wish to define hypothesis does not really matter.   If you do not want to use the term 'hypothesis' then use something like 'speculation' or whatever you prefer.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.34  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.32    8 months ago

Since my prior post was unfortunately lengthy do to the fact that I provided our historical quotes to prove a point, let me summarize my essential (most recent) point to you:

If our existence can be considered evidence for the existence of the Christian God simply because it is compatible with that idea then our existence can also be considered evidence for the existence of an alien super-power that seeds planets with living creatures who will produce goods that the aliens will later return to harvest.

Both ideas are compatible with the fact that we exist.  But my illustration shows that the fact of our existence can lead to any number of compatible but entirely contradictory ideas.   To be evidence, a fact must determine the idea for which it is considered evidence.   A fact that is compatible with, say, 100 various ideas is not evidence for any of them.

To wit, given we exist, that fact is evidence (based on compatibility) that:

  • the Christian God exists
  • Allah exists
  • Brahma exists
  • Seeding aliens exist
  • Zeus exists
  • ...

Clearly something is wrong here.  Compatibility is not a determining factor.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.35  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.33    8 months ago
No wonder, seems to me that you have flipped the question from evidence to hypothesis.

Um, no. I'm sorry but it seems all this is because you misunderstood what I said to begin with. 

There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God , at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions.

I'm not trying to sound condescending but Materialist is in there for a reason. It isn't superfluous. If one doesn't limit evidence to what materialists consider evidence there's actually plenty of evidence for God. Put another way, there's no reason to limit what is considered evidence to what materialists limit it to. The only reason to do so if if you believe what materialists believe. That there is nothing beyond nature unless there is empirical evidence of it, or however you would prefer to word it. 

I am obviously not a materialist. I believe there is the supernatural. Since I believe this, there's no reason to limit myself to a materialist's constraints concerning what constitutes evidence concerning God. It seems axiomatic that if science has no method of addressing God, then some other method must be used. I'm pretty sure you know this about me by now, so I assumed you understood the statement.

Also, this relates to the reason for saying the argument is circular because atheists will agree all day long that science can't address the question of God but whenever anyone tries to talk about God they ask for empirical scientific evidence. 

It appears to me that you didn't get past " There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God " and so the " without materialist assumptions " seems to have not even registered on your radar. Perhaps I should have put it a different way. 

Here you answer Gordy's question by delivering what you consider to be   evidence  that argues for the existence of God.   Seeing this (and disagreeing with you) I offer this:
TiG @ 6.4.2  ☞ None of these are evidence of God (especially the Christian God).     (followed by a detailed explanation.)
Your response @ 6.4.8  (below) was odd in that it simply claims that all my statements are in error.

I can see why it seemed odd, considering you misunderstood the very first statement.  Perhaps the statement...

The reason your statements are in error is that they are stated definitively.  That is, stated as fact.  A factual statement would read " I do not consider any of these as evidence of God." I certainly consider them  evidence , as do many others.

... makes more sense now? From my perspective, you've been trying to argue what constitutes evidence (according to your system), not realizing that I've been telling you I don't limit myself to that system when it comes to God, but apparently you didn't hear it and I didn't realize you didn't. I thought I was making it plain, like when I said " I certainly consider them evidence , as do many others. " and...

But really, it  doesn’t  matter.  It is  not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid.  What’s  important is that  I  consider them evidence.  @ 6.4.12

... and...

But again, why does this matter? It is  not as if it is necessary to satisfy the criteria you seem to think is needed for one’s belief in God to be valid.  What’s  important is that consider them evidence in a chain of evidence that leads me to conclude God. Is there a problem with that? @ 6.4.15

But what really confused the conversation for me was...

Nope.   To be evidence, an observation must lead to the hypothesis.

First, because this isn't true and, second, why did we need to talk about hypotheses? From there, it devolved into an argument about what constitutes a hypothesis and, here we are. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.36  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.35    8 months ago
Um, no. I'm sorry but it seems all this is because you misunderstood what I said to begin with.  ... I'm not trying to sound condescending but Materialist is in there for a reason. It isn't superfluous. If one doesn't limit evidence to what materialists consider evidence there's actually plenty of evidence for God.

Drakk, you posited materialist examples as evidence of God:

Drakk @ 6 ☞ There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God , at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions.
Gordy @ 6.4 ☞ Such as?
Drakk @ 6.4.1 ☞ The fact that we exist .   That we are intelligent beings.  That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life.   That we have a sense of morality . To name a few.

Do you hold your examples jrSmiley_115_smiley_image.png to be evidence of God or not?   If so then your materialist point is not relevant and we just go by your examples.   And, as I noted, if you think our existence is evidence of the Christian God then explain how it is not also evidence of Zeus?

I am obviously not a materialist. I believe there is the supernatural. Since I believe this, there's no reason to limit myself to a materialist's constraints concerning what constitutes evidence concerning God. It seems axiomatic that if science has no method of addressing God, then some other method must be used. I'm pretty sure you know this about me by now, so I assumed you understood the statement.

Looks like you want to reset your argument to one which posits that the evidence for God is supernatural .

It appears to me that you didn't get past " There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God " and so the " without materialist assumptions " seems to have not even registered on your radar. Perhaps I should have put it a different way. 

Your examples then totally misrepresented your point; you should have never provided physical examples of evidence for the existence of God but rather just admitted that it is all 'supernatural'.   I would ask that you not pretend that I misunderstood your posts and your examples and just candidly withdraw your examples citing them as misleading to your actual point.

First, because this isn't true and, second, why did we need to talk about hypotheses? From there, it devolved into an argument about what constitutes a hypothesis and, here we are. 

It is absolutely true.  I illustrated that.   If our existence is evidence of God because it is compatible with the belief then it is also evidence of Zeus and alien seeders.   Note that I have repeated this argument several times now and you have ignored it throughout.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.37  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.34    8 months ago
If our existence can be considered evidence for the existence of the Christian God simply because it is compatible with that idea then our existence can also be considered evidence for the existence of an alien super-power that seeds planets with living creatures who will produce goods that the aliens will later return to harvest.

You are exactly right. This is completely true, to the best of what I know and understand. No argument whatsoever. I would word it differently, but I get what you're saying. There is only one problem with it, from my point of view. Hopefully I can put it into words. It's not going to have anything to do with what constitutes evidence or what's compatible. Hopefully, by the time you read this you will have read my previous post and that's settled. Instead, I want to talk about what is important about the quote above. 

I've read a lot of science fiction. A lot. I've read a lot of interesting ideas in them about "why" or "how". Stuff that was totally out there and stuff that seemed really plausible. I also love science. I've read about a lot of interesting things and ideas and I'm always amazed at how much we've discovered, how we discovered it and how much we still have to discover. 

Then there's history. So much of it. So many things have happened. So much before we were even here. Then once we were. Generation after generation. So many great things and so much horror. Trillions of little moments throughout our history that lead one thing to another until we have today. 

And then there's just existing, moment by moment. To stand there and marvel at the life that is a tree. The whole universe is busy spinning a way and that tree is there, in that place and that time, existing. Living. Trillions of living things that we're never going to know or see, but they're there. Or standing quietly off to the side and watch people interact, wondering if they're really aware of just what an amazing thing it is to be alive, existing in all of this at any given time. 

I'm sure you've seen the movie "Contact" with Jody Foster? Remember the eternal pullback that was the beginning? What an amazing opening to a movie! It was one of the most amazing shots I've ever seen. The only way it could have been better was if it could have included all the things I'm trying to evoke here, and all of history everywhere at the same time. To get a sense of the stupendous scale that is everything. I'm sure I've failed miserably, because who could write something that encompasses something like that? But, hopefully you get it. 

And now, we're almost to the point. The big questions are "Why?" and "How?" concerning all that I just put before you. You mentioned an alien super-power as an alternative hypothesis to God. It's possible. There's actually a lot of hypotheses out there, trying to answer those questions. Not just in science but in philosophy as well. Serious and silly ones. I'm sure you're aware. 

And now, the point. Is there a purpose behind it all? If the answer is no, then none of this matters. It doesn't matter which hypothesis is true and which is false, unless you personally happen to care. All that has happened or will happen is just matter moving through time for no reason. No purpose. This conversation, and all others, are just filling time with no ultimate meaning. Our movement through time is just effort to make it as long and pleasant as possible, but no other meaning. 

But! But if the answer is yes, there is a purpose, then everything matters. Which of the hypothesis is true truly matters. And here's the main portion of my point.

I have only x amount of years in which to decide which is the true hypothesis.

It is not simply an interesting question with which to keep my mind occupied. The answer really matters to me. Is there a supernatural God? So I have to, at some point, make a decision about what I think is true. How do I do that? Well, materialism, or naturalism, or scientism or anything on that side of the scale if you prefer, is a non-starter. The reason is because built into those systems is an arbitrary decision, before the question is even addressed, that only the natural exists. And the justification for this is that there's no natural, materialist way to examine it, so we'll just ignore it. That seems like a mechanic refusing to consider screwdrivers because all he has are wrenches. Those systems won't even allow you to address the question. That seems a bit insane to me.

So, some other way must be found. That requires expanding the definition of evidence a bit, it seems. Of course, you can strongly disagree, but it doesn't matter. You don't have to expand it if you don't want to but there's nothing preventing me for my purposes. I have evidence, even if it is subjective, that satisfies my criteria for believing in God. Millions of Christians will tell you the same. 

Been up 29 hours now. Think I will go to bed. Goodnight.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.38  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.36    8 months ago
Drakk, you posited materialist examples as evidence of God:

I can't make any sense of this statement. You're going to have to expand it. Since materialism is an ideology, how are these things materialist examples? 

I'll read your answer in the morning.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
6.4.39  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.35    8 months ago
I am obviously not a materialist. I believe there is the supernatural.

Believe is the operative word here. I too believe in the supernatural, but I cannot prove it [in any form] exists; therefore, I do not claim it as fact. I have several reasons for my beliefs, but again, because I cannot prove it with evidence, I cannot claim it as fact. 

In the context of this conversation, belief = hypothesis.

That belief / hypothesis cannot be tested and therefore, cannot be claimed as a fact.

 
 
 
Gordy327
PhD Principal
6.4.40  author  Gordy327  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.4.39    8 months ago

As I always say,people are entitled to their beliefs. But belief does not equal fact.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
6.4.41  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Gordy327 @6.4.40    8 months ago

Agreed.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.42  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.37    8 months ago
So, some other way must be found. That requires expanding the definition of evidence a bit, it seems. Of course, you can strongly disagree, but it doesn't matter. You don't have to expand it if you don't want to but there's nothing preventing me for my purposes.

I read your entire post.   This is the only part that continues our discussion so I am only commenting on it.   Your entire post, however, is considered.

Implicitly expanding the definition of evidence makes it very difficult to have an effective discussion.   All along I have interpreted the word 'evidence' as I always do, something like Oxford :  " The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. "   Thus I have repeatedly made the point that if one has evidence of a claimed truth, then it must determine the truth, not simply be compatible with it.   I have, in result, countered your argument that compatibility was necessary and sufficient by pointing out that compatibility is necessary but not sufficient.

Now you explain that your definition of evidence is expanded (I take that to mean: subject to fewer constraints, less precise) than the conventional usage of the word (and certainly the usage that you know I always have in mind:  formal scientific observation determining an hypothesis).

I have evidence, even if it is subjective, that satisfies my criteria for believing in God. Millions of Christians will tell you the same.

In short, we just walked the same old circle while singing a different song.   I knew upfront that you do not have evidence that God exists because in all of history, nobody has delivered any evidence of the existence of any creator entity (much less the fully attributed Christian God).   So when you claimed:

Drakk @ 6 ☞ There is plenty of evidence that argues for the existence of God , at least for those who approach the question without materialist assumptions.

And Gordy asked you for examples, your list of examples (all material observations in reality) were ipso facto offered as actual evidence (common usage) that God exists.

Gordy @ 6.4 ☞ Such as?
Drakk @ 6.4.1 ☞ The fact that we exist.   That we are intelligent beings.  That the universe appears to be fine tuned for life.   That we have a sense of morality. To name a few.

What you were really trying to communicate is not evidence, but rather unexplained phenomena that makes you think that there must be a greater power;  that there must be a sentient intelligence behind our reality.

Well, okay, nothing wrong with that in my book.   I totally understand how one could look at our existence and marvel at the sheer complexity of our species (et. al.) and find that to be a sign of a designer (and that might be true too).   I understand how the extremely specific nature of our universe would lead one to think that it was not just 1 out of 10 500 universes (each of which would be 'fine-tuned' too) but that our particular universe was chosen by a deity (and this might be true too).   Finally I understand how you might think that the common morality (e.g. killing someone) suggests that we were created with this morality (as opposed to morality being an emergent property of biochemical evolution selected by societal change).

Thing is, this way of thinking only gets you to deism.   While not evidence of a deity(ies), it is entirely understandable how one might think that a deity is more likely than not.   So I think on this point we see eye-to-eye.   And further, I see nothing wrong with this reasoning as long as one understands that it is merely reasoned speculation and that there are many other possibilities that are no less likely.

Here is where this breaks down for me: moving from deity speculation to evidence of the Christian God.   The Christian God is so heavily attributed by the Bible and subsequent religious thinking, your approach of ' signs of a designer ' does not even get close to its definition.   From the story of creation, Adam & Eve, Noah's flood and downward to the resurrection and all NT stories, there is nothing of evidence that indicates these to be more than the mere musings of ancient men with pens.    And worse, the Bible contradicts itself and has produced a definition of God that is itself self-contradictory and thus cannot exist (as defined).

So while I understand and accept deistic speculation (as you have presented here), nothing in this thread (and in past discussions, IMO) resolves the self-contradiction and  lack of supporting evidence (after thousands of years of people trying) of the Christian God.

Thus, why do you suppose people still believe the Christian God exists and follow the biblically based religious claims of said God rather than take a deistic approach and try to understand a deistic 'god' by contemplating what this god has ostensibly created?    Why not hold that ' there must be something greater ' and marvel at the wonders of and within our universe (especially given the lens provided by modern science)?   Why instead do people continue to have their speculative understanding of 'God' be the errant and self-contradictory claims conceived by ancient men?  Why do some cling to the Bible even to the point of denying well-founded science (like evolution and genetics)?

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.43  Drakkonis  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.4.39    8 months ago
Believe is the operative word here. I too believe in the supernatural, but I cannot prove it [in any form] exists; therefore, I do not claim it as fact. I have several reasons for my beliefs, but again, because I cannot prove it with evidence, I cannot claim it as fact.

We need to be careful of just what we mean when we say something like this. What you've said is both true and untrue, depending.

You can't demonstrate it as fact. But you certainly can claim it as fact. Of course you can, else you don't believe in what you say you do. I'm certain that you would not believe in something you didn't consider factual, would you?

The materialist (or perhaps empiricist would be a better word here, if there is a difference that matters) would have us believe that facts are only things that can be empirically demonstrated. They consider something like belief as something less. However, we all know that science has believed wrong conclusions in the past, even though they had empirical evidence to support the wrong conclusion. When more and better empirical evidence came along, the conclusion was demonstrated to be wrong. So, empirical evidence doesn't necessarily lead to fact, either.  

The problem, and it is one factually, is that belief can mean "what a person desires to be true". It doesn't necessarily need to mean that, however. In the case of murder trials, factual evidence is used to determine the guilt or innocence of the individual. However, the verdict of the trial is a belief. One informed by the evidence. 

In the same way, unless you believe in the supernatural simply because you like the idea, there are likely reasons, experiences and evidence that has lead you to that conclusion. Because of this, when you said "I too believe in the supernatural" you are communicating that what you believe is factual. That it is subjective doesn't make it invalid. It simply makes it harder to prove. And, also, easier to be wrong. But it most definitely does not mean it is not a fact simply because it is held by belief. 

And, whether they understand or accept it, materialists or empiricists, do exactly the same thing. They may claim that their position is not one of belief but one of evidence of the facts (or whatever way they'd put it). Not subjective, in other words, but objective fact. But to a large degree, it is subjective interpretation of demonstrable fact. Whole swaths of scientific empiricists have believed in theories that turned out to be wrong. But, says the empiricist, that's the beauty of science. New information brings us closer to the empirical truth. True enough, but it doesn't change that it is simply belief in that new truth, because it may someday be shown to be wrong, too. 

People like to say, "belief doesn't equal fact" and believe they've stated a fact, which is kind of funny when you think about it, because that is a belief. And untrue. The correct way to say what they are trying to say is "belief doesn't make something factual". A belief does equal fact if the belief is in something factual. And not all factual things can be proven empirically. 

I believe in God. I try to live my life, in every moment, accordingly. That would probably not be the brightest thing I could do if I did not believe God was a fact. What point is there in your belief in the supernatural if you do not believe it is a fact?

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
6.4.44  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.43    8 months ago

I disagree. I'm about data, research, and experience; not experience alone to determine fact. 

2+2=4 

2+2 ≠ a belief of 5

I question my own beliefs all the time because I cannot provide the data to make it a fact. I cannot test my theories; therefore, they never go past the THEORETICAL state. I would never state, "It's a fact that my dead grandmother visited us frequently for about a year after her death." I might say, "I suspect and believe my grandmother frequently visited us about a year after her death, because I suddenly smelled her perfume in my son's room where there are no air fresheners." Those are two VERY different statements. I could never prove that my grandmother was here in spirit.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.45  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.43    8 months ago
So, empirical evidence doesn't necessarily lead to fact, either.  

Give me an example of a fact that is known to be correct simply because people believe it is correct (and not due to empirical validation or logical deduction).

And by 'known to be' I am talking about a fact that has been verified via rigourous testing to be consistently true.

However, we all know that science has believed wrong conclusions in the past, even though they had empirical evidence to support the wrong conclusion.

You word this as if you wish to connote that science is a belief system (or has a belief system as a component).  That is simply wrong.  And I am responding only because you are making a point about belief while conflating different usages of that word.   For your sentence to be correct you must be using the usage of believe that means 'convinced by the evidence' (scientific) rather than 'accepted as true sans evidence' (religious).   The word 'believe' in your sentence is very misleading.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.46  Drakkonis  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.4.44    8 months ago
I disagree. I'm about data, research, and experience; not experience alone to determine fact. 

Okay, but that's a bit vague. Was there something specific with which you disagreed?

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.47  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.45    8 months ago
Give me an example of a fact that is known to be correct simply because people believe it is correct (and not due to empirical validation or logical deduction). And by 'known to be' I am talking about a fact that has been verified via rigourous testing to be consistently true.

This makes no sense. The criteria for the answer are mutually exclusive, aren't they? 

You word this as if you wish to connote that science is a belief system (or has a belief system as a component). That is simply wrong.  And I am responding only because you are making a point about belief while conflating different usages of that word.   For your sentence to be correct you must be using the usage of believe that means 'convinced by the evidence' (scientific) rather than 'accepted as true sans evidence' (religious).   The word 'believe' in your sentence is very misleading.

I think you find it so because the word "belief" or "believe"" only has religious connotations for you. At least when speaking to me. I don't use the word that way. I mean it to mean what it has always meant.

Believe

Verb

accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.

Everything you think is true is an act of believing. If you are presented with evidence that the planets orbit the sun and that evidence convinces you, you believe the planets orbit the sun. It's that simple. 

You say I am conflating different usages of that word. Can you give me an example? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.48  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.47    8 months ago
This makes no sense. The criteria for the answer are mutually exclusive, aren't they? 

Do you consider it possible to have a fact that is known to be true (as much as anyone can know something to be true) based solely on belief?   That means no evidence, no deduction based on valid premises ... merely belief.   Or are you simply trying to make the point that when someone believes something then it is a fact to them?  (If so, my response is:  of course, how is that relevant?)   Or are you saying that one can believe something that could indeed wind up being a fact?  (If so, my response is the same.)

In any case, since we have been talking about evidence for the existence of God, I naturally expect that any side-discussion on facts would be about known facts and not simply what might be factual.  

There might be a creator entity.   If so, then those who currently believe in a creator entity then would actually believe in a fact even though they do not, as of yet, have any way to actually know that their belief is true.    And if there is no creator entity, those same people would believe in a falsehood but, similarly, they do not as of yet know that.

Belief, in and of itself, is thus immaterial to knowledge (and thus truth).   The fact that someone believes something does not make it true (or false).   It is simply a belief.  

So when someone claims to have evidence for the existence of God (the context here), one will naturally expect that actual evidence will be offered.   Offering a belief and arguing that the belief seems factual to the believer and might indeed be factual has no probative value.   In result, no evidence has been offered.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.49  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.47    8 months ago
You say I am conflating different usages of that word. Can you give me an example? 

Yes.   I included it in my comment:

TiG @6.4.45 - For your sentence to be correct you must be using the usage of believe that means 'convinced by the evidence' (scientific) rather than 'accepted as true sans evidence' (religious). 

Those two usages have different meanings.   The scientific meaning is similar to 'follow the evidence to where it leads' whereas the religious meaning is similar to 'I just believe it is true'.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.50  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.46    8 months ago

You skipped over my entire comment @6.4.42.   This part below (repeated) is something I was hoping you would opine on:

What you were really trying to communicate is not evidence, but rather unexplained phenomena that makes you think that there must be a greater power;  that there must be a sentient intelligence behind our reality.

Well, okay, nothing wrong with that in my book.   I totally understand how one could look at our existence and marvel at the sheer complexity of our species (et. al.) and find that to be a sign of a designer (and that might be true too).   I understand how the extremely specific nature of our universe would lead one to think that it was not just 1 out of 10 500 universes (each of which would be 'fine-tuned' too) but that our particular universe was chosen by a deity (and this might be true too).   Finally I understand how you might think that the common morality (e.g. killing someone) suggests that we were created with this morality (as opposed to morality being an emergent property of biochemical evolution selected by societal change).

Thing is, this way of thinking only gets you to deism.   While not evidence of a deity(ies), it is entirely understandable how one might think that a deity is more likely than not.   So I think on this point we see eye-to-eye.   And further, I see nothing wrong with this reasoning as long as one understands that it is merely reasoned speculation and that there are many other possibilities that are no less likely.

Here is where this breaks down for me: moving from deity speculation to evidence of the Christian God.   The Christian God is so heavily attributed by the Bible and subsequent religious thinking, your approach of ' signs of a designer ' does not even get close to its definition.   From the story of creation, Adam & Eve, Noah's flood and downward to the resurrection and all NT stories, there is nothing of evidence that indicates these to be more than the mere musings of ancient men with pens.    And worse, the Bible contradicts itself and has produced a definition of God that is itself self-contradictory and thus cannot exist (as defined).

So while I understand and accept deistic speculation (as you have presented here), nothing in this thread (and in past discussions, IMO) resolves the self-contradiction and  lack of supporting evidence (after thousands of years of people trying) of the Christian God.

Thus, why do you suppose people still believe the Christian God exists and follow the biblically based religious claims of said God rather than take a deistic approach and try to understand a deistic 'god' by contemplating what this god has ostensibly created?    Why not hold that ' there must be something greater ' and marvel at the wonders of and within our universe (especially given the lens provided by modern science)?   Why instead do people continue to have their speculative understanding of 'God' be the errant and self-contradictory claims conceived by ancient men?  Why do some cling to the Bible even to the point of denying well-founded science (like evolution and genetics)?

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Junior Guide
6.4.51  Drakkonis  replied to  TᵢG @6.4.48    8 months ago
Do you consider it possible to have a fact that is known to be true (as much as anyone can know something to be true) based solely on belief?

Yes, it's possible, but not very practical. For instance, one could believe, simply because they want to, that there are invisible unicorns running around the planet. It is possible that they are right. Not very likely in my opinion, but I can't prove they aren't. 

Or are you simply trying to make the point that when someone believes something then it is a fact to them? (If so, my response is:  of course, how is that relevant?)  Or are you saying that one can believe something that could indeed wind up being a fact? (If so, my response is the same.)

Neither, although the second one may be true, obviously. What I am saying is, concerning God or the supernatural, one doesn't need to adhere to the empiricist's demand for empirical evidence, especially when such criteria cannot be applied, in order to make a decision about what they believe about it. Since this is so, if one is going to make an informed decision about such things, they must turn to means other than which provides empirical evidence. 

Conversely, one can do what the empiricist does and not address the question at all unless there's empirical evidence that satisfies them. But this isn't very honest, really. It's just a decision to believe only what empirical evidence can address. However, there's no empirical evidence that such a belief is true. And really, that's all it is. A personal decision to believe only what can be empirically proven. There's no law that states one must do so. 

Which brings us to this...

Those two usages have different meanings.   The scientific meaning is similar to 'follow the evidence to where it leads' whereas the religious meaning is similar to 'I just believe it is true'.

There are no different usages for "believe". When you believe something it is not somehow a different sort of believing than someone else. It is a verb that describes an act. To suggest otherwise is as ridiculous as saying there's the scientific walk and the religious walk. 

And to suggest the "religious" meaning is similar to 'I just believe it is true' is probably the most ignorant thing I've ever seen from you, but typical. Thousands of books have been written explaining exactly why people believe in God but to the empiricist, every sentence in those books reads "There is no empirical evidence." 

Lastly, science is not a religion, but there are those who treat it as such. Empiricists, for example.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.4.52  TᵢG  replied to  Drakkonis @6.4.51    8 months ago
Yes, it's possible, but not very practical. For instance, one could believe, simply because they want to, that there are invisible unicorns running around the planet. It is possible that they are right. Not very likely in my opinion, but I can't prove they aren't. 

That is not a fact that is known to be true.

What I am saying is, concerning God or the supernatural, one doesn't need to adhere to the empiricist's demand for empirical evidence, especially when such criteria cannot be applied, in order to make a decision about what they believe about it. Since this is so, if one is going to make an informed decision about such things, they must turn to means other than which provides empirical evidence. 

Which would mean there is no evidence for the existence of God.   One must change the meaning of the word 'evidence' to have 'evidence' for the existence of God.

Conversely, one can do what the empiricist does and not address the question at all unless there's empirical evidence that satisfies them. But this isn't very honest, really. It's just a decision to believe only what empirical evidence can address. However, there's no empirical evidence that such a belief is true. And really, that's all it is. A personal decision to believe only what can be empirically proven. There's no law that states one must do so. 

Yes, people can believe whatever they want.   Again, the context is 'evidence for the existence of God' yet we are left with 'people believe things and to them it is true'.   I think we all knew that before this began.

There are no different usages for "believe".

Yes there most certainly are.   If a scientist reviews Einstein's field equations for Relativity and the empirical trials that challenged that theory or verified a prediction (e.g. the bending of light by great gravity) then the scientist might quite appropriately state:  I believe Relativity is correct.   That belief is based on serious, formal scrutiny grounded in hard evidence (that which cannot be just invented by the scientist).  It is equivalent to 'I have concluded based on the evidence and reasoning that ...'.

A religious person might believe that the Christian God exists — even in spite of the evidence to the contrary — simply because s/he has been told this is true and it 'feels right'.   That is a belief lacking a foundation.  Unlike the scientist who cannot simply invent evidence in support of an intended result, the religious person can indeed invent whatever s/he wishes in support of the desired belief that the stories told about God are indeed true.

Very different usages of the word 'believe'.

And to suggest the "religious" meaning is similar to 'I just believe it is true' is probably the most ignorant thing I've ever seen from you, but typical.

And now we see the predictable personal crap; and I thought maybe this time would be different.

In my years of discussing religion, one thing that has shown to recur is that in the end, the theist will resort to the equivalent of 'I just believe'.   Maybe you do not see that, but I challenge you to explain your belief and not end up with the equivalent of 'I just believe it is true'.   By the way the ending s