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Lone Wolf8634
04-08-2012, 11:26
Since we're all asking questions:cool:.

My questions are a bit less polarizing than the previous offerings.

It seems, in many of the threads I read, that Atheists participate in, that someone invariably someone becomes frustrated and writes something close to this:

"Since you don't believe as I do, why do you come here and poke me in my belief with a sharp stick?"

Ok, so I took a bit of liberty with the paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

Next question...

I'm curious:

Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

I've seen these questions posed in various threads and I think it would be helpful for future discussions to have a place where the answers are gathered.


Ok, my answers:

1. I lurk here and read a lot. I used to think I was able to defend my (lack of) belief quite admirably, till I tried it a few times here. Seems that there are folks here (on both sides) that have done way more research, are far more eloquent and educated than I. In other words, I got my rear end handed to me. So I come here and read and learn from both sides. So far, its only solidified my (lack of) belief.

2. My disbelief started at a young age. I was sent to Sunday school as a little kid, and even as young as I was, I found I felt like an imposter. I could never accept the entire concept of Jesus, God and the bible. I'd look around at my friends and wonder if they knew I was "faking" it. I kept my mouth shut for years, mostly because my closest friends belonged to a very devout family and I believed if I actually told anyone what I was thinking I would no longer be allowed to hang out with them. So there was no bad experience, just a complete inability to take any of it seriously. When I got older I began to understand what an Atheist is and realized "thats me!" And nothing since has convinced me otherwise.

3. I really can't think of anything that would cause me to become a believer at this point in my life. I suppose a miracle that I see with my own eyes may do it, but it would have to be something that absolutely defied explanation and be witnessed by others(so I don't doubt my own sanity).

I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now.

Colubrid
04-08-2012, 11:30
Since we're all asking questions:cool:.

My questions are a bit less polarizing than the previous offerings.

It seems, in many of the threads I read, that Atheists participate in, that someone invariably someone becomes frustrated and writes something close to this:

"Since you don't believe as I do, why do you come here and poke me in my belief with a sharp stick?"

Ok, so I took a bit of liberty with the paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

Next question...

I'm curious:

Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

I've seen these questions posed in various threads and I think it would be helpful for future discussions to have a place where the answers are gathered.


Ok, my answers:

1. I lurk here and read a lot. I used to think I was able to defend my (lack of) belief quite admirably, till I tried it a few times here. Seems that there are folks here (on both sides) that have done way more research, are far more eloquent and educated than I. In other words, I got my rear end handed to me. So I come here and read and learn from both sides. So far, its only solidified my (lack of) belief.

2. My disbelief started at a young age. I was sent to Sunday school as a little kid, and even as young as I was, I found I felt like an imposter. I could never accept the entire concept of Jesus, God and the bible. I'd look around at my friends and wonder if they knew I was "faking" it. I kept my mouth shut for years, mostly because my closest friends belonged to a very devout family and I believed if I actually told anyone what I was thinking I would no longer be allowed to hang out with them. So there was no bad experience, just a complete inability to take any of it seriously. When I got older I began to understand what an Atheist is and realized "thats me!" And nothing since has convinced me otherwise.

3. I really can't think of anything that would cause me to become a believer at this point in my life. I suppose a miracle that I see with my own eyes may do it, but it would have to be something that absolutely defied explanation and be witnessed by others(so I don't doubt my own sanity).

I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now.


"I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now."


Flawed.

Lone Wolf8634
04-08-2012, 11:32
"I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now."


Flawed.


Explain.

Norske
04-08-2012, 13:59
My experience was much the same.

Force fed the variety of Christianity that had been force fed to my parents, who had been force fed it by their parents, and so on and so on back to whichever Christian missionary originally convinced my ancestors to give up their belief in Odin and the other Ashatru Gods and adopt Christianity.

And so forth back to the invention of "religion" itself 10,000-odd years ago.

I went through the whole routine; including "confirmation".

But I still had questions.

Why were there so many differing religions?

Why were there so many differing schisms within each of the differing religions?

Why did all the varying schisms, and differing religions, all have such differing ideas about what "God" was and what "God" wants from us?

The only (lame) answers I got amounted to "you must accept these things on faith" I concluded that no one had the answers and it was time to do my own thinking on the subjects.

After a lifetimes' worth of reading on subjects like history, geology, genetics, politics, archeology, and the like, I reached my own conclusions, to whit:

(1) Mankind invented "religion" to be what we now think of as "government" at the time mankind moved from being hunter-gatherers to agriculture.

(2) Religion was government and government was religion for the next over-10K years.

(3) Societies need an idea to unify around. The unifying idea was "God".

(4) New religions, and schisms within religions, are essentially revolutions on the part of those on the "outside" of the accepted religion/government to supplant those in authority at the time. (Which explains the entire story of Jesus, by the way.)

(5) This is why the multiplicity of schisms, religions, and Gods. New schisms and new religions seek to gain new followers at the expense of the older, existing religions, and thereby gather to themselves the authority the older religions enjoy.

(6) In the modern era, the concepts of "government" and "religion" have split into two separate concepts. Secular government (two versions; either with or without respect for the liberties of individuals) with "religion" relegated to mere advisory or ceremonial functions without the authority they once enjoyed over the society.

(7) One Theocratic/Governmental system still insists that a single religious/theocratic governmental system still is the one ordained "by God". Their God; "Allah". And that it is their religious duty to bring all of mankind into submission to the will of Allah. By violent means, if necessary.

(8) In secular systems with respect for individual liberties such as that of the USA based on the CothUS and BoR, the only remaining purpose of any "religion" is merely to continue to exist to provide a relatively easy living for the clergymen within each and every religion. They no longer have any sort of governmental authority. They are merely parasites upon the "faithful" whose tithes support them and their families.

(9) There are secular political systems that do not respect the liberties of individuals. Two, very similar, systems are Nazi and Communist. They simply attempt to replace the concept a unifying "God" with an equally nebulous, equally false, unifying concept like "Aryan Superiority" or "Dictatorship of the Proletariate". But in truth, they are just as much philosophical dead ends as Theocratic Governmental systems are.

Keeping these in mind, I find just about everything I read makes sense for the first time. Including reading the Bible!

:supergrin:

Japle
04-08-2012, 14:21
Nothing unusual with me, either. I was raised by religious parents and a fanatically religious grandmother. I took it for granted, as kids usually do, that they knew what they were talking about.

Question 2 first:
When I was eight years old, I found out my Sunday School teachers were incapable of answering the most basic questions about the Bible. My parents didn’t know the answers, either. That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong. It took a few years, but by Jr High, I was a confirmed Atheist. The more I’ve studied religion (and I have an extensive library on religion and mythology – not that there’s any real difference) and science, the less I can understand why anyone would actually buy into any religion. It’s just absurd. It requires an amount of willful ignorance and self-deception I just can’t fathom.

Question 1:
I know perfectly well I won’t dissuade anyone from continuing to follow their religious beliefs. My goal is to point out the ridiculous reasoning and lack of critical thinking often expressed by believers. I’m a big believer in the Scientific Method. It works. It leads to new knowledge. It leads to facts. It leads to the truth.

Blind faith leads nowhere. It’s a dead end. A waste of time, money and energy.

Question 3:
What would make me believe? Read the end of Carl Sagan’s book “Contact”. Something like that, which would be simple for a being capable of creating this universe, would do it. Of course, in the book there was no hint that the creator was the god of the Old Testament. There’s nothing that would make me believe in him, since he’s so obviously a human construct.

Bearlaker
04-08-2012, 14:45
I was raised a Mormon, for a while I was a born again Christian. I keep running into the faith vs reason deal.
I can understand someone's belief, but just because they believe it, don't make it so.
I try and treat others the same way I want to be treated.

Norske
04-08-2012, 17:12
I was raised a Mormon, for a while I was a born again Christian. I keep running into the faith vs reason deal.
I can understand someone's belief, but just because they believe it, don't make it so.
I try and treat others the same way I want to be treated.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Never said Jesus was not a smart Rabbi.

I just do not think he was of divine origins.

:wavey:

Colubrid
04-08-2012, 17:25
My goal is to point out the ridiculous reasoning and lack of critical thinking often expressed by believers.
.

Lack of critical thinking???

reasoning???


Look at YOUR hand.

Now open and close it.

Now tell me there is no intelligent design.

Bearlaker
04-08-2012, 17:28
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Never said Jesus was not a smart Rabbi.

I just do not think he was of divine origins.

:wavey:
Yeah man!

rgregoryb
04-08-2012, 19:18
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Never said Jesus was not a smart Rabbi.

I just do not think he was of divine origins.

:wavey:

I discovered that it is the philosophy of Jesus that attracts me, the whole divine thing is problematic.
Raised Christian, Seminary trained...pastor for a while...began thinking through the whole "faith" thing ..too many questions left unanswered.

Altaris
04-08-2012, 20:09
Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?



Here is a previous thread that a bunch of people answered on "what made you turn away from god/religion?". My answer is in there as well.
http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1397708



As far as proof to make me believe, all I require is evidence. I see religious people make all kinds of claims about things, but have never seen anyone of any religion present one bit of verifiable evidence to back up those claims. Give me one thing, then I will at least consider that we might be on track to something. Then as more and more evidence is found the more I will say, 'wow, this really is real.' But to start with, at least give me 1 piece.

Altaris
04-08-2012, 20:12
Look at YOUR hand.

Now open and close it.

Now tell me there is no intelligent design.


There is no intelligent design.

ArtificialGrape
04-08-2012, 21:27
Look at YOUR hand.

Now open and close it.

Now tell me there is no intelligent design.

There is no intelligent design. For example, the respiratory and digestive systems sharing the trachea allowing thousands of choking deaths, primarily in children. Of course, death is the wages of sin, so I suppose all those kids needed killin' -- all part of God's master plan.

Lack of critical thinking???

reasoning???

Yes, lack of critical thinking. Your argument from incredulity can be restated as:

I, Colubrid, cannot fathom how the hand could have developed through natural processes. Therefore it must have been the Christian God.

-ArtificialGrape

ArtificialGrape
04-08-2012, 21:56
Starting with 2: Nothing dramatic, or even particularly interesting. I just outgrew it recognizing it for what it was (or wasn't). Much more detail here (http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1354790).

Continuing with 1: As posted here (http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?p=18792266#post18792266)

1 in 8 high school biology teachers has admitted to illegally advancing Creationism in the classroom -- that's a religious issue.

2 of my children have autoimmune diseases where stem cell research could hold promise, but it is highly resisted on religious grounds -- that's a religious issue.

I have friends that are gay and hope for the same rights as straight couples, but that is an "abomination" to many Christians -- that's a religious issue.

Perhaps science discussions here will convince somebody to be a little more open to what science can explain to us.

On occasion I get a PM from a lurker thanking me for my participation.

These are some of the reasons that I'm here.

Question 3: like Altaris, verifiable evidence would be a good start, but an omnipotent god would be more creative and know what it would take better than I, so I'll defer to God.

-ArtificialGrape

G23Gen4TX
04-08-2012, 21:59
I was born and grew up in Israel. I never found any reason in Religion. It always looked stupid to me even as a child. I did my Bar-Mitzvah and that was about as religious as I got.

The older I get, the dumber religion is to me.

Syclone538
04-08-2012, 22:47
...
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

Next question...

I'm curious:

Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

...

1. I honestly don't know. It is interesting to me, but I don't know why. I don't think anything is ever going to be accomplished here in GTRI.

2. By default. I've never seen, or even heard of, a good reason to believe in a deity, so I lack belief. I was raised in a religious environment, and believed without question as a child. I questioned religion from maybe 12-14 years old, and by 15 or 16 I was atheist. I've never told a member of my family and can't imagine doing so anytime soon.

3. I don't know the answer here either. Anything that could convince me would also make me question if I was hallucinating.

Colubrid
04-08-2012, 23:10
There is no intelligent design. For example, the respiratory and digestive systems sharing the trachea allowing thousands of choking deaths, primarily in children. Of course, death is the wages of sin, so I suppose all those kids needed killin' -- all part of God's master plan.



Yes, lack of critical thinking. Your argument from incredulity can be restated as:

I, Colubrid, cannot fathom how the hand could have developed through natural processes. Therefore it must have been the Christian God.

-ArtificialGrape

AG and Altaris. I already know your pendulum is so far off there is no critical thinking. My question was for Japle.

Colubrid
04-08-2012, 23:12
Explain.

Because you don't know how it will be at the end of your life.

Lone Wolf8634
04-08-2012, 23:19
Because you don't know how it will be at the end of your life.

No I dont. But I didnt state that I would, only that I fully expect to.

At this late date I cannot realistically see anything happening that would change my mind.

ArtificialGrape
04-08-2012, 23:44
AG and Altaris. I already know your pendulum is so far off there is no critical thinking. My question was for Japle.

So your previous post was an argument from incredulity, and now we can add to that the ad hominem.

You think that Japle will find your argument from incredulity more compelling than Altaris and I?... um... okay.

So, care to answer what is Intelligent about the trachea being share by both breathing and eating/drinking? Choking deaths is just a Design feature?

Or perhaps why our optic nerve passes through the retina causing a blind spot and forcing our brain to hallucinate a portion of our field of view to mask the blind spot while octopus do not have this Design feature.

Or why are many animals able to synthesize their own vitamin C, but in humans a deficiency leads to scurvy. Is this just another punishment for Eve's transgression?

Or perhaps the Intelligence behind the rabbit's digestive system requiring rabbits to eat their food, pass the smelly mucousy cecotropes, then eat those in order to get the nutrients that they need.

The list of Unintelligent Design goes on and on, you're probably better off just sticking with the ad hom and your argument from incredulity.

-ArtificialGrape

Japle
04-09-2012, 05:37
Posted by Colubrid:
Look at YOUR hand.

Now open and close it.

Now tell me there is no intelligent design.
It’s just that sort of simplistic reasoning that made me suspect religion was a hoax when I was a 2nd grader.

Geko45
04-09-2012, 08:26
1. We won't end the debate over religion here in RI, but we can advance it. If even one person can be convinced to give up this superstitious mythos then the world will be a better place for it. As Norske has said much more eloquently than I, there is a cost to society for religion. It misappropriates limited resources, it interferes with our individual liberties, it obstructs the advancement of science and medicine, and let’s not forget the "holy" war (the worst of religion’s crimes against humanity).

2. I grew up in a religious household, but not excessively so. I went to Sunday school when I was young and we attended church about a half dozen times per year. I always had questions rattling around in the back of my mind, but I assumed that the answers were in the bible if only I would sit down and seriously study it.

When I eventually did get around to an in depth study as an adult, that is when I became an atheist. As part of my business degree at a christian university, we incorporated biblical principles in every class. We also had several pure theology courses as part of the curriculum which included old and new testament surveys where you actually read each book in its entirety.

I was shocked. Not only were the answers I expected not to be found in the bible, but there was a mountain of absurdity that was totally inapplicable to daily life. It turned out, that the only good parts in the bible I already knew as a handful of truisms that get repeated ad nauseum. Mostly because christianity has nothing else to offer. The rest was complete and utter nonsense if not downright wrong.

3. I suppose there might be some sort of miracle that could convince me of god's existence, but more so than that would be the opportunity to ask questions of god and get answers that only god could provide. I'd probably start with a few physics questions that we have yet to answer like "how does gravity really work?" and then move on to some of the more philosophical questions like "why are we here?" If the answer to that last one is anything like "to worship me" then I don't care how omnipotent he is, he better have a damn good reason why he would be worthy of my worship.

Look at YOUR hand.

Now open and close it.

Now tell me there is no intelligent design.

*wiggle fingers*

Nope, still no intelligent design. Did you really expect any other answer to that?

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 08:45
1. We won't end the debate over religion here in RI, but we can advance it. If even one person can be convinced to give up this superstitious mythos then the world will be a better place for it. As Norske has said much more eloquently than I, there is a cost to society for religion. It misappropriates limited resources, it interferes with our individual liberties, it obstructs the advancement of science and medicine, and let’s not forget the "holy" war (the worst of religion’s crimes against humanity).

I've always been a "live and let live" kind of guy. I always figured that as long as they weren't bothering me with their religion than I wouldn't complain. But you have some good points here.


3. I suppose there might be some sort of miracle that could convince me of god's existence, but more so than that would be the opportunity to ask questions of god and get answers that only god could provide. I'd probably start with a few physics questions that we have yet to answer like "how does gravity really work?" and then move on to some of the more philosophical questions like "why are we here?" If the answer to that last one is anything like "to worship me" then I don't care how omnipotent he is, he better have a damn good reason why he would be worthy of my worship.





More good ideas. I'd have a question of my own. Like: What is the point of creating beings to worship you?
Why would an omnipotent, omniscient being need that?

Geko45
04-09-2012, 08:51
Why would an omnipotent, omniscient being need that?

What does god need with a starship?

:supergrin:

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 08:57
What does god need with a starship?

:supergrin:

Who is this creature?

English
04-09-2012, 12:31
.....
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

Next question..
.....

Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

......

Good questions with some very good answers. I'll take the last two first. I was raised in a moderately religious environment. My maternal grandparents were very churchy and did good works. Father a moderate believer. Mother not really a believer but did not tell me that till I told her I didn't believe. Went to Sunday school and even as an 8 year old it was obviusly absurd nonsense. The probability of any of it being remotely true was so small that it made no sense to call myself an agnostic - the only honest position was atheist even if there remains the tiniest possibility that one of thousands of religions were true.

What would it take to make me believe? I cannot imagine anything that would do anything other than make me doubt my temporary or permanent mental state.

That leads in to the meaning of insanity. Insanity is having a mental construct of the nature of life and the world which contains major discrepancies between what is believed and what there is evidence for. The primary difficulty here lies in the word "major" and the secondary difficulty lies in the fact that we necessarily have numerous discrepancies because we are unable to gain enough evidence. You only have to look at such trivial matters as caliber wars to see this in action. Many people, perhaps a very large majority, tie themselves to opinions for which they have no substantial evidence. Within this simple definition, religious people are insane and living in a world where the majority are insane is disturbing or frightening, depending on your imagination and knowledge.

A child who believes in Father Christmas is not insane. He believes that Father Christmas brings him presents and he gets presents as expected. He has evidence that supports his false belief and he does not yet have the mental power to think of alternative explanations. If that child grows up with a normal intelligance and no one tells him that Father Christmas does not exist, at what age or level of developing intelligence can we consider him to be menally odd or insane to some minor degree?

Believing in a religion is both similar and different. It is similar because it is belief without evidence but unlike the relatively trivial case of expecting presents from some unreal entity at Christmas, religion can make a major difference to an individual's life from persuading people to support him in his ministry with money and followers at one end to making himself a human bomb to destroy unbelievers at the other. In general, life follows the computing principle of garbage in, garbage out. Individuals who believe false ideas are likely to suffer from those beliefs because they act incorrectly.

If a jackal, for instance, believed that right was on his side and would protect him when he went to eat the lion's meal, the jackal would have a short and unproductive life. So if that applies to jackals, why does it not apply equally to people? The answer can only be that there is some social advantage that outweighs the personal disadvantage.

The life of Mohammed illustrates this well. He managed not only to attract and keep followers but to persuade them that if they died in the process of killing unbelievers or expanding the domain of Islam the would go directly to Paradise regardless of other sins. Most would agree that this is a more powerful idea than confession purging your sins so that you can sin again for another week, but both have their attractions. This Muslim belief produced a phenomenal rate of conquest which spread Islam over the Middle East, North Africa, Southern and eatern Europe, and India in a remarkably short time. There but for the counter belief in Christianity might have been all of Europe.

If we look at the situation of the individual under Mohammed, he stood a good chance of dying but also a chance of living well with wealth slaves and concubines from conquered peoples. In a biological sense, it is hard for us to decide the balance of benefits to this. If he dies in an early battle, everything is lost. if he survives and makes a name for himself then he is likely to father many children and there is a great gain. We don't know the proportions of each and so we can't judge but going into battle with the belief that being killed is a good outcome does not seem to be an optimum survival strategy. This attitude is not completely unique to Muslims. The Vikings believed something similar and the European Crusaders had a specific dispensation, if that is an appropriate word, from the Pope that achieved the same effect for the duration of the Crusade. Clearly, this anti survival strategy is a good thing for the project of conquest but not so good for the individual. If the individual soldier did not believe that death in battle would necessesarily take him straight to heaven but believed that his one life was all the life he would ever have, would he still behave in the same way? I think not, and on that basis I consider such behaviour to be insane.

The thing is that this propensity to believe complete unsubstantiated nonsense was not invented by Mohammed, or the religions that preceded it but was waiting there for him to manipulate. Norske thinks religion was invented to facilitate government, but I think that is not a valid supposition. It was used to facilitate government but not invented for that purpose. Religion had to precede government and the tendency to believe nonsense had to precede that!

I will try to come back to this at another time. I have run out of time right now.

English

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 13:39
It misappropriates limited resources, it interferes with our individual liberties,

Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 13:44
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

I just laughed my rear off.

This post could not possibly be in a better place.

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 13:51
This post could not possibly be in a better place.

Yep! I agree!

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 13:53
Yep! I agree!


Ahh, but not for the same reasons, I'm sure.:supergrin:

Altaris
04-09-2012, 14:01
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

So not believing in something which has no evidence = me wanting to sin?
I have zero hate towards 'god'. How is it possible for me to hate something that doesn’t exist?




Like LoneWolf said....I also laughed pretty hard when I read that post.

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 14:03
So not believing in something which has no evidence = me wanting to sin?
I have zero hate towards 'god'. How is it possible for me to hate something that doesn’t exist?




Like LoneWolf said....I also laughed pretty hard when I read that post.


Considering he posted that right after English explained why he considers religious people insane.

Geko45
04-09-2012, 14:08
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

This is you attempting to resolve your own internal cognitive dissonance. Your belief system tells you that the moral path rests only with your god. When confronted with other people who also seem to be moral, but do not believe as you, you must find a way to resolve the incongruity in your own mind. You won't consider abandoning a belief system in which you have invested most of your life, so you therefore conclude that we must have hidden sin and that we simply "hate" god as opposed to not believing in his existance as we clearly stated. This, of course, is the pre-canned answer that your faith provides to you in order to dismiss anyone presenting reasoned and logical arguments that run contrary to your belief system.

427
04-09-2012, 14:11
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

God doesn't interfere with the sins of the judegemental self righteous, sanctimonious believers? Believers sin as much, if not more, than the people you call god haters. The difference is that you all sin believing you can ask for forgiveness.

scccdoc
04-09-2012, 14:13
Since we're all asking questions:cool:.

My questions are a bit less polarizing than the previous offerings.

It seems, in many of the threads I read, that Atheists participate in, that someone invariably someone becomes frustrated and writes something close to this:

"Since you don't believe as I do, why do you come here and poke me in my belief with a sharp stick?"

Ok, so I took a bit of liberty with the paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...

Next question...

I'm curious:

Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?

Finally:

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

I've seen these questions posed in various threads and I think it would be helpful for future discussions to have a place where the answers are gathered.


Ok, my answers:

1. I lurk here and read a lot. I used to think I was able to defend my (lack of) belief quite admirably, till I tried it a few times here. Seems that there are folks here (on both sides) that have done way more research, are far more eloquent and educated than I. In other words, I got my rear end handed to me. So I come here and read and learn from both sides. So far, its only solidified my (lack of) belief.

2. My disbelief started at a young age. I was sent to Sunday school as a little kid, and even as young as I was, I found I felt like an imposter. I could never accept the entire concept of Jesus, God and the bible. I'd look around at my friends and wonder if they knew I was "faking" it. I kept my mouth shut for years, mostly because my closest friends belonged to a very devout family and I believed if I actually told anyone what I was thinking I would no longer be allowed to hang out with them. So there was no bad experience, just a complete inability to take any of it seriously. When I got older I began to understand what an Atheist is and realized "thats me!" And nothing since has convinced me otherwise.

3. I really can't think of anything that would cause me to become a believer at this point in my life. I suppose a miracle that I see with my own eyes may do it, but it would have to be something that absolutely defied explanation and be witnessed by others(so I don't doubt my own sanity).

I really expect to come to the end of my life with pretty much the same attitude as I have now.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Courageous and much needed thread , thanks ...... DOC

English
04-09-2012, 15:28
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

Let me put this in another way.

1) I can't hate God because there is no such thing.
2) My sins are very minor indeed by most Christian practice and neither Christianity nor God has any effect on them.
3) God does not bother me, but people like you with your weird ideas bother me a lot. You vote based on your nonsensical opinions. You pressure governments to do various nonsensical things to get your vote. It is you that is mildly terrifying and not God, who affects me not in the least.

Don't take this too personally. Socialists terrify me as well and do so for the same reasons. You can both believe complete nonsense with utmost passion. Given the appropriate religion, that characteristic leads to violence against innocents and terrorism. That is now a low risk in Christianity and for the time being it is a low risk in socialism, but Communism differs only slightly from Socialism and it is no stranger to violence and terrorism.

English

ksg0245
04-09-2012, 18:01
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

What sin?

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 19:30
What sin?



Because you don't beleive in Him.

And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.


18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools.......

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 19:31
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 19:33
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

427
04-09-2012, 19:37
I'd like to see some verifiable proof that all of that, is, in fact, true.

Animal Mother
04-09-2012, 19:37
Because you don't beleive in Him. Are you sinning by not believing in Ahura Mazda?

Colubrid
04-09-2012, 19:43
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!

ArtificialGrape
04-09-2012, 19:50
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!
No worry, we know that you're only Christian because you're rebelling against Ba‘al.

427
04-09-2012, 19:59
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!

It seems hypocritical for followers of a religion that specifically not to be self-righteous, are, in fact, the most self-righteous.

Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1

Lone Wolf8634
04-09-2012, 20:26
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!


Me? I'm not upset. Pretty sure no one else is either. I was amused for a few minutes though.

So your attempt to spark an emotional reaction was successful. Congratulations.

JFYI though, I do not hate God. Or the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Clause, Or any characters from the Bros. Grimm.

I dont hate anything that doesnt exist.:supergrin:

(Smilie to show I aint mad.)

Altaris
04-09-2012, 20:35
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!

I haven't seen a single upset atheist in this thread.

The only upset/angry person I have seen so far is this god person you speak of. So he is going to bring his wrath upon us for thought crimes? So there is no freedom of expression, freedom of thought, or freedom of speech in your gods afterlife? Now that sounds like an upset and hateful place.

lomfs24
04-09-2012, 21:57
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know... I originally started coming here when I got tired of debating and answering the same questions over and over about Glocks. I was of course religious then. But over time that began to change. I already knew a fair amount of people here so I just stayed. I actually took a break from being here for a while that I will address in the next question.


Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?
Yes, I did believe. I was raised a JW actually. I thought I knew the Bible pretty well. There wasn't much in the way of my views that I couldn't support from the Bible. Or at least support well enough to convince myself. But once I started coming here there were too many people making sense. People making logical arguments. And as we all know, logic is something religion get's very uncomfortable with. So my faith was starting to get shaken here and I decided I needed a break from this place. So I quit coming here and decided that I needed to prove to myself that 1) the Bible is true and after that I needed to prove that 2) the JW's were true. And therein lies the rub. I just couldn't get past the inconsistencies and errors in the Bible. I couldn't get past the fact that we really don't know who wrote it. And if 1 isn't true then there is no way 2 could be true. Did a lot of reading on the Bible, Bible history, religious history etc... Did a lot of reading on the JW's. There were a few things that i didn't know but mostly it was stuff I already knew but was forced to look at in a different light. And so here I am.

What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?

I wouldn't say that there wouldn't be anything that would ever get me to believe ever again. If you asked me that today I would say, "There is nothing that would ever convince me short of God appearing on the steps of the White House waving his arms creating miracles left and right." But I think we all live in a state of perpetual disbelief. I disbelieve that there is a God because of the evidence that is before me. Others seriously disbelieve that the evolution is real. That life could come from nothing. And a myriad of other things they disbelieve. And in their mind they seriously believe what they do. There is not one single theist here that would say they are just doing it and that they don't really believe it. But I think even with them, there is a level of disbelief. If you truly believe that you are going to whisked away to heaven as soon as you die and live in this great place, then why aren't more people looking forward to dying? Seems there would be a mad rush for it. But I think deep down inside they have some doubts. People are afraid to die. People have to be reassured about loved ones after they pass. etc...

So whatever is going on in their head could, at some point in time, click over in my head too. I could have an epiphany and all of a sudden believe in God. I could have a vision or revelation and start believing too. Would it make it real? Or would it make it real to me? If I saw a train derail tomorrow and no one else saw it, it would be no less real to me. And I would truly believe that I saw a train derail. Of course that might get me labeled as insane... but hey, I would still believe it.

Speaking of insane, if I started ranting about a single dad who loved his son so much that he was going to send him to a far away land to have him killed so that millions of other people, that he didn't really like quite so well, would have a chance at living, I might get labeled insane. But if I could get a couple million other people to believe the same thing, we could call it religion.

OK, I am rambling now.

ksg0245
04-10-2012, 05:16
Because you don't beleive in Him.

Uh, what? Believing in your asserted deity interferes with not believing in ANY asserted deity, so atheists actively hate YOUR asserted deity because they "love" not believing in any asserted deity?

Rejecting an unsupported assertion is a sin?

Is that really what you think?

By the way, quoting holy writings to support an assertion doesn't really carry much weight with atheists; atheists reject the unsupported assertion of deity associated with holy writings, so any claim derived from that unsupported assertion is also rejected.

ksg0245
04-10-2012, 05:19
I never seen a group of atheist become so upset by being called haters of God!

Personally, I object to being incorrectly described, but that's more impatience with dishonesty and preference for accuracy.

dbcooper
04-10-2012, 08:12
Let me put this in another way.

It interferes with your sin. You are God haters and want nothing to do with Him because you love your sin more.

Well if I don't sin then Jesus died for nothing, just doing my part.

Norske
04-11-2012, 15:46
The thing is that this propensity to believe complete unsubstantiated nonsense was not invented by Mohammed, or the religions that preceded it but was waiting there for him to manipulate. Norske thinks religion was invented to facilitate government, but I think that is not a valid supposition. It was used to facilitate government but not invented for that purpose. Religion had to precede government and the tendency to believe nonsense had to precede that!



Not exactly.

We tend to think of Religion and Government as being two separate things because we were raised in that paradigm in the modern world.

For just about all of our ancestors going back 10,000 years, the two were not separate.

To them, religion was government and government was religion. One concept; not two.

There was not "religious law" versus "non-religious law".

There was only "LAW",

and the Ruler/Priests or Priest/Rulers decreed that "the Law" was handed down by God.

And if you questioned that "the Law" came from God, or questioned the "God Given" authority of the Priest/Rulers, it was sacrilege and you got burned at the stake, or drawn or quartered, or NAILED TO A CROSS, or whatever other penalty there was that ensured that "the faithful" remained faithful.

:steamed:

Kingarthurhk
04-11-2012, 16:42
My experience was much the same.

Force fed the variety of Christianity that had been force fed to my parents, who had been force fed it by their parents, and so on and so on back to whichever Christian missionary originally convinced my ancestors to give up their belief in Odin and the other Ashatru Gods and adopt Christianity.

And so forth back to the invention of "religion" itself 10,000-odd years ago.

I went through the whole routine; including "confirmation".

But I still had questions.

Why were there so many differing religions?

Why were there so many differing schisms within each of the differing religions?

Why did all the varying schisms, and differing religions, all have such differing ideas about what "God" was and what "God" wants from us?

The only (lame) answers I got amounted to "you must accept these things on faith" I concluded that no one had the answers and it was time to do my own thinking on the subjects.

After a lifetimes' worth of reading on subjects like history, geology, genetics, politics, archeology, and the like, I reached my own conclusions, to whit:

(1) Mankind invented "religion" to be what we now think of as "government" at the time mankind moved from being hunter-gatherers to agriculture.

(2) Religion was government and government was religion for the next over-10K years.

(3) Societies need an idea to unify around. The unifying idea was "God".

(4) New religions, and schisms within religions, are essentially revolutions on the part of those on the "outside" of the accepted religion/government to supplant those in authority at the time. (Which explains the entire story of Jesus, by the way.)

(5) This is why the multiplicity of schisms, religions, and Gods. New schisms and new religions seek to gain new followers at the expense of the older, existing religions, and thereby gather to themselves the authority the older religions enjoy.

(6) In the modern era, the concepts of "government" and "religion" have split into two separate concepts. Secular government (two versions; either with or without respect for the liberties of individuals) with "religion" relegated to mere advisory or ceremonial functions without the authority they once enjoyed over the society.

(7) One Theocratic/Governmental system still insists that a single religious/theocratic governmental system still is the one ordained "by God". Their God; "Allah". And that it is their religious duty to bring all of mankind into submission to the will of Allah. By violent means, if necessary.

(8) In secular systems with respect for individual liberties such as that of the USA based on the CothUS and BoR, the only remaining purpose of any "religion" is merely to continue to exist to provide a relatively easy living for the clergymen within each and every religion. They no longer have any sort of governmental authority. They are merely parasites upon the "faithful" whose tithes support them and their families.

(9) There are secular political systems that do not respect the liberties of individuals. Two, very similar, systems are Nazi and Communist. They simply attempt to replace the concept a unifying "God" with an equally nebulous, equally false, unifying concept like "Aryan Superiority" or "Dictatorship of the Proletariate". But in truth, they are just as much philosophical dead ends as Theocratic Governmental systems are.

Keeping these in mind, I find just about everything I read makes sense for the first time. Including reading the Bible!

:supergrin:

You seriously need a a macro, to copy and paste. It will save you more time. Nothing really changes in what you post.

G23Gen4TX
04-11-2012, 16:51
You seriously need a a macro, to copy and paste. It will save you more time. Nothing really changes in what you post.

The truth doesn't change.

Kingarthurhk
04-11-2012, 17:51
The truth doesn't change.

The truth is an absolute. I thought Athiests did not subscribe to absolutes.

Geko45
04-11-2012, 19:12
The truth is an absolute. I thought Athiests did not subscribe to absolutes.

No, athiesm and relativism are to seperate things. An athiest may or may not be a relativist as well.

English
04-12-2012, 03:30
Not exactly.

We tend to think of Religion and Government as being two separate things because we were raised in that paradigm in the modern world.

For just about all of our ancestors going back 10,000 years, the two were not separate.

To them, religion was government and government was religion. One concept; not two.

There was not "religious law" versus "non-religious law".

There was only "LAW",

and the Ruler/Priests or Priest/Rulers decreed that "the Law" was handed down by God.

And if you questioned that "the Law" came from God, or questioned the "God Given" authority of the Priest/Rulers, it was sacrilege and you got burned at the stake, or drawn or quartered, or NAILED TO A CROSS, or whatever other penalty there was that ensured that "the faithful" remained faithful.

:steamed:

In general, I agree with you. religion is such a powerful tool in the hands of government that it is inevitable that the two would be inextricably mixed, but what is in the minds of the followers and what is in the minds of the leaders is not necessarily the same. Stalin, for instance, had little understanding of Communist theory and cared little. He was an enforcer and assasin who rose to power with the use of Communism. Mao was a would be intellectual but failed to understand Communist theory and felt inferior to the Russians. Regardless of that, he rose to power with a single minded bloody and murderous ambition. He did not care about Communism except as a vehicle to power. I do, by the way, view Communism as a godless form of religion. As for Law, what simple man would follow laws unless he believed they came from a higher power than just one of his neighbours?

On the other hand, there are primitive hunter gatherer societies with almost no government which still have religions. Human beings, by their nature, wish to explain the phenomena of the world about them. At a primitive level, much that exists cannot be explained except by the super natural, and a false belief is more satisfying than uncertainty. This leaves the way open for religions to be invented, first to take away the fear of the unknown and later to be incorporated into government by people who believe at extreme levels and wish to impose their ideas on others or by cynical people who see it as a route to personal power. For leaders, the power of religion is the power to make people believe what you believe or pretend to believe. This then makes them easy to manipulate and it does not matter whether the belief is Communism, Islam, or some religion we no longer know the name of.

English

Norske
04-12-2012, 10:19
In general, I agree with you. religion is such a powerful tool in the hands of government that it is inevitable that the two would be inextricably mixed, but what is in the minds of the followers and what is in the minds of the leaders is not necessarily the same. Stalin, for instance, had little understanding of Communist theory and cared little. He was an enforcer and assasin who rose to power with the use of Communism. Mao was a would be intellectual but failed to understand Communist theory and felt inferior to the Russians. Regardless of that, he rose to power with a single minded bloody and murderous ambition. He did not care about Communism except as a vehicle to power. I do, by the way, view Communism as a godless form of religion. As for Law, what simple man would follow laws unless he believed they came from a higher power than just one of his neighbours?

On the other hand, there are primitive hunter gatherer societies with almost no government which still have religions. Human beings, by their nature, wish to explain the phenomena of the world about them. At a primitive level, much that exists cannot be explained except by the super natural, and a false belief is more satisfying than uncertainty. This leaves the way open for religions to be invented, first to take away the fear of the unknown and later to be incorporated into government by people who believe at extreme levels and wish to impose their ideas on others or by cynical people who see it as a route to personal power. For leaders, the power of religion is the power to make people believe what you believe or pretend to believe. This then makes them easy to manipulate and it does not matter whether the belief is Communism, Islam, or some religion we no longer know the name of.

English

E:

Hunter-Gatherers are family groups. They are governed by family ties. While family groups may have a "religion", they do not need "religion" so much as larger groups do.

When mankind settled down into sedentary clans, towns, nations, empires, and what have you based on agriculture, family ties were not enough to keep differing families from acting out of the needs of their families at the expense of the greater society.

"Something" was needed to keep such societies together.

That "Something" was originally Religion, and now in more modern times, it is "Government".

I break "government" down into three basic types:

(True) Monarchy
Secular without respect for individual liberty.
Secular with respect for individual liberty.

Basically, I view "Monarchy" and "Secular without respect for individual liberty" as being pretty much the same.

They differ only in that Monarchy asserts that authority has been handed down to them by "God", and Secular w/o r.f.I.L. tries to supplant "God" with some other nebulous idea like "Aryan Superiority" or "Dictatorship of the Proletariate" or some such bushwah.

Before you point out that the UK is a monarchy, I consider the UK system as being in the "Secular with respect for individual liberty" column since while your head of State is a Monarch, your head of Government (the PM) is not. And while the "Rights of Englishmen" continue to dwindle, they are not yet completely gone.

I view Monarchy as the "lowest common denominator" system.

Witness, the society of Pharoah during the time of Moses and Incan society at the time of Columbus. Separated both by an ocean and a couple of thousand years.

Rich agricultural societies, masses of serfs/slaves/peons at the bottom, above them a warrior class, above them a noble class, above them a God/King. Both put the excess energies of the masses to work building ridiculous, opulent, tombs for the God/Kings....Pyramids!.....in both cases.

This cannot be a coincidence.

It is innate human nature.

I believe that even today, mankind seeks to gravitate towards such "pyramidal" societal structures.

The Nazis and Communists were - and are! - Monarchial in all but name (note three generations of "Kim"s, grandfather, son, grandson, ruling North Korea in the time there have been 11 different US Presidents).

Warrior class (Red Army; SS/SD), Elite class (Communist party member/Nazi party members), God/King (Fuhrer; Party Secretary).

Same structure. Different names.

Here in the USA, our Democratic Party (in reality, the "Anti-Democratic Party") is trying to dismantle our Constitution and Bill of Rights and arrogate themselves into a new elite nobility from whom will eventually emerge a God/King.

If the rest of us (as they would have us be) would-be peasents/serfs/slaves don't keep them in check, of course. :upeyes:

The next Presidential Election in November may well determine whether the USA will remain "Secular with Respect for Individual Liberty" or backslide into Monarchy and pyramid building. :faint:

And the rest of the World, with us.

:faint:

Norske
04-12-2012, 10:33
double tap

rgregoryb
04-12-2012, 15:37
The truth is an absolute. I thought Athiests did not subscribe to absolutes.

There are no absolutes, absolutely

Paul7
04-13-2012, 12:49
This is you attempting to resolve your own internal cognitive dissonance. Your belief system tells you that the moral path rests only with your god. When confronted with other people who also seem to be moral, but do not believe as you, you must find a way to resolve the incongruity in your own mind.

What incongruity? Atheists can be moral because God has written his laws on human hearts, as the Bible tells us. Although why an atheist wants to be moral is beyond me. The dead universe doesn't care about such things.

Paul7
04-13-2012, 12:51
I was born and grew up in Israel. I never found any reason in Religion. It always looked stupid to me even as a child. I did my Bar-Mitzvah and that was about as religious as I got.

The older I get, the dumber religion is to me.

Which proves what?

lomfs24
04-13-2012, 13:38
What incongruity? Atheists can be moral because God has written his laws on human hearts, as the Bible tells us. Although why an atheist wants to be moral is beyond me. The dead universe doesn't care about such things.

:wow::wow: I guess it's good that some people are theists. You have basically said that if you didn't believe in God you would be an immoral person. That if you didn't have an archaic 3000 year old book you would have no morals. You are more sacred of big brother watching from the sky than you are concerned about others. That is very telling.

I am glad that the rest of the world is not the same way.

Geko45
04-13-2012, 13:52
What incongruity? Atheists can be moral because God has written his laws on human hearts, as the Bible tells us. Although why an atheist wants to be moral is beyond me. The dead universe doesn't care about such things.

From what Colubrid said, he apparently doesn't agree with you as his position was that athiests don't want there to be a god in order to continue living sinfully. I was responding to him when I said this. So, it is in incongruity in his worldview, but hopefully not in yours (although there may be others).

As to your second point. An athiest would choose to be moral because it's the right thing to do. The fact that we can come up with that on our own without instruction I think says more about our character than it does for people who only behave morally out of fear of punishment.

As for a practical purpose for moral behavior, it simply makes good sense. I don't want to be killed, robbed or otherwise victimized myself, so I agree to live by laws and standards that reflect that. We make this choice as a soceity because it is better for us all if we agree on a certain basic code of conduct to prevent anarchy in the streets. It's the core premise contained in Rousseau's Social Contract.

Animal Mother
04-13-2012, 15:32
What incongruity? Atheists can be moral because God has written his laws on human hearts, as the Bible tells us. Although why an atheist wants to be moral is beyond me. The dead universe doesn't care about such things. God has written his laws on human hearts, yet those laws change over time and from place to place to meet with the standards of different societies. Convenient that. Maybe it's actually that Christians manage to be moral because they internalize the laws of Odin Allfather, despite denying His divinity.

G26S239
04-13-2012, 18:01
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...Sometimes just because. Sometimes because of a post/thread that I find particularly interesting or ridiculous.


Why do you identify yourself as an Atheist? Did something happen that influenced you? Did you ever believe? Were you raised in a religious environment?Because the lack of evidence is so obvious to me that I don't feel like giving a waffling answer just to account for the fact that I have not looked under every single rock on Earth, behind the Moon etc. I don't recall ever believing. I do recall shortly after turning 7 in the Summer between 1st and 2nd grades getting irritated with a crappy non responsive non answer @ Methodist Sunday school* and telling my grandmother that I was done going to church. She did not like that and would have kept taking me but my mother backed me up. Aside from my grandmother I was not in a religious family. Later when my mother married my dad (step dad technically) and part of that family was devout SDA the die was cast and I saw no difference in the lack of evidence of god(s).


What kind of proof would it take to make you believe? A public display of a magnificent miracle? A private epiphany?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Personal anecdotes do not qualify as extraordinary. Praying for guidance, as some recommend, makes no more sense to me than killing a chicken or dancing naked around a fire. If God(s) want me to know of his/her/their existence he/she/they can do so. If it is all just a test to have all the ants in God(s) Uncle Milton's Ant Farm jump through hoops in tests designed to fail the majority of the class I don't feel like playing for the entertainment of such a narcissist.


*That was the straw that broke the Camel's back not just one crappy attempt at answering.

English
04-15-2012, 11:22
What follows is a tidied up, added to and much extended post based on my post #26.

Good questions with some very good answers. I'll take the last two first. I was raised in a moderately religious environment. My maternal grandparents were Methodists and did good works. My father a moderate believer. My mother was not really a believer but did not tell me that till I told her I didn't believe. Went to Sunday school and even as an 8 year old it was obviously absurd nonsense. The probability of any of it being remotely true was so small that it made no sense to call myself an agnostic - the only honest position was atheist even if there remains the tiniest possibility that one of thousands of religions were true.

What would it take to make me believe? I cannot imagine anything that would do anything other than make me doubt my temporary or permanent mental state.

That leads in to the meaning of insanity. Insanity is having a mental construct of the nature of life and the world which contains major discrepancies between what is believed and what there is evidence for. The primary difficulty here lies in the word "major" and the secondary difficulty lies in the fact that we necessarily have numerous discrepancies because we are unable to gain enough evidence. You only have to look at such trivial matters as caliber wars to see this in action. Many people, perhaps a very large majority, tie themselves to opinions for which they have no substantial evidence. Within this simple definition, religious people are insane, and living in a world where the majority are insane is disturbing or frightening, depending on your imagination and knowledge.

A child who believes in Father Christmas is not insane. He believes that Father Christmas brings him presents and he gets presents as expected. He has evidence that supports his false belief and he does not yet have the mental power to think of alternative explanations. If that child grows up with a normal intelligence and no one tells him that Father Christmas does not exist, at what age or level of developing intelligence can we consider him to be mentally odd or insane to some minor degree?

Believing in a religion is both similar and different. It is similar because it is belief without evidence but unlike the relatively trivial case of expecting presents from some unreal entity at Christmas, religion can make a major difference to an individual's life. This ranges from persuading people to support him in his ministry with money and followers at one end to making himself a human bomb to destroy unbelievers at the other. In general, life follows the computing principle of garbage in, garbage out. Individuals who believe false ideas are likely to suffer from those beliefs because they act incorrectly.

If a jackal, for instance, believed that right was on his side and would protect him when he went to eat the lion's meal, the jackal would have a short and unproductive life. So if that applies to jackals, why does it not apply equally to people? The answer can only be that there is some social advantage that outweighs the personal disadvantage.

The life of Mohammed illustrates this well. He managed not only to attract and keep followers but to persuade them that if they died in the process of killing unbelievers or expanding the domain of Islam they would go directly to Paradise regardless of other sins. Most would agree that this is a more powerful idea than confession purging your sins so that you can sin again for another week, but both have their attractions. This Muslim belief produced a phenomenal rate of conquest which spread Islam over the Middle East, North Africa, Southern and Eastern Europe, and India in a remarkably short time. There but for the counter belief in Christianity might have been all of Europe.

If we look at the situation of the individual under Mohammed, he stood a good chance of dying but also a chance of living well with wealth slaves and concubines from conquered peoples. In a biological sense, it is hard for us to decide the balance of benefits to this. If he dies in an early battle, everything is lost. If he survives and makes a name for himself then he is likely to father many children and there is a great gain. We don't know the proportions of each and so we can't judge but going into battle with the belief that being killed is a good outcome does not seem to be an optimum survival strategy. This attitude is not completely unique to Muslims. The Vikings believed something similar and the European Crusaders had a specific dispensation, if that is an appropriate word, from the Pope that achieved the same effect for the duration of the Crusade. Clearly, this anti survival strategy is a good thing for the project of conquest but not so good for the individual. If the individual soldier did not believe that death in battle would necessarily take him straight to heaven but believed that his one life was all the life he would ever have, would he still behave in the same way? I think not, and on that basis I consider such behaviour to be insane.

The thing is that this propensity to believe complete unsubstantiated nonsense was not invented by Mohammed, or the religions that preceded it but was waiting there for him to manipulate. Norske thinks religion was invented to facilitate government, but I think that is not a valid supposition. It was used to facilitate government but not invented for that purpose. Religion had to precede government and the tendency to believe nonsense had to precede that! And the tendency to risk your life for some greater value also had to precede religion and government.

If you don't think that is an interesting idea, I think you have not paused to think about it. Why and from when was it beneficial to the evolution of the breeding group for the individual to believe nonsense and to risk his life for something other than personal gain?

The natural state of social animals, amongst which we can include early humans and hominids, is to live in smallish, mainly closed, breeding groups. These groups defended their territories and, as we can see from chimpanzees, meerkats and others, they conducted killing raids on neighbouring groups. In an objective sense, this was a means of reducing the competitive strength of their neighbours who were automatically their greatest threat. The animals themselves did not think like this and just acted that way from instinct or, possibly, from culture, since those groups that accepted raids on themselves but did not raid their neighbours would die out. If any group became particularly successful it increased its numbers enough to first take over a neighbouring territory, which meant driving out or killing its occupants. It would then become too big to remain under what we can call “single management” and would split into two new groups. This system is a major component of the evolutionary process of social animals and it is worth thinking about why this is.

The survival of an individual in the sense of his or her genes passing on to successive generations in at least the same proportion of the population depends on the number and survival of his or her offspring. That immediate success increases with social position as a higher rank means that the individual gets higher ranking mates and his or her offspring almost always attain a higher level ranking themselves. In times of environmental hardship, it is higher ranking individuals and their offspring that are most likely to survive till better times return. The second level of survival depends on the success of his or her society or breeding group. If a group looses its territory its individuals are unlikely to survive. If a group expands and takes over a neighbouring territory it is likely to result in the individual doubling his or her immediate genetic survival rate. Just as it is worth the individual taking some risks to find food for him or her self and offspring so it is worth taking some risks to improve the survival of the group itself. There is a popular idea that nature is more a matter of cooperation that competition, but the simple fact is that cooperation, within limits, works within the group, but that outside the group nature red in tooth and claw is the norm.

Within the social group anything that makes an individual a craftier, more lethal, fighter and raider is to the benefit of both the individual and the group and any such superior individual is in demand as a mate. If you have ever wondered why so many women fall for bad boys, this is why – it is built into the genes from our pre-human ancestry and reinforced through our human ancestry.

Humans, like other social animals, are a war making species and the demands of war are the same at all levels. War demands individual courage and the acceptance of serious risk. It requires followers and leaders because war must be directed and pursued with a unitary goal. War require quick tactical decisions from leaders and instant obedience from followers. Following a less than optimum strategy in war is better than following no strategy at all. The implication is simple. Most individuals need to be able to believe nonsense rather than cause a delay in the application of war strategy or tactics.

This system has worked for creatures much less intelligent than humans and still works for us, but the consequence is that we are very good at believing nonsense even when we are not at war. And so the precondition for religious belief existed before religion was invented.

Humans differ from other animals by the extent to which they have evolved the ability to think consciously and this has developed step by step with the development of language. People can think about problems and communicate their thoughts to others. As this ability has developed we have developed the instinctive desire to explain the world about us so that we can apply conscious thought to finding solutions to its problems. Conscious thought is of no benefit unless we use it and so we had to evolve the drive to think as we evolved the ability to think.

Once we had this development we were able not only to think of ways to trap animals or make better arrows, but to think of the mystery of life and death, to imagine monsters in the dark and some supernatural intelligence controlling environmental phenomena. We could then invent religion. And we did so again and again. This did not need to wait for the development of agriculture and agrarian civilization but was an inevitable consequence of thought and language. So religion was waiting as a precursor to the development of civilization and dominance by government and government provided the motivation to develop religion in the service of government.

People follow leaders, become leaders or are born leaders and they must be so because it is the only way in which social groups can be effective. To be a leader an individual must be seen as a leader – he or she must have charisma. Once someone can gain that position they can persuade followers of most improbable ideas and it is in their interests to persuade them of ideas that reinforce their charisma. Hitler, Juan Peron and Eva Peron are examples though it is likely that Juan Peron would not have made it without the drive and intelligence of Eva and that Eva would not have made it without first being the wife of Juan. Fear can help! Stalin and Mao Ze Dung are good examples – both lacked charisma but made up for it with fear.

Religions rise or fall with their appeal to what people want and fear. Hence Heaven and Hell. Their ideas don't have to make much sense as long as they offer what people yearn for. As we can see in the great majority of religions, the penalties for not being a member are usually severe on this earthly plain and ultimately sever in the promised life after death. Those who do not believe the current religion and demonstrate it convincingly or are very good at pretending belief are likely to have a short life. And so for some 10,000 years societies under every religion has been breeding people who want a religion to believe in or are born liars. If the naturally religious don't have a religion already, they will search for one. This is how what we disparagingly call “cult” religions can convert so many people and then get them to do very unnatural things, like giving their wealth to their Guru, cutting off all contact with their families, becoming prostitutes for the good of the cult, and so on.

One of the things Mao demonstrated very clearly was that it is to the advantage of someone at the head of one of these irrational belief systems to get rid of dissenters as quickly, as painfully and as publicly as possible. This removes the presence of counter arguments and makes others frightened to show anything other than enthusiastic support.

There is an old fashioned word which all proper religions wave around, and socialists and communists wish they had a good substitute for. It is “evil” and the social system I have described above is evil, but at the same time we must accept the biological reality of human beings. Probably a majority are religious by genetic inheritance. No reasoned argument will change their desire for some superior power to believe in though they might change from one to another and, in particular , many such people have given their spiritual identities to socialism rather than religion proper.

In a study of religion in families it was discovered that in religious families most children believed what their parents believed but with less intensity until some time between puberty and about 5 years later when they either drifted away from religion or became more committed to it. Unfortunately, I don't have a reference for this and don't remember whether they found some trustworthy proportion between joiners and leavers. The study was done in a Western country of course and I think it likely that the proportion of leavers in Muslim countries would have been much lower because they have been culling their non believers more rigorously than Christian countries in at least the last two or three centuries.

What this comes down to is that the idea of creating a rational atheist society – note that the word rational excludes socialist societies – is a pipe dream. Society has to be able to accommodate the religious and the non religious but needs a constitution that prevents the religious as a whole, not just governments, from imposing their beliefs on others.

English

Bearlaker
04-15-2012, 12:21
My family, except for one of my younger bros., are all staunch Mormons. My youngest son is serving a "mission" for the church. There is some conflict, just like all families but no reason not to coexist.

Celtic Pride
04-16-2012, 12:43
I discovered that it is the philosophy of Jesus that attracts me, the whole divine thing is problematic.
Raised Christian, Seminary trained...pastor for a while...began thinking through the whole "faith" thing ..too many questions left unanswered.

You say that it is the philosophy of Jesus that attracts you, but you're not remembering that it was Jesus himself that taught on faith and its importance. Many of the questions that an intelligent man has can not be answered simply. You and I both know that there IS a cure to cancer. We, even our sharpest minds have not yet found the cure (or answer) if you prefer. Just a short 200 years ago mans mind could not conceive of a man walking on the moon or flying in the sky. That is why Jesus placed such importance on faith. I do not claim to be a very intelligent man. I do not understand advanced math or advanced physics theories ..... but I do not deny its exsistence. I do not know the limits of what I do not know.

Bren
04-16-2012, 13:17
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...



Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say that the greatest good of a man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living — that you are still less likely to believe.


I'm being semi-ironic.

Celtic Pride
04-16-2012, 14:15
"Since you don't believe as I do, why do you come here and poke me in my belief with a sharp stick?"

So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...


The answer to that question is quite simple actually.

Non believers have nothing to "defend" or "prove". How can anyone mount a logical attack against the position of "I dont believe in anything?" If they have a position it will be based on known sciene. Notice I say "known" science. I believe in science also, but science has its limits. Man will continue to learn.

Believers on the other hand are trying to discuss something that is based on faith. Faith by its very definition can not be proven ... or they would call it scientific fact.

In short, the non believers are always on the offense while the believers defend (defense) their faith. Anyone with knowledge of sports knows that playing defense is more straining than playing offense. Since non believers believe solely in what can be proven, there scientific arguments can not be argued against, although science does not disprove God. If it could, we would not be having these debates.

Our positions on the other hand are very difficult to understand without faith, and being based on faith certainly cant be proven.

Basically, its a field day for non believers !!!!!

Animal Mother
04-16-2012, 22:09
The answer to that question is quite simple actually.

Non believers have nothing to "defend" or "prove". How can anyone mount a logical attack against the position of "I dont believe in anything?" If they have a position it will be based on known sciene. Notice I say "known" science. I believe in science also, but science has its limits. Man will continue to learn.

Believers on the other hand are trying to discuss something that is based on faith. Faith by its very definition can not be proven ... or they would call it scientific fact.

In short, the non believers are always on the offense while the believers defend (defense) their faith. Anyone with knowledge of sports knows that playing defense is more straining than playing offense. Since non believers believe solely in what can be proven, there scientific arguments can not be argued against, although science does not disprove God. If it could, we would not be having these debates.

Our positions on the other hand are very difficult to understand without faith, and being based on faith certainly cant be proven.

Basically, its a field day for non believers !!!!!Apparently you're completely unfamiliar with how things are actually going in the real world. It's the believers who keep trying to pass legislation to slip their faith into science, who try and shout down those who advocate rational thought and evidence as a foundation for their positions.

Paul7
04-16-2012, 22:43
From what Colubrid said, he apparently doesn't agree with you as his position was that athiests don't want there to be a god in order to continue living sinfully. I was responding to him when I said this. So, it is in incongruity in his worldview, but hopefully not in yours (although there may be others).

As to your second point. An athiest would choose to be moral because it's the right thing to do. The fact that we can come up with that on our own without instruction I think says more about our character than it does for people who only behave morally out of fear of punishment.

As for a practical purpose for moral behavior, it simply makes good sense. I don't want to be killed, robbed or otherwise victimized myself, so I agree to live by laws and standards that reflect that. We make this choice as a soceity because it is better for us all if we agree on a certain basic code of conduct to prevent anarchy in the streets. It's the core premise contained in Rousseau's Social Contract.

You're kicking the can down the road by saying what is moral is what is right. How does a materialist decide what is right?

William Lane Craig showing that if there is no God, objective moral values don't exist:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-indispensability-of-theological-meta-ethical-foundations-for-morality

Animal Mother
04-16-2012, 23:26
William Lane Craig showing that if there is no God, objective moral values don't exist: How are the existence of God and objective moral values tied together? Even if a god, we'll say the Christian God for the purpose of discussion, imposes a specific morality, it's still the subjective morality of that god, not something that exists objectively and independently.

Bren
04-17-2012, 04:54
You're kicking the can down the road by saying what is moral is what is right. How does a materialist decide what is right?

William Lane Craig showing that if there is no God, objective moral values don't exist:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-indispensability-of-theological-meta-ethical-foundations-for-morality

Apparently you and Mr. Craig are completely unfamiliar with the field of philosophy. But even given that, it seems like you'd realize most of the world's population have never been part of your religion, yet all people have similar morals. That never made you think?

lomfs24
04-17-2012, 07:10
...it seems like you'd realize most of the world's population have never been part of your religion, yet all people have similar morals. That never made you think?

Stock answer from "My religion is better than yours" 101 class.

Yes, all people have the laws of God written on their heart because God created all people. So all people have similar values. I, however, have to have a Bible and an entire religion that forces me to give 10% of all I earn in order for me to see those laws written on my heart by God's finger. If I didn't have that I would quickly become an immoral person if God wasn't looking over my shoulder.

[/Stock answer from "My religion is better than yours" 101 class]

Geko45
04-17-2012, 07:55
You're kicking the can down the road by saying what is moral is what is right. How does a materialist decide what is right?

William Lane Craig showing that if there is no God, objective moral values don't exist:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-indispensability-of-theological-meta-ethical-foundations-for-morality

Well, of course objective moral values would not exist since there would be no objective source for them, but subjective moral values still would exist and since we are all homo sapiens that generally have the same goals and purposes in life, our individual subjective morals are typically more in sync with one another than not.

Your next question will be, "What about the exceptions?" Yes, there are always exceptions. There are those that see nothing wrong with killing another human being or otherwise doing them harm for personal benefit. This is where Rousseau's Social Contract comes into play (which you apparently are not familiar with).

Rousseau proposed that there was an implied contract in society that we all agreed to live by that contained a set of rules (even some we personally may not agree with) because the overall proposition was a net gain for the individual. Or, to elaborate further, the benefit gained in being secure in your property and person was worth giving up the ability to attempt to take what you want from others by force.

We codify this contract in the form of laws. We say murder, assault, robbery should be banned. We agree to pay taxes to fund a legal system to pursue, prosecute and imprison anyone found breaking those laws. We do this so that we can all live in relative peace and not have to constantly look over our shoulders like we were living in a survival of the fittest scenario.

Now you'll ask, "But how do we decide exactly what those laws should be?" The answer to that depends on what you believe the implied contract really is. Each major form of government has a different idea of what that implied contract represents. A democratic republic, for instance, might phrase it as, "You are free to do as you please as long as you don't prevent someone else from doing the same." A socialist society might phrase it as, "We need to make sure everyone has enough food, shelter, medicine, etc."

So, as you can see, the often ignored social contract is where our multitude and varied forms of government originate. A different core premise is what then dictates the authority and limits that governments has. Here in the US, we fare better than others because we didn't leave the social contract as an implied ideal, we actually committed it to paper in the form of our Constitution.

So there you have it, an accurate model of how societies develop their own moral code without the need for a divine objective source. Which I would also point out is a model that more accurate describes what we see in the real world as opposed to some mystical concept of having it "written on our hearts" by some deity.

Celtic Pride
04-17-2012, 09:27
Apparently you're completely unfamiliar with how things are actually going in the real world. It's the believers who keep trying to pass legislation to slip their faith into science, who try and shout down those who advocate rational thought and evidence as a foundation for their positions.

My response was not regarding the real world. If you had read the post I was responding to, you would have seen that the area in question was confined to the Religious Issues section of Glock Talk. I am very much aware of what happens in the real world. But thank you for your response. Is your initial condecending attitude towards me an indication of your character and disposition?

Paul7
04-17-2012, 10:18
Apparently you and Mr. Craig are completely unfamiliar with the field of philosophy.

Not really.

"Craig received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Wheaton College, Illinois, in 1971 and two summa cum laude master's degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1975, in philosophy of religion and ecclesiastical history.[4] He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy under John Hick at the University of Birmingham, England in 1977 and a Th.D. under Wolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich in 1984.[5] From 1980 to 1986 he was an assistant professor of philosophy at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He briefly held the position of associate professor of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, from 1986 to 1987. From 1987 to 1994 Craig pursued further research at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Since 1996 he has held the position of research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, California.[5]" Wikipedia

But even given that, it seems like you'd realize most of the world's population have never been part of your religion, yet all people have similar morals. That never made you think?

Thanks for proving my point, the Bible says God's law has been written on man's heart, which would explain why atheists can live relatively moral lives. That won't help them on Judgement Day, unfortunately.

Norske
04-17-2012, 10:44
Thanks for proving my point, the Bible says God's law has been written on man's heart, which would explain why atheists can live relatively moral lives. That won't help them on Judgement Day, unfortunately.



I view myself as a moral person who is agnostic.

I do not concede that "morality" is handed down from any supernatural being whose existence cannot be proven.

"Morality" are the rules we have evolved over time to relate to one another. They are usually said to be handed down by "God" but I doubt it.

The basis of my personal philosophy is that the Initiation of Offensive Violence is immoral. That the use of Defensive Violence is morally acceptable.

It then follows any act that unnecessarily harms another person is immoral.

That "proper" morality is that behavior that does not harm others.

Jesus himself broke the 10 Commandments down to just two. To paraphrase, "Love God". And "Love thy Neighbor".

"Love God" summarizes Commandments 1 through 4.

"Love thy Neighbor" summarizes Commandments 5 through 10.

I believe that the practical effect of "Love God" and Commandments 1 through 4 boils down to worldly submission to the Authorities of whatever society you, me, or any other human being lives in.

I believe that "Love thy Neighbor" and Commandments 5through 10 summarize basic human morality that has been found, by trial and error over the past 10,000 or so years, that we need to live by as a society.

But really, if we mutually agree to abide by "Love thy Neighbor" and Commandments 5 through 10, Why is it even necessary to say that they were "handed down by God"?

What works, works whether it came from God or not.

What does not work is discarded. :dunno:

Geko45
04-17-2012, 11:13
Thanks for proving my point, the Bible says God's law has been written on man's heart, which would explain why atheists can live relatively moral lives. That won't help them on Judgement Day, unfortunately.

This is all bogus as I previously provided a much more plausible explanation why certain basic morals transcend cultural barriers, but let us suppose for a second that god did write them on our heart's. What does that tell us?

It tells me that he did a fairly piss poor job of it as we seem to be able to ignore them at will. And not only did he do a bad job of writing our basic instruction code, but now he's going to judge us against a standard that he failed to accurately inscribe within us? Seems kinda messed up to me.

Celtic Pride
04-17-2012, 11:46
I view myself as a moral person who is agnostic.

But really, if we mutually agree to abide by "Love thy Neighbor" and Commandments 5 through 10, Why is it even necessary to say that they were "handed down by God"?


If you believe and live by the words that you posted, I too believe that you are a moral man. But that being stated, you are not a man without sin (or a violation of those rules), just like everyone else. If everyone chose to live according to the rules as you posted, the world would a much better place, but not perfect because we as humans are not perfect. But IF everyone agreed and attempted living according to those outlined precepts, I agree that stating the rules come from God would be irrelevant. At least in this world. The next world is a different matter completely. I know you are a non believer and I respect that, so I will not bore you any further.

Paul7
04-17-2012, 16:46
This is all bogus as I previously provided a much more plausible explanation why certain basic morals transcend cultural barriers, but let us suppose for a second that god did write them on our heart's. What does that tell us?

It tells me that he did a fairly piss poor job of it as we seem to be able to ignore them at will. And not only did he do a bad job of writing our basic instruction code, but now he's going to judge us against a standard that he failed to accurately inscribe within us? Seems kinda messed up to me.

He gave us freewill, which some like yourself misuse. Would you prefer to be a robot?

427
04-17-2012, 19:52
He gave us freewill, which some like yourself misuse. Would you prefer to be a robot?

You don't misuse your free will as you accuse Geko45 and others of doing? Or do you misuse it believing you'll have salvation?

lomfs24
04-17-2012, 20:21
So, why do you come to this forum and argue with folks who believe? Inquiring Theistic minds wanna know...


Ok, so I bought a book the other day called "God, No Signs You May Already be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette. I am only half way through it and have laugh through the entire book. Pretty good read.

In this book he talks about proselytizing and whether you should do it or not. And he brought up a pretty good point. On a subject as important as this we have the moral obligation to proselytize. No matter who you are. He gave an example. You see a person walking in the middle of a railroad track near a curve with their headphones in. You walk up to this person and say, "Dude, you're on a railroad track! Get off before you get hit." And this person says "Go Away! I don't want to talk to you." Do you go away and let them get hit? No, you plead with him more. Now you see light coming from around the corner. You say "Look, there's a train coming" And he waves you off. The ground is beginning to rumble. Now you are even more frantic. He is getting more angry at you for bothering him. The ground is now shaking, rocks are beginning to rattle, you look up and there is a train right there. And at the last second you literally reach up and pull him from the path of the speeding train. It's the morally right thing to do. Not let him get killed.

Now if you truly believed that Christianity, and particularly your brand of Christianity, is right you should be in everyone's face about it, dragging them from the path of the train. The end is coming, the train is coming. It is your moral obligation to do so. I expect you to do so.

Now if you are an atheist, the train that is coming is religion. The destructive power of religion that we have seen for thousands of years and continue to see. It's morally an atheists responsibility to squash the destructive nonsense that spews forth from religion. It's an atheists moral responsibility to educate the the uneducated about religion.

As a result, we have a mix of people on this board that represent both atheism and theism. That's the way it should be. Unfortunately, since it's the theists that come up with the short end of the stick on nearly every topic discussed, it's the theists that whine and complain that atheists are here.

Kingarthurhk
04-18-2012, 05:44
Ok, so I bought a book the other day called "God, No Signs You May Already be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales" by Penn Jillette. I am only half way through it and have laugh through the entire book. Pretty good read.

In this book he talks about proselytizing and whether you should do it or not. And he brought up a pretty good point. On a subject as important as this we have the moral obligation to proselytize. No matter who you are. He gave an example. You see a person walking in the middle of a railroad track near a curve with their headphones in. You walk up to this person and say, "Dude, you're on a railroad track! Get off before you get hit." And this person says "Go Away! I don't want to talk to you." Do you go away and let them get hit? No, you plead with him more. Now you see light coming from around the corner. You say "Look, there's a train coming" And he waves you off. The ground is beginning to rumble. Now you are even more frantic. He is getting more angry at you for bothering him. The ground is now shaking, rocks are beginning to rattle, you look up and there is a train right there. And at the last second you literally reach up and pull him from the path of the speeding train. It's the morally right thing to do. Not let him get killed.

Now if you truly believed that Christianity, and particularly your brand of Christianity, is right you should be in everyone's face about it, dragging them from the path of the train. The end is coming, the train is coming. It is your moral obligation to do so. I expect you to do so.

Now if you are an atheist, the train that is coming is religion. The destructive power of religion that we have seen for thousands of years and continue to see. It's morally an atheists responsibility to squash the destructive nonsense that spews forth from religion. It's an atheists moral responsibility to educate the the uneducated about religion.

As a result, we have a mix of people on this board that represent both atheism and theism. That's the way it should be. Unfortunately, since it's the theists that come up with the short end of the stick on nearly every topic discussed, it's the theists that whine and complain that atheists are here.

On the contrary. Since the Atheists are here, I am going to do my best to minister to them; because as you say, I do see the train comming. I know it is comming. It is about as frustrating as the men I had to convince to get out of a storm drain when they were afraid of me when a torrential rain was going on and it is flooding. If they had stayed there, they would die. With some coaxing and at risk to myself, I pulled them out.

I had a partner then, this was years ago, who was astounded by the whole thing. I didn't do it to impress him, or anyone else. I did it, because it was the right thing to do.

He went about the rest of the shift extolling my virtues on the matter. It was nice of him, but I wasn't looking for that. As a matter-of-fact, I am not looking for it now either.

I am to do what I am able to do for Atheists, since they are here, because I know very well that "the train is comming."

BlayGlock
04-18-2012, 06:48
Now if you are an atheist, the train that is coming is religion. The destructive power of religion that we have seen for thousands of years and continue to see. It's morally an atheists responsibility to squash the destructive nonsense that spews forth from religion. It's an atheists moral responsibility to educate the the uneducated about religion.

I have a question regarding this. First, I do agree with you 100% that religion can be a destructive force. But would you not also agree that institutionalized irreligion can be just as destructive to human happiness and wellbeing?

BTW: This has been a very interesting thread. Thanks to all who replied sharing your experiences.

lomfs24
04-18-2012, 06:49
On the contrary. Since the Atheists are here, I am going to do my best to minister to them; because as you say, I do see the train comming. I know it is comming. It is about as frustrating as the men I had to convince to get out of a storm drain when they were afraid of me when a torrential rain was going on and it is flooding. If they had stayed there, they would die. With some coaxing and at risk to myself, I pulled them out.

I had a partner then, this was years ago, who was astounded by the whole thing. I didn't do it to impress him, or anyone else. I did it, because it was the right thing to do.

He went about the rest of the shift extolling my virtues on the matter. It was nice of him, but I wasn't looking for that. As a matter-of-fact, I am not looking for it now either.

I am to do what I am able to do for Atheists, since they are here, because I know very well that "the train is comming."I am not sure what you think is contrary. I expect you, whether I agree with you or not, I expect you to try to save me. You should expect that I should try to save you.

And whether I agree with you or not about theology, that is the right attitude to have. You are trying to save me from the "train" or "flood waters" or the "end of times" etc... You are trying to get me to see the light.

I, on the other hand, see the destructive power of religion and I will try my best to save you from that. To liberate you from a 3000 year oppressive community based on ancient rituals and myths. I am trying to save you from that "train".

So... I have never once seen an Atheist here say "Why do all those theists come here and poke me about what I believe?" I have, though, seen theists say that about atheists.

The point that I am trying to get across KA is that whether we agree or not, we both have the same moral obligation to be here arguing with each other. Whoever gives up first has said "Fine, you wanna stay in the storm drain, you go right ahead."

That's why atheists are here, it's the same moral obligation religious folks have.

lomfs24
04-18-2012, 07:07
I have a question regarding this. First, I do agree with you 100% that religion can be a destructive force. But would you not also agree that institutionalized irreligion can be just as destructive to human happiness and wellbeing?

BTW: This has been a very interesting thread. Thanks to all who replied sharing your experiences.

What do you mean by institutionalized irreligion?

G26S239
04-18-2012, 07:20
He gave us freewill, which some like yourself misuse. Would you prefer to be a robot?

:rofl: That's a good one. Free will is Yahweh's idea of a joke like the Japanese game show where contestants pick a door to try and run through. On the game show if they pick the wrong door they will be a little sore and go home in defeat. In Yahweh's ongoing test of his Uncle Miltons Ant Farm subjects they are given more wrong choices than right choices and the losers get tortured for eternity. That is love for ya. Oddly enough when that guy in Austria locked his daughter in a cellar for 25 years it was not defined as love. But he only tormented (loved) his daughter for 25 years. Yahweh will love (torment) those who pick wrong for eternity. Might = right in Yahweh's universe.

BlayGlock
04-18-2012, 07:54
What do you mean by institutionalized irreligion?

The state-sponsored removal of religious thought and observance from public life.

Norske
04-18-2012, 11:07
If you believe and live by the words that you posted, I too believe that you are a moral man. But that being stated, you are not a man without sin (or a violation of those rules), just like everyone else. If everyone chose to live according to the rules as you posted, the world would a much better place, but not perfect because we as humans are not perfect. But IF everyone agreed and attempted living according to those outlined precepts, I agree that stating the rules come from God would be irrelevant. At least in this world. The next world is a different matter completely. I know you are a non believer and I respect that, so I will not bore you any further.

It depends on your definition of "sin".

My definition of sin is as stated; unecessary action or possibly inaction on my part that harms others.

Others, usually the "faithful", define "sin" as violation of any of the 10 Commandments.

I break Commandments 1-4 each and every day because I believe that they are not what they say they are.

I think what they really are are a means to force the dumb masses to knuckle under to the authority of their self-appointed "betters". :steamed:

Specifically, Moses, at the time that Moses wrote them and personnally chiseled onto the Stone Tablets he then lied about receiving from the hand of God.

Moses wrote C 1-4 with that exact purpose in mind; the secular authority they gained for him over the Hebrew Nation he led out of Egypt. :whistling:

I do obey Commandments 5 through 10 because these are the fundamental morality that is in concert with my definition of avoiding sin by not harming others. :cool:

So, if by the measure of others I am a "sinner" because I violate Commandments 1-4 with impunity, I can accept that. :dunno:

Although we are all sinners and all fall short of what we should be in this life, I do not consider myself a sinner for violating C 1-4 so long as I do my best to adhere to C 5-10.

:supergrin:

G23Gen4TX
04-18-2012, 12:11
It depends on your definition of "sin".

My definition of sin is as stated; unecessary action or possibly inaction on my part that harms others.

Others, usually the "faithful", define "sin" as violation of any of the 10 Commandments.

I break Commandments 1-4 each and every day because I believe that they are not what they say they are.

I think what they really are are a means to force the dumb masses to knuckle under to the authority of their self-appointed "betters". :steamed:

Specifically, Moses, at the time that Moses wrote them and personnally chiseled onto the Stone Tablets he then lied about receiving from the hand of God.

Moses wrote C 1-4 with that exact purpose in mind; the secular authority they gained for him over the Hebrew Nation he led out of Egypt. :whistling:

I do obey Commandments 5 through 10 because these are the fundamental morality that is in concert with my definition of avoiding sin by not harming others. :cool:

So, if by the measure of others I am a "sinner" because I violate Commandments 1-4 with impunity, I can accept that. :dunno:

Although we are all sinners and all fall short of what we should be in this life, I do not consider myself a sinner for violating C 1-4 so long as I do my best to adhere to C 5-10.

:supergrin:

QFT. I couldn't have put it better in words myself.

Animal Mother
04-18-2012, 14:34
He gave us freewill, which some like yourself misuse. Would you prefer to be a robot?
He gave you free will, unless he needs you to do something specific, like with Pharaoh. Then free will goes out the window.

Norske
04-18-2012, 14:40
The state-sponsored removal of religious thought and observance from public life.

Which, so long as the state involved maintains respect for the liberties of the individual, is a good thing in my view.

:supergrin:

Tilley
04-18-2012, 14:44
Which, so long as the state involved maintains respect for the liberties of the individual, is a good thing in my view.

:supergrin:

Good one Adolf...:rofl:

Norske
04-18-2012, 14:58
Good one Adolf...:rofl:

If you are calling me a Nazi,

You do recognize that the Nazis were a State that did not respect the rights of the individual, and so were specifically not who I was talking about, right? :dunno:

Tilley
04-18-2012, 15:06
If you are calling me a Nazi,

You do recognize that the Nazis were a State that did not respect the rights of the individual, and so were specifically not who I was talking about, right? :dunno:

If the State "maintains respect for the liberties of the individual" which is me, and I choose to worship my faith in God in public, by what right does anyone have to stop me?

Norske
04-18-2012, 19:11
If the State "maintains respect for the liberties of the individual" which is me, and I choose to worship my faith in God in public, by what right does anyone have to stop me?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"....prohibiting the free exercise thereof" means that no one is restricting your right to worship as you see fit.

How is it that you think "the State" is doing so?

Of course, my own interpretation of the concept of "Freedom of Religion" is that I am permitted to be "Free OF Religion".

And that my ".....freedom of speech" includes my having the right to say that I believe all persons of religious faith to be feebleminded idiots who allow religious con men to run their lives for them. :dunno:

I will be the first to affirm that you have every right to feebleminded idiocy if you are so inclined. :upeyes:

BlayGlock
04-18-2012, 21:12
Of course, my own interpretation of the concept of "Freedom of Religion" is that I am permitted to be "Free OF Religion".

I thought you already were?

Tilley
04-18-2012, 21:51
I will be the first to affirm that you have every right to feebleminded idiocy if you are so inclined. :upeyes:

Why thank you so much, but I am afraid I can't...I am not an atheist. :upeyes:

lomfs24
04-19-2012, 00:11
I have a question regarding this. First, I do agree with you 100% that religion can be a destructive force. But would you not also agree that institutionalized irreligion can be just as destructive to human happiness and wellbeing?

BTW: This has been a very interesting thread. Thanks to all who replied sharing your experiences.

The state-sponsored removal of religious thought and observance from public life.

Back to your first question. That is a loaded question. I and realize that you did not intend for it to be.

First of all, I think anything that is institutionalized has the potential to cause harm. That being said I am sure you are, no doubt, referring to Nazi Germany, Communist Russia etc... Are you not?

I think it would be a far stretch for anyone to say that the removal of religion was, in any way, the cause of the atrocities committed by those in political power at the time. Rather I think the cause of those atrocities was those individuals greed and lust for power and control. The removal of religion was simply a means to and end. The political powers at the time realized that religion held great power over people. To the point that they would die for religion before they would sin against it. So by completely removing religion they were simply removing a competing force for loyalty. I have covered this in other threads in much more detail than I care to do at this late hour.

I would also encourage you to look into some of the history and exactly what ties those in power in Nazi Germany had with the Roman Catholic Church. I think you will find much closer ties to the Roman Catholic Church than either Germany or the Church would like to admit to now.

So to answer your question directly, NO, I do not think that the state sponsored removal of religious thought and observances from public life is the cause of harm to humans. Rather, I think it is the underlying motive as to why it would be removed that would potentially cause harm.

Do I think this government should remove religious thought and observances from public life. ABSOLUTELY NOT! I would much rather people nationwide come to their senses on their own and say "We're not going to do this BS anymore!"

BlayGlock
04-19-2012, 08:47
Thank you for the clarification.

Rather I think the cause of those atrocities was those individuals greed and lust for power and control.

So do you believe that the same could also be said for the individual religious leaders who purpotrated those crimes in the name of "religion" but that it was not the religion itself that was to blame?

English
04-19-2012, 10:26
...
So do you believe that the same could also be said for the individual religious leaders who purpotrated those crimes in the name of "religion" but that it was not the religion itself that was to blame?

I think that we can go beyond that. Although the desire for individual power has played its part in the inumerable atrocities comitted in the name of religion, it has always been the religion that justified and created the mode of thinking that led otherwise not too far from normal individuals to comit acts that normal human empathy and disgust would have prevented without the rationale provided by religion.

There is a small proportion of people who gain pleasure from causing others extreme pain, mutilation and death. Within free countries we try to catch them and lock them away. These people do not need any excuse provided by religion though some do have some kind of religious mania. Then there are those with extreme religiosity of personality who can be persuade to comit such acts for the good of their religion or even to save the souls of those they torture and kill, as in the Spanish Inquisition. The rationale here goes along the lines of, "If just one soul can be saved for God, the torture of a multitude, who are on their way to eternal torture in Hell, is justified." These are people who are sure that they are doing God's work! And then there are much more normal individuals who are caught in a trap of a shortage of torturers. Poor Sadam just could not find enough but it was made easier for them because they were all Sunnis and they torture almost only Shias who they knew were not tru Mulsims. These people were given the choice of torturing or being tortured and few choose to be tortured. Torturing people put these fairly ordinary under severe stress but they were likely to tell themslves that they are doing God's work, or working for the greater good of Copmmunism or the Aryan People or some such reason, but this is just cognitive dissonance at work.

The simple fact is that religion creates a psychological framework in which only those of that belief are truly human. Different religions at different times produce this perception to greater or lesser extents and, of course, some, those I describe as having extreme religiosity, are much more affected than others. Once this mind set is present, individuals of other faiths, or none' are treated as less than human and sometimes as less than animals. This is a direct fault of religion rather than the individual concerned and has horific consequences which are often on a mass scale rather than the few individuals tortured and killed by lone serial killers. From memory, 69 million under Stalin, 49 million under Mao and 25 million under Hitler.

You might say that Stalin, Mao and Hitler were not religious but it is the same obsessive belief in an irrational ideology with its human/non human divide that makes these things possible. They were merely the heads of a multitude of fervent acolytes just as the torturers of earlier Chritianity were led by their religious leaders to do God's work. Communism and Fascism have been the religions of atrocity of the 20th Century as Islam will be the religion of atrocity of the 21st. How else is it possible to bring together the numbers needed to comit mass atrocity except under the mind altering belief of religion or near religion?

The religious might say that their religion does not condone such things now, but the truth is that it did not just condone but encouraged it only a short time ago and that Islam still does so. How can the religious accept their religious herritage and sleep easily at night. How can they think that they are not playing with fire which can burst into flame again if circumstances change a little? How can they think that small perceived personal miracles are sufficient to ballance the evil that has been comitted under the guise of religion?

English

Syclone538
04-19-2012, 10:28
The state-sponsored removal of religious thought and observance from public life.

Totalitarianism in itself is destructive to human happiness and well being, regardless of the governments position on religion.

English
04-19-2012, 10:36
...
So do you believe that the same could also be said for the individual religious leaders who purpotrated those crimes in the name of "religion" but that it was not the religion itself that was to blame?

I think that we can go beyond that. Although the desire for individual power has played its part in the inumerable atrocities comitted in the name of religion, it has always been the religion that justified and created the mode of thinking that led otherwise not too far from normal individuals to comit acts that normal human empathy and disgust would have prevented without the rationale provided by religion.

There is a small proportion of people who gain pleasure from causing others extreme pain, mutilation and death. Within free countries we try to catch them and lock them away. These people do not need any excuse provided by religion though some do have some kind of religious mania. Then there are those with extreme religiosity of personality who can be persuade to comit such acts for the good of their religion or even to save the souls of those they torture and kill, as in the Spanish Inquisition. The rationale here goes along the lines of, "If just one soul can be saved for God, the torture of a multitude, who are on their way to eternal torture in Hell, is justified." These are people who are sure that they are doing God's work! And then there are much more normal individuals who are caught in a trap of a shortage of torturers. Poor Sadam just could not find enough but it was made easier for them because they were all Sunnis and they torture almost only Shias who they knew were not tru Mulsims. These people were given the choice of torturing or being tortured and few choose to be tortured. Torturing people put these fairly ordinary under severe stress but they were likely to tell themslves that they are doing God's work, or working for the greater good of Copmmunism or the Aryan People or some such reason, but this is just cognitive dissonance at work.

The simple fact is that religion creates a psychological framework in which only those of that belief are truly human. Different religions at different times produce this perception to greater or lesser extents and, of course, some, those I describe as having extreme religiosity, are much more affected than others. Once this mind set is present, individuals of other faiths, or none' are treated as less than human and sometimes as less than animals. This is a direct fault of religion rather than the individual concerned and has horific consequences which are often on a mass scale rather than the few individuals tortured and killed by lone serial killers. From memory, 69 million under Stalin, 49 million under Mao and 25 million under Hitler.

You might say that Stalin, Mao and Hitler were not religious but it is the same obsessive belief in an irrational ideology with its human/non human divide that makes these things possible. They were merely the heads of a multitude of fervent acolytes just as the torturers of earlier Chritianity were led by their religious leaders to do God's work. Communism and Fascism have been the religions of atrocity of the 20th Century as Islam will be the religion of atrocity of the 21st. How else is it possible to bring together the numbers needed to comit mass atrocity except under the mind altering belief of religion or near religion?

The religious might say that their religion does not condone such things now, but the truth is that it did not just condone but encouraged it only a short time ago and that Islam still does so. How can the religious accept their religious herritage and sleep easily at night. How can they think that they are not playing with fire which can burst into flame again if circumstances change a little? How can they think that what are perceived as small personal miracles are sufficient to ballance the evil that has been comitted under the guise of religion?

English

lomfs24
04-19-2012, 13:43
Thank you for the clarification.



So do you believe that the same could also be said for the individual religious leaders who purpotrated those crimes in the name of "religion" but that it was not the religion itself that was to blame?

English beat me to it and summed it up quite nicely. English did a much better job it explaining it than I would have.

I would only add; imagine the number of times an atrocity was being committed while someone was screaming "In the name of no god shall this be done". Verses how often an atrocity has been committed while uttering "God's will be done" or screaming "Allahu Akba".

Kingarthurhk
04-19-2012, 16:43
I think that we can go beyond that. Although the desire for individual power has played its part in the inumerable atrocities comitted in the name of religion, it has always been the religion that justified and created the mode of thinking that led otherwise not too far from normal individuals to comit acts that normal human empathy and disgust would have prevented without the rationale provided by religion.


English

Please explain the definate article "always". Not all religions have committed such acts. That is a logical fallacy.

Morever, please elaborate the religious predilections of the following individauls:

Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Napoleon, and Kim Jong Il if you would please.

lomfs24
04-19-2012, 18:47
Morever, please elaborate the religious predilections of the following individauls:

Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Napoleon, and Kim Jong Il if you would please.

Please refer to post #102 paragraph 3.

Paul7
04-20-2012, 08:12
He gave you free will, unless he needs you to do something specific, like with Pharaoh. Then free will goes out the window.

I think God has hardened your heart also.

Animal Mother
04-20-2012, 22:29
I think God has hardened your heart also. You now acknowledge the absence of free will?