GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

What are your thoughts on god?

POSTED BY: CHRISTHECYNIC
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 28, 2024 21:06
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Saturday, January 14, 2006 7:58 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


In the thread Evolution Sucks! over in Real World Event Discussions a lot has come up about god. Many people there are atheists, some (such as myself) are not. We have all agreed that Evolution does not suck, at least not in the way the thread starter believes, and blind faith should not be used in place of science.

I honestly believe that god has no place in discussion of Evolution, or science in general, because whether you are studying the work of god or you are not it hardly effects how you study it.

As such that thread isn't the place to ask this question: What do you all believe with respect to god? (Or gods, I don't want someone to stay out of this just because I use singular instead of plural.)

Or anything along the lines of god. Don't let religion get into it where it can be avoided, I'm talking about your personal beliefs if those beliefs are that a certain religion is right or wrong feel free to say it of course, but don't get on a tangent. (Especially If I don't, if I can show that restraint you can too.)

-

I do believe in god, I believe for reasons I don't fully understand, I just realized one day that I do believe. (No idea when I started to believe, I just realized one day that I already did.) In spite of that I think agnostics have the most logical approach, with a lack of proof it makes the most sense to keep an open mind.

As for what kind of god I believe in, my understanding of physics, which is limited, says that the only place for god is at a quantum level, the phenomena that we currently believe to be based solely on probability there could have an underlying but undiscovered pattern to them, and that would be the only place left for god.

I do not believe that god would break the laws of physics because if the assumption that god created the universe is correct it means that god created the laws of physics, why would anything create rules just to break them? Seems far too stupid for any god worthy of respect to me.

Of course the quantum level is so damn small, and in spite of having so much based on probability it turns out the way the classical laws predict on a macro scale anyway. But everything is on such a delicate balance, all it takes is one little thing to change everything, so it seems to me like with sufficient understanding manipulating quantum probability would be able to result in, say, someone having a specific vision of god saying specific things.

As for the personality of god, and the afterlife, it's all blind faith here. I've got no evidence, just belief. Of course I don't have any evidence for the rest either, but I feel I should point this out again here.

I don't think god is a vengeful ass who wants everyone that does not believe in the perfectly correct version of him to go to hell. (I also don't think god is male, but that hardly matters at all.) I don't think god would punish anyone, whether they believe in god or not, for things they honestly believe in.

If that (hellfire for the heathens) is what god is like I will gladly go to hell knowing that I had the moral high ground and god didn't. I will also almost immediately beg forgiveness for that action and apologize repeatedly for all of time (I don't think I could stand up to torture.)

I don't think there is a hell at all, but that is sort of to the side of god.

I don't think god is nasty at all, I mean all religions I know of say be nice to others (of course most of them also have a "kill the bastards" clause too, so much inconsistency.) But I also don't think god is all for total and absolute control of people's mind, which is what would probably be required to make people get along.

Leaves a kind of screwed up situation really. Even if god is all powerful no decent being (my definition of decent, hardly a universal constant) would actually use absolute power.

I just noticed how much I say about my beliefs is in the form, "I don't," but I think a lot of the perceptions of god make that kind of phrasing necessary.

I do think god cares about us and I do think god not only exists but is worthy of respect. Unfortunatly the reasons for that respect are hard to put into words, but I think this might give some insight into me: if the god I believe in doesn't exist I don't feel like I will have wasted anything in my belief because that god should exist.

Free will is a huge question that is really separate from god, the reasons some give for people not having free will are just as applicable to god, so the question isn't whether or not god grants free will, but whether or not it exists at all. I want it to exist, but that is hardly a sound argument for it existing. Unlike god there is evidence on free will that we can evaluate, and it's quite damning. None the less it isn't remotely absolute.

God (expression not invocation), I've gone on for so long. I think it's enough, if anyone is still reading they deserve a break.


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Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:23 AM

SERGEANTX


I believe God is a mental construct, but as real as you or me.

One school of thought in the philosophy of mind suggests that a person, a 'soul', is no more or less than the complex pattern of information representing the concept of 'self' maintained by the human brain. You are indeed more than just the flesh and bones attached to the brain, more than even the brain itself. You are the unique pattern of information stored in your brain that represents the holistic view of all your memories and thoughts.

If you can accept that (and granted, many can't or won't), it's a small step to realize that God can exist side by side with the concept of self - in the human mind. In as much as the details of God's nature are understood and shared with others, God can exist outside the mind of any individual human. In the minds of millions of believers, God can be a powerful force who shapes history and guides followers.

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:30 AM

CBY


I make it short: I believe in destiny, but not in god and religion.

°°°°°°°°°°°°
http://www.byond-trax.com - my selfmade ambient/lounge/chillout music

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:37 AM

USMC


Well, I am no believer in God. I believe when we die, we die, thats it, gone for ever. That is what most who are religious have a hard time with, they have to believe that when you die, you go somewhere after. Fear of REALLY dieing is where the god idea comes from in my opinion. But we all have our opinions/beliefs I guess.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 8:38 AM

JUBELLATE


This is a very difficult question.

I'll say one thing first. I know now that I and humankind in general know very little about the universe. Everytime I read a new book on theology, I find many equally compelling arguments both for and against the concept of a God. Human beliefs have changed so much, even within individual religions, that I can't bring myself to trust any given version. I am not like Mal who appears to have lost faith because of something that didn't happen the way it was supposed to, but more like The Operative, who realized that his perfect world was not there. One reason I loved Serenity with such a passion was the dichotomy of belief emphasized so often.

Having been raised to follow arguments to their logical conclusion, I continue to try and find where the various relgious paths converge and discover why there is such variation. On such an important issue, I can't bring myself to have faith, maybe because I feel like I'm closing the doors to all the various paths and I might be shutting out the answer then. Then again, there might not be an answer, which is why humans have never agreed on a particular religion. Like Mal, I am probably lost in the woods, but also like him, it might be the only place I can see a clear path.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:01 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
This is a very difficult question.


I agree with you there.

Quote:

I am not like Mal who appears to have lost faith because of something that didn't happen the way it was supposed to, but more like The Operative, who realized that his perfect world was not there.

I don't believe in a perfect world either, the mere idea of it scares me, at least most people's idea of it. The idea that there is a place without suffering, without conflict, without doubt. It's just so ... wrong.

If you don't suffer how can you live? How can you appreicate the good if there is no bad? How can you care about what you have in a place without loss? How can you believe when doubt is gone?

Everything we are as human beings comes from the contrast in life, only the poor can truely appreciate being rich, only those who have loved, and lost, and then loved again can understand the value of that love.

What most people see as perfect, a world where no one suffers, where everyone is happy all the time, where nothing bad ever happens, scares me.

It is what USMC says is the fear that brings about religion, the fear of truely dying. It is a place where whether or not you have a pulse you can never be alive.

Quote:

Having been raised to follow arguments to their logical conclusion, I continue to try and find where the various relgious paths converge and discover why there is such variation.

This is really the only sensible way to go about it. (I'm not incredibly sensible.)

Quote:

On such an important issue, I can't bring myself to have faith, maybe because I feel like I'm closing the doors to all the various paths and I might be shutting out the answer then.

Even back when I was an atheist and when I was the more rational agnostic (I've gone through all the positions) I thought that faith was vital to everything. Science is based on faith, in another thread I brought this up in SIGNYM listed three fundamental leaps of faith in science:
a) There is an objective universe and we are part of it.
b) We come to know that universe through our senses.
c) Effect follows cause.

c is the one that I see as most important, a I think isn't necessary, but the point remains, you need faith.

The problem I think you have with is when people let faith stand in the way of accepting new evidence. Closing the doors to paths.

I agree that would be a bad idea, and if the way you avoid it is to avoid faith in any postion I think that is the right thing for you to do.

Quote:

Then again, there might not be an answer, which is why humans have never agreed on a particular religion. Like Mal, I am probably lost in the woods, but also like him, it might be the only place I can see a clear path.

I can not imagine a better place to be.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:02 AM

ROCKETJOCK


To quasi-quote a character from the TV show Bones: "I believe that organized religion is a sham, a con game designed to fleece the flock and exert social control through the threat of eternal damnation. But that doesn't mean God doesn't love me."

Myself, I'm a Pagan, a New Norse Heathen to be precise. Don't bother looking it up; I'm a church of one right now. Which is the lovely thing about Paganism. No "One size fits all" attitudes here.

Yep, we Pagans have a God for everything: Thunder, Music, Machines, War, Harvests -- the only one we don't have is a God of Premature Ejaculation. (But I understand one's coming quickly. Rim Shot!)

But you are speaking of "God", singular. Well, like the Hindus, I don't have a problem reconciling Mono-and-Poly theisms. There's "God", and there's "The Gods", and there's no real contradiction between them. One set up the playing field, and the others, knowingly or unknowingly, placed the pieces on the board. There's a lovely bit in a movie whose name escapes me; two blue-skinned Hindu Gods at the controls of a jumbo jet. Says the first: "Do you know how to fly this thing?" Replies the second: "No. Thank God we're Gods."

Simply put, God is just too important a concept to take seriously.



"I'm sorry my karma ran over your dogma." -- George R.R. Martin

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:07 AM

DARKJESTER


I guess I'm still working on this (it's a belief-system-in-progress), but I do not believe in a theistic god. Meaning that I don't believe in a distinct conscious entity sitting on a throne in heaven somewhere, watching us and causing bad stuff to happen to those He/She/we don't like. That may have been a useful image for our tribal ancestors, and perhaps good as a begining image for children today, but I find it too limiting.

I have no doubt that God exists, but I see God as the "ground of all being", as the source of our life and capacity to be human. And, not trying to sound too corny, but "God is love.".

I'm not saying that I am right and everyone must believe as I do. And I am sure that there are some people, even here, who will say that my "faith" is too far outside the pale to qualify as belief. So be it.


MAL "You only gotta scare him."
JAYNE "Pain is scary..."

http://www.fireflytalk.com - Big Damn Podcast

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:09 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
But you are speaking of "God", singular.


That's an oops I'll fix as soon as I finish this reply.

Quote:

Well, like the Hindus, I don't have a problem reconciling Mono-and-Poly theisms.

Yeah, their view seems contradictory at first, but it isn't.

Quote:

Simply put, God is just too important a concept to take seriously.

God that's a great quote.
(the amount I use "god" as an amplifying word is annoying in this kind of topic.)

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:12 AM

VOSHEXETER


"I tore these out of your symbol and they turned into paper."

V.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:12 AM

BLACKJACKRACKHAM


Well, first I'll say I'm not sure this thread is in the appropriate place, but since you ask I'll give ya my 2 cents (which may turn into a few bucks). I know we're past the evolution discussion, but my thoughts there are simple: I believe the concept of Evolution has been misunderstood by many. My personal belief is creation mixed with more years of Natural selection than most. I think if anyone believes they were spawned by monkeys....they may be right.

But back to point. Agnostics are in a catch 22. Simplified definition of Faith: Belief without proof. Agnostics (from my understanding) refuse to believe without proof. *shrug* Catch 22. Maybe they'll find something that qualifies.

I personally, believe in God, but we're not talking right now. Going through a Mal phase. I think we exsist before and after the flesh, if not, then what's the point? We're just animals? Maybe the folk that behave like animals are missing the idea there's more?

Thoughts on God by others that I like:
Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) Amused to Death- What God Wants: "What God wants, God gets, God help us all."
Emo Phillips (comedian) The universal Prayer: "God, Please break the laws of the universe for my personal benefit."

and "When I meet God" from the album Anaraknophobia by Marillion

And if the bottle's no solution
Why does it feel so warm
And if that girl is no solution
Why did she feel so warm
And if to feel is no solution
Why do I feel
Why do I feel so tired
Why do I feel so broken
Why do I feel so outside
Why do I seem so blind
I'm so sick of feeling
It's ruined my life
If living rough is no solution
Why does it ease my mind
If looking back is no solution
Why are we all
Nothing but children
Children inside

Why do the Gods
Sit back and watch
So many lost
What kind of mother
Leaves a child in the traffic
Turning tricks in the dark
What kind of God?

I crawled around inside myself
It was a long way down
It was a mine and it was mine
And in the darkness
I saw a perfect mirror
Floating in space

When I meet God
I'm going to ask her
What makes her cry
What makes her laugh
Is she just stars and indigo gas
Does she know why
Love has no end
But it's dark-angel friend
Tearing women and men
Slowly apart

Stain
Don't do that
Scream
Don't do that
Fail
Never do that
Never do that
I want to go out
Don't do that
I want an adventure
Just stay..
I want
Just stay in
I want to make love

And if the bottle's no solution
Why does it feel so warm
And if looking back is no solution
Why are we all just children inside
And if to feel is no solution
Why does the whole damn world feel so broken
So outside and out-of-sorts

A perfect mirror
Floating in space
Waves and numbers
But oh, such beautiful numbers
And oh, such waves..


..........................................
Not sure I answered your question Chris, but oh well. Oh yeah the whole Hell thing. It's not all Fire and Brimstone, it's "Seperation from God".
Quoth the Crow: "This isn't Hell, But you can see it from here."

- JadeHand (in clever piratey disguise) Arrrr!


ummmm....Marillion

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:19 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by DarkJester:
I'm not saying that I am right and everyone must believe as I do. And I am sure that there are some people, even here, who will say that my "faith" is too far outside the pale to qualify as belief. So be it.


I don't find The Matrix Reloaded useful for much, but I think this quote is great:

Lock: Dammit, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe.
Morpheus: My beliefs do not require them to.


Well said, wasn't that well said?

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:24 AM

JUBELLATE


Chris,

You're probably right about faith and science. You have to believe that something follows something else under a certain set of conditions or else the whole concept of scientific process breaks down. There would be no theories, no tests, no conclusions.

Oh, a tidbit I gleaned from reading a book "Doubt" by Jennifer Hecht, was a theory on God put forth by a Greek Skeptic, whose name I cannot recall currently.

Anyway, to paraphrase his theory, he proposed that God could not be all powerful and compassionate at the same time, because compassion is a human quality derived from our ability to affect someone in some way, to cause pain or to understand how pain feels and thus relate to it. For God to be compassionate, God would have to feel pain and if God can feel pain, God cannot be all powerful, because that which can feel pain can be hurt and that which can be hurt can be killed. Thus, God could die if he was compassionate. Atleast that's how I remember the argument going. Fascinating stuff.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:41 AM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


My thoughts on God are as limited as possible. None, even.

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 9:56 AM

DANIELFYRE


I've read all the posts and listened with an open mind to each oppinion put fourth in them. Ultimately, I believe there is a God: some type of being that does exist on some plane that is beyond the human mind. I do believe he created man, though not in the biblical sense (Adam and Eve and the like) But rather put it all into being with the first existance from nothingness, and through his will existance formed and has continued to change and evolve as said. The whole idea of free will does in fact contradict my theory but I believe that free will came into existance at some point. As far as God being all powerful and compassionate and how this can not be. To that idea I pose this: Compassion is merely a word for a human emotion, God, being all powerful yet infallable can understand and exhibit this emotion even though he himself can not be hurt. Understanding something and knowing it from experience are two different things. God can show compassion because he knows all and in some way is repsonsible for us coming into being emotions and all, not nessicarily because he himself has experienced it. I'm not trying to attack anyone's beliefs, I just want to say I do not agree with this particular idea. I think I've said enough for today I look forward to reading more opinions from you guys.

-Dan

Ain't that just shiny?

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:00 AM

PDCHARLES

What happened? He see your face?


Think of where we get the idea of God. There are passed down beliefs, many variations of written scripture, and in many Religions, questionable origins. We have the many gods of Greek Mythology. Babylonians, Early Americans, and Chinese cultures had Dragons as Gods.

I believe it is our Human understanding or intellect that is evolving.
The concept of time on an evolutionary or universal scale cannot fully be comprehended by most at present. It is hard for some people to sit an hour at the doctors office. Our time is based on our tiny star spreading light on us when we're facing it. Which led to the study of the speed of light which can be introduced to measuring the vastness of space.

This is why some people are left undecided in this age. (as you mention in the Real World Event Discussions CtheC) Its hard to take it all in.

anyway... Just like Societies/Cultures of the past, religions are slowly dwindled out of existence. I think this is what Joss is saying by having China and USA left as the superpowers and about three known practiced religions.

We are still finding ancient civilizations in the Americas older than Egyptian cultures. We know nothing of these people who existed only thousands of years ago. So, I do not find it hard to believe some people can’t come to grips with evolutionary processes that take possibly millions of years.
But u know… the fact that I do not even know who my great, great, great grandma was only a couple hundred years ago makes me think… “yeah, some intelligent being could have just left behind some DNA strands eons back.” But where did he come from? We get ourselves trapped in unending questions further thwarting us from finding answers.

When an Einstein or Newton comes along and can convince others that… Hey, there are ways to prove that this world is bound by scientific laws, people are gonna change. U know… Curious George… Monkey See Monkey Do…

This leads us back to natural selection, this is one of the many traits (Curiosity) that brought us on top of the evolutionary (of this planet) chain. We create Gods to explain our own minds and even organize our societies/tribes. If mandatory rules are created by your creator you will be able to “Shine on your brother” and live peacefully. Oh, and there is also the dominating, competive side of the psyche where the few want control of the many.

The view of a peaceful and not vengeful God is a fairly new CtheC (at least in civilized history and widely known, I’m sure someone has an obscure reference)

So, I am man of science and have faith in science

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:03 AM

STDOUBT


God created the universe -then it started evolving.

Anything I say on the topic of God couldn't
possibly matter to anyone. But if you're any kind
of 'truth seeker', you'll get much from this:
http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/thunder.html

P.S. Ummm... are you people suggesting that
Summer Glau is *not* God? Thought this was settled.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:06 AM

ROCKETJOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by BlackJackRackham:
Agnostics are in a catch 22. Simplified definition of Faith: Belief without proof. Agnostics (from my understanding) refuse to believe without proof. *shrug* Catch 22. Maybe they'll find something that qualifies.



Actually, I consider Agnosticism to be more intellectually honest than Atheism; Agnostic derives from the prefix "A" meaning "none" and the word "gnossos", meaning knowledge: "Lack of Knowledge", rather than "lack of proof." An agnostic admits a lack of knowledge as to the existence and nature of God, while an Atheist claims absolute knowledge of God's non-existence--which, to my eyes is an act of faith. Which, oddly enough, makes Atheism a religion, while Agnosticism is merely a philosophy.

However, it is possible to have knowledge of something without objective proof. A personal example: I considered myself an Agnostic until I had a personal revelation; relaxed and happy in the arms of the woman who would later become my wife, I realized that she and I had been through this before; that we had shared lives and love in the past, and would again in the future. Which implied that there had to be some framework, some matrix, to allow such a connection.

An irrational knowledge, to be sure, with no objective evidence. I ask no one to change their beliefs because of it--but it was, and is, very real to me. It was my touchstone to finding faith. To quote Heinlein, "I may be mistaken, but I'm not uncertain."

"Things you don't want to hear God say: "You humans totally weird me out."/"Omnipotence ain't all it's cracked up to be."/"Judgement time!" -- Tatsuya Ishida

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:14 AM

JAYTEE


This is probably the most controversial subject in the gamut of human experience. There are so many belief systems out there. I would have to say I believe in God. Obviously I can't back that up with proof but I have to take some things on "faith". Not blind faith but a rational faith, at least something that makes rational sense to me without needing exact proof.
I have problems with religion. Organized faith tends to be, in my opinion, just a tool for manipulation and extortion. I was baptised at birth as a protestant (Congregationalist) and I honestly have no idea what it means to be a Congregationalist. Later on I was urged by family pressures to convert to Catholicism. This was a portal into the most turbulent period of my search for a spiritual framework I could embrace. I had many problems with Catholic dogma and my mind was already logical and rational beyond my young years due to the influence of my maternal grandmother who taught me to read before I entered elementary school and taught me to think analytically. I ended up leaving the Catholic church as I felt the teachings were hypocritical. In the town I lived in the local Monsignior drove a Mercedes Benz 300 that was fairly new. I thought this conflicted with his vow of poverty as the amount of money it cost could have fed many of the truly needy while still leaving money left over for a Ford Taurus or a Chevy Lumina while still giving reliable transportation for the priest to do "God's work".
Later studying the middle ages and the Spanish Inquisition I saw the ugly side of organized Christianity and after reading Bertrand Russell's Why I am not a Christian (which he was expelled from teaching at (Princeton or Yale, I forget) I entered what I would call my agnostic phase where I rejected Christianity but not God. Now I find myself kinda drifting back to Christianity but not in any formal way. I reject the organized christian churches, especially fundamentalist baptist sects and the Catholic church as well. I kinda like Unitarianism but I don't go to services. I'm not certain Christ actually existed as a flesh and blood human being. Everything written about him was written 40 or more years after his alleged death. No historical accounts from the times of his life that still exist today even mention him. Yet if God truly wanted to send us a messiah to give us a message then that message would surely be that there is no greater gift or sacrifice that one person can make than to give up their life for the lives of many. To quote Spock: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." and I think this would be what God really wants of us if he truly exists in the manner most faiths describe. Whenever I hear someone preaching in the name of God I now tune them out. Especially Pat Robertson and the foul abomination known as the Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Westboro, Kansas. The Rev. Phelps if you are not aware takes his flock of inbred waste product followers around the country protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq claiming they died as God's punishment for America granting civil rights to homosexuals. To me this goes beyond the pale in being inappropriate behavior and I wish the Rev Phelps and all his flock eternal damnation for their unChristian behavior. Not very Christian of me but hey, that's just the way it goes. I have little tolerance for people who cling to a fanatic faith and arrogantly dismiss others beliefs as invalid such as some Baptist sects that believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible as the "inerrant word of God" and that all Catholics are not saved simply because the Catholic church teachings are flawed. Is God truly that nitpicky or does He judge us based on whether or not we try to do good rather than evil and show compassion to others regardless of what branch of Christianity or other religion we belong to. I don't believe God intervenes on our behalf or punishes everyone on the Gulf Coast because New Orleans is so tolerant of homosexuals. This isn't religion but a pathological homophobia and bigotry taken to the extreme. So to summarize I would say God created the Universe because every effect has to have a cause, Catholics call this Prima Causa, and left the rest up to us to figure out. We won't please God by spreading hateful dogma or intolerance but only by being open minded and tolerant of others and trying to show them love and compassion even if they do not follow the same belief or lifestyle. As one philospher who's name I can't remember put it:
"Man can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven right here on earth."

Avoid people who claim to have all the answers, they only want your money or control over your life. Seek out people who are still asking themselves the tough questions and don't claim to know everything. You'll learn more from them than any one who is certain about who God is and what he wants.

Jaytee

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:17 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by pdcharles:
So, I am man of science and have faith in science


I am too, faith in science and faith in god do not contradict.

-

As for the evolution of concept god, all human concepts have evolved, once the earth was flat, then it was a sphere, then it was a not quite sphere.

So once upon a time a 7 or 8 "plauges" in rapid succession was the will of god, and therefore god must be vengeful.

Then one day that changed, people began to understand the world, in 79 AD we already had people who saw the ground shoot up into the sky and rocks rain down from the heavens knowing that it was not some god doing it, but instead nature (nasty volcano that.)

So knowledge becomes more refined, and old concepts change. But just because one day someone found out that dead meat lying around was not the cause of flies didn’t mean we abandoned the idea of cause and effect, instead we refined it. The concept of god being refined is hardly reason not to believe.

Of course something not being a reason not to believe is also not a reason to believe, and I’m not trying to convert you. I think that faith and reason, when used together, are more important than agreeing with me. You have faith in science, and that is just as worthy as faith in god.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:39 AM

ZIIANARKIST


I think SergeantX pretty much nailed anything I had hoped to say in regards to how God relates to the self. I really got to get me one of them thar' college educations. Or a book and the time to read it.

Foremost I believe in God. I believe that God is quantum in nature - both a single conscious supernatural entity with an infinite history and an absolute agenda of its own and also the total sum of our collective consciousnesses manifested as a force of nature that is the catalyst powering karma. I believe that, frankly, we are God and God is us, and religions thereof are merely a compilation of philosophical inferences as to the nature of God’s sentient state of existence. While superficially explaining what science cannot at its time of popularity, I believe that Western religions that place emphasis on obedience and helplessness at the will of an all-powerful sentient being are subficially (Is that a word? Can we get Citizen to chime in on this?) political tools to constrict critical/analytical thinking for one purpose or another and retard fellowship between ‘denominations’ and bring a populous under control of a lineage of initially self-appointed avatars. I believe that Eastern religions attempt to explore individual human potential and place emphasis on the potential power within a single person and the collective power of many people who have realized that potential – for instance, the human potential for perception beyond the senses of the human body – and generally don’t care to ask the God question except as a symbolic focal point to meditation on the nature of collective human consciousness and potential.

I believe that in great numbers, with an emphasis on quality over quantity, sentient minds are capable of shifting the course of fated events through an enormous concentration of faith – that is, I believe in the power of prayer without resting credit for its power solely at the feet of the Judaic-Christian God. I believe that prayer is merely a superficial admittance of a subconscious desire. I believe that throughout history there have existed human beings of extraordinary faith that were capable of channeling the collective force of God single-handedly and that such people exist today and that throughout history and still today are either persecuted into reclusion or die early in life due to extreme medical complications typically associated with genuine ‘psychic’ abilities.

I believe that human bodies are machines. That every impulse of the brain and every chemical reaction of the human body can be predicted, that any component of the human body – including the brain – can be imitated by machine and that those mechanical imitations can be re-integrated back into the organic complex provided proper interface with the nervous system.

I believe that the brain is an antenna receiving its fair share of a ‘holistic’ sentient complex – that is, a fair share of ‘God’, and that our perception of reality as granted by God is so fragile that the death of one body results in the seamless transition of that associated consciousness to another reality and that our introduction to that reality is an identical sequence of events in which we simply observe that we have survived the ordeal that killed the previous body; and I therefore doubt that ‘death’ as is typically understood actually exists. As a respiratory system must breathe to infuse hemoglobin with oxygen (feel free to correct this), I believe a consciousness must go on if sentient consciousness actually exists. We can damage or even destroy a brain, but as individual medical miracles have shown – the brain does not necessarily make the man – thus the hypothesis that the brain is merely an antenna (referring to various ‘medical miracles’ where individuals ‘survive’ freak accidents involving major organs or severe brain trauma, which would make our ‘reality’ merely a necessity of their imaginations).

If anti-depressants increase brain activity which is intended to increase happiness, then perhaps emotions are derived from the brain’s ability at any given moment to receive its fair share of God. Have you ever been so satisfied and content that couldn’t think straight? Likely not, if I have worded that correctly. On the other hand, have you ever been so stressed and angry that you experienced psychological blindness (your eyes function, but your brain interprets nothing, causing you to bump into things that are in plain sight or makes difficult the task of reading or calculating the value of a handful of pocket change)? I wonder thus – what is the mood or potential or capability of a man whose brain operates at peak activity at all times? Perhaps this question is asking if Jesus Christ or Buddha experienced significantly more brain activity than most people.

I believe that everything – the sum of God, its actions, and the many realities we perceive – are also mechanical and predictable in nature on a chaos-theory level; that is, once we can predict how every particular brain reacts to all conceivable stimuli, we could predict the very nature of Fate or God.

I’m not a complete hick, I’m aware these perceptions carry a tone of ego and requisite belief in personal significance, but such is the limits of my abilities to ponder the nature of God at the moment, and the limits of my patience as my fingers type this out and my mind tries desperately to summarize my incoherent non-system of ‘beliefs’ into human language, but I hope I’ve covered everything.

=======================
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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:42 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JayTee:
In the town I lived in the local Monsignior drove a Mercedes Benz 300 that was fairly new. I thought this conflicted with his vow of poverty as the amount of money it cost could have fed many of the truly needy while still leaving money left over for a Ford Taurus or a Chevy Lumina while still giving reliable transportation for the priest to do "God's work".


Reminds me of something my dad once told me. His church was in a basement because they (the members of the church) were building the rest, as they couldn't afford builders, and they could only do it in their spare time as they had to work for a living. At the same time the local Catholic Cathedral paid something between a million and a hundred thousand (sorry about the big range, fuzzy memory) dollars to have is completely sandblasted for cleaning. (How can it possible cost that much money to sandblast in the first place?)

When his priest was asking for people to put in a little extra because his car broke down and he couldn't afford to pay the mechanic the local Catholic priest was driving around in his alternate, cheaper, luxury car.

Quote:

I'm not certain Christ actually existed as a flesh and blood human being. Everything written about him was written 40 or more years after his alleged death. No historical accounts from the times of his life that still exist today even mention him.

Actually I believe that there is one account that mentions him, can't remember what it is though so I can't check it, but that is hardly proof that he really was any of the things that are written about him.

Quote:

As one philospher who's name I can't remember put it:
"Man can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven right here on earth."


I don't know about a philosopher, but whoever it was probably based it on the words of Lucifer in Milton's Paradise Lost:
"The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n."

Lucifer had some good lines, not the least of which is his:
"Here at least we shall be free"
which brings up a question many people have, a lot of versions of god seem incredibly totalitarian, not just in what you do but even in what you think. Is that really a good thing?

Of course Milton isn't supporting Lucifer, in the poem Lucifer goes on to say that they will oppose god by aiming to misbehave and doing their best to corrupt everything by embracing evil as a symbol of their freedom. Hardly a nice guy.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 10:59 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


When I was young I struggled with this for a long time, and even rebelled against my parent’s Christian upbringing. I remember, rather shamefully, telling people how religion was the “opiate of the masses” and how religion has been responsible for more deaths then any other philosophy in history. Two ideas that are of dubious veracity and even provably wrong. Yes, I was once a fruitcake. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I did eventually grow out of it.

When I entered graduate school, I began to not only take more responsibility for my career, but also for the information that I understood. I accepted that being critical of religion and Christianity is not wrong and even a valuable tool in being a responsible Christian, but likewise one should apply the same critical thinking equally to all schools of thought. One need not necessarily dismiss one’s opinions and views if different views exist, but one should be able to apply an appropriate degree of confidence to the information one holds, and to understand not only the information, but also why one feels that information is important. Coming to grips with these ideas is critical not only to developing a scientific mind, but also to a mature spiritual view and the two are not mutually exclusive.

When it comes down to it, the problem has never been if science and religion can co-exist, the problem is always political. Atheists, for instance, hold that the lack of a belief in a god is more rational then believing in god, but why? The only way to confirm that conclusion is to view the entirety of the universe and demonstrate the no god plays any part, which is wholly impossible. Therefore, not believing in a god is as religious an opinion as believing. Many, perhaps most, atheists, however, will not accept that. They will wave their hands and throw around definitions, but many will never admit that they cannot prove that god doesn’t exist and that therefore their claim to a superior rationale is nonsense.

Two thousand years ago, give or take, Saxons watched dark bellowing clouds shoot flashes of light that scarred the earth and echoed between the Scandinavian mountains. Not having the same depth of knowledge that modern men do today, their certain conclusion was that this was a god and they called it “Thor,” “Thunor,” or “Thunder.”

Today we understand static potentials, electrodynamics, meteorology and we can talk up a storm (no pun intended) about lightening and thunder, but scientists still don’t agree on many aspects of it and may never. We are as puzzled today as the Saxons were two thousand years ago, and the deeper you go into the science the more uncertain it becomes. We have lots of theories of physics, but we still don’t understand the origins of the forces of nature. We don’t know where it comes from and the closer we get to understanding it, the more it seems to appear that the ultimate answer may lie well outside of the physical universe itself, what physics refer to as “beyond space-time.” Despite our vast knowledge of science compared to the Saxons, despite our ability to describe and explain the surface, we still know nothing about what lies beneath, and in that regard, the Saxons may have known more about the universe then we do today, simply by accepted that god exists.

It was my journey to becoming a physicist that made me a religious man, because I am more certain as a result of having studied the natural world, that god created it. It’s the only theory that fits the facts. You can split hairs on the difference between “created” and “coming into existence” until your blue in the face, but in the end, you will be no further away from the theory of god, then I am. Whether god exists or doesn’t exist, depends squarely on how you tweak the language, not on any factual, physical or otherwise tangent or coherent reasoning. Therefore, if you don’t accept the existence of god, then how do you explain the origins of the universe? In essence, you can’t, anymore then the Saxon’s could explain the origins of Thunder.




Oh, he's so full of manure, that man! We could lay him in the dirt and grow another one just like him.
-- Ruby

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:12 AM

SERYN


Personally, I like the old guy, I talk to him often, sometimes im weak enough to ask for help.

But to be honest, my biggest belief is that humans have to do whatever needs doing for themselves.

So although although I believe in and probably love him, I've no idea why. To me, he's not some mighty-smiter, nor is he some benevolent hand holder.
I went through the whole atheism thing as an angry teen, I looked into the panganism thing, I tried not believing anything, I tried the whole religion-bashing thing (something about basing your life on a book - although apparently, divinly inspired - written by humans, edited and altered by humans for less than divine reasons, it's just, somehow, wrong) But ultimetly I realised I didn't know enough, and had no interest in learning enough about all the religions there are to pass judgement, so...
I just ended up realising that I liked having him around, It felt right.

Its human fallibility that interests me, theres no future in perfection - reach it and life is literally aimless. The whole point of existence is to exist - do with it what you may, generally (hopefully) in a positive way. (I thinks thats what my beef with 'chav' is - as a 'culture' its petty, meaningless, un-productive, and actually reverting towards the primitive)

So short version, (if its not too trite)I believe in god, but my faith is in mankind.

-------------------------------------------
"She's a mite whimsical in the brainpan."

http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=16371&m=231311#231311 - Every man's (literally) dirty fantasies, in thread form.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:14 AM

JUBELLATE


Quote:

Originally posted by DanielFyre:
I've read all the posts and listened with an open mind to each oppinion put fourth in them. Ultimately, I believe there is a God: some type of being that does exist on some plane that is beyond the human mind. I do believe he created man, though not in the biblical sense (Adam and Eve and the like) But rather put it all into being with the first existance from nothingness, and through his will existance formed and has continued to change and evolve as said. The whole idea of free will does in fact contradict my theory but I believe that free will came into existance at some point. As far as God being all powerful and compassionate and how this can not be. To that idea I pose this: Compassion is merely a word for a human emotion, God, being all powerful yet infallable can understand and exhibit this emotion even though he himself can not be hurt. Understanding something and knowing it from experience are two different things. God can show compassion because he knows all and in some way is repsonsible for us coming into being emotions and all, not nessicarily because he himself has experienced it. I'm not trying to attack anyone's beliefs, I just want to say I do not agree with this particular idea. I think I've said enough for today I look forward to reading more opinions from you guys.

-Dan

Ain't that just shiny?



I'm going to need an example of something that can be understood and not be related to your own existance.

And frankly I believe there is none. You can choose to believe that God can understand and have compassion, but you won't be able to logically conclude that because there is no point of reference. What the Greek was trying to do was try and explain God in terms of a logical deduction. You choose not to believe that logical deduction can explain God, but then all you have is your word against someone elses that he exists.

But as I said, I don't know if its right. I'm just fairly sure it can't be proven wrong.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:15 AM

CARTOON


To make it short, yes, I believe in God -- the God of the Bible.

BTW, if any skeptics are interested in reading a book written by a one-time, fellow-skeptic, unbeliever, I can recommend Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ". From my understanding, Strobel (an investigative reportrer) was an unbeliever (in God) who became angry when his wife became a believer in Jesus, and in an effort to prove her wrong, eventually wound up becoming a believer himself.

I've read it, and it's a very well-done book, tackled the way a reporter might tackle finding evidence for any subject.


"I'm no good with words. Don't use 'em much, myself."

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:28 AM

ZIIANARKIST


Wasn't that called 'Case for Faith'? I could be wrong...

I remember an online religious debate I had with a guy about a year ago that because I was playing out some of my finer quirks, resulted in a worthless stalemate, ending with him telling me to read 'Case for Faith' and me telling him to read 'The Quantum and the Lotus' - but never again speak to me, or at least, not about the book should he read it.

Am I talking about a different book?

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:32 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
Anyway, to paraphrase his theory, he proposed that God could not be all powerful and compassionate at the same time, because compassion is a human quality derived from our ability to affect someone in some way, to cause pain or to understand how pain feels and thus relate to it. For God to be compassionate, God would have to feel pain and if God can feel pain, God cannot be all powerful, because that which can feel pain can be hurt and that which can be hurt can be killed. Thus, God could die if he was compassionate. Atleast that's how I remember the argument going. Fascinating stuff.


When I first read this I saw no problem with it, it looked flawless and the only possible problem was that even if the logic supporting something is flawless the thing isn't necessarily true. (A problem with logic, and one it is sometimes best to ignore.)

Still something about it bugged me. I just realized what it is. The argument assumes that pain is related to harm that is related to death. Thus pain is related to physical harm.

Pain isn't just physical, emotional anguish is also pain, and in the minds of many (myself included) it is worse than physical pain. The ability to experience that kind of pain hardly requires the ability to be physically harmed, and certainly doesn't require the ability to die.

One would think the longer you lived the greater pain you could experience, and immortal could experience infinite pain.

All of this being said I don't really believe in an all powerful god, not because I don't believe god is immortal (I think as long as the universe exists god will too, if the universe somehow ceases I don't know about whether god would exist or not) but because I believe in a god that cares about peoples freedom (freewill and determinism aside), and having total power would mean no one else could have freedom. Thus if god were all powerful god, by nature of personality, would willingly give some or most of that power up.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:35 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by ZiiAnarkist:
Wasn't that called 'Case for Faith'? I could be wrong...

...

Am I talking about a different book?


If memory serves, which it often doesn't, A Case for Faith was a much older work, like 1600s old.

I would look it up, but I'm about to do something right now, and if I try to look it up I know I'll get distracted.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:52 AM

CYBERSNARK


I consider myself a Wayist (to couch it in Andromeda terms). I've studied numerous religions, and I equate them all to branching, looping paths, leading to the same ultimate destination: self-improvement.

In my experience, all organized religions (in their original "scriptural" form, unencumbered by politics and cultural baggage) boil down to the same general philosophy: Don't be an asshole.

This simple advice neatly sums up every other Commandment, teaching, and precept of every organized spirituality I've ever encountered. It doesn't get any simpler or more basic. Just look at the people around you, and try not to piss them off. It's not even a matter of faith, it's a survival skill!

It truly amazes me how much trouble some people have with this.

I believe that God (or "the Divine" to avoid Judeo-Christian connotations) simply is. Yet I don't believe that the Divine has any agenda or external awareness.

For me, it's based on observation; the universe is wholistic and holographic. Atoms are cohesive and (reasonably) self-sustaining. Same with cells, and tissues, and organisms, and biospheres, and planets, and solar systems, and galaxies, and (as far as we can tell) this physical universe itself (and even different quantum states require matrices within which their "rules" are defined).

It's kinda like the old Gaia hypothesis, of Earth as one ginormous organism, made up of the sum of its parts. Except that I push Gaia's boundaries outward: it's not just our planet.

Earth needs the Sun (to heat the surface, spinning it in a gravitational embrace and maintaining the geomagnetic system that makes up our planet's "life"), Jupiter (to serve as a bodyguard, sucking up any stray meteors that may have our name on them), the Oort cloud (providing moisture and chemicals to the primordial soup that was eventually Easy-Baked into life), and perhaps the entire system of orbital mechanics to function. In turn, the solar system needs the rest of the galaxy (and its gravitational whirlpool) to minimize the risk of stellar collisions and allow just the right amount of cosmic radiation to bathe this planet.

By simple extrapolation, the pattern seems likely to continue. Every system, from an atom (protons and neutrons, surrounded by electron shells), to a cell (nucleus and cytoplasm), to an organism (central nervous system to skin), to a planet (core to crust), to a planetary system (planet to moons), to a stellar system (star to planets), to a galaxy (core to rim), develops a similar shape.

Humans, I have found, live in constant denial. We deny that we are animals. Even those who call themselves animal-lovers can't help but impose a mental barrier between "human" and "animal." Who would ever think of asking their cat what he wants? Or even of considering that a cat might have a language capable of expressing thought (or having thoughts to express, for that matter). We pride ourselves in having escaped the abusive parent of "wilderness."

What we fail to realize is that wilderness put us here. I do not believe that our eyes were opened by God, but by experience. We learned in order to become better survivors. We developed clothing so as to survive in uncomfortable climates. We developed civilization to ensure a support system for our species.

It's not Cavemen versus Astronauts, it's Cavemen becoming Astronauts.

Every portion of a whole fulfills a purpose. From organells to specialized cells, to predators, prey, and scavengers. If the Universe is a cohesive whole, than even we, in our "unnatural" state, have a function. I believe that God does not exist in us so much as we exist in the Divine, like separate brain cells of the same life-form. The sense of self is key, I feel. It is the ability to ponder (more, the willingness to ponder) that is uniquely (and yet commonly) ours.

("Ours" in this case includes any civilization-building races that may exist on other worlds [or even on this one, as yet unseen or unrecognized]. Considering the infinity of space, I cannot bring myself to imagine that earthlings are alone.)

We are the Universe imagining Itself.

(In this case, then, I actively defend other viewpoints than my own --it is our differences that make us stronger. To use religion as a tool to stifle and silence dissention is to miss the point. I'm a Roman Catholic, but I like the idea of female priests, and homosexuality, and whatever-the-hell-else-is-p*ssing-off-Jerry-Falwell-this-week. More power to 'em.)

We are God.

Not gods, but God, singular. At that scale, one is all that needs to exist.

As for the other beings, looking at scripture (I was raised Roman Catholic), I've always found it interesting that the Bible, even as filtered through the Nicean and Vatican Councils, never actually denies the existence of other gods. The only times when such beings are explicitly mentioned is the Passover and the Commandments.

During the Passover, God (through "His" human speakers), warns that He shall "pass judgement upon" the Egyptians and their gods. Even God can't judge something that doesn't exist.

Then, the commandments specify that Judeo-Christians "shall have no other gods before" YHVH. Interesting that it doesn't say that such "lesser gods" don't exist, just that God's servants are forbidden from worshipping them.

In fact, monotheism usually does recognize intermediate beings (between God and humans). We just call them Angels, Demons, or Faerie (the "Fair Folk" were in fact the Glorious and Terrible gods of the Celts, who survived the coming of Christians by "looking harmless"). In fact, Mika'il (Michael) and Djib'ril (Gabriel) were themselves worshipped as gods by the Babylonians before being co-opted (or would that be "Converted?") to Christianity as two of the greatest Archangels.

It also kinda amuses me that, up until a few years ago, Christianity recognized a bunch of Saints who were actually Pagan gods (Saint Brigit = Brìd, a Celtic fire-goddess). A few years ago, someone finally caught on, and the offending saints were "de-canonized."

With this, I see no reason not to revere these gods as much as I would Angels (or Demons --as Terry Pratchet notes, it's the same difference as between "terrorists" and "freedom fighters"). If nothing else, the myths of them stress their individuality, and while I reject some, others seem to be walking a path not too different from my own.

(For those interested, I count my patron spirits to include Bast [the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, specifically in her guise as Protector of Children], Athena [goddess of Wisdom, Strategy, and Invention], Puck [the Trickster of the Celts --the "look harmless" thing? Probably his idea], and Coyote [another Trickster, this one a gifted Teacher --perhaps the most sacred of callings].)

"Don't be an asshole." --God

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:55 AM

JUBELLATE


What is emotional pain other than a response to an action of another that is detrimental to you.

It requires a bit more stretching, but say you are in love with some individual. Love is a social construct to form a loyal partnership for the ostensible purpose of procreation (that's no longer true, but its still a leftover biological reason). Breaking of that contract through choosing another mate leaves you in mental pain. But why should that be. The individual did not harm you? But the individual did damage you ability to procreate and thus reduce your chances of meeting your biological need. Thus ending your DNA line, thwarting your primary goal in life. Thus, your further existence, (through your lineage) is over. The individual killed your legacy. Relate that back to God and you discover there would be no need for an immortal being to procreate and thus should not suffer anything if some human failed to "love" him (obviously not in the same way) and thus any mental pain would demonstrate a "need" of the supreme being for something biological from humans and thus indicate a certain mortality.

Yes, I am aware of the stretch in assumption I have created and how my specific example falls apart here if you breathe on it, but I don't have the book in front of me, so I cannot remember what argument the Greek made to deal with this aspect (which I do believe he did make).

But you can see that the possiblity for some logical deduction from mental pain to physical pain exists (atleast in human terms), so the idea cannot be entirely dismissed.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:27 PM

USMC


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
To quasi-quote a character from the TV show Bones: "I believe that organized religion is a sham, a con game designed to fleece the flock and exert social control through the threat of eternal damnation. But that doesn't mean God doesn't love me."

Myself, I'm a Pagan, a New Norse Heathen to be precise. Don't bother looking it up; I'm a church of one right now. Which is the lovely thing about Paganism. No "One size fits all" attitudes here.

Yep, we Pagans have a God for everything: Thunder, Music, Machines, War, Harvests -- the only one we don't have is a God of Premature Ejaculation. (But I understand one's coming quickly. Rim Shot!)

But you are speaking of "God", singular. Well, like the Hindus, I don't have a problem reconciling Mono-and-Poly theisms. There's "God", and there's "The Gods", and there's no real contradiction between them. One set up the playing field, and the others, knowingly or unknowingly, placed the pieces on the board. There's a lovely bit in a movie whose name escapes me; two blue-skinned Hindu Gods at the controls of a jumbo jet. Says the first: "Do you know how to fly this thing?" Replies the second: "No. Thank God we're Gods."

Simply put, God is just too important a concept to take seriously.



"I'm sorry my karma ran over your dogma." -- George R.R. Martin



That History of the World Ref. is funny!

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:37 PM

HEB


Quote:

Originally posted by cartoon:

BTW, if any skeptics are interested in reading a book written by a one-time, fellow-skeptic, unbeliever, I can recommend Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ". From my understanding, Strobel (an investigative reportrer) was an unbeliever (in God) who became angry when his wife became a believer in Jesus, and in an effort to prove her wrong, eventually wound up becoming a believer himself.

I've read it, and it's a very well-done book, tackled the way a reporter might tackle finding evidence for any subject.




I've read this book and the rebuttals of this book and the rebuttals of the rebuttals. I have to say I don't agree that this book was similar to a journalistic investigation. Lee Strobel only presented the arguments of Christians in this book . I don't know of many genuine journalists who would only look at one side of a story. In his only chapter devoted to people who didn't agree with his version of Christianity he only interviewed another Christian about them and didn't interview the group themselves.

Also at the time of writing the book he had already been a Christian for a while rather than becoming one in the process of researching the book which was not made clear.

Also I'd argue that the author was pre-disposed to believe the case for Christ as he was feeling left out of his wife's new interest (though I'm no psychologist).

My personal thoughts on the subject of the book are:

A lot of discussion of the bible seems to depend on different theories and interpretations of the language.

There is only historical evidence in one of the 5 or so possible categories of historical evidence. So, as for most ancient history, we will never know the details of one man's life with complete accuracy and in the case of Christ's less well than most because of the evidence only being present in one category. So I think that we cannot prove that a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago by historical methods. And according to my Christian friend the whole of Christianity is pretty much based on the assumption that Jesus rose from the dead. And I personally don't believe that we can prove (or there is enough evidence that) that happened.

But like I said these are my personal feelings, I'm no historian or theologian.

Heather

Ps. I can try and find the links to the rebuttal of this book and the rebuttals of that if anyone wants.

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:39 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
But you can see that the possiblity for some logical deduction from mental pain to physical pain exists (atleast in human terms), so the idea cannot be entirely dismissed.


I can see the possibility, but until I get something more concrete I'm not going to accept it.

As you said, breathing on your example will make it collapse, so I won't attack it I'll take it as it was meant to be, a show of possibility.

However as what you are trying to show is logic, not faith, possibility is not enough.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:46 PM

JUBELLATE


Possibility merely presents another path.

If his logic had been airtight, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion though would we. Just something to think about.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:50 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
What is emotional pain other than a response to an action of another that is detrimental to you.


Just thought to add:
Action detrimental to me need not be detrimental to my life or my genetic stain or any other legacy of mine.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:51 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
Possibility merely presents another path.

If his logic had been airtight, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion though would we. Just something to think about.


Isn't discussion fun?

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:53 PM

JUBELLATE


I was trying to relate a mental pain back to a physical detriment. I don't know enough about evolutionary biology to understand all of our mental responses. If there is an example of mental detriment that doesn't relate back to a bioligical evolution, I might be persuaded away from this path...

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:56 PM

ANASAZI


Is there a god? I'd like to think that at this point in my life the only thing I'm sure of is I'm not sure of anything.

If there is a god, I'm ok with it. Organized religion scares the hell out of me, though. Way too much hipo-crazy.

If there is or isn't a god, it don't change my main philosophy:

Love my Family.
Be good to Animals and Children.Recycle.
Be honest with myself and with others.
Don't steal.
Stay Shiny.

If there is a god, fine, but I ain't too concerned with him, or him with me. To quote my favorite hero in tightpants:

"I ain't lookin' for help from on high. That's a long wait for a train not come."

Now, that may not be as well put as some of the other more intellegent posts that have been made on this thread. But it's enough for me.

________________________________________________________
"You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought....."

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 12:56 PM

JUBELLATE


Its the only way to fly.

"Don't make no sense" Jayne

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:04 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by heb:
And according to my Christian friend the whole of Christianity is pretty much based on the assumption that Jesus rose from the dead.


Depends on how you look at it, the man taught things, he was a teacher, are those teachings any less important if when he made the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs it really was ultimate instead of a three day affair?

Some people say if he stayed dead it all means nothing, I disagree. If he was the son of god, the son of man, or the son of something else his words are still important.

I don't see the need for him to come back in order to believe his words are truth. Then again while I have a lot of respect for Jesus I am not a Christian.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:14 PM

HEB


I'm a bit fuzzy on the book but I'm pretty sure the Case for Christ argued that you can't just think that Jesus was a great teacher and follow his teachings in that way because if he wasn't the son of God then he must have been insane for saying so or lying. And if he was insane or lying then you can't believe he was a good man.

I might be wrong but it seems to me that a lot of Christians would argue that you're not a Christian if you don't believe the bible in that he rose from the dead.

So I'm not saying his words aren't important if he didn't rise from the dead but that, from my understanding of the term, you wouldn't really be a true Christian if you don't believe he did. Which I think maybe you weren't disputing?

I think my friend thought that Jesus (according to the bible) rising from the dead showed that Jesus was not just a good man but the Son of God and so is fundamental to the Christian faith.

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:17 PM

FREELANCEPILOT


I am Catholic. It is something that is pretty integral to my life. I had a friend introduce me to his mother by saying, "This is my friend alex, he is a Catholic".
I spent some time in a jesuit seminary studying to become a priest and gave that up for more secular life. My family has been catholic for about 800 years when it was created by the Catholic Church during the crusades (the Spanish Order of our lady of mercy, hence my last name Merced.)
Being a Cradle-Catholic, I have always had to defend against attacks like "What about the Inquisition?" or "What about the Crusades?". To me, it's like going up to germans and saying "What about the Nazis?". There are stupid people in any organization, and the Catholic Church is no different. Hell, there are utter morons that have been in control of the US government, but that doesn't mean i won't be American.
That being said, i love my faith and church. I like the fact that Catholics acknowledge evolution (pope said so). There are things i disagree with, but nothing major (no theological points). I have made it a personal mission to study the cannon of the Catholic Church but also to learn the about other faiths as well. i learned about buddhism (this is my #2 faith. Could be because i am korean... as well as spanish.), Hinduism (my best friend is a devout hindu), Islam (read the Quran and talked to many Imams), Judaism (family friends and personal friends), among others. Religions can be the most beautiful inspiration for beauty and love in the world. Conversely, we have many many many many crazy stupid people who turn it for their own purposes.
Organized religion isn't the problem. I love the sense of community that it brings, understanding i can go to a church in dubai and share a faith the the man there. it is an automatic sense of community.
Yet atheism, agnostics are not a problem. I don't believe they are hell bound (and according to the Catholic Church, non-belief doesn't mean you are automatically hell bound... trust me on this.) They are not evil. My roomate is an athiest. We respect each other's beliefs (though when he wanted to come to my church to pick up women, i put my foot down. hehe)
I believe in God but cannot explain it. Call it brainwashing if you wish, but in my mind God exists just as sure as gravity exists. I like the philosophical evidence for the existance (st. Thomas Aquinas among others) but honestly, there doesn't need to be evidence.
I hope that helps.

BTW, Not all Catholic priests take a vow of poverty. Only Religious priests do (wierd terminology i know, but that means only priest that are in Religious Orders i.e. Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans.), and Secular priests (diocesen priests that work directly under the bishops) do not take that vow. Most Monsignors are Secular priests, given the rank of monsignor by the bishop or pope. Fr. Andrew Greeley, a priest/novelist/professor, has accumulated a pretty good amount of money from his writings. while the church gets a lot of it, he keeps the rest. He has used it to found a 1 million dollar charity in chicago. Not all priests do this. Of course, not all priests are good people.

Wash: Yeah, but psychic? That sounds like science fiction.
Zoë: You live on a spaceship, dear.
Wash: So?

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:20 PM

JUBELLATE


Quote:

Originally posted by heb:
I'm a bit fuzzy on the book but I'm pretty sure the Case for Christ argued that you can't just think that Jesus was a great teacher and follow his teachings in that way because if he wasn't the son of God then he must have been insane for saying so or lying. And if he was insane or lying then you can't believe he was a good man.

I might be wrong but it seems to me that a lot of Christians would argue that you're not a Christian if you don't believe the bible in that he rose from the dead.

So I'm not saying his words aren't important if he didn't rise from the dead but that, from my understanding of the term, you wouldn't really be a true Christian if you don't believe he did. Which I think maybe you weren't disputing?

I think my friend thought that Jesus (according to the bible) rising from the dead showed that Jesus was not just a good man but the Son of God and so is fundamental to the Christian faith.

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.




I can believe in Jesus however I want and so can Chris. That some people might think I'm believing wrong doesn't bother me. Christians haven't filed the appropriate Jesus patent, so he and who can call themselves followers of him is still up for grabs.

This has been your daily snarkiness. Thank you for your patience.

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:22 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by JubelLate:
If there is an example of mental detriment that doesn't relate back to a bioligical evolution, I might be persuaded away from this path...


While this is far from perfect, and indeed probably wrong, the first thought I had was as follows:

When my bird died that hurt a lot (I was young and it was added to by the fact that I might have been partially responsible twice over, I'm not sure if it would hurt as much now though I think it would.)

The bird's existence would not leave a legacy of any sort, she was a virgin who would never have kids, she wasn't going to live longer than me by any stretch of the imagination (but might have lived longer than she did), she would never pass on my knowledge, my emotions, my soul, or any other such thing. She knew no one and nothing outside of my house, and couldn't pass on anything of me to anyone with anyone not already getting it.

((In fact she was detrimental to my health. Apparently I have a horrible allergy to feathers, at least cockatiel ones, and it was affecting my breathing, sleep, and other things that I have forgotten but am reasonably sure existed.

This has no actual bering on the point))

Yet I was hurt when she died. I can not see an evolutionary point to this, but as it is out of human experiance it must exist. However as the question is whether or not emotional pain is linked to mortality that isn't really important.

Still, as I said, this is weak, and I decided not to introduce it as an argument before, it isn't an argument now either.

Though I would like to know how you can link that to mortality.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:27 PM

HEB


Hey I'm not a Christian so I couldn't care less what you call yourself or who your follow.

All I'm saying is that I don't think you would be considered Christians in the sense of how the term is generally used.

And seeing as I was arguing not against following Jesus as a good man but against him being the son of God that is how I defined the term for ease of use - as being a Christian as taught in most Christian Churchs, so believing Jesus was the son of God.

I brought up the point about how Lee Sobel argued you couldn't believe Jesus was just a good man because it was him I was arguing against in the first place, so I thought it fair to use his definition.

No need to get snarky.





...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:27 PM

JUBELLATE


My first instinct is bring up the argument of passing a sense of family onto your pet or responsibility to that which requires your protection, much like an offspring. If you weren't caring for it. If its existance was merely tangential to yours, such as a bird living in a tree near you, would you have felt the same regret at its death. Its a transposed feeling of responsibility not to your offspring per say, but something that represents such.

That's my take. I didn't take psychology or biology, so I'm basing this off of articles I've read on the subject. *shrug*

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:29 PM

JUBELLATE


Quote:

Originally posted by heb:

No need to get snarky.



Ah, but I haven't met my daily quota

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule. – H.L. Mencken

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:30 PM

HEB


Glad I could help

...................
Well, my sister's a ship... we had a
complicated childhood
.................
I wear the cheese. It does not wear me.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:36 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by FreelancePilot:
and according to the Catholic Church, non-belief doesn't mean you are automatically hell bound... trust me on this.


I know, I love John Paul II and I know he said as much on many occasions.

I also know that it is a mistake to judge individual Catholics or the church as a whole on past offences or offences of a few.

I do wish the Church would ask for forgiveness more often. John Paul II asked god for forgiveness because of the Church's part in the Holocaust. I think that precedent should be followed, the Church has made mistakes and I think admitting to them is vital to moving on.

I also think priests who take advantage of their parishioners should be automatically excommunicated.

Unfortunately as an outsider not a lot of people take much stock in my views of the church.

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