GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

For all those who believe in Christianity or Some form of it...

POSTED BY: RIVER6213
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 00:10
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Thursday, May 17, 2007 4:42 AM

ZOID



Causal wrote:
Quote:

...Taking off my philosopher hat for the moment, and putting on the theologian one, if one accepts the Bible as authoritative (and yes, that's a huge "if"), it does seem to be the case that it teaches that those who out-and-out reject Jesus will not make it to heaven. It is not as clear what the fate of the Papua New Guinea tribesmen will be, hence the debate.

As a Christian person myself, hell has always given me fits, because it doesn't seem to fit with everything else I know about God. Where I finally had to come to rest, and be content, is this: I trust God to be just--not fair, mind you, but really just. That means that I can leave the eternal afterlife questions up to him and trust that he'll dispose of people justly. My responsibility isn't to walk around saying "You're going to hell." And it isn't to walk around preaching all day. It's to conform myself to Jesus' example as much as I possibly can, which means loving God and loving people as much as I can.

There, I'm out there. Tear me up.


Amen, brother. And mark me down for 'strong inclusivist'...

Like, I said: God = Love. When we love others, we are letting God's light shine through us, regardless what word we use for God. When we love others, we love Him and, ultimately, ourselves. When we truly love others, we forgive them for their human failings, and we forgive ourselves for our own human failings. Unless we love, we cannot be loved. Unless we forgive, we cannot be forgiven. It's all in the Lord's Prayer, which so many chant from rote memory, without ever seeming to take the words to heart, in a literal way. Anybody who kills in whatever name of God, for whatever justification, has got it so wrong as to be unfathomable...

Jesus warned us quite demonstratively not to cast judgment on the status of other people's salvation or damnation. We lack the skills (in the vernacular) and it ain't our job in the first place. More importantly, when we damn someone or refuse to forgive them, we are projecting not-God hatred, regardless how much we wring our hands piously, saying 'I'm ever so sorry, but you are going to Hell'.

I've been on this board for just over 3 years, and I've never voiced a religious opinion, unless asked for one. In my workaday 'real' life, I will only offer spiritual advice to those who ask it (in other words, virtually never) or to those who are quite clearly at the end of their rope (in other words, a handful of times over the past couple of decades). If they tell me to bugger off, I bugger off. But what kind of loving person would I be if I stood idly by and watched someone bleed to death, physically or spiritually?

Sometimes, you've got to put yourself "out there" because you know it's the right thing to do, even if you get ripped for it. To do otherwise would be like watching a person drown and saying, "Hey, it's none of my business." But, to complete the analogy, I ain't gonna jump in and 'save' someone as long as they seem to be staying afloat, regardless how ugly or inefficient their stroke...



Fraternally,

zoid

P.S.
You are really just a big softy, aren't you. And here I was, thinking you were a respectable nihilist...

P.P.S.
RE: The Lord's Prayer: Had Jesus' culture and language been matrilineal, we would certainly be praying, "Our Mother who art in heaven...". Once again, with feeling, God has no biological body, no sexual organs related to biology, and hence no gender. All aspects male and female originate from God.

Wanna get into a really sticky philosophical dilemma? Think about the fall of Adam and Eve. How could omniscient God not know that they were going to eat of the Tree of Knowledge? Does free will play a part? Or was it predetermined that they were going to fail thus, and therefore God was just play-acting at being disappointed and angry? Was Lucifer just God's shill in Eden? That's why I don't believe in predetermination of salvation or damnation. Clearly, free will plays an important role.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:21 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
P.S. You are really just a big softy, aren't you. And here I was, thinking you were a respectable nihilist...



I'm consistently amused (and pleased) by the way people misread me. I hate being pigeonholed as this or that. So if I'd been coming off as a "respectable nihilist" it means I'm doing something right! I like to argue all sides of an issue (within reason) because that helps me see the issue more clearly and formulate my beliefs more accurately. Doesn't mean I don't have any beliefs at all. I am, as mentioned, a follower of Jesus, and probably a weak inclusivist to boot. But yes, I am a big softie, deep down. I cover it with logic pretty good most of the time, though. Cynical as I can be, I'm also pretty sentimental. Ah, the joy of being me!

Quote:

Wanna get into a really sticky philosophical dilemma? Think about the fall of Adam and Eve. How could omniscient God not know that they were going to eat of the Tree of Knowledge?



Depends on what you take "omniscient" to mean. Most contemporary philosophical theists think God has "middle knowledge," that is, knowledge of all true prevolitional counterfactuals. Quite a mouthful. Basically what that means is God knows the answer to a question like the following: "If Kennedy hadn't been assassinated, would he have escalated our involvement in Vietnam?" or "If Curley is offered a bribe will he take it?" A counterfactual is a claim about what will happen if a given set of circumstances comes about. So for instance, God knows that "If offered a bowl of cherry ice cream, Causal will choose to accept it." Now, God isn't causing me to choose to accept, and he isn't causing anyone to make the offer; he just knows that if the offer obtains, I'll accept. So in that sense, God knew that the counterfactual, "If Adam and Eve are offered an apple, they will choose to accept it" is true. But this kind of knowledge doesn't interfere with creaturely freedom. The place where middle knowledge is vulnerable, in my view, is that if it's the case that God knows the initial conditions of the universe, and if God knows all true counterfactuals, it could be the case that middle knowledge will collapse back into omniscience as traditionally understood. But I'll have to read up on that.

Quote:

Does free will play a part? Or was it predetermined that they were going to fail thus, and therefore God was just play-acting at being disappointed and angry?



Well, it seems to be the case that freedom of will is a necessary condition of moral responsibility. That is, one can only be held morally responsible for a choice if they were free with respect to that choice. So it seems that on the Christian view, Adam and Even had to have been free with respect to their decision to eat the apple, otherwise they could not have been held morally responsible for that choice. That said, I don't see any way around the fact that God knew that Adam and Eve would err at some point. If God knows all true counterfactuals, and if humans are inherently imperfect, then God would have seen that no matter what they chose in any given specific situation, there would be at least one situation in each possible world in which Adam and Even did some wrong (even if that wrong wasn't of the apple-eating type). So the curious thing is, "Why'd he do that?" Many theologians think that the project of creating the world (and everything in it) is a project God undertook for his own glorification (and let's be fair: if God is perfect in every way, he would seem worthy of glorification). So they will say that ugliness and evil will ultimately turn out to be for God's glorification in the end. That's not a particularly satisfying notion when it comes to dealing with the evils in the world, but that's why they think that Adam and Eve were set up for failure, so to speak.

Quote:

That's why I don't believe in predetermination of salvation or damnation. Clearly, free will plays an important role.



Yes, it's the old predestination versus free will debate. It's at least as old as the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, and probably a lot older. The trouble seems to be this. A number of Biblical passages teach that man's salvation is by faith--that is, grace is extended upon person's free volitional act of faith. But at the same time, a number of other passages teach that God predestined those who would be called. The common approach is to choose either free will or predestination, and then perform interpretive gymnastics to explain away the other passages. What we have here is an antinomy--a seeming intractable contradiction. But since I accept the Bible, I can't think that God would out-and-out contradict himself, so I think that it's both--I don't know how that's possible, but I don't need to know how in order to believe it. Because the trap that my more extreme fellows fall into is to think that predestination and free will are a contradictory set, and it's not clear that that's the case. I don't even think they're contraries. It's hard for me to see how they work together--but then, I'm not God.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:43 AM

ZOID


Quote:

Originally posted by RiveR6213:
Wow! That was a mouthful. What are "Knickers" any way? Anyhow. Your posts in this thread have been very good and quite informative. You have presented a side that is inspiring and quite deep, and well thought out. You have demonstrated that you are solid in your belief, and world view, and you are clear that heaven is where you are headed without a doubt. There is no sarcasm on my part regarding any of this. I suspect that you take my wording as being cavalier on the subject of hell, and my own character and nature that will carry me there, but if you read closer, you will find a not too happy person, who knows her final outcome; who knows her character, and what's in her heart. I'm just being brave and courageous about it all; pure smoke that hides the inevitability of what must come to pass. It is all that it is supposed to be.

One of the many problems with Christianity is that everything is boiled down to a simple black and white choice, and presented that way to look as though it is easy, or simple. This is earth that we live; It is not a black and white scenario.

So spare me your sarcasm. This thread is about one believing if they are going to Heaven or Hell, and I'm not really into getting into a verbal, swirling, word, dogfight over it. Simply put from where I stand. I am going to hell, but I'm not happy about it, but I do accept it. Also, as crazy as this may sound. I am not to happy about going to heaven either. I wish history and the God's had left me alone in the land of non-existence in the first place.

The Universe appears to be a very bothersome place...

-River


This is probably a mistake, but...

You and I have conversed in this forum before. I know your troubles, because you told me, and I take you at your word. You have landed yourself in a pit of vipers that you dug and stocked yourself. You've made your own bed. I'm not telling you to lie in it. I'm saying only you can change the linen.

Every time we have spoken, a story from the Bible has popped into my head, so I'm gonna go ahead and relate it, especially since it deals so succinctly with the original thread topic of Heaven and Hell.

...In Mark 10:17-22 (Rev Std Ver, for those who prefer it), a rich man comes to Jesus, inspired by His words:
Quote:

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth." 21 And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 22 At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
(Emphases mine, salient to previous posts)

The thing about possessions is, they come from a biological urge for physical security. The body secretes a little hormone here or there, and we go on autopilot. We want to fight, we get jealous, we want to eat/possess everything in sight. The Spirit wants to love, to share, to help others. But it is trapped inside a physical drug factory that leads inexorably to spiritual errors.

The point is, you say you can't help the way you are. The fact is that you are like the rich man and won't extricate yourself from your own personally crafted Hell.

But someday you might. That's my fondest hope.

(NB: This is my last post on this thread. But, I will continue to read the thoughts of others, here. Spirit and Intelligence -- the image of God within us -- is the only real substance worth exploring.)



Finally,

zoid

P.S.
The expression, "Don't get your knickers in a twist" is the British equivalent of the American, "Don't get your panties in a wad", meaning don't get unduly agitated. 'Knickers in a twist' sounds somehow less crude, even though it's word-for-word the same as the American saying. Likewise, the British usage has a more humorous/lighthearted connotation. Therefore, I use the British version.

P.P.S.
Here's my own weak attempt at parable-izing:
A man found himself clinging to a precipice over a chasm he was too afraid to even look at. Being a strong-willed person, he clung to that ledge for interminable hours, with the last fiber of his strength, until finally his heart burst in his chest...and his lifeless body fell two inches to the ground.

Fear can be an unbreakable cage, constructed of absolutely nothing.
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 6:28 AM

MAL4PREZ


So... what I'm pondering is this: what exactly would Heaven be like? Certainly, there has to be a separate Heaven for each of us, because if I need my husband to be with me, but he's an ax murdering fiend, then I'll be in my own Heaven with an image of him to keep me warm and he'll be suffering in Hell as the rules say he should. (This is hypothetical. I have no husband!)

Anyway, so say we each have our own Heaven. I honestly can't say what mine would be. Um... orgasmic bliss forever? That's nice and all, but wouldn't it get boring after a few eons? Certainly, the best times of my life haven't always been the ha-ha wee! happiest, so my Heaven needs to have some of the same complexities of real life. Ups and downs. Which gets me all screwed up, cause why do I have to die to end up in the same place?

And the suffering of hell - wouldn't you kind of get numb to it? We're talking forever here, right?

Actually - my bigger problem with the notion of hell is that no one - and I mean NO ONE - is intrinsically evil. Even you, River. You may have all kinds of evil plans, and even do evil acts, but I'll stack that against the amount of pain you've been through in your life. There's not a God out there who'll think that putting you through more pain and torment will solve the problem that is you. Certainly, not a God who deserves the title.

I have a bigger problem with the idea that faith is the golden ticket. As long as I Believe, I'll get in the door, no matter what else I've done. Really? Does that make any kind of sense?

I honestly don't know what'll happen and where I'll go, but I know for sure that if there is some higher power out there, it's by definition a helluva lot smarter than me, and the thing it's got waiting for me is far beyond a fork in the road with Door #1 in red and Door #2 in white. So I'll just make the most of life, and let whatever's coming come.

My .02.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 8:54 AM

COZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
So I'll just make the most of life, and let whatever's coming come.



Thank you for that. Y'see, to directly address River6213, my answer to your question, as I understand it, is neither place , because maybe, just maybe, they do not actually exist. In the sense that "God", and Heaven and Hell, are imaginary creations posited by people. Constructs invented by people to form some fundamental ethical and moral basis upon which to build an understandable way of living. We humans are pretty talented at inventing conscructs that work well enough to explain mysteries and to create technologies in the short term. To wit (skipping many steps here), there's the Platonion shperical model of the stars which leant a form of logic to the funky planet Earth's placement in the universe that the Gods of the time played around in, to Newtonian physics, which worked (and continue to do so) well enough as a basis to build ballistic toys and enable mapping routes to the Moon, to Einstein and Relativity, which gets us nearer to the concept that God ain't playing dice with this universe... except the possibility that maybe there is no God, so maybe there is a random element to our existence, eh? And so forth, into realms of mathematical paradigms I'm not going to pretend to understand. Paradigms we can use as tools that function well enough for us humans to build stuff enabling us to expand our abilities to spread our seed, mayhaps on galactic platforms, who knows?

What if, yeah, what if God and Jesus, and, by extension, Heaven and Hell, and feel free to add Infinite Oneness and existential accident to the list, are mere conceptual tricks that people have invented, in order to erect a convenient temporary foundations upon which to mitigate our fear of random happenstance?

I think that it's important that we don't know what makes the universe, um, and by extension, us humans' role within it, tick, because it's exactly that mystery that makes our endeavours interesting. That the concept of God, and Heaven and Hell, has, perhaps, psychological attributes may well be worthwhile tools for the time being. Yet I remain unconvinced of the truths of such concepts merely in terms of, "it feels right, ergo it must be so".

Also, I don't grok the "6213" part, which, in and of itself, belittles all that I've ever done and been, eh?

In short (lol!), we ain't necessarily destined for either place, cuz we just made 'em up. Doesn't mean we can't work on finding ways to not hate ourselves, and to not hate others. The work involved, heh, can be a bitch. In my opinion, an embraceable bitch.



***
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Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:24 AM

MAL4PREZ


Good stuff, cozen.

Dang, this is going to sound offensive any way I say it, and I apologize in advance, but... it just seems like the evidence of religion and "God" being a creation of human beings is overwhelming. I'm constantly stunned that so many people see it as the other way around.

*dodging rotten fruit thrown at me by believers*

Hey - I'm not saying you can't believe, please do and have a great time with it! It's just...

mal4prezisconfusedisall (to borrow a certain user name)

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 9:48 AM

RHYIANAN


Theologically, I mostly agree with what zoid has said. Hell is not the fire and brimstone place of punishment, but merely a complete separation from god, where those that reject god will go because by rejecting him, they have already separated themselves from him in life, so the separation would continue after death. Because of this, since I believe and accept god, I believe I will go to heaven (but who knows, I could be wrong).

As for how free will and predestination work together, I believe that there is a set starting point and ending point of where we will definately go in our lives (point a and b, if you will). If we start at point a, we have to go to point b, but the path we use to get there is entirely our own choice. If we decide to go in a straight line or take the curvy convoluted path is the element of free will, but no matter what, you will get to point b.


edit* Mal4Prez, if you're confused about why someone would believe in a diety, then I can tell you why I believe, but if that's not your issue, then you can ignore this.

I went through a bit of a quandry when I started questioning the reality of god, because logic does dictate that god is a construct made by men trying to explain the world. However, I decided that the idea of a world without god is too depressing...no true meaning for life, no reason for me to have ever been born than for the simple reason to exist. For me, existance isn't enough. If my only reason to be on this planet is for me to exist and then there's nothing, I'd rather not exist at all. So because I hope that there's some greater plan at work, some reason that I live, I choose to believe in god.



I'm a leaf on the wind

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 10:06 AM

SERYN


i'm aiming for that level of Hell some one mentioned on here a while back - Dante or something, the level for the virtuous unbelievers?

Something about a castle surrounded by endless rolling fields, where all the secular greats live - the philosophers, the artists, the interesting guy from the pub. All living it out, in a sunlit place of sanity and reasonableness, un disturbed by cataloque salesmen, chavs, serial killers, scientologists, those who talk at the theatre and anyone who ever bought a Cheeky Girls album.

ahhhh, bliss.


I went through a similar think - not a big deep one, never had much time for religion - but questioning the why's and wherefores, and came out the opposit way - if there was no deity behind it all, there didn't seem to be much of a point, except exisiting, but what was the issue with just existing? I just decided to me choosing to believe cause just because the alternative was not a nice idea was just deluding myself. (Edited cause it really could have been seen as offensive!)

I'm always ready to reconsider, but so far nothing has made me want to.


Isn't sanity really a one trick pony, anyway? I mean all you get is one trick, rational thinking! But when you're good and crazy...ooh hoo hoo hoo... the skys the limit!
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Thursday, May 17, 2007 10:44 AM

RAIDOK


<>


Hi Constance...not logical? Logic, reason or sound judgment is not why Scientists would have us believe we were once monkeys. It requires faith to believe this, and makes me wonder where all the Gorilla people are? Spider monkey's would have made funny looking human beings to be sure, and the more than 300 species of primates still in existence today probably should have evolved by now...but it takes millions of years to change one species to another apparently, and we cannot test this theory, but people believe it as fact because they are told it is so from day one in school.

Science tells us to believe that life was created from happenstance...mere random chance, yet scientists cannot even "create" life from the resources provided by this planet (from whose elements life is said to have evolved from) where life is so abundant. They can stimulate growth, but they cannot create life. Now, how a nameless faceless, unintellignet, and lifeless universe created life on earth (which is by all the evidence to date, the only life we know of) is completely illogical.

Life, depends on so many specific variables to even be possible...for example...if days were too long all plant and animal life would die. If days were too short all plant and animal life would die. If our orbit was one degree off, life would cease to exist. If the earth was further from the sun, or closer to the sun, if the sun was too hot or too cool life couldn't exist, if the moon was closer or further away, if water were less abundant, if gravity was too weak or too strong...so many elements that must be perfect in order for life to even have the chance to be and this is just scratching the surface...look into it yourself.

If this is the case, and if it turns out to be comepletely ludicrous to you, to believe that life was created so haphazardly without cause or purpose despite there being so many specific pre-requisites for life, then there is only one other option. That life was created intentionally.

If there is a purpose to anything in existence, there must be a rational and logical explanation for it...

Denying that God exists because it is "supposedly" illogical to believe He does is simple laziness. If the all powerful, all knowing, ever-present all loving God does exist, it provides that there is a reason and a purpose to everything that happens here on earth and in the Universe, and provides the very fabric for logic and rational thinking Atheists tend to use in order to try and discredit God.

If Atheists are right, it means simply this...all suffering in the world, all good in the world, all things in this world...no matter how grandiose or how flawed, all are pointless and amount to nothing because we all die (100% of all people die--an uncontested fact.) The poorest person who suffers all their life will die and cease to exist if they are just "meat." The richest person on the planet will die and cease to exist, people who suffer tragedy, those who are awarded for excellence and integrity will simply vanish and soon be forgotten by all the others who will shortly die off as well...all life will die and cease to exist leaving no legacy to no one.

A very depressing yet surprisingly unrealistic--in my opinion--viewpoint to hold to.

If God does exist, then it means that suffering has a purpose and is not in vain, and in fact provides the opportunity for people to be generous, compassionate, loving to one another when they need it most. Suffering brings people closer together in love and brings out the very best in humanity. Suffering can motivate action, and it can allow for the opportuntity to come closer to and rely on God who wants to relieve our suffering and give us the promise of life after this earthly death. The suffering gives birth to faith, not out of sadistic intent, but out of a love so great for us that if we believe in the promise of God we will be saved from it forever.

If Atheistic views are right, then it doesn't matter, Atheism doesn't matter, Christianity doesn't matter and the entire universe doesn't matter. We're just meat puppets after all...


Or not.

As for me, I believe I will go to heaven because of my faith in Jesus Christ, who chose to die for the sins of the entire world and is preparing a place for me in the Kingdom of God. I put my trust in Christ, not my own faulty and limted human understanding of the Universe, and I choose to believe what Christ said because I see it proven to me daily.


God Bless you!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 12:23 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Good stuff, cozen.

Dang, this is going to sound offensive any way I say it, and I apologize in advance, but... it just seems like the evidence of religion and "God" being a creation of human beings is overwhelming. I'm constantly stunned that so many people see it as the other way around.

*dodging rotten fruit thrown at me by believers*

Hey - I'm not saying you can't believe, please do and have a great time with it! It's just...



Two things:

1) What's the evidence?

2) The presuppositions involved in evidentiary support are beyond evidentiary support. On some level, everyone believes something that can't be proven.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 12:37 PM

LEADB


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Actually, I was saying the latter, not the former. In my response to you, I wasn't positing any particular God or afterlife-destination. I was just trying to point out that I think that your assertion led to logical inconsistencies. And apparently you're OK with that, so there's really no way to argue against you, because we apparently don't agree about whether or not things have to be argued logically. My thought is this: logical truths seem to be necessary truths. That is, they are true in every possible world; it is impossible for them to be false. Now if God exists, he seems like the sort of being that would be a necessarily existent being--so he would exist in all possible worlds. So if there are some rules that are necessarily true and some being who inhabits every world that those rules are true, and if, as I think, God can't do a logical impossibility (like make a round square), then why can't God "break" the rules of logic? If he made the world, they're his rules. I think that it might turn out to be the case that the rules aren't made by God per se, but just are what they are in virtue of who God is. That is, it might turn out that God is eminently rational. In any event, I take it to be true that the rules of logic are necessary, inviolable truths (even for a deity), and it is that presupposition that governs my thinking in this area. (And I'd like to point out that we both have a set of presuppositions we're working from.)

I'm pained to see that you think that I'm using Pascal's wager. Personally, I think Pascal was full of it. [...]

Anyway, what fun talking about this without the yelling and screaming. Pure genius to put this in General Discussions instead of RWED.


The easy part first: Yes, "Pascal's wager", that was the name I couldn't think of; and we are clearly in agreement on that issue.

The logical portion; I lead my life based on a predominantly logical approach based on the perceived reality; which some praticality tucked in. The problem is in using logic to discuss the existance of heaven is a bit tough if one accepts that god is not bound to our assumptions; and thus might trump us all. It's always the assumptions and preconceptions that do you (and me ;-) ) in. And agreed, I have mine; never meant to imply otherwise.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 12:37 PM

CONSTANCE


Quote:

Originally posted by raidok:
<>


Hi Constance...not logical? Logic, reason or sound judgment is not why Scientists would have us believe we were once monkeys. It requires faith to believe this, and makes me wonder where all the Gorilla people are? Spider monkey's would have made funny looking human beings to be sure, and the more than 300 species of primates still in existence today probably should have evolved by now...but it takes millions of years to change one species to another apparently, and we cannot test this theory, but people believe it as fact because they are told it is so from day one in school.

Science tells us to believe that life was created from happenstance...mere random chance, yet scientists cannot even "create" life from the resources provided by this planet (from whose elements life is said to have evolved from) where life is so abundant. They can stimulate growth, but they cannot create life. Now, how a nameless faceless, unintellignet, and lifeless universe created life on earth (which is by all the evidence to date, the only life we know of) is completely illogical.

Life, depends on so many specific variables to even be possible...for example...if days were too long all plant and animal life would die. If days were too short all plant and animal life would die. If our orbit was one degree off, life would cease to exist. If the earth was further from the sun, or closer to the sun, if the sun was too hot or too cool life couldn't exist, if the moon was closer or further away, if water were less abundant, if gravity was too weak or too strong...so many elements that must be perfect in order for life to even have the chance to be and this is just scratching the surface...look into it yourself.

If this is the case, and if it turns out to be comepletely ludicrous to you, to believe that life was created so haphazardly without cause or purpose despite there being so many specific pre-requisites for life, then there is only one other option. That life was created intentionally.

If there is a purpose to anything in existence, there must be a rational and logical explanation for it...

Denying that God exists because it is "supposedly" illogical to believe He does is simple laziness. If the all powerful, all knowing, ever-present all loving God does exist, it provides that there is a reason and a purpose to everything that happens here on earth and in the Universe, and provides the very fabric for logic and rational thinking Atheists tend to use in order to try and discredit God.

If Atheists are right, it means simply this...all suffering in the world, all good in the world, all things in this world...no matter how grandiose or how flawed, all are pointless and amount to nothing because we all die (100% of all people die--an uncontested fact.) The poorest person who suffers all their life will die and cease to exist if they are just "meat." The richest person on the planet will die and cease to exist, people who suffer tragedy, those who are awarded for excellence and integrity will simply vanish and soon be forgotten by all the others who will shortly die off as well...all life will die and cease to exist leaving no legacy to no one.

A very depressing yet surprisingly unrealistic--in my opinion--viewpoint to hold to.

If God does exist, then it means that suffering has a purpose and is not in vain, and in fact provides the opportunity for people to be generous, compassionate, loving to one another when they need it most. Suffering brings people closer together in love and brings out the very best in humanity. Suffering can motivate action, and it can allow for the opportuntity to come closer to and rely on God who wants to relieve our suffering and give us the promise of life after this earthly death. The suffering gives birth to faith, not out of sadistic intent, but out of a love so great for us that if we believe in the promise of God we will be saved from it forever.

If Atheistic views are right, then it doesn't matter, Atheism doesn't matter, Christianity doesn't matter and the entire universe doesn't matter. We're just meat puppets after all...


Or not.

As for me, I believe I will go to heaven because of my faith in Jesus Christ, who chose to die for the sins of the entire world and is preparing a place for me in the Kingdom of God. I put my trust in Christ, not my own faulty and limted human understanding of the Universe, and I choose to believe what Christ said because I see it proven to me daily.


God Bless you!



Well, if there was an omnipotent (I hope thats the right word) force and intelligence behind creation of all life I would have thought that it would have been organized and created a tad bit simpler and practical.

And yes it requires faith to believe that something greater than us created all this. This extremely wonderful and crazy world we all live in. I dont have that. I have tried, I have wanted too. I have wanted to believe that there is a force that protects us, takes care of us, and keeps our soul alive after were dead. I havent been able to belive in that. And I ultimately have found that I dont want or need to belive in that.

I believe in the freedom of humanity. That we can live our lives without having to answer to anybody than our fellow human beings. That judgment from them is enough. If that justice fails that is the price we pay for being human. That is the price we'll have to pay for free will. I strongly believe in humanity, even though I'm proved wrong every day. I feel that if I cant take responsibility for my own actions, be they evil or not, but have to answer for them only in fear of judgment from a higher power, my apologies wont be worth that much.

I am aware that my believes, are they proven wrong after death, I will go to hell according to many people, but I will try to live MY life as best as I can. I want it to be My life not some gods.

Suffering is not necessarily pointless, but it makes evil or bad actions something humanity has to deal with. It makes it possible to punish now, in this life, the life we are fairly certain we are experiencing.

I want love to be born out of compassion and understanding for another human being. I want sympathy to be born out of the same. I dont want to have a god as an excuse for what I do or dont do.

This does NOT mean that the universe, people or anything doesnt matter. It means that it is ALL that matters. This is the only chance we got. if we cant make the best out of it then we will have failed. Not as huanity but as a person. We do have free will, we do need other people, we do need society, and we need the world, the planet and the universe. We are not insignificant in our existence. We do matter. But it is we, each and every one of us that matters, in ourselves... not an all mighty god above. We are not puppets... not for anyone... not if we choose not to be.


If I have sinned, and according to mainstream Christian beliefs I will die for my own sins and face the consequences. I wont have anyone else do that for me.

That said. You are as free as me to believe whatever you want. We can argue about logic and faith to the day of judgment I refuse to believe in, but it will all be faith against faith. I admire you for your faith. I cant say "God bless you" because that would be hypocritical and mean. But I can say thank you and good luck.

Constance

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 12:45 PM

CONSTANCE


And why does it have to be a reason behind everything? I am aware that I have called faith in a higher power illogical, but that was in reference to my own personal logic... my belief if you will. Not everything can make sense and not everything will. Death is pointless to those left behind in mourning. It is up to us (that is still living) to make sense and meaning out of it.


I am aware that this is no argument against fait in a god or gods...

Constance

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 1:38 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Rhyianan:
...logic does dictate that god is a construct made by men trying to explain the world.



Regardless of what anybody tells you, this just ain't so. Real logic is just rules for accurate thinking. And you can obey the rules of logic talking about anything--or nothing at all! Hence, "if all A is B and if all B is C, then all A is C"--We are thinking logically, but A, B, and C have no content at all! Similarly, we can use the rules of logic to talk about Star Trek, or Harry Potter, or the beginnings of the universe, or black holes, or God. All that's required to think about these things logically is to obey the rules of logic. Anyone who says that belief in God is inherently illogical really means that "Given my presuppositions, belief in God is unjustified." But something can be unjustified without being illogical. Consider the following argument: "1) If the moon is made of a food product, it is made of cheese; 2) the moon is made of a food product; therefore 3) the moon is made of cheese." Now, this is a logically valid argument. That is, if all the premises were true, the conclusion can't possibly be false. But there's a problem with this argument, isn't there? The second premise is false! That means that the argument isn't sound--that is, it's valid, but not all its premises are true. You see, there are two ways to argue against an argument. One is to detect a logical error (i.e. a place where the argument violates the rules of logic). The other is to demonstrate that one of the premises is false. In either case, the conclusion won't follow and the argument will be defeated. All that said, the same rules of logic apply to talking about God. Take, for instance, the following argument: "1) If there is a God, then God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent; 2) There is a God; 3) God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent." That is a logically valid argument: if the premises (1 & 2) are true, it is impossible for the conclusion (3) to be false. It correctly applies a very simple logical rule (modus ponens). Now, we may debate about whether or not one of the premises is true, but it remains a valid argument.

If you think that religion can't be talked about logically (that is, according to the rules of logic), you should really read something by Alvin Plantinga. I'd recommend God, Freedom, and Evil. Also, I've posted an essay I wrote about Plantinga on my blog: http://calebkeller.blogspot.com/ Check it out to see an example of how one might go about talking about God logically.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 2:11 PM

RHYIANAN


The wording of that statement may have been wrong, and I apologize if it rubbed you the wrong way. I am fully aware of the mechanics of logic, I just meant that all of the evidence I have seen points to religion being a construct. You can also apply the line of thinking I used to say that science is a construct as well, a way to explain things that we truly do not understand. This doesn't mean that we should reject science, just as we don't have to reject religion.

I never meant to imply that logic couldn't be applied to religion, but since you brought it up, I don't think it should be. Humans cannot fully comprehend the way that God (or whatever deity you prefer) works. He is all powerful, and unlike someone stated earlier, I don't think he is bound by our logic. If you believe in miracles like healing things that we cannot heal (like cancer or some other terminal illness) and jesus raising people from the dead, do those things conform to natural laws and what most people call logic? Not to my understanding, no.

To quote (or paraphrase if I got the quote wrong, which is possible) something that we all know and love: "It [Religion] isn't about making sense, it's about believing in something and letting that belief change your life. It's about faith, and you can't fix faith."


I'm a leaf on the wind

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 2:47 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Rhyianan:
I never meant to imply that logic couldn't be applied to religion, but since you brought it up, I don't think it should be. Humans cannot fully comprehend the way that God (or whatever deity you prefer) works. He is all powerful, and unlike someone stated earlier, I don't think he is bound by our logic. If you believe in miracles like healing things that we cannot heal (like cancer or some other terminal illness) and jesus raising people from the dead, do those things conform to natural laws and what most people call logic? Not to my understanding, no.



Well, actually, that was me earlier. And it's not "our" logic. The truths of logic would be true whether or not any human being was around to notice them or not. That's the whole point: they're necessary truths--it's impossible for them to be false. We don't make our own logic any more than we make our own math 1+1=2 is true not in virtue of anything that we say about it, but in virtue of the fact that that's the way the world really is. Similarly with logic. It's not "our" logic--the fact that one and the same thing can't both exist and not exist at the same time is not true in virtue of anything we have to say about it, but in virtue of the the fact that that's the way the world really is. I also think that the rules of logic are what they are because that's the way God is. The law of contradiction is the foundation of logic--some think that all other logic truths can be deduced from it alone. But the Law of Contradiction holds in virtue of the fact that God is perfectly self-consistent. So to violate logic would not be to violate "our" logic, but to violate his own nature. And he can't do that. Thus it doesn't limit God at all to say that he can't do the logically impossible, because all that really says is that he can't be what he's not.

On the contrary, the laws of nature are not necessary. God could have made things differently. The laws of nature are what they are because God made them be that way. So while there is no possible world in which 1+1=2, there is some possible world in which gravitation is stronger, one where it is weaker, and so forth. And furthermore, God made the laws of nature be what they are. They are his creations and he can make and unmake them as he sees fit. So when you ask whether healing and resurrection follow the laws of nature, the answer is no: they are violations of the laws of nature. But unlike logical impossibilities, they are violations that God can make because to do so would not amount to a violation of his character. Consider this argument: "1) If God made the law of gravity, he controls the law of gravity; 2) Controlling a law means one can unmake the law; 3) God made the law of gravity; 4) Therefore, God controls the law of gravity; 5) Therefore, God can unmake the law of gravity." This is a valid argument (though maybe not a sound one). And now we have an account for miracles that is logically valid (though maybe not sound). You need to be more careful about deploying the world "logical" because you seem to be using it to mean, "doesn't make any sense"--and that's not what illogical means. Violating natural laws isn't a logical impossibility, so God can do it as he sees fit. And interestingly, we can talk logically about that. Basically, the argument would be this: "1) If God is omnipotent, he can do anything that isn't logically impossible; 2) God is omnipotent; 3) Therefore, God can do anything that isn't logically impossible; 4) Breaking the rules of nature isn't logically impossible; 5) Therefore, God can break the laws of nature."

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 4:48 PM

RIVER6213


Quote:

Originally posted by cozen:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
So I'll just make the most of life, and let whatever's coming come.



Thank you for that. Y'see, to directly address River6213, my answer to your question, as I understand it, is neither place , because maybe, just maybe, they do not actually exist. In the sense that "God", and Heaven and Hell, are imaginary creations posited by people. Constructs invented by people to form some fundamental ethical and moral basis upon which to build an understandable way of living. We humans are pretty talented at inventing conscructs that work well enough to explain mysteries and to create technologies in the short term. To wit (skipping many steps here), there's the Platonion shperical model of the stars which leant a form of logic to the funky planet Earth's placement in the universe that the Gods of the time played around in, to Newtonian physics, which worked (and continue to do so) well enough as a basis to build ballistic toys and enable mapping routes to the Moon, to Einstein and Relativity, which gets us nearer to the concept that God ain't playing dice with this universe... except the possibility that maybe there is no God, so maybe there is a random element to our existence, eh? And so forth, into realms of mathematical paradigms I'm not going to pretend to understand. Paradigms we can use as tools that function well enough for us humans to build stuff enabling us to expand our abilities to spread our seed, mayhaps on galactic platforms, who knows?

What if, yeah, what if God and Jesus, and, by extension, Heaven and Hell, and feel free to add Infinite Oneness and existential accident to the list, are mere conceptual tricks that people have invented, in order to erect a convenient temporary foundations upon which to mitigate our fear of random happenstance?

I think that it's important that we don't know what makes the universe, um, and by extension, us humans' role within it, tick, because it's exactly that mystery that makes our endeavours interesting. That the concept of God, and Heaven and Hell, has, perhaps, psychological attributes may well be worthwhile tools for the time being. Yet I remain unconvinced of the truths of such concepts merely in terms of, "it feels right, ergo it must be so".

Also, I don't grok the "6213" part, which, in and of itself, belittles all that I've ever done and been, eh?

In short (lol!), we ain't necessarily destined for either place, cuz we just made 'em up. Doesn't mean we can't work on finding ways to not hate ourselves, and to not hate others. The work involved, heh, can be a bitch. In my opinion, an embraceable bitch.




And I thought I was long-winded! Okay, humor me then. If there WAS, or IS a place called Heaven and Hell as described by the Judeo-Christian religion, which one would you end up in? Also "6213" has a deep meaning too me thank you very much.

-River



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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:03 PM

RIVER6213


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

Actually - my bigger problem with the notion of hell is that no one - and I mean NO ONE - is intrinsically evil. Even you, River. You may have all kinds of evil plans, and even do evil acts, but I'll stack that against the amount of pain you've been through in your life. There's not a God out there who'll think that putting you through more pain and torment will solve the problem that is you. Certainly, not a God who deserves the title.




NO. I think I've dealt out more pain than I originally received in the beginning, therefore I've earned my ticket to hell because most of what I've done was done with glee, and a vengeful nature. I always believe in not doing things half measure.

If the Christian God exists I shall receive my reward for my campaign against life. All I know was my ass was "Pearl-Harbored" one day and I've been fighting the war ever since. At the age of 45 I have WON my war, now when I die I guess that's when my "War Crimes" against God, Christ, and humanity will begin. I will be found guilty (no surprise there) and sentenced to hell. There will be none of the screaming for mercy and saying that "Someone else made me do it" or "I didn't know what I was doing!" There will be none of that from me. I am guilty and am proud of it. I didn't let this fucking planet knock me down and that was worth every ounce of revenge, so I will get tossed into the lake of fire or whatever passes for hell. I guess God will be taking out the trash.

-River

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:10 PM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Welcome Clearstatic!


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:15 PM

RIVER6213


Come on FutureMrsFillion! Weigh in your opinion on this topic!

-River

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:33 PM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by RiveR6213:
Come on FutureMrsFillion! Weigh in your opinion on this topic!

-River



What, and shock the masses?

I do not believe or disbelieve in God. I believe in good and evil. Mostly I believe in evil and therefore there must also be a good. I believe that Christ existed. I believe that he was a good person and that he lived his life the way we should. The Golden rule and all that. I do NOT believe in ORGANIZED religion. As far as I am concerned ALL the problems in this world are a direct result of organized religion. I am not sure if I believe in Heaven, but I do believe in hell. I believe that we continue on after death, but in what form I don't know.

Where will I go after death? I don't know, but I am hoping (considering my karma in this life) it will be pretty good.


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Thursday, May 17, 2007 5:35 PM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by RiveR6213:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:

Actually - my bigger problem with the notion of hell is that no one - and I mean NO ONE - is intrinsically evil. Even you, River. You may have all kinds of evil plans, and even do evil acts, but I'll stack that against the amount of pain you've been through in your life. There's not a God out there who'll think that putting you through more pain and torment will solve the problem that is you. Certainly, not a God who deserves the title.




NO. I think I've dealt out more pain than I originally received in the beginning, therefore I've earned my ticket to hell because most of what I've done was done with glee, and a vengeful nature. I always believe in not doing things half measure.

If the Christian God exists I shall receive my reward for my campaign against life. All I know was my ass was "Pearl-Harbored" one day and I've been fighting the war ever since. At the age of 45 I have WON my war, now when I die I guess that's when my "War Crimes" against God, Christ, and humanity will begin. I will be found guilty (no surprise there) and sentenced to hell. There will be none of the screaming for mercy and saying that "Someone else made me do it" or "I didn't know what I was doing!" There will be none of that from me. I am guilty and am proud of it. I didn't let this fucking planet knock me down and that was worth every ounce of revenge, so I will get tossed into the lake of fire or whatever passes for hell. I guess God will be taking out the trash.

-River



Ah, but if Jesus died for everyone's sins, that includes you.


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Thursday, May 17, 2007 6:22 PM

RAIDOK


Constance, as a Christian, I am not to Judge or condemn another human being, nor to say whether or not a person is going to hell, but I am simply to tell you the truth as I understand it according to my faith in Christ...

what I write is with the utmost respect and sincerity.

About your post: if an apology is sincere and born out of love, then it means very much, but if there is no God, hence no life after physical death, and no Supreme rule of conduct on how we are to treat each other and live our lives with the corresponding consequences if we break these rules, what does it matter if you apologize or not as an Atheist? Is it to simply mend bridges and keep things flowing smoothly?

The very act of apology is to seek recompense...a desire to correct an error made by one's self. If there is no ultimate lawgiver, no divine God who enforces a set rule of behavior and the consequences for breaking those laws, then the only other authority to deal with is human, and human authority is all too easily defeated by rule breakers on every level from lying to murder to genocide. Without God, there will be no justice every single time a criminal escapes human law enforcement, is not witnessed committing a crime, or is not caught red handed. The same goes for breakers of every rule and every code of conduct from calling names to gossiping behind someone's back that would require an apology to be given in the first place. The if nobody sees it, then it didn't happen mentality will prevail, along with the shades of criminality as with illegal music downloads or speeding in a car...if no one sees you do you stop? Or if you catch yourself speeding do you go apologize to a police officer for breaking the law?

If you wrong a specific individual and your conscience gets the better of you and you feel bad and are prompted or compelled by it to apologize, what is the true motivation for an Atheist in offering an apology if not because it is inherently the right thing to do? (Mind you, an inherent right implies that there is an Ultimate right and wrong) If it's because you don't want to feel bad, it's selfish. If it's because you want another person to feel better towards you, it's selfish. If it is for any reason other than the fact that it is the right thing to do, it is selfish. My point is that if there is no God, then everything we do is based on how it makes us feel, not for any love of doing right for the sake of right...if it was for the love of doing right for the simple sake of doing right, then you would apologize to every single person who you have ever wronged in any way shape or form, whether they know about it or not, and more importantly, whether you know them or even like them at all.

Yes, there is a reason for everything we choose to do, no matter what it may be. Atheist reasoning for doing good not surprisingly is based on the golden rule when it comes to treating others they way you want to be treated, but the motivation must certainly be different by definition. If you hurt people who will ultimately hurt you back it is very dangerous to be an Atheist with no life expectancy beyond the physical, and with every part of their being wrapped up in the human body, they cling to it very tenaciously because once lost it's lost forever...or so they believe. The reasoning for doing good for an Atheist is wrapped around either an arrogance that they are the ultimate intelligence of creation (which is the case if there is no God) and thereby must act the part, or simply the fear of experiencing or causing oblivion in someone else if you cross the wrong person, or choose the wrong reaction to any given situation...it is in any case a fear bound to the human body and anything that can affect the body, whereas Christians fear God, and rightly so, but that fear is born out of love, a fear of disappointing a Father/a cherished loved one...not a fear of dying or penalty. Christ paid the debt for our sins, and we are under Grace as Christians, so our sins are paid for, but we must live our lives in response and respect to that ultimate sacrifice for us. We do what is right because it is what God would want us to do, because it is right and according to His will for us. If we make mistakes, we ask forgiveness of God and repent for our sins, and continue to ask God to help us to change daily.

If any human does wrong we could end up in jail and/or dead earlier than expected because of poor choices whether Christian or Atheist...but for an Atheist, that's it, game over, end of story, no repeats...

If there is no source of ultimate right and wrong, meaning God, to determine and to judge our actions, then ultimately we can do anything we choose with no ultimate consequences at all except death/oblivion. (This is how so many people spiral out of control and snap under the pressure of their lives, believing erroneously that if they have done so many bad things there is no possible way they will ever be forgiven, and therefore might as well just go out with a bang is utterly ignorant of God's promise to us and ignorant of human nature.) So if there is no God, and an Atheist can get away with something, it is surely in their best interest to never be caught, and thereby never have to apologize for something that "never happened." If you are caught and thereby need to apologize it is merely compulsion to do so, due to the circumstances you may find yourself in at any given time...facing a lengthy jail stay, a huge fine, a lawsuit, etc.

If God does exist, then there is no excuse for our bad choices since God sees all that we do and knows who breaks the rules and when...nothing we can or will change the verdict, but it also means that repentance/apologies have such a great value that is almost beyond comprehension. If we apologize to God and ask God for forgiveness He will forgive us. Now this might seem like it is no different than a compulsory apology because we are caught red handed by God, but the difference is that an apology given to God must be sincere to be accepted, and if sincere is not only saying we are guilty and ask for forgivness, but that we agree with God's judgment of us and accept the authority of God over our lives and truly desire to change because we know that He loves us and knows what is best for us. This makes a sincere apology of the utmost value...more than that, priceless. What you seem not to understand is that God, according to the Bible, is not some vindictive demi-god made up by mankind, but instead is the Creator of the heavens and all that is in it...a God of love, who is merciful and judges according to goodness and truth, not some spiteful human judge who sits on a throne looking for those to condemn with gleeful pleasure.

And ask yourself, if God is all good with no evil in Him, wouldn't anything he asks of us be good and right? Wouldn't His judgments of us be good and right, and wouldn't He be merciful to us because He knows our faults and our human frailties and our imperfection?

This is why in God's ultimate wisdom and mercy to us...He sent Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross, because in order to pay the price/penalty for all humanity's sins against God, He knew that only a perfect divine being could pay that price perfectly and completely for all. He sent Christ, His Son, God in the flesh, to pay for all our crimes against God so we wouldn't have to. This is not an act of divine wrath...this is the most divine act of love Creation has ever known and it was done for me, and it was done for you, and everyone else in the world regardless of gender, race or country of origin, and it was done not because you are not "willing" to pay for your sins, (God knows your heart) but because you wouldn't be able to or survive it if you tried. No one would and since the soul does not die, we would all be consigned to eternal punishment for those sins without Christ.

So this is the Loving God that only wants what is best for us and wants us to survive, wants to save us from the eternal punishment that awaits "all" who rebel against God. Christ said it best Himself:

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


You said you had wanted to believe and tried to believe...what is really holding you back from the freedom offered by Christ?

I understand your position and I have had many of the same opinions for most of my life, until a formerly Atheist friend gave me a Bible and challenged me in more ways than one to seek the truth, and now I believe because of what Christ said and what He has done in my life.

Just remember...we aren't guaranteed a day beyond today, make the most of it while you can


I pray you keep trying to believe with sincerity,

God bless you in all ways.

If you ever need to talk with anyone or have any questions...feel free to write me here:

martin.raidok@gmail.com

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Thursday, May 17, 2007 7:39 PM

RIVER6213


This thread is reaching its inevitable end and I would like to thank everyone who participated in it. Normally threads like this, especially threads that involve subject matters like religions, and beliefs usually end up becoming a stupid, name calling, swirling, word and ideological, dogfights of epic proportions, where everyone is right and will fight for that right to the bitter end session, but this thread was conducted in a very thoughtful manner, and all who participated had not only good points of view, but stated WHY they had that particular view. This is a good thing, and you are all a very thoughtful, intelligent, and enlightened people in which I am glad to be associated with. Now go back and run your little moon's

-River



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Friday, May 18, 2007 2:29 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
I do NOT believe in ORGANIZED religion. As far as I am concerned ALL the problems in this world are a direct result of organized religion.



I don't disagree with you that people have done a lot of horrendous things in the name of religion. But all the world's problems? Maybe you were being hyperbolic--do you seriously think that every single problem everywhere in the world is attributable to religion?

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Friday, May 18, 2007 4:01 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
1) What's the evidence?

2) The presuppositions involved in evidentiary support are beyond evidentiary support. On some level, everyone believes something that can't be proven.



#1) O boy, now I'm in trouble... By which I mean, this may take a really long reply because my own thoughts are pretty scattered about it. It's not something I've ever tried to express in words - I don't debate it often.

Hmm. Where to start. Generally speaking, I find that a society's God(s?) has a real close resemblence to the authority figures of that society. The God in the Bible is such a father figure - obviously male, and extremely human. Just - superhuman. A really smart, really powerful human. He speaks and thinks in words. He looks like a person, and has emotions like a person. Sure, he loves, but he also gets angry and jealous. He's possessive of his flock, and demands obedience. He's extremely concerned about little details of our lives that seem, (to me), to have little to do with the well being of our souls. What does matter who I have sex with and how? Isn't it most important that sex is an expressive of love and joy?

The idea that "belief" is absolutely necessary... now this would do me great harm. If I *believed*, I wouldn't be able to ask questions, and - speaking of myself only - I can only be the fullest expression of myself if I can ask questions. A Being who would tell me to just sit down and shut up and believe what he's saying just because he's saying it... that's NOT a divinity concerned with making me the best me I can be. That's a bad parent LOL!

Arrrg! I'm getting too bogged down with details and tangents... it's just that all these rules and tenets involved with religion are so tied up in the social mores of isolated groups of people. It's also reliant on the systems and time scales of a single planet, our lovely Earth. It seems (to me) that it isn't universal. These Divinities of ours never stretch further than our own understanding. Only slowly does religion expand to include the new things we learn about our universe - and that's after *we* learn them. Way after, in most cases.

Umm... as far as evidence, I'm not talking hard science here - evolution and physics and such. I'm talking more of psychology, which Cozen touched on. (with, obviously, a lot of arm-waving added on my part LOL!) The psychology of God as relates to human beings and vice versa... We need a reason for our existence, something to keep us centered and, really, to give us self-worth. God does that. Believing that we were created by something perfect makes us feel divine, and stops us from getting all tied up in hardcore existential crises. We can get on with our daily lives with a whole set of needs met, as long as we have religion to tell us we're worth something, and that being Good is a good thing.

As someone who doesn't believe in a God who's anywhere close to human form, I have to ask myself these questions: why do I exist? what difference do my choices make? how do I get satisfaction out of being one little cog in this random, messy universe? How can I go on knowing that none of this will be explained to me after I die?

Actually, trying to answer these questions, while challenging, is kind of fun. Personally, I'm glad I don't have a book telling me what to believe. I enjoy the hunt for truth. I enjoy being a bit lost, and knowing that the universe is a puzzle I'll never solve. That, to me, is true Divinity. The universe is bigger than any of our fancy sciences or religions will ever come close to capturing, and there's a lot of beauty in that. I think so. But then, I'm a little weird.

I warned you it would be long! And probably doesn't come close to answering you. But really, I'm not trying to change your mind. I understand that not many people would be happy living with my belief system. I'm just trying to explain myself.

As to your #2 - I'm kind of confused as to what you mean and how it relates. Too many big words and big thoughts for a Friday morning.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 4:17 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
I do NOT believe in ORGANIZED religion. As far as I am concerned ALL the problems in this world are a direct result of organized religion.


Well, here it is: if it weren't organized religion, it would be organized something else: politics or corporations, which have at their heart the same evils that religion unfortunately frequently deteriorates into. It's not the organization or society; it's the corrupt membership.
Quote:

Originally posted by RiveR6213:
This thread is reaching its inevitable end and I would like to thank everyone who participated in it.


NOOOOoooooooo!
Quote:

Originally posted by RiveR6213:
Normally threads like this, especially threads that involve subject matters like religions, and beliefs usually end up becoming a stupid, name calling, swirling, word and ideological, dogfights of epic proportions, where everyone is right and will fight for that right to the bitter end session, but this thread was conducted in a very thoughtful manner, and all who participated had not only good points of view, but stated WHY they had that particular view. This is a good thing, and you are all a very thoughtful, intelligent, and enlightened people in which I am glad to be associated with. Now go back and run your little moon's


I have only scanned a smattering of this thread and will relish the time when I get around to enjoying it in full. From what little I've seen here, 6213, I believe one of two things: either your reputation is undeserved or at least exaggerated, OR you've changed your ways. Not being active in RWED often at all, even lurking, I am in no position to judge you. Perhaps, God is.

I have only two comments to make at this point. On the matter of free will versus predestination, my believe is that it is quite literally a matter of perspective, not of the "observer" or "entity", but of the very concept itself, the "event". Until an event "actually" occurs, anything is possible, with some more probable than others: there are infinite (?) options of choice available for a soul to pick from--yes, no, yes with this but not that, no except for that--and have complete freedom to do so. Not saying there's no reasons or influences making some choices more appealing and others appalling, but they are there. The instant the event occurs, it is immutable and everything--every event, every experience--leading up to it becomes inevitable, making it all totally predictable (given an omniscience to do so) and imputing predestination upon it all since no other outcome is now possible (or ever was...).

The second comment I'd like to make is that I see mathematical terms and theories and logic being volleyed back and forth and, while it is occasionally helpful in describing reality, we mustn't confuse it with reality. I do not believe there is an equation that will explain, describe, or convey us to, Heaven or Hell, if they exist which we cannot prove by any science. We like balance and symmetry and all their children. Karma, Kismet and so on. If p, then q. We like boundaries and thresholds. That's because we are finite beings. We want to understand. We want clarity. We want to be told what is right and what is wrong so we don't have deal with moral ambiguity or dilemmas. We like things black and white.

As none of the atomic models exactly reproduce the workings of an atom (in truth the only "model" which could do so is an atom itself), so there is no Hitchhiker's Guide for the games of life and death. Virgil could only lead Dante so far before Beatrice had to take over. If you had to pick a model of the atom that best descibes how it would look if you could actually see it, the electon cloud model is the closest. That is what I am offering you. It's not a formula that gets you to heaven. It's a gift. It's not an act or state that sends you to hell, it's a lack of trust.




"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 4:33 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
#1) O boy, now I'm in trouble... By which I mean, this may take a really long reply because my own thoughts are pretty scattered about it. ...



I want you to know that I respect your choices--I hope that nobody's read me as trying to force anything on anyone. But it strikes me that whereas you originally started off talking about evidence, you've wound up talking about your feelings about things. Is that what you meant when you said "evidence"?

Quote:

As to your #2 - I'm kind of confused as to what you mean and how it relates. Too many big words and big thoughts for a Friday morning.



So my original observation was this: "The presuppositions involved in evidentiary support are beyond evidentiary support. On some level, everyone believes something that can't be proven." What that means is this: everyone has a standard for what counts as evidence for or against something. I firmly believe in the Christian God, and I see the massive changes in my life over the last 6 years (as well as the changes I've observed in others) as evidence of God's grace in my life. I take that change to be valid for evidentiary support. But not everybody would agree that changed lives counstitute evidence for God (maybe even most people wouldn't). But I can't prove conclusively that there is a God or that changed lives constitutes evidentiary support for that God.

Now, many people think that they will be more secure if the restrict evidentiary support to what can be demonstrated by the physical sciences. This rests on a pair of presuppositions. In the first place, there's the presupposition of material reductionism--that is, the belief that only physical things exist. But the interesting thing about that is that it can't be proven. It may make perfect sense to some people, but that doesn't constitute proof, any more than I can prove God's existence by claiming that that makes sense. Because how could the sciences ever disprove the existence of non-physical things? The sciences by definition deal only with what is materially observable and non-material things would be by definition not materially observable. So even if there is non-physical stuff, the physical sciences will never be able to examine it.

In the second place, it's impossible to prove that some thing does not exist (unless it's impossible for the thing to exist, like a round square). This is because existence isn't a property that can be predicated of a thing (like, for instance, size or color). Existence isn't a property of a thing--rather, existence just means that there is some thing (namely, me) that has the particular cluster of properties that constitutes me. With me so far? So we can't say that God doesn't have the property of existence, because existence isn't a property that can be predicated. So any claim about God's existence will have the following form: there is no X such that X is God. Or put another way: given any X, X is not God. In more plain language, this makes the claim that no matter what thing you pick out in the entire universe, that thing is not God. Can you see the difficulty in proving that? In order to conclusively prove that, you'd have to produce and examine every X in the universe--which is, of course, an impossible task. So God's existence can't be conclusively disproven--it's impossible! Now, what does that have to do with anything? Just this: the data of the physical sciences can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. So if one chooses to use just the data of the physical sciences one can neither conclusively prove nor disprove the existence of God.

A second problem with the notion that only the physical sciences can provide evidentiary support is this: its fundamental assertion is contradictory to its claims. Let's unpack that. The notion that only the sciences can give us meaningful truth comes from a philosophical movement known as logical positivism (LP). According to the LPs, a proposition was meaningful if and only if it could be reduced to empirically observable truths. So, for instance, the proposition, "It is raining in Ames, IA" has meaning because we can get on a plane and fly to Iowa and drive down to Ames and see if it's raining (or, in my case, look out a window). Or the proposition, "The earth orbits the sun." We can make empirical observations to confirm or disconfirm this. But the LPs thought that a proposition like, "God is all-powerful," is neither true nor false, but positively meaningless, because there's no way to empirically verify it. The LPs thought these kinds of statements had no real cognitive value at all. They may look like they're saying something--but if you got down to it, they'd have no more meaning than a statement like, "Green ideas sleep furiously." Now all this may seem attractive. But consider this: the foundation of LP is the following proposition, "A proposition has meaning if and only if it is reduceable to empirically verifiable truths." But notice something crucial here: this proposition is not reduceable to empirically verifiable truth! There's no possible way to prove the truth of this assertion, so if the LPs were going to be consistent, they'd reject their own fundamental assertion, and go out of business. And that is exactly what has happened in the philosophical community. Almost no one claims to be a logical positivist any more. But the legacy of logical positivism in our culture is that it has given people the idea that only that which is empirically verifiable constitutes truth (or evidentiary support).

The critical thing to notice about all this is that the foundational claims of strict material reductionists (claims like, "only physical things exist" and "given any phenomenon, that phenomenon has a naturalistic explanation") can't be proven. So the material reductionist have to base their beliefs on things that, at bottom, can't be conclusively proven. And in that respect, they're just like me in that some of their foundational beliefs are beyond conclusive proof.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 4:50 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by JonnyQuest:
The second comment I'd like to make is that I see mathematical terms and theories and logic being volleyed back and forth and, while it is occasionally helpful in describing reality, we mustn't confuse it with reality. I do not believe there is an equation that will explain, describe, or convey us to, Heaven or Hell, if they exist which we cannot prove by any science. We like balance and symmetry and all their children. Karma, Kismet and so on. If p, then q. We like boundaries and thresholds. That's because we are finite beings. We want to understand. We want clarity. We want to be told what is right and what is wrong so we don't have deal with moral ambiguity or dilemmas. We like things black and white.



But there's a difference between a thing's describing reality and a thing's being a reality. Take the law of contradiction, the foundation of logical thinking: no thing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. You seem to think that this is just a description of reality--a description that might be more or less flawed. But I take this to be a reality itself. That is, not only do I think that that statement is true, I think that it has to be true, I think that it's impossible for it to be false. I think that it is a necessary truth--that is, it is true in any possible world. It isn't that the law of contradiction is a convenient description of a reality we observe (this presupposes a pretty radical form of empiricism). Rather, the law of contradiction is part of the foundation of reality--true everywhere, and impossible to be false. The crucial thing is to note that the law of contradiction isn't a human invention--it would still be true even in the possible worlds where human beings don't exist. So it's not that we've just invented the law of contradiction to describe our reality--in the law of contradiction we've discovered one of the foundations of reality itself. And if that's the case--and I believe that it is--then it's possible to talk about God using logic (given that the law of of contradiction is the foundation of logical thought). I know this is the minority opinion on the board, that most people think that God is beyond "our" logic. But on my view, it's not "our logic"--it's God's logic. And in virtue of this, we can use it to talk about God.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 5:14 AM

KANEMAN


I will, without doubt, go to heaven.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 5:34 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
#1) O boy, now I'm in trouble... By which I mean, this may take a really long reply because my own thoughts are pretty scattered about it. ...



I want you to know that I respect your choices--I hope that nobody's read me as trying to force anything on anyone. But it strikes me that whereas you originally started off talking about evidence, you've wound up talking about your feelings about things. Is that what you meant when you said "evidence"?

I did explain what seems evidential to me - but not in scientific terms, which seems to be what you expect. I explicitly said that I'm not talking hard science, I'm talking about my observations of the rules of religion, as relates to the psychology of the human mind - and I do not consider psychology a hard science. Not at all!

I stress - none of what I described in my post as "evidence" (and you are absolutely right, evidence the way I'm using the word is in the eye of the beholder) has anything to do with hard science. My "evidence" is in the workings of religion itself. What I was doing (in a very general, poorly described way) was looking at the rules of religion and asking if they really seem to suggest a Higher Power, or if the human psyche is another option for what's behind it.

That's not a scientific question. It's a philosophical debate.

Your post is breaking down science, saying it can't possibly be applied to religion. Um... yeah. Of course it can't! See? You and I agree!!


Quote:

Now, many people think that they will be more secure if the restrict evidentiary support to what can be demonstrated by the physical sciences.
OK, you really missed what I was saying. Not blaming you - I warned you that I would be unclear! But I did explicitly say that I wasn't referring to the hard (meaning: physical) sciences.

But I'll take the bait, a little anyway...

One problem with the science/religion debate is that people think science is trying to tell them what to believe. It's not! It's really not! Science merely attempts to collect what we observe into one place in order to be useful.

Science does not say "This is RIGHT" It only says "This is what we see, today." Science may - no, it certainly will change it's conclusions tomorrow, because we'll observe new things, and science, being the collection of human observation, is obviously imperfect. Anyone who uses science beyond this descriptive sense is abusing it (which certainly happens!) or confusing it with religion. (which I think you're doing.) Science is not religion, and it doesn't try to be.

(BYW, I note that science allows - no, depends on - questions, and it allows itself to be wrong. On the other hand, religion is not fond of being questioned. We're talking two completely different critters here.)


Quote:

The sciences by definition deal only with what is materially observable and non-material things would be by definition not materially observable. So even if there is non-physical stuff, the physical sciences will never be able to examine it.
No argument here! But... did you really think I was suggesting differently? Really?

Quote:

So we can't say that God doesn't have the property of existence, because existence isn't a property that can be predicated. So any claim about God's existence will have the following form: there is no X such that X is God. Or put another way: given any X, X is not God. In more plain language, this makes the claim that no matter what thing you pick out in the entire universe, that thing is not God. Can you see the difficulty in proving that?
Whoa, dude, I'm not trying to prove anything! And I never once applied the scientific process to proving/disproving religion. Where did you get this?

Quote:

A second problem with the notion that only the physical sciences can provide evidentiary support is this:
Sorry, I just can't respond to any more. This "notion" you mention here has nothing to do with what I posted! Did you... really... read it?

Look - you've made your point that when I used I used the word "evidence," I meant something personal, something that depends on my own world view and personal experiences. But isn't that what this thread is about? Where do we each of think we'll go - Heaven or Hell?

Um... your post is well thought out though, and not wrong, logically speaking. You're just arguing with someone else besides me LOL!




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Friday, May 18, 2007 5:55 AM

CAUSAL


So sorry for the confusion. The bit after #1 was my response to your post. The bit after #2 was an extended meditation on the notion of evidentiary support. You'd said that you didn't understand what I meant with the technical terms, so I was trying to flesh that out. I'm sorry that I wasn't clearer on that. I was just trying to explain what I meant when I said that claims about what constitutes evidentiary support are often beyond evidentiary support themselves. So that long ramble wasn't a response to your assertions so much as it was just me trying to explain what I meant.

By the way, as to the claim that I'm arguing not against you, but against someone else, that's certainly true. Being a theist will do that to you. I'm surrounded by philosophical peers who disagree with me, so I often try to forestall objections by raising and answering them myself.

And just a general observation for the edification of everybody: nobody owns a thread--including the person who started it. It's been my experience that threads go where they want, so insisting that people give simple heaven/hell answers might not really work.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 6:07 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
But there's a difference between a thing's describing reality and a thing's being a reality. Take the law of contradiction, the foundation of logical thinking: no thing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. You seem to think that this is just a description of reality--a description that might be more or less flawed. But I take this to be a reality itself. That is, not only do I think that that statement is true, I think that it has to be true, I think that it's impossible for it to be false. I think that it is a necessary truth--that is, it is true in any possible world. It isn't that the law of contradiction is a convenient description of a reality we observe (this presupposes a pretty radical form of empiricism). Rather, the law of contradiction is part of the foundation of reality--true everywhere, and impossible to be false. The crucial thing is to note that the law of contradiction isn't a human invention--it would still be true even in the possible worlds where human beings don't exist. So it's not that we've just invented the law of contradiction to describe our reality--in the law of contradiction we've discovered one of the foundations of reality itself. And if that's the case--and I believe that it is--then it's possible to talk about God using logic (given that the law of of contradiction is the foundation of logical thought). I know this is the minority opinion on the board, that most people think that God is beyond "our" logic. But on my view, it's not "our logic"--it's God's logic. And in virtue of this, we can use it to talk about God.


Only I would be dumb enough to go head to head about philosophy with a philosopher by trade. If you can't do something smart, do something...else.

No thing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.

Hmmm. How does this apply to Schroedinger's cat? Is it really just our not knowing the outcome before we see it or is there actually a temporal ambiguity involved? (Not my main argument but I like tangents like that.)
In my reality (my view of reality) I don't need to recognize "laws" at all, be it of contradiction or uniformity. The law of contradiction may be a (the?) cornerstone of logic, but of the universe? Is time truly linear? If it wasn't does that necessarily upset cause and effect? (Similarly we based "uniformity" on observation enhanced by mathematics. All that means is our field of view is limited and math is filling the gap. We observe the sun to rise and set and yet we "know" that isn't true because our data increased beyond our own powers of observation. Math helped with that. The scientific community is now arguing about the existence of Dark Matter. Or is it the non-existence of Dark Matter? Does it matter? One day we might know, but the math can go either way.)

I can use logic (I can use logic), but my contention is that perhaps reality is not logical and therefore might best not be viewed as such.

It's not "our logic"--it's God's logic.

Nicely echoing "MY WAYS ARE NOT THY WAYS". All we know of reality is what we make of it in our own heads. I think you are real therefore you are real to me. Tomorrow I might realize my schizophrenia and stop posting messages to my favorite imaginary philosopher. (I happen to believe that solipsism is one of the more sophististicated and therefore appealing theories of reality. I do not believe it however. Except when I watch the Matrix...) Everything we know comes our perception (or imagination) of what we believe to be reality. If I may set aside logic when it has stretched to its limit, I isn't because I do not subscribe to its principles within its limits; I "know" that the infinite cannot be quantified, except by artifice, and so in the absence of logic, there is no paradox in denying the law of contradiction.

(I happen to agree, I think, with many of your conclusions but I am not even close to finished reading here.) that may or may not make you feel better.


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 6:07 AM

CONSTANCE


Quote:

Originally posted by raidok:
Constance, as a Christian, I am not to Judge or condemn another human being, nor to say whether or not a person is going to hell, but I am simply to tell you the truth as I understand it according to my faith in Christ...

what I write is with the utmost respect and sincerity.

About your post: if an apology is sincere and born out of love, then it means very much, but if there is no God, hence no life after physical death, and no Supreme rule of conduct on how we are to treat each other and live our lives with the corresponding consequences if we break these rules, what does it matter if you apologize or not as an Atheist? Is it to simply mend bridges and keep things flowing smoothly?

The very act of apology is to seek recompense...a desire to correct an error made by one's self. If there is no ultimate lawgiver, no divine God who enforces a set rule of behavior and the consequences for breaking those laws, then the only other authority to deal with is human, and human authority is all too easily defeated by rule breakers on every level from lying to murder to genocide. Without God, there will be no justice every single time a criminal escapes human law enforcement, is not witnessed committing a crime, or is not caught red handed. The same goes for breakers of every rule and every code of conduct from calling names to gossiping behind someone's back that would require an apology to be given in the first place. The if nobody sees it, then it didn't happen mentality will prevail, along with the shades of criminality as with illegal music downloads or speeding in a car...if no one sees you do you stop? Or if you catch yourself speeding do you go apologize to a police officer for breaking the law?

If you wrong a specific individual and your conscience gets the better of you and you feel bad and are prompted or compelled by it to apologize, what is the true motivation for an Atheist in offering an apology if not because it is inherently the right thing to do? (Mind you, an inherent right implies that there is an Ultimate right and wrong) If it's because you don't want to feel bad, it's selfish. If it's because you want another person to feel better towards you, it's selfish. If it is for any reason other than the fact that it is the right thing to do, it is selfish. My point is that if there is no God, then everything we do is based on how it makes us feel, not for any love of doing right for the sake of right...if it was for the love of doing right for the simple sake of doing right, then you would apologize to every single person who you have ever wronged in any way shape or form, whether they know about it or not, and more importantly, whether you know them or even like them at all.

Yes, there is a reason for everything we choose to do, no matter what it may be. Atheist reasoning for doing good not surprisingly is based on the golden rule when it comes to treating others they way you want to be treated, but the motivation must certainly be different by definition. If you hurt people who will ultimately hurt you back it is very dangerous to be an Atheist with no life expectancy beyond the physical, and with every part of their being wrapped up in the human body, they cling to it very tenaciously because once lost it's lost forever...or so they believe. The reasoning for doing good for an Atheist is wrapped around either an arrogance that they are the ultimate intelligence of creation (which is the case if there is no God) and thereby must act the part, or simply the fear of experiencing or causing oblivion in someone else if you cross the wrong person, or choose the wrong reaction to any given situation...it is in any case a fear bound to the human body and anything that can affect the body, whereas Christians fear God, and rightly so, but that fear is born out of love, a fear of disappointing a Father/a cherished loved one...not a fear of dying or penalty. Christ paid the debt for our sins, and we are under Grace as Christians, so our sins are paid for, but we must live our lives in response and respect to that ultimate sacrifice for us. We do what is right because it is what God would want us to do, because it is right and according to His will for us. If we make mistakes, we ask forgiveness of God and repent for our sins, and continue to ask God to help us to change daily.

If any human does wrong we could end up in jail and/or dead earlier than expected because of poor choices whether Christian or Atheist...but for an Atheist, that's it, game over, end of story, no repeats...

If there is no source of ultimate right and wrong, meaning God, to determine and to judge our actions, then ultimately we can do anything we choose with no ultimate consequences at all except death/oblivion. (This is how so many people spiral out of control and snap under the pressure of their lives, believing erroneously that if they have done so many bad things there is no possible way they will ever be forgiven, and therefore might as well just go out with a bang is utterly ignorant of God's promise to us and ignorant of human nature.) So if there is no God, and an Atheist can get away with something, it is surely in their best interest to never be caught, and thereby never have to apologize for something that "never happened." If you are caught and thereby need to apologize it is merely compulsion to do so, due to the circumstances you may find yourself in at any given time...facing a lengthy jail stay, a huge fine, a lawsuit, etc.

If God does exist, then there is no excuse for our bad choices since God sees all that we do and knows who breaks the rules and when...nothing we can or will change the verdict, but it also means that repentance/apologies have such a great value that is almost beyond comprehension. If we apologize to God and ask God for forgiveness He will forgive us. Now this might seem like it is no different than a compulsory apology because we are caught red handed by God, but the difference is that an apology given to God must be sincere to be accepted, and if sincere is not only saying we are guilty and ask for forgivness, but that we agree with God's judgment of us and accept the authority of God over our lives and truly desire to change because we know that He loves us and knows what is best for us. This makes a sincere apology of the utmost value...more than that, priceless. What you seem not to understand is that God, according to the Bible, is not some vindictive demi-god made up by mankind, but instead is the Creator of the heavens and all that is in it...a God of love, who is merciful and judges according to goodness and truth, not some spiteful human judge who sits on a throne looking for those to condemn with gleeful pleasure.

And ask yourself, if God is all good with no evil in Him, wouldn't anything he asks of us be good and right? Wouldn't His judgments of us be good and right, and wouldn't He be merciful to us because He knows our faults and our human frailties and our imperfection?

This is why in God's ultimate wisdom and mercy to us...He sent Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross, because in order to pay the price/penalty for all humanity's sins against God, He knew that only a perfect divine being could pay that price perfectly and completely for all. He sent Christ, His Son, God in the flesh, to pay for all our crimes against God so we wouldn't have to. This is not an act of divine wrath...this is the most divine act of love Creation has ever known and it was done for me, and it was done for you, and everyone else in the world regardless of gender, race or country of origin, and it was done not because you are not "willing" to pay for your sins, (God knows your heart) but because you wouldn't be able to or survive it if you tried. No one would and since the soul does not die, we would all be consigned to eternal punishment for those sins without Christ.

So this is the Loving God that only wants what is best for us and wants us to survive, wants to save us from the eternal punishment that awaits "all" who rebel against God. Christ said it best Himself:

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


You said you had wanted to believe and tried to believe...what is really holding you back from the freedom offered by Christ?

I understand your position and I have had many of the same opinions for most of my life, until a formerly Atheist friend gave me a Bible and challenged me in more ways than one to seek the truth, and now I believe because of what Christ said and what He has done in my life.

Just remember...we aren't guaranteed a day beyond today, make the most of it while you can


I pray you keep trying to believe with sincerity,

God bless you in all ways.

If you ever need to talk with anyone or have any questions...feel free to write me here:

martin.raidok@gmail.com




I have no problem in believing you to be both respectful and sincere. I really like this discussion. Its very civil and interesting.

I think that the meaning of an apology is to forgive people who do not necessarily deserve it, but by giving forgiveness to someone who really regrets, both parties will be able to move on.
The reason for both asking for forgiveness and giving it might be selfish, but I don't think that that diminishes the value of it. I believe that people do a lot of things because its the right thing to do, and that is a sufficient reason for doing it. I think not doing things only because you're afraid of getting caught or seen by police, government or god don't make you good, it just makes you scared and self preservative.

I see the need to find an answer to where we come from, why were here and all the other big questions. I am content with my answer. Were here by chance, the only reason and meaning in,life is what we ourself find.

I do not believe that humans are the ultimate being. It is scary and potentially dangerous to be an atheist. But for me its the only honest position I can take.




Constance

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Friday, May 18, 2007 6:57 AM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
I do NOT believe in ORGANIZED religion. As far as I am concerned ALL the problems in this world are a direct result of organized religion.



I don't disagree with you that people have done a lot of horrendous things in the name of religion. But all the world's problems? Maybe you were being hyperbolic--do you seriously think that every single problem everywhere in the world is attributable to religion?

________________________________________________________________________
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Yes


---- plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Bestower of Titles, Designer of Tshirts, Maker of Mottos, Keeper of the Pyre, Owner of a too big Turnippy smelling coat with MR scratched in the neck (thanks FollowMal!)

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"We don't fear the reaper"

FORSAKEN original


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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:03 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by Constance:
I see the need to find an answer to where we come from, why were here and all the other big questions. I am content with my answer. Were here by chance, the only reason and meaning in,life is what we ourself find.

I do not believe that humans are the ultimate being. It is scary and potentially dangerous to be an atheist. But for me its the only honest position I can take.

Constance



I said solipsism is one of the most sophisticated theories. TRUE atheism is another. By "true" I mean those that have come about their conclusion as you say "the only honest position" they can take. Implied herein is the concept then of "false" atheism which in my definition is that which has all the hallmarks of radical fundamentalist extremism without the benefit of God's authority. Perhaps the better description is the Arrogant Atheist who has no greater delight in life than to belittle those with a dissenting view, which brings to my mind our good friends the Puritans who coming to America to escape religious persecution, immediately started out instituting their own. I love that kinda stuff! Unfortunately, these loudmouths are usually the ones I notice. Just like the Fundies seem to be the voice of Christianity, and are not.

I applaude the honest atheist. You may be wrong--(And I'm not saying you are; I'm not saying it here anyway: that's not my point.)--you may be wrong, but you do so with dignity.

And Constance? It's so nice to see the brains behind the beauty. It's of course nice to see the beauty, too; keep posting pix!)


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:26 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
I do NOT believe in ORGANIZED religion. As far as I am concerned ALL the problems in this world are a direct result of organized religion.


I don't disagree with you that people have done a lot of horrendous things in the name of religion. But all the world's problems? Maybe you were being hyperbolic--do you seriously think that every single problem everywhere in the world is attributable to religion?


Yes


Okay, that was him. What about me? What about me? What about me? What about me? What about me?
Quote:

Originally posted by JonnyQuest:
Well, here it is: if it weren't organized religion, it would be organized something else: politics or corporations, which have at their heart the same evils that religion unfortunately frequently deteriorates into. It's not the organization or society; it's the corrupt membership.





"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:29 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
So sorry for the confusion. The bit after #1 was my response to your post. The bit after #2 was an extended meditation on the notion of evidentiary support.



And was an excellent point. As a scientist, I should know better than to throw the more "evidence" out there like that.

Quote:

By the way, as to the claim that I'm arguing not against you, but against someone else, that's certainly true. Being a theist will do that to you. I'm surrounded by philosophical peers who disagree with me, so I often try to forestall objections by raising and answering them myself.
Hee-hee! Your post had the feel of an old argument happy to have the chance to break free! I totally understand.

Quote:

And just a general observation for the edification of everybody: nobody owns a thread--including the person who started it. It's been my experience that threads go where they want, so insisting that people give simple heaven/hell answers might not really work.
True - and I've certainly contributed to the tangent! It was more my point to say that I don't meant to try and change anyone's mind, therefore I'm not going for solid logic in my ramblings. The rather intense logic of your post, and the stress on proving/disproving, kind of set my head to spinning. I wasn't expecting it to go there!

Really, too much heavy thinking for a Friday LOL!

-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 7:59 AM

PIRATECAT


I've never been to Heaven but I been to Oklahoma. Jedi means Jesus disciple. I follow Barabas.


"Battle of Serenity, Mal. Besides Zoe here, how many-" "I'm talkin at you! How many men in your platoon came out of their alive".

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Friday, May 18, 2007 8:27 AM

ZOID



Ummm... First thing, I'm still reading this thread, as I promised. Secondly, I'm posting this, thereby 'breaking' my second promise. Ooops! But I figure, since RiveR6213 'officially' closed the Heaven and Hell thread, and now we've (with the notable exception of heaven-bound Kaneman) all 'devolved' into a philosophical discussion which seems to center around the definitions of 'evidence' and logic, as opposed to the more-appropriate-but-despised phrase, "I feel", I figure it may be possible for me to reenter the thread without feeling like I'm necessarily monopolizing the conversation...

JonnyQuest wrote:
Quote:

...No thing can both be and not be at the same time and in the same respect.

Hmmm. How does this apply to Schroedinger's cat? Is it really just our not knowing the outcome before we see it or is there actually a temporal ambiguity involved? ...


The cat exists. The box exists. The lump of uranium exists. The cyanide capsule exists. The particle-diverting apparatus exists. What remains at question is which way the particle will go: will it trigger the poison and kill the cat or will it take the non-feline-lethal path?

To my knowledge, no scientist has ever tried the experiment exactly as posed (i.e., I believe no actual cats have been harmed, but I'm probably wrong on this one). The fact is that this was only a thought experiment, intended not so much to prove, but to solidify the notion that a cognizant observer is required to collapse the probability wave involved. The cat is neither dead nor alive until a cognizant human (or other intelligent?) observer opens the box and discovers it either dead or alive. I'll say it again: Until the box is opened and a definitive observation is made, the cat is in an indeterminate state of aliveness/deadness, according to the 'Copenhagen' interpretation of quantum mechanics. Interestingly, this interpretation also answers the well-known Zen koan: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to (observe) it, does the falling tree make a sound?" According to Bohr, Schroedinger, et al, the answer is a resounding 'No! It does not!'

As wacky as that may sound to many, I like it a lot, because it provides a possible motivation and role for God, and for Humanity within His creation. If nothing exists without Observation by an intelligent being, is it possible that the universe itself -- and everything in it -- would not, could not exist unless there was some all-powerful, all-knowing, 'all-observing' Being to bring it into actual existence (instead of just potential existence)?

As to Humanity's possible role: What if God the Creator (by Observation) decided to increase the complexity within his Creation by bringing into being a creature made in the image of His mentality, with His ability to collapse probability into reality by cognizant Observation? It would be a great design feature to thus make Creation a continuing process by having present within its confines a means (Humanity) to continue creating by means of intelligent/cognizant Observation.

Another feature of quantum mechanics that I find very appealing as a believer in God, is that it features a 'law' of probability that is virtually 100% accurate at predicting the distribution of photons striking a photo-sensitive medium (for example), without ever being able to say precisely where any single particle will land. This featured 'law' has been described as the most successful theory ever found by Man, in terms of its predictive powers. So...

...If, by analogy, God were the scientist Observer and we individual humans the individual photons, God could predict with 100% accuracy the pattern we would make on His screen, but He could not predict how any individual human would act. Ergo, there would be predetermination for the entirety of Humanity and the outcome of the 'experimental run' of the Universe, but indeterminability of any single Human being ('free will').

This indeterminability of any individual particle (and by my extrapolation, any individual Human) was deeply disturbing to Einstein. He called indeterminabilty 'God playing with dice', and abhorred the notion. But Bohr and others were able to successfully defeat Albert's every attempt at disputation. Therefore, individual indeterminability ("Uncertainty") is in fact a fundamental element of reality, as we currently Observe it (heh-heh). It also has a certain temporal element (e.g., the probability wave function of entangled particle pairs separated by any distance, to include x light years, will collapse simultaneously without regard to the distance or time required for the information to travel that far (superluminal)), which I find very suggestive, to say the least. The past can be (is!) changed by what happens in the present.

That's enough for now, I think.



Respectfully,

zoid
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Friday, May 18, 2007 8:34 AM

CONSTANCE


Quote:

Originally posted by JonnyQuest:


I said solipsism is one of the most sophisticated theories. TRUE atheism is another. By "true" I mean those that have come about their conclusion as you say "the only honest position" they can take. Implied herein is the concept then of "false" atheism which in my definition is that which has all the hallmarks of radical fundamentalist extremism without the benefit of God's authority. Perhaps the better description is the Arrogant Atheist who has no greater delight in life than to belittle those with a dissenting view, which brings to my mind our good friends the Puritans who coming to America to escape religious persecution, immediately started out instituting their own. I love that kinda stuff! Unfortunately, these loudmouths are usually the ones I notice. Just like the Fundies seem to be the voice of Christianity, and are not.

I applaude the honest atheist. You may be wrong--(And I'm not saying you are; I'm not saying it here anyway: that's not my point.)--you may be wrong, but you do so with dignity.

And Constance? It's so nice to see the brains behind the beauty. It's of course nice to see the beauty, too; keep posting pix!)


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw



Yes, well thank you. I do like to believe I'm nice and smart. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Morals and ethics is something that I value highly. I like Kant. Honesty in discussions like these are important. Faith is important to people so respect is essential. Arrogant people be they atheist or religious pisses me of. Doesn't really solve anything, being arrogant.

Constance

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Friday, May 18, 2007 8:44 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by Constance:
Yes, well thank you. I do like to believe I'm nice and smart. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...


Ergo, Schroedinger's cat is beautiful? Or not.
Quote:

Morals and ethics is something that I value highly. I like Kant. Honesty in discussions like these are important. Faith is important to people so respect is essential. Arrogant people be they atheist or religious pisses me of. Doesn't really solve anything, being arrogant.

Constance


Methinks the poetry in your name has perhaps informed your thinkings.


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 8:53 AM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Raidok (and anyone else who is curious) - Please read http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/lifeofwonder.html and http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html to help you better understand an atheist's perspective on the topics of purpose and morality. I should warn you that they're long (especially the second one), but I hope they can answer some of the questions you seem to have about atheism.

---

"If I were a Nazi, someone would defend my constitutional right to hate Jews. If I were a Klansman, someone would defend my rights to hate blacks. It's a funny place, this world. Hate has rights. Love has none." - Jeff, Murphy's Boy

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Friday, May 18, 2007 9:16 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by FutureMrsFIllion:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
I don't disagree with you that people have done a lot of horrendous things in the name of religion. But all the world's problems? Maybe you were being hyperbolic--do you seriously think that every single problem everywhere in the world is attributable to religion?



Yes



Wow...so then I have a few follow up questions:

1) How are China's human rights violations attributable to religion? Their government is atheist by policy.

2) How are natural evils, like disease or natural disasters attributable to religion?

3) Are all the world's problems attributable to a certain religion? Just to organized religion? To any form of spirituality?

4) How would you sugggest that someone like myself, a religious believer, take your assertion that all the world's problems are attributable to religion? That's got the potential to be more than a little offensive...

5) How is such a view compatible with religious tolerance? Or do you, with Richard Dawkins, affirm that religious believers should not be extended tolerance?

________________________________________________________________________
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- Captain, FFF.net Grammar Police

Vote for Firefly! http://richlabonte.net/tvvote/index.html

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Friday, May 18, 2007 9:49 AM

ALLIETHORN7


Afternoon, folks.
Thing is; I would like to believe that I'm going to Heaven, but, in reality... I would not be at all surprised if most (If not all) of us burnin Hell. (But, that's where all the fun people are, in that case).
Still, despite what you believe in, you have to admit; our society is absolutely steeped in sin. 50% or so of marriages end in divorce; murder is on the rise; we Americans find a seeming need to stuff ourselves simply cuz food is there; and a thousand other little things that drag us down. Yeah, yeah, I know the soul is the judged, and all. But, Sins of the Father, Burdens of the Son.
Personally, I don't belong to a particular sect or anything; Churches at large have down too much shit to let me take 'em seriously as my sould saviors. But, I DO believe in God, Heaven,Hell, etc, etc, etc...
What does it all mean? That we find a seeming need to disbelieve that, simply 'cause there is a chance that we'll go to Hell, there is no need to worry how you live your life.
I don't try to live a good life so I can rack up points for the hereafter, but just cuz I feel that it is the right thing to do.
Stupid me, apparently.

-Danny


A Ghost is all that's Left,
Of everything we Swore we Never would Forget,
Tried to bleed the Sickness,
But we drained our Hearts instead,
We are... We are the DEAD!!!!!!!!!!

THRICE RULES!!!!!!!!!
My Master went to the Moon in a Rocket of Flamin' Cheese!

I LIKE CHEESE!!!

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Friday, May 18, 2007 10:25 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


If posting on this thread was enough to bring Zoid to my doorstep, it's all worth it. It has been forever! Well, obviously not literally. So casting my jokes upon the water, they have returned unto me.
Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
The cat is neither dead nor alive until a cognizant human (or other intelligent?) observer opens the box and discovers it either dead or alive. I'll say it again: Until the box is opened and a definitive observation is made, the cat is in an indeterminate state of aliveness/deadness, according to the 'Copenhagen' interpretation of quantum mechanics. Interestingly, this interpretation also answers the well-known Zen koan: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to (observe) it, does the falling tree make a sound?"

As wacky as that may sound to many, I like it a lot, because it provides a possible motivation and role for God, and for Humanity within His creation. If nothing exists without Observation by an intelligent being, is it possible that the universe itself -- and everything in it -- would not, could not exist unless there was some all-powerful, all-knowing, 'all-observing' Being to bring it into actual existence (instead of just potential existence)?
("Uncertainty") is in fact a fundamental element of reality, as we currently Observe it (heh-heh). It also has a certain temporal element (e.g., the probability wave function of entangled particle pairs separated by any distance, to include x light years, will collapse simultaneously without regard to the distance or time required for the information to travel that far (superluminal)), which I find very suggestive, to say the least. The past can be (is!) changed by what happens in the present.


I won't get into all points here. It's too late and there are too many.

Thanks for the recap of the thought experiment. It has been a very, very long time.
So when I'm knocking at your door, I'm not really on the other side of it until you see me--or not--when you open the door.
"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to (see) it, does the falling tree cause a 'sight'?" No, the concept of sight requires an observer. does the falling tree cause a [phenomenon of] light?" I think so. No one to "hear" it no sound in the sense of sight, but sound in the sense of light. Our language is limited when it come to the subjective and objective senses relating to sound where it is not when it comes to light/sight. The koan has two answers and both are correct. It is a matter of semantics.

Now if we are certain about the Uncertainty Principle (I shall remain unconvinced for the time being) I like your conclusion. "God" must exist because we must be observed in order to exist. But, um, who's watching the Watcher?


"Huh?"

My brain hurts. JQ out. For now.


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 10:38 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:

As wacky as that may sound to many, I like it a lot, because it provides a possible motivation and role for God, and for Humanity within His creation. If nothing exists without Observation by an intelligent being, is it possible that the universe itself -- and everything in it -- would not, could not exist unless there was some all-powerful, all-knowing, 'all-observing' Being to bring it into actual existence (instead of just potential existence)?

As to Humanity's possible role: What if God the Creator (by Observation) decided to increase the complexity within his Creation by bringing into being a creature made in the image of His mentality, with His ability to collapse probability into reality by cognizant Observation? It would be a great design feature to thus make Creation a continuing process by having present within its confines a means (Humanity) to continue creating by means of intelligent/cognizant Observation.

Another feature of quantum mechanics that I find very appealing as a believer in God, is that it features a 'law' of probability that is virtually 100% accurate at predicting the distribution of photons striking a photo-sensitive medium (for example), without ever being able to say precisely where any single particle will land. This featured 'law' has been described as the most successful theory ever found by Man, in terms of its predictive powers. So...

...If, by analogy, God were the scientist Observer and we individual humans the individual photons, God could predict with 100% accuracy the pattern we would make on His screen, but He could not predict how any individual human would act. Ergo, there would be predetermination for the entirety of Humanity and the outcome of the 'experimental run' of the Universe, but indeterminability of any single Human being ('free will').

This indeterminability of any individual particle (and by my extrapolation, any individual Human) was deeply disturbing to Einstein. He called indeterminabilty 'God playing with dice', and abhorred the notion. But Bohr and others were able to successfully defeat Albert's every attempt at disputation. Therefore, individual indeterminability ("Uncertainty") is in fact a fundamental element of reality, as we currently Observe it (heh-heh). It also has a certain temporal element (e.g., the probability wave function of entangled particle pairs separated by any distance, to include x light years, will collapse simultaneously without regard to the distance or time required for the information to travel that far (superluminal)), which I find very suggestive, to say the least. The past can be (is!) changed by what happens in the present.





Hmmmm.....I see a movie here....

Executive Producer Chrisisall

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Friday, May 18, 2007 10:43 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by yinyang:
Raidok (and anyone else who is curious) - Please read http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/lifeofwonder.html and http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html to help you better understand an atheist's perspective on the topics of purpose and morality. I should warn you that they're long (especially the second one), but I hope they can answer some of the questions you seem to have about atheism.


YinYang!!! Where have you been? I have so missed you! Is there a whole subculture out there of people that I really like and never get to chat with anymore? Where do you all hide? I hope you are healthy and your godless life is treating you well. Keep in touch, Mei Mei.


"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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Friday, May 18, 2007 10:50 AM

CONSTANCE


My brain hurts too.. it starts to hurt whenever someone brings up that cat (wont try to spell the guys name). I think I will continue to live my life the best way I know how, trying to be as loyal and steadfast as my name requires me to be. I will live it with as much honesty as I can, and with respect towards everyone (except maybe nazis and racists and the like. I might fail there)living by the moral laws I believe in (Immanuel Kant was a revelation when we had to read him at university. My favorite non postmodernist thinker). I love this world and I find myself again and again stunned at how beautiful it is with all its flaws. When I die I will go wherever (heaven hell nowhere depending on who's right) with my head held high, knowing that I have lived my life the beast way I could, and that I was as good a person as I could be. If I end up in hell, I will accept that. I did what I thought was right.

Constance

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Friday, May 18, 2007 10:52 AM

JONNYQUEST

"Did he just go crazy and fall asleep?"


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Hmmmm.....I see a movie here....

Executive Producer Chrisisall


You see? Slowly but surely the denizens of RWED come out of hiding. Soon, like ants in a roach motel we will have captured them all...




"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

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