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Debate me about the bible


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#41 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 657

Posted 29 May 2011 - 11:12 PM


One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.


You say that to think we can understand gods actions are "the greatest possible height of pride"; on the contrary, I believe to
not try to understand gods actions is the height of moral cowardice.


Quoting for extra emphasis.


On a tangential topic, one thing that irritates me about apologists is that, by necessity, they dictate that any and every action "that God takes" (or doesn't take) is necessarily good. I live in Austin Texas where last year, an angry individual flew his small airplane into a building that is not more than five miles from where I live. In the early stages after the attack, it was believed that everyone in the building made it out alive. One of my Christian friends on Facebook posted something like "Praise Jesus! No one was killed!" (except for the attacker). A few minutes later it was found out that one innocent man was killed, and I posted on my friend's wall informing them of the death. Their response was "Well still its a miracle that more people weren't killed", which made me facepalm. I bet if everyone in the building was killed she would have still thanked Jesus that more people weren't hurt. Some believers like to point to horrible disasters and say "Well it would have been so much worse if God hadn't stepped in."


Here's a great example from recent memory. This is a clip from the TV show I mentioned in an earlier post (skip to the 10:00 mark for the relevant part of the dialogue). This caller calls the 2011 Tucson shooting "a miracle" because Gabrielle Giffords survived a gunshot to a head and the show hosts rightly point out that its hardly a miracle when innocent people and children are murdered in cold blood.
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#42 loom_weaver   Members   -  Reputation: 325

Posted 30 May 2011 - 12:34 AM

So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.


In my limited time here on this earth, here's my advice...

Why all the fear? Don't be afraid to question the very foundations of your belief systems. Even the things that you may have been taught that if you disbelieve you'll go to hell, be excommunicated, etc... For example if you're Catholic, you'll have to question if Mary was really a virgin, or if that's really Christ in the bread.

These aren't your beliefs, they've been thrust upon you by well-meaning parents, religious authorities, and countless others before you...

Until you can cross that threshold, you'll never know what's beyond. The funny thing is that God (if you believe in him) works in mysterious ways and even after crossing over, it doesn't mean that you need to abandon your faith that you grew up with. Sometimes you just see with new eyes and can now filter the hokey pokey from what really matters.

#43 mytre   Members   -  Reputation: 112

Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:01 AM

First, I don't think that you are christian at all. I honestly think that you are hungry for attention, judging by the drama that emanate from every word in every sentence you've wrote.
Second, and I believe that I say this in behalf on all the Christians: I don't care if you are homosexual, or heterosexual (just don't be anything deviant), and stop bring that up in hope that you will gain more follower that will agree with you opinion.
Third, it is not possible that even heretic from page 1 that don't have absolutely any obligation to think about bible, to realize that "unless you follow him specifically, you will live eternity in hell.." is metaphor, and you as a Christian don't.
Fourth, this
"Should he goto hell? For what? For some minuscule sins? So the bible is saying, I could kill thousands of people, and ask for forgiveness with all my heart and be truly sorry, and from there be the best person I can be, then I will goto heaven, but my friend who does nothing* wrong, tries to pleases people before him, will go to hell because he didn't believe in jesus in particular! Come on now, that does not sound like "god's words"."
, looks like either, petty attempt to try to provoke members from different religions to take place in this otherwise hollow discussion, or lack of reading hours, members of gamedev.net are likely to have high IQ,you know?
Fifth, you are putting equivalence between Jesus and Bible way to easy, this is also one of the reasons for first claim.
Sixth you are looking for scientifically explainable religion?
Seventh, if you even bother to read Quran you would have surely noticed confirmation of Bible in it.
Eighth try to respect other religions, because you sometimes in them, can find confirmation of your own.
Ninth, you (and I for that matter) have much to learn from Roots's friend: see good in everything.
Tenth: to admins please ban religious posts.

#44 KidsLoveSatan   Members   -  Reputation: 478

Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:08 AM



A christian is person who is able to enjoy life as it comes.

A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ.


You make it sound as if Jesus didn't enjoy his life.

You make it sound like that's the only requirement.

#45 owl   Banned   -  Reputation: 364

Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:31 AM




A christian is person who is able to enjoy life as it comes.

A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ.


You make it sound as if Jesus didn't enjoy his life.

You make it sound like that's the only requirement.


You make it sound like if it was a requirement.
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#46 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19811

Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:20 AM

@frob

No I do not expect Moses( a human ) to comprehend how to world starts and ends. But actually, I didn't know that god showed moses how the entire world began and ended, mainly because I do not read the bible that much. But this statement implies determinism. That it is already determined how everything will start and end, so why then do we have free will, assuming we do have it in the first place.


Determinism is a fun one.


I believe the end is known, but not through determinism.

I've got children, and I know them pretty well. I know a lot of struggles they are going to make. I have stood by and watched as they struggled through certain things because I know that they will be better for it. I know the child and I know they will reach a specific conclusion, especially if I guide them. When I watch my daughter do her math homework I can peek over her shoulder and see what she is doing. I can make very small suggestions and ask very small questions that can completely transform the way she thinks about the assignment. And yet I let her struggle, I watch as she makes mistakes, because I know she will be better for it.

Using my limited knowledge and being a far from perfect parent, I can watch my child struggle and try to intervene at the critical moments. Step in too early and they won't learn, they won't learn how to struggle and come up with solutions. Step in too late and they will give up or fail. Intervene just the right amount at the right time and they will excel. I imagine God is pretty good at that.



As for knowing the whole plan, we do it all the time with computer programs. we know what will happen, we know to expect from a game, we designed it and know how it will turn out even if individual players make different choices as they play. If we were perfect programmers and were able to design a system without error, we could allow every player to have freedom within our solution and yet still know the entire course the program will take. Does that make it deterministic? Does that mean the players are not free to make choices?

Nothing prevents a player from jumping into a pit millions of times, they are still free to do so; that is part of the reason we employ testers to do things like bump into every wall in the game when going backwards, or play an entire RPG without ever equipping a weapon. We know there are the crazy people who play Nethack that try to do odd things. The web has accumulated a large number of amazing YAAP end-of-game stats. Many of these stats are so improbable or difficult to achieve that they seem impossible... And yet, the whole plan of the game was well known in advance by those who play it. Players are free to act however he want, yet the end results are easily predictable.




The scriptures have many accounts of prophets being shown the world from beginning to end, how the prophets should learn their part, learn what matters and what doesn't. I imagine that if I were shown a single impending earthquake or serious tragedy I would do a lot to prevent it or reduce damage. However, if I were shown the entire world from end to end I would have a different perspective; I'd see earthquakes as just one event out of millions that people should prepare for, and I'd understand that in the Grand Scheme of Things it is best to let tragedy happen since it is often followed by compassion, service, repentance, improved understanding and general advancements, and also better preparation for future events.

Imagine for a moment that you were God. You were smart. You know how things work. In fact you've got a perfect knowledge of how everything works. You don't have to run an experiment about effects because your knowledge of physics is so perfect that you already know. You have a perfect knowledge of how to teach and inspire and guide. You've got a perfect knowledge of how people are going to react in certain situations, if they will panic or turn to a leader or behave in other ways. And as God you've have a perfect knowledge of what it takes to nudge the people to be in the right place at the right tome, and how to do the same with other creatures to alter the course of nature. Not only do you know chaos theory and which butterfly can flap its wings to cause a storm around the globe, but would also be able to prompt that butterfly at the right time, and know exactly how to do it, to get the desired response. As God you would know what it would take for a tiny whispering to the right people. You would know exactly what inspiration would need to be given, and the exact time and place, to reach the conclusion you want. Being perfect seems awesome.

Still imaging yourself with such perfect knowledge, would you not be able to look at the world and show someone the entire course from beginning to end?


I plan out trips during the holidays, and involve my whole family in the process. We plan out what we want to see, what we want to do, what roads we will take generally. We plan where we will stay. Some events are major and need significant planning, but we also allow for spur-of-the-moment changes. We check schedules in advance and buy tickets and reserve rooms. But our plans are not so inflexible that we cannot deal with a simple road closure or unexpected storms; these happen but the plan can still be followed. We've had vacations where people were sick or injured and generally our plans were flexible enough to allow for this. We had a plan, and we could tell extended family in advance where we would be each day, what we were doing, how we could be contacted, and when we would return. We knew what would happen, we knew the end from the beginning, all that was left was to enjoy the journey.

Why would God's plans be anything less than perfect? I'm certain they account for everything that needs to be considered, I trust that he's God and he can do that. The major course is already set and will be followed. There may be detours and course corrections to account for things, just as when you plan a major cross-country trip you may find detours, but they can be easily dealt with and destination is known, the plans are in motion, and the perfect captain is at the helm. The only serious question is where we individually will choose along the way.


Next up, the concept of literacy. Many of the people in Bible stories were illiterate. Many prophets and kings relied on scribes to record their words. Many stories were not immediately recorded at all, traveling through many people before getting recorded. Some, like the story of Job, were written in poetic form. Does that mean that they cease to be divinely inspired? I don't believe so. Instead, you must take that at its value and accommodate for it within your beliefs.


But that leaves the question just how much of it is real and attributed to god? Why should we believe this part versus others? It also leaves the possibility that all words in the scripture are wrong and falsely misinterpreted. If you defend that the bible is the scripture of god's disciples, then you cannot say that this part is from god and that isn't because it was or might have been misinterpreted. If you defend it, then you have to defend the whole thing.


Yes, that is a good question. That is just one of many reasons why we still need guidance from God. If we believe that God didn't change the rules mid-game, then he still speaks to us individually and he still gives guidance to prophets today.

I don' t think there is a need to defend the entire bible as the literal word of God and directly applied to each of us today. I'll still hold that it contains messages from prophets to the people at that time which have been handed down, translated, and passed through generations. But when it comes to what applies to me directly, I will pray and ask what I can learn from the lessons, what guidance I need. And I will also look to the prophets in our own day to give guidance to me.

Noah tried to warn his people of the flood and called them to repent. That was the message from God to his people at that time. Does that mean mean we should be building arks today?

Moses led the exodus from Egypt to Israel, making clear demands to the king to let the people go interspersed with a series of plagues of increasing severity. That was the message at that time. Does that mean we should be packing our bags and preparing for plagues of locusts?

The prophet Nathan is in a couple books in the Old Testiment, among his prophecies to the then-king David included that his 4th son would try to gain control by force and murder and that he should give his kingdom to Soloman. Does that mean we should all beware of murder from the fourth-born children because a prophet once warned of it?

Elija warned the then-king of Israel about a multi-year drought and to prepare for it to avoid famine. Jacob the prophet who was sold to Egypt by his brothers had the same for a seven year drought in Egypt. Does the existence of these prophecies mean we need to stockpile for a seven-year drought in our time?

Isaiah was a great prophet who had a great many Messianic prophecies. He was also heavily involved with the political leaders and gave prophetic guidance to them as well. One of Isaiah's prophecies to a king that he didn't need to worry about an invading army leads to one of my favorite translations: "and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." Perhaps that means if there is an army of a quarter million invaders camped at the bottom of the hill, perhaps just like Isaiah's prophecy to his king we don't need to worry because God will send in destroying angels (or perhaps angels with bags of poison) and about 180,000 of them will die during the night.



While it is interesting to see what prophets told people back in their day, I'm more concerned about my own day.

I also note that Isaiah's message to not worry about an army was quite different than a mass exodus like Moses. Different time, different message from the prophet of God.

I want to know what are today's prophets warning us about.

God spoke back then and I don't believe he has changed into a silent role. In my church we believe in prophets, and they still give God's word for our world today. Old prophets gave simple lines in most cases: be prepared for famine, be prepared for flooding, repent, be moral. Rarely did they have specific intervention at major points in history, and so it still is today. The prophets in my church have given similar council about preparedness and morality, some topics are rather frequent about preparedness against disaster, the importance of strengthening the family including church-wide programs to help, the importance of service and the blessings that come from it to both the servants and those served, and so on.



You say they are fairy-tale like, and several are. I tell my own children stories of my own life and they enjoy them; I often start with "Once upon a time there was a little boy named Bryan, and one day he went out on an adventure..." These are stories of my life being recounted to my children, they are true to my memory, yet they are in fairy tale form. Would you say that immediately makes the story false? Would the life lessons I learned the hard way become less true simply because I use a format they enjoy? Does it harm the facts to reduce the story down to just those most relevant details expressed in a way they understand? I don't think so.
... I see a world where we are surrounded by miracles. Does it seem far-fetched that world is filled with miracles, divine inspiration, and at the same time is utterly mundane?

No I guess I didn't say it clearly, when I say fairy-tale like, I do not mean how it was presented, I mean the content of whats being presented. Obviously, you telling your kids your life experience in a nicely wrapped version doesn't imply your story to be false, because your story are explainable. The story presented in the bible( from my little readings), are claims made such that its hard to believe and naturally/scientifically unexplainable.


Let's look at a few.

In the book of Numbers, where for certain skin diseases (some translations talk of lepers) priests were told to make an offering using certain woods and barks and spread the resulting slime and ash onto the disease. Modern science shows us that in fact many of these were antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal concoctions. Burning a few specific kinds of branches with certain types of animal blood may seem odd at first glance, but when you consider the sources of most modern medicines often rely on burnt plants, creature parts and mold extracts, is it really so different from our modern pharmacy?

Consider when Naaman was told by a prophet to go bathe for a week in a river that was basically an open sewer at the time to have his serious skin diseases cleansed. He complained about it and preferred to go to a clean river, but eventually did it and was healed. Modern science shows that this is actually rather plausible. Many seriously dirty places like cesspools are also filled with natural germ killers. What could be better than telling the guy with a skin infection to go bathe in antiseptic for a week?

How about Joshua breaking down the walls at Jericho. The writings say the camp of about a half million people walked around the city every day for a week. The last day they walked around seven time and then started shouting. It sure sounds like an implausible way to knock down a cities defenses. And yet, modern science uses the same kind of heavy repetitive pounding to break down subterranean rocks. Mythbusters even hit some of the science of using simple mechanical resonance of some people walking for a few minutes to break down a bridge. Audio percussive blasts cause resonance and can break not just wine goblets but also fairly large structures. There's a perfectly legitimate physical explanation, but who would have used that as a method of demolition?


Or maybe we'll look at when Jesus reportedly healed a guy who was blind from birth. He spit in the dirt, made some mud balls, rubbed them into the guys eyes, told him to go to a specific river and wash, and the guy could see for the rest of his life. We do similar stuff with modern eye surgery, although we tend to use lasers and micro-abrasives rather than mud balls, so it it really so impossible?

Why couldn't God who has a perfect knowledge of the natural world direct and inspire a holy man to tell someone to use antiseptics, or tell a prophet to use then-unknown solid scientific principles to destroy city walls, or perform improbable but not impossible medical care?




We are surrounded by things that fit into biblical miracles all the time and we ignore them as simple science.


Wine from water may sound impossible. My kids loved coolaid when they were younger, mixing a tiny packet of powder with water gave a refreshing beverage. My state passed new regulation on a bunch of "just add water" mixes readily available online that ferment into alcoholic drinks very quickly. Considering a bit of chemistry, and understanding how stories are recounted and retold before they were recorded, Wine from water is far from impossible, but something we can reproduce with modern basic chemistry.


Sure it is possible that the ancient prophets had advanced knowledge of chemistry, mechanics, and medicine that exceeds our own. Or it is possible that they were very lucky and discovered them and immediately forgot. Or maybe steps were left out of the recorded words. ...
... Or perhaps they were divinely inspired by one who has a perfect knowledge of the topics. Inspiration of "go mix this", or "Find this open container that is filled with dust and dump in water", they can have both a mundane scientific explanation and also be miracles.

But the problem here is that your attributing miracles when some goods happen and saying when some good doesn't happen, its just bad luck. For example, two people are diagnosed with cancer. Both are christians, both families and supporters prayed heavily for them. In the end, one of them was cured, while the other died. Now your saying that the person that was cured, was a miracule, while the person that died just had bad luck. That doesn't constitutes as a miracle. You cannot simply say when something good happened, that it was a result of devine intervention and completely ignore the fact that the all other situation of similar kind that resulted in a bad was as bad luck. Thats just being ignorant.

I said miracles do happen. I didn't claim to understand why one case is different from another.


I have had family members and neighbors die from cancer. I have seen people die from various causes. I have watched death and injury. It is part of life, and I can see good reason why God wouldn't intervene.




I have seen things that I will attribute to the power of God. I have seen things that I can only explain as miracles. I mentioned a bit about a hospital for two summers.

How do you define a miracle? When do you say something was unlikely and natural, and where do you draw the line to say divine intervention may have been involved? I am perfectly fine with miracles that have natural explanations, I would expect God to nudge things just a tiny bit at just the right time, not rearrange the universe every time.


I have seen serious large second-degree burns that hours later were minor first-degree burns after ministration by church members. Is it likely it was misdiagnosed by about ten people who saw it immediately after the injury, or the person had a very quick healing response? Sure its possible, but I don't think so. I'm calling it a miracle.

There was a child with a massive head trauma, kicked in the head by a horse on a rainy muddy day, with a visibly deformed mashed in head covered in blood and mud and gore, treated by his church members and given priesthood blessings walk away from the hospital hours later apparently uninjured and after lots of medical scans showed no damage. Not minor damage, but none whatsoever. This was in spite of him being covered in blood and gore. I heard about a follow up that the kid had no lasting injury. I heard a few people try to explain it as a 9-year-old's head may have been still soft like an infants, or perhaps realigned, and perhaps his brain was just lucky to only have a minor concussion that went away after a few minutes. I don't think so. I'm sticking that strongly in the miracle category.

I'm good friends with a man who loves motorbikes; he was injured in a pretty nasty crash while jumping hills on his little 4-wheeler. Ambulance arrived, they called in the for a helicopter to get him to the regional hospital to deal with serious trauma. Less than 24 hours later he was out of the hospital and those who treated him at the scene said there was no way he should be out that quick. Again, improbable and still possible with various explanations, but that goes into my miracle category.

I've seen infants in NICU that I cannot fathom how they survived. They had people praying all the time, various church people coming and going, praying with the families. I've heard feeble claims about how perhaps their infant body managed to heal right, or they were lucky. You don't need to spend more than a few days in there before relying on the "act of God" response for seeing how some cases respond. Yes there are tragedies, but there are many others that defy description. The stories of Jesus where he asked them to bring the children forward and ministered to them first, said that God loves little children and all mankind should become like little children to be saved. From my experience I'll stick little children in the miracle-prone category generally.


Yes, people die. That is part of life, and even those who pray for miracles need to understand it. While individual circumstances are sometimes tragic, I am able to celebrate death. My wife thinks I'm weird that way. Everybody gets to be born. Everybody gets to die, and their spirit returns to live with God, and they will still have opportunities to grow and develop beyond the grave, and they will get resurrected. I'm a very strong believer in the scriptural line "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. ... O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? "

I see no issues with one person getting miraculous healing, while another dies. Life runs its course. One family may be blessed with a particular miracle and another has different daily miracles, and I'm okay with that.


The bible is not a single work. It is a compendium of a bunch of records that were kept in various languages, translated many times, consolidated, and more. Errors were made in copies. Errors were made in translations. There were many times that scholars collected multiple copies, compared the differences, and attempted to resolve errors between them, or gathered copies and attempted to translate them. Many records were left out because the scholars and clerics decided against it, perhaps through revelation and inspiration, or perhaps not. Many records were lost or destroyed, for reasons I'll let you ponder yourself. Perhaps records were added that should not have been, or omitted in error.


You use the term scholars, as if they are better than 'regular' folks. Just because they are scholars, doesn't make their opinion correct. What you said in the above statement, makes the bible seem even more controversial. If what you said above is true, then that makes me even more furious. It seems like the "scholars" are just trying to turn profit and hide the evidence.
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Considering history, those who were literate and educated were quite rare. Scholars often were different from regular folks.

Most regular folks were illiterate, often poor farmers who spent the days raising herds and tending crops, or working in trades of iron working and leather working to support their community.

Many scholars came from rich families, but historically they would often give heavily to religion. I don't think they were "trying to turn a profit and hide the evidence", I think well of humanity generally, and would prefer to attribute it to their better nature rather than malice and greed. Generally malice and greed are short-lived and self destructive.

There were also many that came up through the churches, were educated by the churches, and performed their work in maintaining scriptures as a service to the church.




Some of them may have had negative motives, but I think those whose efforts brought us the bible were doing the best they could with the resources they had. I won't condemn my relationship with God simply because of the mistakes of a few mere mortals in how they transcribed records.




So finishing up (wow, this turned into a long reply) I think this is more a matter of how you choose to interpret the world according to your own faith and beliefs. If I can help more in your crisis, please let me know.
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#47 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2102

Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:42 AM

One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.

This.
That's why I'm not religious. Maybe I'm coward or lazy though...

#48 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19811

Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:51 AM

So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.


Why all the fear? Don't be afraid to question the very foundations of your belief systems. Even the things that you may have been taught that if you disbelieve you'll go to hell, be excommunicated, etc... For example if you're Catholic, you'll have to question if Mary was really a virgin, or if that's really Christ in the bread.

These aren't your beliefs, they've been thrust upon you by well-meaning parents, religious authorities, and countless others before you...

Until you can cross that threshold, you'll never know what's beyond. The funny thing is that God (if you believe in him) works in mysterious ways and even after crossing over, it doesn't mean that you need to abandon your faith that you grew up with. Sometimes you just see with new eyes and can now filter the hokey pokey from what really matters.


I'll strongly agree here.

If you have a religion, make sure it is YOUR religion. If you cannot believe it, then don't.

You may look at other religions and decide that your church is the one you want to be with. You may look around and decide to change. You may look around and decide that you need to become an agnostic or atheist, or you may say that such things are completely contrary to your beliefs. You may decide to stick with your religion and incorporate what you learned in studies from other religions into your own personal beliefs. You may discover that you cannot accept any religion that you've found and keep looking. You may decide to revisit those you have already dismissed and search them for truth. All of these are okay.

I've got a bunch of core beliefs, some already mentioned in my earlier epic-length posts. Like you I want some evidence, and I don't like the "it just happened that way" explanation, I want something more plausible. Another belief is that if a church cannot help you in this life it's a pretty poor indicator of its ability to help in the life to come, so I want a church that has strong social programs and strong evidence of service by its members. I want a church that is not afraid to embrace science, and note the few churches that encourage both religious and secular education at combined church-affiliated schools and even universities, rather than completely separate "normal education" and "church education" that are contradictory.

Educate yourself, and then make the best decision you are able to make with the information you have. Follow your convictions and your passions.
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#49 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:42 AM

Can't really say much on the topic, not being Christian nor knowing the Bible and all that, but I think that when a religion promises paradise by requiring the mindless following of some rigid dogma, then something is fundamentally wrong.

Well then, it's a good job Christianity doesn't teach that. Obviously some people interpret it that way and wrap it in rules and dogma as a way to make it "easier". But I'd argue they are missing the point.

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#50 OneThreeThreeSeven   Banned   -  Reputation: -52

Posted 30 May 2011 - 10:36 AM

There is no god...especially not a blond hair blue eyes jesus. Europe simply twisted ancient Egyptian stories and lore and changed it into the bible. Google "ancient egypt and the bible parallels".

#51 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1262

Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:34 PM

Concepts of The God, Gods, or physical embodiment of ideas like fate or love etc.. They go further back than any organized or written religion. They are more likely than not the attempts of an awaking intelligence to reconcile mushroom trips with reality. Imagine this your a neolithic hunter, your everyday reality is pretty understandable, you have animals, birds, occasional storm, your family group, etc.. But every once in a while you eat a bad mushroom and see ghoulish things like bugs crawling out of peoples eyes or see ecstatic things like a sunrise which never ends in the breadth of a child, etc.. How would you explain that? Would you just brush it off? You can't deny what you just saw and heard. There is no science to explain this yet, no priest to tell you what it meant, they haven't been invented yet.. Theres gotta be something more to reality than animals, birds, occasional storm, your family group, etc.. Thus The God, Gods, physical embodiment of love and fate, etc.. you make a little fetish to remind you of the "spirits", in time they grew up into Gods.. Now humans are arguing about the color of Gods skin or whether God is a vegetarian..

I wouldn't worry about it, the God/Gods/Fate/Love they are timeless, immortal, they will always exist, it is we who are their dreams.


-ddn




#52 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19811

Posted 30 May 2011 - 02:34 PM

There is no god...especially not a blond hair blue eyes jesus. Europe simply twisted ancient Egyptian stories and lore and changed it into the bible. Google "ancient egypt and the bible parallels".

Concepts of The God, Gods, or physical embodiment of ideas like fate or love etc.. They go further back than any organized or written religion. They are more likely than not the attempts of an awaking intelligence to reconcile mushroom trips with reality.


Many people believe that way.

If that is what YOU personally believe, and you are okay with that, then that's fine.


From what I've experienced of the world, there is no way I could believe that. I don't have a concept of a "blond hair blue eyes jesus", and I've never had "mushroom trips" or other psychedelic or drugged experiences.

The Wiki says 96% to 98% of the world believe in a higher power of some form, which is a very high number for something to be easily dismissed as "attempts of an awaking intelligence to reconcile mushroom trips with reality." In a world of 7 billion, that still leaves about two hundred million people who share your belief, so you have plenty of company. I believe such a longstanding global mass delusion of the rest of the nearly 7 billion people is unlikely, but if you want to believe that, it is your freedom to do so.
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#53 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 657

Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:25 PM

The Wiki says 96% to 98% of the world believe in a higher power of some form


Citation needed. What is "The Wiki"? Wikipedia? I did a quick search and couldn't find any pages that cited that statistic. One site that I know of that shows a religious distribution (including those that are non-religious) is adherents.com:
http://www.adherents..._Adherents.html

That estimates the non-religious population of the world at around 16% (8% which are non-believers), which I think is much more accurate estimate. America is a fairly religious country, but there are many more countries that have a significantly higher portion of non-believers. Japan, Scandinavia, and many western European countries.
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#54 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:39 PM

Does it matter what percentage of the world believes in some faith or another? A large membership doesn't make a group objectively right or wrong. And a lot of the people within the believers have views that will contradict a lot of other people's-- at least some of them are incorrect, deluded or otherwise.

The validity of any given belief system, or of religious belief in general, is unlikely to be tied to how popular those beliefs are.

#55 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 657

Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:37 PM

Does it matter what percentage of the world believes in some faith or another? A large membership doesn't make a group objectively right or wrong. And a lot of the people within the believers have views that will contradict a lot of other people's-- at least some of them are incorrect, deluded or otherwise.

The validity of any given belief system, or of religious belief in general, is unlikely to be tied to how popular those beliefs are.


I completely agree with you. No, the number of adherents to a particular belief or non-belief do not matter and have no effect on the validity or truth of the belief system. I just don't like it when people start throwing out numbers and statistics without citing their sources.
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#56 DarklyDreaming   Members   -  Reputation: 363

Posted 30 May 2011 - 05:39 PM

The humble reasoning of one man can topple the belief of an entire world. Faith is a personal decision which should take place beyond convenience or laziness, doing anything less is just a way to make things easy - which is fine...if that is what you want from your life.
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#57 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

Posted 30 May 2011 - 07:45 PM

The Wiki says 96% to 98% of the world believe in a higher power of some form, which is a very high number for something to be easily dismissed as "attempts of an awaking intelligence to reconcile mushroom trips with reality." In a world of 7 billion, that still leaves about two hundred million people who share your belief, so you have plenty of company.


I call bullshit on that. Given that the worlds most populous country is predominantly atheistic, I'd say the percentage of people is a bit lower than that.

Besides, the majority of people once believed the sun orbited the earth.
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#58 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2247

Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:03 PM


... Last time was in this video where the subject compares us to pots of clay questioning the motives of the potter.


I never said that we were pots of clay, or inanimate or any such thing, so we can let that go.


For the record, I never claimed you said that. I said (as emphasised above) that I had seen someone else claim that as an extension of the "we're so far below god as to not understand it".

I'll agree that the abilities to question and reason are important; in fact, I think that those are the very things that make us human, and are the proper behaviors of mankind (I'm non-religious, by the way). But the idea that the exercise of free will is necessarily good because our ability to reason is inherently good I don't agree with.
Some people reason badly, and so they do in fact exercise their free will based on faulty judgement. The ability to reason in no way dictates or even suggests that your reasoning will be good or correct.


Don't confuse the outcome with the ability. Being able to drive is useful. Driving badly can kill someone but it doesn't make driving itself bad.

And explain stuff to your kids all you want.


lol, actually I don't have kids.

I agree that that's an important thing to do for a lot of reasons. But you don't sit a toddler down and explain the dangers of drowning to him or her. You keep the kid away from the water, or you supervise them pretty minutely to keep them safe. You don't trust a toddler's free will to combine with their reasoning abilities to equal safety.


Agreed, but you do explain it to them at some point, once they have acquired rudimentary reasoning skills.

But the gap between children and adults is not very similar to that between god and anything else. "Because I say so" is a cop out for a parent, even if the child fails to understand the reasons for actions regardless of effort. But the rules for the omnipotent creator of the universe are going to be a bit different than for me talking to my kid.


Given what we've been able to reason and determine about our universe, we have at least shown that we are capable of learning and understanding. If god is out there, he owes us an explanation.
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#59 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2102

Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:28 AM

The humble reasoning of one man can topple the belief of an entire world. Faith is a personal decision which should take place beyond convenience or laziness, doing anything less is just a way to make things easy - which is fine...if that is what you want from your life.


What? You mean not having "faith" (whatever that means) makes you lazy and makes things easy?

Oh, sorry, I have comprehended your post now. And I agree :D


#60 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:17 AM

For the record, I never claimed you said that. I said (as emphasised above) that I had seen someone else claim that as an extension of the "we're so far below god as to not understand it".


Fair enough. I just wanted to be clear that I'm not responsible for defending someone else's stupid extension of a valid concept.

Don't confuse the outcome with the ability. Being able to drive is useful. Driving badly can kill someone but it doesn't make driving itself bad.


I'm not. You said "Otherwise, we are basing our free will on faulty judgement". We do, because it is demonstrably true that people often reason badly. As I said (and on re-reading it, it does not seem clear that this is my position in the original post), I agree that questioning and reasoning are incredibly important human traits. But if your aim is to produce a useful conclusion about the nature of god or god's actions, which is the case in trying to assess the accuracy, validity, or purpose of a religious text, practice, or any given event, then you have to bite the harms of imperfect judgement and necessarily limited information.

As I said in a later post, you can and should reason all the time, as much as possible. But, and this is particularly true of religion, you cannot reasonably expect to reach a complete and objectively correct conclusion. This does not devalue the capacity to reason at all, but it does have large implications for the practice of a religion (i.e. you cannot determine with certainty what god wants of you, or the purpose behind some divinely driven event).

So for someone to say, "the Bible is the direct and perfect word of God, and I totally understand it, and the correct thing to do for purely theistic reasons is X" is a statement which ought to be beyond anyone who can, in fact, reason. You either accept all of the preconditions which preclude using your reasoning power, or you accept that you could be badly wrong about every point of it, regardless of how strongly you feel about your conclusion.


And explain stuff to your kids all you want.


lol, actually I don't have kids.


Haha, me either. I was speaking generally.

Agreed, but you do explain it to them at some point, once they have acquired rudimentary reasoning skills.


But only once their reasoning skills are sufficient to grasp the situation. If your kid can reason (If I cry, my pushover parent will give me cookies and juice, so I'll cry a lot), that doesn't necessarily mean that they can grasp things like drowning or death. You should still try to explain of course, but rudimentary may not be enough. This would be magnified dramatically between a deity and some guy. If it would take 500 years of reflection to reason your way to true thing Y, that's something that no human can do. And even if someone did do the requisite reflection, they might still be wrong-- and there's no objective way to analyze it. If humans pool their thoughts through generations, you can overcome the time limitation, but you introduce more people whom a reasoner must trust implicitly to make any additional progress, and any of them could be wrong as well.

Given what we've been able to reason and determine about our universe, we have at least shown that we are capable of learning and understanding. If god is out there, he owes us an explanation.


Perhaps. I'm certainly in the camp of preferring to be guided by someone who knows than having to muddle my way through everything. But if god exists, it would be unreasonable to place constraints on him based in our own preferences, experiences, ideas, and hyper-limited knowledge. We may think that this is correct (and again, I'm with you in that my reasoning brings me to the same conclusion). But that does not mean that we are correct in any meaningful way (despite reasoning our way there); not any moreso than a five year old who thinks that because cookies and juice taste good and reduce hunger that they should be eaten exclusively.

There's too much relevant information that we don't have about the universe, and especially about abstract concepts like ethics and philosophy, for us to adopt such certitude.




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