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What do you think about the Revelation?


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#81 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:06 PM

Well, for me, agnosticism isn't about sitting on the fence. It's more about accepting that I don't know and becoming comfortable with the fact that I will never know while I'm alive, rather than feeling that by not knowing, I'm somehow missing out on something.

I don't claim to have achieved this by the way. :)

You call yourself agnostic because you misunderstand the meaning of the word "atheist." Very few of us claim to know that there is no god. All of us nonbelievers (notice it's about belief, not knowledge) are atheists. You're simply one of the many who's either ignorant of the meaning of the word or too scared to call yourself atheist because of the negative stigma attached.

On a different subject, it's ridiculous that you people are arguing about the correlation between IQ and religion by using anecdotal evidence.

And yet there are a bunch of people with IQs high enough to qualify for Mensa (myself included) that are Christians. Imagine that. Posted Image

Is this a joke? If you actually had an IQ as high as you claim I think the chances are pretty high that you'd realize how stupid it is to imply that your anecdotal evidence has any bearing on the subject. It doesn't matter if you know the smartest person in the world and she happens to be a Christian. It's irrelevant. I guess high IQs don't make up for ignorance of basic statistics.

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#82 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:12 PM

I believe that it is fairly widely accepted that this phenomenon is an example of correlation-not-causation, due to a variety of socio-economic factors not strongly associated with religion.

What's your point? I never claimed that being religious makes you stupid. I don't think anyone did.

All I claimed is that smart people tend to choose atheism. Your article supports that. Impoverished nations tend to have lower IQs, because people aren't educated and because of the general concept of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Thanks for the backup.

#83 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:31 PM

You call yourself agnostic because you misunderstand the meaning of the word "atheist." Very few of us claim to know that there is no god. All of us nonbelievers (notice it's about belief, not knowledge) are atheists. You're simply one of the many who's either ignorant of the meaning of the word or too scared to call yourself atheist because of the negative stigma attached.


Why do you think he misunderstands it? He never said anything about belief.

What's your point? I never claimed that being religious makes you stupid. I don't think anyone did.

All I claimed is that smart people tend to choose atheism. Your article supports that. Impoverished nations tend to have lower IQs, because people aren't educated and because of the general concept of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Thanks for the backup.

That's not really correct either. People with higher IQs are more likely to be agnostic/atheist/non-religious than people with lower IQs, but that doesn't mean they are more likely in general. The wikipedia page linked on page 3 quotes a study that seems to indicate that people with higher IQs are still more likely to be religious than to not be. Judging from the graph around 66% of people with higher IQs are still religious compared with 90+% at lower IQs.

#84 Telgin   Members   -  Reputation: 200

Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:35 PM


To address the original question, I'll say that I look at the book of Revelation as nothing but fiction. Even when I still considered myself a devout Christian I can't say that I ever believed it completely.

It brings up a lot of fundamental issues that no one will ever be able to come to an agreement on. The problem of Hell is a big one in my opinion. A truly omnibenevolent and omnipotent god would not torture his creations eternally for even the worst of finite sins. I've read a dozen counter arguments and I don't find any of them satisfactory.

Revelation also brings up the issue of why Satan exists, or why he is evil. Again, I've read a number of arguments for this and they're all nonsense to me.

Most of these arguments boil down to the concept that God is beyond understanding and to that, I always thought that it was particularly evil of a god to intentionally create a set of rules that don't always make sense to the god's creations and expect them to follow without question, or else punish them eternally. Not to mention the question of why God would have decided to create us in the first place... (especially knowing who would be sent to Hell). He can't be lonely or bored if he's perfect, so what was the point?

The best I see it is thus: God is holy and perfect therefore only perfection and holiness can be around him or it will be destroyed. Hell is a place where people go who can no longer be around God not because he "sent" them their but rather they have removed themselves out of his grace by violating his law. God created us in perfection and with perfect nativity so that we were literally blameless because we didn't know better. When we chose to go against his instructions we were no longer perfect and could no longer partake in his perfect kingdom. There was once when God was going to completely wipe out the human race but Moses intervened and said that if he did that then he'd have to destroy him as well. Since God has only referred to Moses as his friend in all the Bible that put him in a special place in relationship to God. God changed his mind, obviously. But the point of the whole God and man thing was for God to have a family who loves him and wants worship him out of their own free will, I think. That's the only point I can possible conceive. Why then give us free will if everyone else will go to hell? Truth be told I don't know. I can only go back to the view that says God wants us to worship him because we want to and not because we have to.


This is typically the argument I see people use about this subject, which I suppose makes it one of the better.

Still, it only makes sense to me if we alter some things that are assumed about God.

First and foremost, we assume that God is perfect. To me anyway, that would mean that He is free from most if not all of the "negative" human emotions. That would include loneliness and boredom. I can't conceive of any other reason for Him to create us. That would also subsume the need for us to have free will, because otherwise there would again be no point.

To be perfect and omniscient would also imply that God knows the future perfectly well (most people would agree on this interpretation of the Christian God). That would also mean that He shouldn't ever change His mind about anything since He would know what He was going to do far beforehand anyway. Which brings me to my next point:

There can't be free will in such a scenario. If God truly knows everything about the future, He knows exactly what we're going to do eventually anyway, and created us to do specifically that, so we don't have free will. Or does God not know?

To me anyway, the modern interpretation of the Christian God is illogical. He must either be not completely good, or not completely perfect. Perhaps He really does know what we're going to do and creates billions of people to place in eternal torment, for no good reason. Or maybe He creates us with free will hoping that we'll choose to follow Him, but not knowing this for sure.

With the (to us anyway) evil things that He commanded some of His servants to do as well as the fact that He changed his mind before and (supposedly) didn't know that Adam and Eve would sin, I could go with either or both.

Again, one could argue that his motives only appear to be imperfect or evil to us, but as I said before it seems pretty evil in and of itself to be perfect like that and then make us in a way that we couldn't understand what we're dealing with. Why would he create Adam and Eve, knowing they would betray him and exact ultimate punishment for it? That's another big issue I have with Christianity as it stands. Back when I still worshiped God, it wasn't because I loved Him or was thankful for anything He ever did (because I never had any evidence that He was directly responsible for any of it anyway, most of it I could trace back pretty reliably to a mundane cause). I was just scared to death of Him.

Some people just have faith that God is doing the right thing and are content to accept the lack of logic. Fine by me, do as you please as long as it doesn't bother others. I expect a little more from a perfect, omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent god though.
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#85 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 05:46 PM


You call yourself agnostic because you misunderstand the meaning of the word "atheist." Very few of us claim to know that there is no god. All of us nonbelievers (notice it's about belief, not knowledge) are atheists. You're simply one of the many who's either ignorant of the meaning of the word or too scared to call yourself atheist because of the negative stigma attached.

Why do you think he misunderstands it? He never said anything about belief.

What makes me think he misunderstands it is that he calls himself an agnostic to avoid calling himself an atheist, when in fact he is an agnostic atheist. Almost everyone misunderstands these terms.

That's not really correct either. People with higher IQs are more likely to be agnostic/atheist/non-religious than people with lower IQs, but that doesn't mean they are more likely in general. The wikipedia page linked on page 3 quotes a study that seems to indicate that people with higher IQs are still more likely to be religious than to not be. Judging from the graph around 66% of people with higher IQs are still religious compared with 90+% at lower IQs.

Okay, I'll accept that. What I meant to say is that the smarter you are, the more likely you are to choose to be nonreligious or outright atheist. This finding holds true in almost all studies. The fact that the majority of the world remains religious simply confirms my opinion that the majority of the world is generally stupid. We fight wars, we rape and lie and cheat and kill. Humans are animals and we act like it. We've only just started to look beyond the animal mindset and elevate ourselves, by means of science and reason, to be something more than that -- and religion is simply a holdover from a more ignorant past. We'll outgrow it as we've outgrown many other practices, and replace superstition with the better tool of science, but for now you're right -- the majority of us remain willfully ignorant.

#86 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:29 PM

What makes me think he misunderstands it is that he calls himself an agnostic to avoid calling himself an atheist

Why do you think that? He didn't even call himself agnostic.

Okay, I'll accept that. What I meant to say is that the smarter you are, the more likely you are to choose to be nonreligious or outright atheist. This finding holds true in almost all studies. The fact that the majority of the world remains religious simply confirms my opinion that the majority of the world is generally stupid.

ahhh. So now religious people are stupid delusional shit eating monkeys. I'm surprised you even see us all down here from up there on that horse of yours.


#87 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2395

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:33 PM



This is why I am, and imagine always will be, agnostic.


Personally, if I had to label myself, I'd put myself down as a atheist.


Well, for me, agnosticism isn't about sitting on the fence. It's more about accepting that I don't know and becoming comfortable with the fact that I will never know while I'm alive, rather than feeling that by not knowing, I'm somehow missing out on something.

I don't claim to have achieved this by the way. :)


You can be any combination of agnostic and atheist. (a)gnosticism implies knowledge, (a)theism implies belief. I would say that I'm an agnostic atheist; I don't know if there's a god but I don't believe there is one.

Really, anyone who claims to be a gnostic theist or atheist needs their head checked.
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#88 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:46 PM


What makes me think he misunderstands it is that he calls himself an agnostic to avoid calling himself an atheist

Why do you think that? He didn't even call himself agnostic.

What the hell are you talking about?

This is why I am, and imagine always will be, agnostic.


That's exactly what he said. Can you not read? Are you trying to prove my point about the correlation between low IQ and religiosity?


ahhh. So now religious people are stupid delusional shit eating monkeys. I'm surprised you even see us all down here from up there on that horse of yours.

As I said, it's not the monkeys that are delusional. The monkeys don't invent invisible sky daddies.

#89 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 657

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:02 PM

I came across an interesting article yesterday that is related to this discussion. It discusses the need for religion in an evolutionary context and how early social and psychological development gave rise to the need for religion in the infancy of our species.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/18/opinion/la-oe-thompson-atheism-20110718/2


Not expecting everyone to agree with it or anything, but it might provide for some interesting thought. Even if you disagree, you should still be willing to consider alternative view points and opinions, regardless of whether you are religious or atheist. To shut out dissenting views is the height of intellectual cowardice and gives rise to unyielding dogmatic views.
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#90 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2231

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:07 PM

http://www.xkcd.com/774/

:P

#91 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2231

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:10 PM

As I said, it's not the monkeys that are delusional. The monkeys don't invent invisible sky daddies.




#92 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:16 PM

I came across an interesting article yesterday that is related to this discussion. It discusses the need for religion in an evolutionary context and how early social and psychological development gave rise to the need for religion in the infancy of our species.

http://articles.lati...eism-20110718/2


Not expecting everyone to agree with it or anything, but it might provide for some interesting thought. Even if you disagree, you should still be willing to consider alternative view points and opinions, regardless of whether you are religious or atheist. To shut out dissenting views is the height of intellectual cowardice and gives rise to unyielding dogmatic views.

The problem with presenting interesting arguments for the fact that religion is an invention is that religions are purposefully constructed to fight this kind of logic. They have build-in mechanisms such as "God doesn't have to prove anything to me, because I owe it to him to simply have faith" and "Any evidence against the validity of my religion was placed on the earth by Satan."

Statements like these render the beliefs of believers absolutely bullet-proof against the logic and reason that they use to guide every other aspect of their lives -- the very tools that they have evolved that separate them from less intelligent animals.

I can't understand why people don't think about it and ask themselves something like, "You know, none of the bases for my beliefs are falsifiable. Could I be believing in some embarrassing fairytale simply because my parents told it to me? Is God just another Santa or Easter Bunny?"

I don't understand why people don't realize that their worldview is built on a foundation of sand, to paraphrase Jesus. If any Christian or Muslim or religious Jew or believer in any other religion was born in a town where they worshiped the unicorn god named Charlie, who shits skittles on believers and will gore the nonbelievers with his flaming horn in end-times, they'd be just as adherent worshipers of Charlie as they are of their current God. How can this sit well with people, to show such poor critical thinking skills and integrity?

#93 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2231

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:37 PM


I came across an interesting article yesterday that is related to this discussion. It discusses the need for religion in an evolutionary context and how early social and psychological development gave rise to the need for religion in the infancy of our species.

http://articles.lati...eism-20110718/2


Not expecting everyone to agree with it or anything, but it might provide for some interesting thought. Even if you disagree, you should still be willing to consider alternative view points and opinions, regardless of whether you are religious or atheist. To shut out dissenting views is the height of intellectual cowardice and gives rise to unyielding dogmatic views.

The problem with presenting interesting arguments for the fact that religion is an invention is that religions are purposefully constructed to fight this kind of logic. They have build-in mechanisms such as "God doesn't have to prove anything to me, because I owe it to him to simply have faith" and "Any evidence against the validity of my religion was placed on the earth by Satan."

Statements like these render the beliefs of believers absolutely bullet-proof against the logic and reason that they use to guide every other aspect of their lives -- the very tools that they have evolved that separate them from less intelligent animals.

I can't understand why people don't think about it and ask themselves something like, "You know, none of the bases for my beliefs are falsifiable. Could I be believing in some embarrassing fairytale simply because my parents told it to me? Is God just another Santa or Easter Bunny?"

I don't understand why people don't realize that their worldview is built on a foundation of sand, to paraphrase Jesus. If any Christian or Muslim or religious Jew or believer in any other religion was born in a town where they worshiped the unicorn god named Charlie, who shits skittles on believers and will gore the nonbelievers with his flaming horn in end-times, they'd be just as adherent worshipers of Charlie as they are of their current God. How can this sit well with people, to show such poor critical thinking skills and integrity?


And the question is: What do you care? You judge people based on their beliefs("poor critical thinking skills and integrity"). If religion provides a moral backbone to people, what's the harm? What exactly do you disagree Jesus with, that you should love your neighbour, that you should not judge others? That you should strive for peace and justice? That you should not boast for your good works? That you should forgive? What exactly is the problem?

The so-called communists that once controlled 1/3 of the globe were strong atheists, and they never brought forth the Shining and Luminary Epoch of Allmighty Logic and Reason that you envision. Not even inside the party itself. Not by a long shot.

And believing in a single Creator that designed the physics laws is hardly the same as believing in a "unicorn god named Charlie".

We all make choices. If you will, I choose the stupidity of believing in that Creator, you choose the stupidity of believing that the material universe just popped into existance out of nothing. So quit feeling so superior, atheism is not a one-way ticket to smartness.

#94 Yann L   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1798

Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:40 PM

You call yourself agnostic because you misunderstand the meaning of the word "atheist."

I think you might be misunderstanding the term or maybe interpreting it in a different cultural context.

Theism implies belief in a god, atheism implies disbelief in a god. Most non-religious people here in North-Western Europe (Aardvajk is from the UK) are neither. We're just simply agnostics. We don't know if there is a god or not. Both possibilities are equally probable or improbable. The theism vs atheism axis is not really relevant. The relevant axis is the gnostic vs agnostic, and we are on the latter side - there is no possible way of knowing.

Personally I'm a pragmatic agnostic (or apathetic agnostic as Wikipedia calls it). I'm not an atheist. I don't know if there is a god or not. I don't have enough information to either believe or disbelieve in a god. I will never know (at least not during my lifetime) and as such I really don't care either way.

What I am indeed, and what most people in the US mistakenly label as a generalized atheist, is an "achristian". I don't know (nor care) if there is a god, but I don't believe that there is the God as described by Christianity. Not believing in the Christian God (or whatever other specific religion) doesn't automatically make you an atheist.

#95 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:40 PM

I think you might be misunderstanding the term or maybe interpreting it in a different cultural context.

Theism implies belief in a god, atheism implies disbelief in a god. Most non-religious people here in North-Western Europe (Aardvajk is from the UK) are neither. We're just simply agnostics. We don't know if there is a god or not. Both possibilities are equally probable or improbable. The theism vs atheism axis is not really relevant. The relevant axis is the gnostic vs agnostic, and we are on the latter side - there is no possible way of knowing.

Personally I'm a pragmatic agnostic (or apathetic agnostic as Wikipedia calls it). I'm not an atheist. I don't know if there is a god or not. I don't have enough information to either believe or disbelieve in a god. I will never know (at least not during my lifetime) and as such I really don't care either way.

What I am indeed, and what most people in the US mistakenly label as a generalized atheist, is an "achristian". I don't know (nor care) if there is a god, but I don't believe that there is the God as described by Christianity. Not believing in the Christian God (or whatever other specific religion) doesn't automatically make you an atheist.

This is the kind of muddled, illogical characterization of the word "atheist" and the very epistemological concepts of "knowledge" and "belief" that causes the confusion over this topic. In short, you don't seem to understand what the word "disbelieve" means.

first definitions:
merriam webster: to hold not worthy of belief
dictionary.com: to have no belief in

Belief is a binary variable, with true being "I believe" and false being "I disbelieve" or equivalently "I don't believe." It's not a choice between believe, don't believe, and don't care. Most dictionaries will define "belief" as "confidence in the truth or existence of something." Words such as "trust" and "conviction" are also used. Your apathetic shoulder shrugging clearly is a lack of confidence/trust/conviction in that truth. That clearly conforms to the definition of the word "disbelieve," which by your very admission is a part of the definition of the word "atheism." If you insist that North-Western Europe is somehow different, I urge you to look up "atheism" in the OED, or simply read this page:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/sn-definitions.html


Maybe it doesn't seem like a big deal to you to semantically shift the word "atheist" for your own purposes (which I can only imagine are centered around the perhaps unconscious typical reluctance to call one's self an atheist), but it certainly is a big deal to semantically shift the words "believe" and "disbelieve."

You're subscribing to a definition of "atheism" that is widely used, but only by the uninformed. Simply do a little research on what atheists have to stay about the matter. Or simply look up what the greco prefix a- means.

Yann, you're an agnostic atheist, which I would have guessed having for years read intelligent things you have to say. I'm glad you're in the club, notwithstanding your ignorance of the fact that you are.

#96 ChaosEngine   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2395

Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:48 PM

And the question is: What do you care? You judge people based on their beliefs("poor critical thinking skills and integrity"). If religion provides a moral backbone to people, what's the harm? What exactly do you disagree Jesus with, that you should love your neighbour, that you should not judge others? That you should strive for peace and justice? That you should not boast for your good works? That you should forgive? What exactly is the problem?


Emphasis mine.

Why do I care?

Because people use it as an excuse to tell others what they should do (condoms, abortion, gay marriage).
Because it has held back the advancement of the human race for millennia (Galileo, evolution, stem cell research).
Because there have been countless, needless deaths over it (the crusades, the holocaust, 9/11).

Because I genuinely believe the world will be a better place once it's gone.

but mostly, I just like arguing on the internet :P
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#97 Roots   Members   -  Reputation: 657

Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:58 PM

I was about explain why I care, but then ChaosEngine said everything I was going to write.
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#98 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2231

Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:02 PM


And the question is: What do you care? You judge people based on their beliefs("poor critical thinking skills and integrity"). If religion provides a moral backbone to people, what's the harm? What exactly do you disagree Jesus with, that you should love your neighbour, that you should not judge others? That you should strive for peace and justice? That you should not boast for your good works? That you should forgive? What exactly is the problem?


Emphasis mine.

Why do I care?

Because people use it as an excuse to tell others what they should do (condoms, abortion, gay marriage).
Because it has held back the advancement of the human race for millennia (Galileo, evolution, stem cell research).
Because there have been countless, needless deaths over it (the crusades, the holocaust, 9/11).

Because I genuinely believe the world will be a better place once it's gone.

but mostly, I just like arguing on the internet :P



So, if those things didn't exist, and faith was regarded a personal thing, you would be okay with it? Because that would be my ideal world too.

For one, The Brain in a Vat proves that bigotry is not particular to religion.

#99 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:15 PM

So, if those things didn't exist, and faith was regarded a personal thing, you would be okay with it? Because that would be my ideal world too.

For one, The Brain in a Vat proves that bigotry is not particular to religion.

Since we're talking about definitions, I'll point out that yours is incorrect as well.
bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.

I neither hate nor am intolerant of religious beliefs. Much the opposite, I fully support the right of every individual to believe in anything he chooses to believe in. In fact, I'd ardently defend for your right to do whatever weird rituals your religion prescribes, given that they don't infringe on the rights of others (which unfortunately is often not the case).

I am, however, entitled to my opinion that religion is dopey and stupid.

The word you may be looking for is "disdain" or "contempt".

#100 mikeman   Members   -  Reputation: 2231

Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:18 PM

Oh, it's so nice of you that you would defend my weird delusional rituals-equivalent-of-a-chimpanzee-eating-own-shit that I direct to my invisible-sky-daddie which I worship after rejecting charlie the unicorn god.

Really, I'm touched.




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