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Heath

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  1. Completely agreed, icebone1000. Street epistemologists would define faith as "pretending to know what you don't know". What gets me is that any argument for a God of the Gaps in science leads merely to deism, not any specific religion. I really doubt that the god that deists are looking for is El or Bel Hadad or YHWH. Morality certainly doesn't depend on religion if we aren't strictly following the text but adapting it to our own preferences and needs. There is also the idea that homo sapiens sapiens were the first species capable of myth, of lying. This was powerful when you needed to unite a group to go to war. And then, any belief in a God becomes an opportunity for organization, and any organized religion becomes a concentration of political power. It becomes a front against other voices, however rational. Is it wrong for two gay people to marry? No. There's no rational reason to believe so, but there are religious reasons to believe so. Personally, I quite like the idea of the Brahman, as long as it's a metaphor that I'm not forced to take too seriously. We're made of the most common elements in the universe, and we are as a species so powerful that we can affect the rest of the planet and every other species on it. We are truly our own gods and devils.
  2. Christianity was not so solid on this issue. The Ebionites understood Jesus to have been a Jewish prophet, not the end of the Jewish law. Paul was selling this idea to the Gentiles, and there were a number of ideas floating around over the decades about the divinity of Jesus, many of which became heretical. Marcion comes to mind. Considering the development of Christianity, then, as the Pauline letters and the Q source and the gospel we attribute to Mark came along, and then the other gospels and the pseudepigrapha after Vespasian and Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 CE, I can't take it seriously. It is at best something to take and adapt into your own life and experience, perhaps skipping over parts, and at that point, it seems unnecessary to me.
  3. I was mildly depressed at where this thread looked like it was headed, but it looks like it's gotten interesting. Fair enough. As far as a cult goes, I alluded earlier that it's understandable for any organization to not be so quick to use that label, even when the shoe fits. Scientology in particular has been very litigious about this. And if you are, say, the Australian Royal Commission, you would absolutely not want to be biased or to show bias. That would absolutely play into a true cult's hand, because then they can claim "attack" and "persecution". (The JWs already do, which is why Mr. Angus Stewart has performed brilliantly in his questioning, even when he questioned one of the top guys in the governing body of the WTBTS, Geoffrey Jackson. It's all on YouTube on the channel "JakkeControl" if you're curious.) There is a wider issue here. There are also not only religious cults. The key element of any of them is undue influence. What about political cults? Cults of personality? Cults of protest and outrage? Whatever the case, shutting off all dissidents and critics, demonizing "the other"... This doesn't generally help anything. It tends to hurt and split people apart.
  4. Feel free to lock it, frob. It's alright with me.
  5. @samoth, I'll accept that I stated as a fact something that is arguable and shaded by history, but it is a fact that he was impressed with the docile submission of Bible Students, it is a fact that the president of the WTBTS at the time wrote a letter to Hitler saying he agreed with him about the Jews, and it is a fact that they were given privileges in some cases during their imprisonment. Indeed, there were SS officers who became Bible Students. But, regardless. Sect/cult/religion/apocalyptic evangelical social club/book distribution scheme. If you don't wish for Gamedev.net to appear to call them a cult, that's fine. I'll move along now, thanks.
  6. Servant, I have my wife, my coworkers, my sister who also left, and online communities at this point. I think I'll be fine overall, and I'm well past the point of no return regardless. As far as their doctrine goes, it's hard to square Deuteronomy 18:20-22 with a Christian group that claims to use God's name and holds the Guinness world record for failed end of the world predictions. Full stop. As far as Christianity and I, I have read The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman (which focuses on the Tanakh), and Forged and parts of other books by Bart D. Ehrman (who focuses on the NT). I find criticism, the development of the Bible itself, and development of the theology to all be way more interesting than any commitment to it. I'd rather just take the Bible for what it is, as with anything else, and move along from there. But I appreciate it, man. Thank you.
  7. MarkS, well that too.
  8. Hi Alpheus, I agree. I'm not without a personal philosophy on all of this. I love Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell, and without belief, I love being able to search through other ideas just out of curiosity. I'm 31 now and married, and we want to have kids. I want them to be safe, and I want them to go to university, and I want them to be willing to ask questions about the world around them. I can't guarantee any of those things in the religion of my upbringing, and so I moved on. While I'm atheist, I'm not really nihilist. No, I love so much about people and the planet and I am just bottom-line optimistic. Life is a drama. And where do I get all of this? Alan Watts's books on Zen Buddhism, for one thing. I don't consider myself Buddhist, but I feel free to import ideas that I rationally find pretty cool. I seem to line up most with Stoicism, and Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces is inspirational to me. So yeah, I'm happy to move on. I have posed my views to my family, and we'll just have to see what they do over the next few years. It'll be okay. I hear you, frob. I get that you understand, but I am sorry.
  9. That's fine, grumpyOldDude, but given this definition They fit the bill quite nicely, I'm afraid. So I'm just calling it as it is. Since you essentially asked... This is a religion that so impressed Heinrich Himmler that he considered it as a model for the SS. This is a religion that has long had information on pedophiles within their ranks, but refuses to provide this to the courts when subpoenaed and does not make it a practice to report pedophiles when the law doesn't require them to, even if it means losing millions or exposing children outside the cult to the pedophile. This is a religion that desperately reaches to justify a ban on blood transfusions. This is a religion that demands blind obedience to changing doctrine and policies even if you know they're wrong, at the risk of being shunned from everyone you love. You can verify all of this on jwfacts.org and understand my disgust. This isn't just another church. It's a cult.
  10. Hello everybody. I haven't posted here in some time but I spent a number of years on this site as a teen and twenty something. This Lounge taught me how to debate, and introduced me to a lot of ideas that I frankly needed to be exposed to. At various points along the way, I held onto my convictions but I expressed to some people that I identified a lot with atheists more than I did people who called themselves Christians. I haven't touched a line of code in a while, though I do some scripting when I need a new tool or something. I haven't read anything on game design in a long time. But, I've expressed some views on this forum that were informed by my religious upbringing. I'm writing now to retract those views. Video game violence? I now defer to the psychologists who would tell you that kids *need* some violence and viscerality to help them overcome certain obstacles, and that people in general can, do, and should understand the difference between fantasy and reality. I don't care what any church group says and I retract any funky-ass views I once expressed on this site that do not comply with this statement. But mostly I just want to come out as an atheist and an ex-JW. I was born and raised with the grammatically horrifying affiliation of Jehovah's Witnesses. What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means much of my family will cut ties and shun me once I'm announced at one of their meetings as "no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses." Some friends and family already have, though a few are a little more understanding. (They will risk the same treatment for doing so.) Quite frankly, there are a few people in the cult I wouldn't mind telling to get lost anyway. There are a few that I already have. This is a religion that is known to exercise undue influence over its members, who are not encouraged to look at the organization's history through anything other than their own literature. Most do not know the facts about it. Why not? Given the nature of this site, I won't get too much more into that, because it would involve attacking a specific religion on this forum and that's maybe not so great to do. I'll leave that to people like John Cedars and TedTheAtheist on YouTube, and jwfacts.org. (Or just leave it to Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris/Dennett, AronRa or Dillahunty...) Suffice it to say, I've left, and I had good reason to leave. I know you guys come from all backgrounds, and many are atheists. Thank you again for the years of topics here that I may never have considered otherwise at such a young age if I hadn't come here. Thank you. Respectfully submitted, Ben
  11. Basically the same here. I don't have an account at StackOverflow and apparently I don't need one.
  12. I'm working on a text-mode game for just that reason, with the basic idea of "Let me just tell you what is happening and you can respond when I let you." Going well. I love getting the ball rolling, but I have to kick myself in the pants to keep working on it. That goes with everything I do which I don't get paid for, of course.
  13. I don't think games have to be a whole lot of fun or that countless hours must be spent on them. Sure, I used to think that, but there are more important things, and I've really come to appreciate keeping games a small part of life.   That's about the "fun" and "hours" argument, not about simulations or software toys in general. I'm like you, in that I never spend a whole lot of time on them either. It's just that I don't want to spend that much on any game as I get older. As an example, I installed the new Jurassic Park Builder game on my tablet a couple weeks ago. I keep getting notifications saying that my 2 dinosaurs (I've only gotten 2) are hungry. It was a fun idea for a game, and that's about all I enjoyed. The actual game itself is just clicking things you're told to click and getting new feedback each time. I wonder if they've died yet...
  14. I'd just like to point out what this thread touches on. Players demand violence. The OP and others are upset by the violence they get, and want it dressed up a little bit. Maybe reason with the enemy on the battlefield. But a lot of money gets invested in this game, and it needs to reach a mass market to make it back and get a sequel, which will repeat the process. The game becomes a brand, the brand becomes a promise, and it's a promise of violence, if dressed up a little bit. Whatever your views or goals or commitments are, that's fine. I think I'd rather make a game about something else altogether and not make this promise at all.
  15. That's some good customer service all around.