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 Religion Revisited 
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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:17 am
This isn't necessarily a strictly Judeo-Christian-Islamic based topic, but I thought this would be interesting to post in response to DL's opening discussion.

The Lord is good to all.
- Psalm 145:6

I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.
- Isaiah 45:7

I don't know how this fits in Epicurus's statements, but it certainly opens a person's eyes, ESPECIALLY if you are a Bible Literalist and at the same time you defend that evil is a creation of Man or Lucifer. Yaweh lays claim to evil's origins.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:41 pm
The most common understanding of of what evil is for Judeo-Christians is that it is the absence of Gods presence, though wether this should mean everything without God is evil I really don't know maybe a situation where it would be totally void of anything 'Godly'.
Also the subject of it being the creation of Man or satan and they being creations of God I would say is that such evils are the result of a rejection of God.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:28 pm
Wouldn't it be more that God created everything, including lucifer who became the root of all evil so that's how he created evil...?

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:03 pm
I personally am an atheist. I believe in the theory of evolution. And anyways, I think god simply does not care about the human race as a whole. If he did, would there be war, plague, hunger, general suffering? Sure, we hear about the so-called miracles granted by Him, and the prayers answered. But what about the millions of prayers never paid attention to? What about the millions of children who die needlessly because of the simplest reasons? Does God care about them? And then there's the matter of Adam and Eve. Why should he condemn all their decendants to a life of hardship? I think some of you should read Philip Pullmans Golden Compass trilogy. It shows another side to religion. Why should we give our minds to something we're not even sure exists? It's another example of my sheep theory. If the speaker is eloquent enough, they can make the general populace do almost everything. Wizards first rule: People are stupid. Feel free to burn me at the stake any time now.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:08 pm
jocelyn silver-arrow wrote:
I personally am an atheist. I believe in the theory of evolution. And anyways, I think god simply does not care about the human race as a whole. If he did, would there be war, plague, hunger, general suffering? Sure, we hear about the so-called miracles granted by Him, and the prayers answered. But what about the millions of prayers never paid attention to? What about the millions of children who die needlessly because of the simplest reasons? Does God care about them? And then there's the matter of Adam and Eve. Why should he condemn all their decendants to a life of hardship? I think some of you should read Philip Pullmans Golden Compass trilogy. It shows another side to religion. Why should we give our minds to something we're not even sure exists? It's another example of my sheep theory. If the speaker is eloquent enough, they can make the general populace do almost everything. Wizards first rule: People are stupid. Feel free to burn me at the stake any time now.


Frankly we don’t do any stake burning here; our resident witch is a moderator.

Anyway you make some rather bold claims here and to my understanding rather baseless except for that book you mentioned which is a work of fiction, and seeing as this is the religion topic I think this calls for a discussion.

Going from the top you say you believe in the theory of evolution and I commend you for including the theory part as a large amount of people who believe this try to pass it off as the undeniable proven truth. This isn't true as there is not yet any concrete evidence proving this theory but I won't dwell on this unless someone else wants to debate it.

What I do want to discuss is your justification for not believing in god, you claim that God doesn't care for the human race at all and you say the reason for this is the general clichés of why do bad things happen in a World controlled by God. In truth the world is not controlled by God but he is in a position to intervene in its process. In my belief He has chosen to let the world run its own course – though with Him watching over it – in order to grant free will to us. Free will unfortunately is a double edged sword, where we can chose to either do good or do evil.

Also as you have pointed out and I’m sure you would raise the point if I left it blank that in the World there are Disease and famine and surely these are not results of People doing wrong in the world, but I believe that this is the result of evil. This claim is not baseless, for a brief example there are studies that describe that several diseases cave appeared due to bestiality, there is evidence to show that HIV AIDS originated from monkeys, this site explains this better than I can http://www.avert.org/origin-aids-hiv.htm . Bestiality is considered a sin by Christians as it falls under the whole clause of intercourse outside of marriage but also the majority of people in the world view it as disgusting and heinous.

You claim that because prayers go unanswered god doesn’t care about us. I find this argument far too commonly occurring and the answer to them is this: if you ask god for a Ferrari and you have no need for it God will not give it to you, Selfish desire is not the purpose of prayer, in fact the real purpose of prayer is to honour and thank God for what you do have, and asking for things you need comes second, and things you want come last if at all. It is also arguable that god does not answer everything you need; this would be the result of God either knowing that you do not really need what you are asking for or that without that you can become a better person. Another not is that if someone who has rejected God comes to a hard part in life and calls for his help, God will not help them because they have said to him in the past that they do not need him.

Another thing you state is that children dying for simple reasons indicate that God doesn’t care about people. I guess that you are talking about the millions of children who die daily in third world countries, in some respect one could consider this a mercy, saving them from living in extreme poverty and despair, it is commonly accepted by Christians that if you do not know about God or do not understand Christianity at all (if you are too young for example) then you go to heaven automatically when you die. In third world countries, there is very little or no information on Christianity and it serves to justify that children who die here are being taken out of the horrible world they live in and to heaven. Then you may argue, why are there some still left to suffer, simply they still have a meaning in their life and god doesn’t want to take them before they can do what they can in the world, and while their bit may be small there is no way to argue that their life’s are unimportant.

The next point you made is that you see God banning all of mankind from Eden as unjustifiable, really if you consider that the two people closest to god could disobey the one rule god had given them at the time; it is hard to believe anybody from that point would be able to resist either. Also this act s a lesson to people that God is not someone to mess with and the rules he puts in place are to be respected and upheld.

Lastly you have said that you believe that the Christian church is comprised of people who are like sheep following their leaders who speak eloquently and deceives them. While I do not doubt there are people in the world who do this and also leaders of churches who tell people all the good things in the bible to gain their favour, there is no way anybody who knows of everything good and bad written in the Bible could not have a real conviction about it and would be the kind of person to deceive people with its good parts. Also if someone is aiming to deceive people into following them, they would have become a politician already.

Again I’m not trying to grill you here and I don’t want to be your enemy; I just can’t leave this undiscussed as I do strongly believe in God.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:16 pm
It's quite all right, I do respect christians despite all that, (my cousin is a devout christian,), and I am sorry if I offended you.
But what about the children that die needlessly? In my mind, whenever a child dies unnecessarily, it could have been prevented somehow. I don't know how for sure, whether through people or a god, but it could have been stopped.
I'd also recomend reading a book called Fly by Night. It too, has very thought-provoking views on religion in general. The main element of the story is basically saying that the human race can take care of itself without any interference on the part of dieties. Please look it up, I'm really not that good at explaining things.
And if I do go to hell for what I believe in, then so be it. I wouldn't want a god who prosecutes me for my beliefs.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:50 pm
Firstly, anisan when did you find the time to write all that?
And I would like to point out that even though many people complain about children dieing needlessly when it can supposedly be prevented, not many of these people do anything to help and like Zetsu said "God has chosen to let the world run its own course" so in a way God is giving the issue of Poverty to humanity for them to be graceful to others. This may just be my view and I understand that their are many opinions on the topic and I in no way mean to offend anyone.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:52 am
jocelyn silver-arrow wrote:
It's quite all right, I do respect christians despite all that, (my cousin is a devout christian,), and I am sorry if I offended you.
But what about the children that die needlessly? In my mind, whenever a child dies unnecessarily, it could have been prevented somehow. I don't know how for sure, whether through people or a god, but it could have been stopped.
I'd also recomend reading a book called Fly by Night. It too, has very thought-provoking views on religion in general. The main element of the story is basically saying that the human race can take care of itself without any interference on the part of dieties. Please look it up, I'm really not that good at explaining things.
And if I do go to hell for what I believe in, then so be it. I wouldn't want a god who prosecutes me for my beliefs.


I wasn't offended I just felt it needed a bit of a debate. and I'll look that book up but in my mind God has left people to govern themselves for the most part.


Shinjite wrote:
And I would like to point out that even though many people complain about children dieing needlessly when it can supposedly be prevented, not many of these people do anything to help and like Zetsu said "God has chosen to let the world run its own course" so in a way God is giving the issue of Poverty to humanity for them to be graceful to others. This may just be my view and I understand that their are many opinions on the topic and I in no way mean to offend anyone.


That pretty much what I was angling at, free will plus human neglect play a big role in most things people say God has done wrong.

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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:30 pm
This is going to be a quick play by play to ask Zetsu some questions about what he recently posted here. I will be using some personal pronouns as I go along, these are not to place you in these positions, especially when I explain my past experiences with conversations with Creationists and their counterpoints. I will attempt not to offend you, if I do I won't apologize, if I don't, then all the better.

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Anyway you make some rather bold claims here and to my understanding rather baseless except for that book you mentioned which is a work of fiction, and seeing as this is the religion topic I think this calls for a discussion.


-What defines that any religious text is not a work of fiction? Be it the Qu'ran, the Bible, Shruti and Smritis (and so on) a claim of Heavenly authorship or a claim of supposed knowledge that these texts are true, within a book or by its followers and administrators, is, as you put it, rather baseless without using them as a 'source'. But this is only a passing remark since I know it wasn't your focus in this statement.

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Going from the top you say you believe in the theory of evolution and I commend you for including the theory part as a large amount of people who believe this try to pass it off as the undeniable proven truth. This isn't true as there is not yet any concrete evidence proving this theory but I won't dwell on this unless someone else wants to debate it.


-Also don't forget, anyone who believes in Intelligent Design or Creation (the Or shouldn't really be there in my opinion), falls victim to the same 'incrimination' that the word Theory provides. Without concrete evidence beyond self referencing books, you're stuck in Theory-land. However, Zetsu, when you mention no concrete evidence I must sit back for a moment and do a recall on what a Scientific Theory is defined as.

Encyclopedia

scientific theory

systematic ideational structure of broad scope, conceived by the human imagination, that encompasses a family of empirical (experiential) laws regarding regularities existing in objects and events, both observed and posited. A scientific theory is a structure suggested by these laws and is devised to explain them in a scientifically rational manner.


Which the first definition does finish it from Dictionary.com, that a scientific theory is able to be proven falsifiable. That doesn't mean it is inherently false (as I'm sure we all know Gravity is still kicking around). Observations explained in a logically sound manner by many of the world's leading intellects since Darwin first suggested it, results in a bit more bite for Evolution. If you want 'proof' or concrete evidence, you can find it many places. If you frown at the idea of transitional forms, don't click this article. But knowing my past conversations with others (not you, Zetsu), I've wasted time since I don't necessarily care about 'convincing' others who wish not to be.

If you want more information about evolution (and other ideas such as Atheism), have a listen to personalities like Richard Dawkins or Hitchens, even Carl Sagan, do your very own research instead of assuming the evidence is not there according to what others say to you. If you're more up to exploring internet resources, I actually do recommend Youtube in this case. Personalities such as Thunderf00t (minus the recent Islam fiasco), NonStampCollector, potholer54, cdk007, dprjones, and several others can be used as a web of information, if you wish to use them.

I have the disclaimer that if any of their videos offend you, that you watch them at your own risk.

I stand firmly on the side of Science. Science is ever changing as the human race continues to age and develop, seeking to better explain Nature is more than a worthy ambition. To claim that you can't trust Science (as I've heard from others) because it does this changing thing unlike their religious texts, is set in hilarity. As knowledge expands so does Science and so do the explanations. Cures for diseases change the face of Science, treatments do as well. Our ideas about the Moon were changed because of the recent discovery of water. If you assume that revising textbooks means that Science is never right, then ignorance should most definitely be bliss.



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What I do want to discuss is your justification for not believing in god, you claim that God doesn't care for the human race at all and you say the reason for this is the general clichés of why do bad things happen in a World controlled by God. In truth the world is not controlled by God but he is in a position to intervene in its process. In my belief He has chosen to let the world run its own course – though with Him watching over it – in order to grant free will to us. Free will unfortunately is a double edged sword, where we can chose to either do good or do evil.


For a moment I will go back to the beginning of this topic with Epicurus. God is to have certain qualities, one of which is to Know all that can be known, omniscience. This has already been covered however, how knowing the future and the past, the present and so on, should have deferred a God from ever bothering with humanity. The interesting bit I do want to cover though with this, is free will. If a child is born, as God will know this event, God will know everything this Child will say and do until the day he dies, this includes the final judgment of Heaven or Hell. If he goes to Hell and God already knew, well... that's not very nice is it? Original Sin is a disgusting concept that is sometimes used to justify infant death, that a child and his further family must pay the dues for the mistakes of his ancestors. If I murder someone, why should my son have to be punished for my actions, actions he had no control over? Why should his son after that? And after that?

Giving Free Will to humans is hardly an arduous task. If you follow God and do his Word, you will get into heaven, a paradise like no other. If you turn away from God, you will burn in agony forever. To any reasonable person, this does not permit a choice. Who would pick Hell? The answer people will give is that by rejecting god, you also reject heaven. Who do you know wants an afterlife filled with pain and suffering? Apparently I do, because I reject the idea of God. Do I deserve to go to Hell? Apparently.

Some may say that Free Will is a fallacy, that how we live our lives and how other's effect it as we age will cause us inherently to float to one choice if given one. If someone offers me to jump off a bridge with a bungee cord, my past experiences with new things will more than likely cause me to immediately decline. I do have the choice, but does my mind even give it a second thought? We can fight around this all day, but Free Will is something left to Psychology majors and not believers of a religion in which you must believe or you will be HEAVILY punished. That is more of a demand than a choice when you drop it to a reasonable person to choose between such extremes. Maybe I'm just crazy. I don't want to put my hand on a stove burner if I can have ice cream instead.

Apatheism involves the belief that the concept of a God is plausible but if one does exist they are apathetic to humanity and our world. You did point out that bad things happening is an old cliche to use, which is very true. What I will discuss is God's intervention. According to the religious text of the Bible, God showed himself or at least manifested in some OBVIOUS way to the people of the time, offering 'concrete' evidence in that timeframe that he existed, and these were recorded. Why, then, in the last 2000 years or more, hasn't this obvious intervention occurred again? God has gone quiet it seems since the Ressurection of Jesus, for no other reason to support the fact you have to have faith to get into his kingdom, he wants to save us, showing himself would convince MANY people and save MANY. That's a bit strange, if I do say so myself. If we work with omnipotence, God should be able to save anyone he wants, he just has to try hard enough. But Free Will gets in his way, curse his own self limitation. (Sarcasm necessary.)

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Also as you have pointed out and I’m sure you would raise the point if I left it blank that in the World there are Disease and famine and surely these are not results of People doing wrong in the world, but I believe that this is the result of evil. This claim is not baseless, for a brief example there are studies that describe that several diseases cave appeared due to bestiality, there is evidence to show that HIV AIDS originated from monkeys, this site explains this better than I can http://www.avert.org/origin-aids-hiv.htm . Bestiality is considered a sin by Christians as it falls under the whole clause of intercourse outside of marriage but also the majority of people in the world view it as disgusting and heinous.

-The thing about disease and pestilence being caused by evil or caused by mankind's evil is a bit farfetched to be sure. In the cases when God rained down pestilence upon humanity, or at the very least his enemy, did he borrow a cup from Satan? If God can create disease to rip across cattle and humans without it being created from evil is a contradictary statement if God is all good and can do no evil, isn't it?
Even if disease is at the fault of man's wickedness, somebody has to create it, if it were Satan I would assume God would want to put an end to such a thing, but obviously he doesn't. So who made sickness? I personally don't believe everyone deserves to be sick because someone screwed up way back in my ancestry or because I dared covet someone's Yu-gi-oh cards back in sixth grade.

If man is inherently evil, God created him with the capacity and ability to do so, if someone else did (Satan, the devil, whichever name you prefer) must have done so... but shouldn't God beat that out of you? If it's part of Free Will, I wouldn't want to be a follower of a God who punishes evil and sin and created me knowing I was going to do it anyway. To claim that the world is evil because it cannot exist without it, then why can Heaven be a place of Good and absent of evil? Do these worlds themselves not fall under the same 'laws' as to why the Earth must have good and evil? Then it is a, for a lack of a better word, an imperfection in our world, unless you have to make many more exceptions to what God is able to do or willing to do? If you have someone messing around with your Creation, you should make it your job to stop this, not use it as a test for your Earth simulator.


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You claim that because prayers go unanswered god doesn’t care about us. I find this argument far too commonly occurring and the answer to them is this: if you ask god for a Ferrari and you have no need for it God will not give it to you, Selfish desire is not the purpose of prayer, in fact the real purpose of prayer is to honour and thank God for what you do have, and asking for things you need comes second, and things you want come last if at all. It is also arguable that god does not answer everything you need; this would be the result of God either knowing that you do not really need what you are asking for or that without that you can become a better person. Another not is that if someone who has rejected God comes to a hard part in life and calls for his help, God will not help them because they have said to him in the past that they do not need him.


-I'm pretty certain she didn't mean selfish, materialistic prayers, Zetsu. The argument involves ailing family members or pets, asking for strength to do a certain thing, to deal with a family death or to help someone else you feel pity or sympathy for and the prayers that go unanswered in all these situations. Devout Christians can even tell you that they have prayed for family members to survive an accident or an ailment, to find missing members alive and well, and these have gone without reply or turned out for the worst. If they havent' rejected God, does God expect them, without explanation (anyone remember Job?), to accept what has occurred when they are under the impression they have pleased God with their lives?

Or does God not need to explain his actions, are they truly beyond human comprehension? That's otherwise known as a cop-out in exchange for an answer we do not have, or the answer we don't want to hear, that nothing was there listening to our pleas. Why should I accept that something is there when everything seems to point in the opposite direction? Oh yeah, faith... temptation... evil plaguing my soul and mind? Take your pick. I can assure you that you will be hardpressed to find someone who is thankful to God for taking away something or someone they love because by depriving them of this person they have become a better person and love life just so much more without them.

Funny thing about the Bible, perhaps people have had looks at Skeptic's Annotated? Or even a more obscure 'EvilBible'? Faith and Works have a very strange relationship... http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/c ... alone.html Cherrypicking the Bible happens all the time on both sides of the playing field, as I'm sure we're all aware.

But that's besides the point. People can be happy with whatever they believe in, to the point they can use a blind eye to whatever they wish if it questions or critizes them. You could even say that to me, just make sure you do all the necessary research.

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Another thing you state is that children dying for simple reasons indicate that God doesn’t care about people. I guess that you are talking about the millions of children who die daily in third world countries, in some respect one could consider this a mercy, saving them from living in extreme poverty and despair, it is commonly accepted by Christians that if you do not know about God or do not understand Christianity at all (if you are too young for example) then you go to heaven automatically when you die. In third world countries, there is very little or no information on Christianity and it serves to justify that children who die here are being taken out of the horrible world they live in and to heaven. Then you may argue, why are there some still left to suffer, simply they still have a meaning in their life and god doesn’t want to take them before they can do what they can in the world, and while their bit may be small there is no way to argue that their life’s are unimportant.


-You make my point yourself, in some respect one could consider this a mercy. If mercy of death must be placed upon a child and their contributions add up to zero, what's the point of having that child suffer hardship in the first place? As a martyr to try to make someone in a 1st world country try to support a child from oceans away? That's a bit of a barbaric way to do such if I do say so myself. One thing you should look up involves certain countries where the Christian population is very high and something extremely terrible has happened, such as Haiti. Unless Catholicism is just that evil, I don't see the point of killing that many people if it's only to bring together world powers in a time of peace. Can't God figure out a bit... less destructive way to do such a thing? Now if a Child dies from starvation on Tuesday and his sister lives but dies the next day, why did she have to suffer an extra day if she does nothing out of the ordinary? Does her brother's death bring her closer to God and that was what was needed to get her into the Kingdom of Heaven?

Steps and steps, complications galore. I'd use Occam's Razor, but I've heard a few stories that 'God done it' is the simplest anything can be explained with. That just doesnt fly.

Your point about the lack of knowledge of Christianity can save impoverished children makes me think of an old joke. You likely know this one.

A priest walks up to an Inuit native. This native has never heard of Christianity or the Bible, has never been told a single word. The priest takes him aside and tells him all the Bible stories, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Jesus's birth and death, etc. He tells him of God's love and sacrifice, but makes sure to leave out a bit of the nasty bits of Deut. and Leviticus, Psalm 137 and so on. At the end of the day the Priest finally finishes but the Inuit man looks confused. He says "If I do not believe in God and know about him, I will burn in hell for eternity?" The priest nods and the man continues. "Then why did you tell me all of this?"

(I'm sure someone will want to debate this further, so I'm stopping here in the anticipation someone mentions that spreading the word of God is to be awarded.)



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The next point you made is that you see God banning all of mankind from Eden as unjustifiable, really if you consider that the two people closest to god could disobey the one rule god had given them at the time; it is hard to believe anybody from that point would be able to resist either. Also this act s a lesson to people that God is not someone to mess with and the rules he puts in place are to be respected and upheld.



See my above statements about omniscience. God should have been well aware his humans would break his rule. Does the end of the story make up for all the inner bits? The usual way of this is a no, if a movie sucks or a book sucks, the ending won't ever make it up to every observer or every reader. I can certainly say the ending of the Bible isn't too fun. The rules of God are not upheld anymore in a modern world, simply on a few of the Commandments are held in law. We dont' stone disobedient children, we don't kill homosexuals, and we most definitely don't punish rape victims. Is that Old Testament Law? Sure it is, but don't start cherrypicking what you want from the OT and say the rest is hogwash, that's not good for your karma.

If God is going to give us the choice to break the rule, but rip our hearts out for making the choice he doesn't want, why offer the choice if he doesn't want to do the whole ripping out the heart thing in the first place? Oh yeah, Free Will, but I gave my own spin on that earlier.

Quote:
Lastly you have said that you believe that the Christian church is comprised of people who are like sheep following their leaders who speak eloquently and deceives them. While I do not doubt there are people in the world who do this and also leaders of churches who tell people all the good things in the bible to gain their favour, there is no way anybody who knows of everything good and bad written in the Bible could not have a real conviction about it and would be the kind of person to deceive people with its good parts. Also if someone is aiming to deceive people into following them, they would have become a politician already.


-There's the old saying that there are no Christian children, just Christian parents. Indoctrination is NOT a myth, if I raise my child to believe that Darth Vader is actually a Cat God under his mask and I invent all these stories, write a big book and tell them if they don't believe they will go to a dark and scary place where you will be clawed with sharp talons for the rest of eternity, I'm pretty sure that child is going to go along with it. Sound absurd? Lots of things sound absurd when you put it in a certain way. People like to put it that Religion is like Santa Claus for adults, that raising a person and using all kinds of convincing factors will make them believe. Dedicate periods of time to it, and you've got it made.

Do you have a following and wish to make a conflict between another group because they maybe looked at you funny in the desert that one day? Get lots of followers. You need money and you need to ask your followers for some, try to get more followers. You need voting power or you need to get something done politically, be it modern or ancient politics, get enough people to follow you, make the other person or people your DIVINE enemy. You need to convince people to join your following or you won't have a following anymore.

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Again I’m not trying to grill you here and I don’t want to be your enemy; I just can’t leave this undiscussed as I do strongly believe in God.



If you can't tell, I feel very very strongly about this kind of subject, usually I'll be quiet about it, but to be brutally honest, I'm not sure how many active atheists we have here on the forums (that care to debate), so I'll take a gauntlet for now. If you want the reasoning behind my beliefs, it's not a very long one, but it's not important right now. If I grilled you or offended you or any of our other religious members, it's what happens, no one is above criticism or, gasp, free speech against their beliefs. Not offering violence or defamation, there should be no issue between groups. If I've made you my enemy, I will apologize for that, beliefs may come in between friendships, but it is not worth ruining them.

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Sheikah Elder
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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:29 pm
I haven't read all of it and I'm not in the mood for debate now as my holidays have started and I just want to relax. But of what I did read, it seem you miss interpreted a lot of what I wrote I may dis cuss this and the other points you rose at a later date but not now.

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Zora Guard
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Post Re: Religion Revisited • Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:54 am
Hah hah, wowzers, some really great stuff going on here. A few very important things I feel need to be pointed out:

- Jokes about Inuits are always welcome in religious contexts
- If more conversations included examples of coveting Yugioh cards, the world would be a much brighter place
- Holidays are some of the optimal relaxation periods

Once again, some really great thoughts here kids, I'm so pleased that you folks get so excited about this topic! Heh heh, and if you don't mind, while I'm not a psychology major, I am a philosophy major, so I might give my 2 cents worth on a few points here. ^^;

WHAT HAS GOD DONE FOR YOU LATELY... ASIDE FROM NOTHING:

First of all, Descartes was, in my mind, first a shameless genius, second a bit of a cop-out. He gave us this brilliant concept that if you can conceive of it, then it must be possible... but then after conceiving that the world could possibly be a big sham, he ran back to his pastor. Whether he did this out of philosophical fear or political fear is another topic entirely, as I would completely understand him simply wanting to continue his much beloved standard of existence... getting off topic now, refocusing...

Conceive that there is a God and that from this it follows that he is omnipotent (bracketing in omniscient and omnipresent). The first question we ask is "Well, if he's so great, why do bad things happen?" Well, is it not conceivable that out of the infinite possibilities the world could churn up, this one is the best? Wouldn't God then have to create it? Of course we can ask about little things like, "If this is the optimal world, then why didn't I find two dollars instead of one dollar the other day then?" or "Why didn't I get a little extra milkshake instead of a little less if the world is so darn neato?" Utilitarians would jump out of the bushes at this point and cry "HOLD" on this attack of God's potential attempt to create the optimal amount of happiness. Consider firstly a very simple concept that you finding two dollars instead of one means that someone lost two dollars instead of one, and maybe they would feel worse to a greater degree than you would feel better, thus creating a loss of happiness. Consider now a far more vague and unfulfilling example that finding one extra dollar now somehow affects the world and makes it a slightly less happy place on the whole by some arbitrary point in the future *waves arms to demonstrate wishy-washiness*. I find, funnily enough, that one of the most cliché, overused and possibly misunderstood phrases of Christianity is actually one of its greatest weapons: "God works in mysterious ways."

IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT:

Free will... Did everyone else just feel every philosopher's argument sense tingle? Gives me the willies... any how... The matter of free will is hotly debated among anything that seems to share a bob in it either way. Before anyone gets into a debate about free will, I think the first thing folks should do is sit down and pound out a definition. So many arguments, I find, have gotten so caught up on terms with floppy definitions that they twist themselves into unpleasant shapes. I would be crazy pleased to hear what you guys consider to be free will, but for now I'm just going to throw my definition out there, that the free will of any one being is it's own capacity to choose in accordance with the characteristics of it's being... hah hah, I must have rambled about this somewhere else, so I kinda feel bad explaining it again, but I'd feel that my point would lack solidarity without it... So, consider Jim. At point X in time, he is offered a choice. He can either buy a hotdog or not buy a hotdog. Jim, at this point in time and being the Jim that occupies this point in time, chooses to buy a hotdog. He chose to buy it because of his specific makeup; his preferences, biases, history, yada yada. His ability to choose based on this makeup, in my eyes, is his free will.

Now, how this links back to the point at hand... IF a person's free will is predetermined by everything that comes before them and thus after them etc etc, then it is fully possible to know in advance the entirety of someone's existence, especially if you are, say, a deity. So, if God is omnipotent then he has already ordained that people will do bad things. "But God," inquires one plucky lad, "wouldn't that make you a jerk?" Once again, the utiliarian commandos might barrel from the scrub, pinning down our inquisitive hero and pound the concept previously explained into his higher thinking. Another thought that might be worth considering though is that maybe God is like a computer and has a load order and thus can't fully comprehend his own power until it is too late. Perhaps he is omniscient first and omnipotent second. This means that first he loads the entirety of the universe into his head and as it is already going to happen, he kicks into second gear and starts making it. Boy, what a depressing view of God... "Father, why did God create the universe?" "Well my son, the current theory is that he was really hung over and not thinking things through in the smartest order..."

A FINE LINE BETWEEN PLEASURE AND BOREDOM:

Another thing I wanted to discuss... consider a world where all of your wants are fulfilled immediately, whether this be because you were made without them (aka God thinking before doing) or your many ridiculous wants are magically tended to (aka God feeling guilty after doing before thinking). Now, I'm never one to turn down a good time, but something seems inherently wrong with this picture (despite my inner hedonist screaming for total satisfaction, TOTAL SATISFACTION). Option A seems to leave us with no desires, no wants, no needs, no biases, no nothing really. This seems to violate my current self and thus I do not want it. The second option, B, while it seems good by definition, takes a bit to grasp in the aftermath. Really think about it... immediately doesn't mean consecutively... it isn't a couple of minutes later... it means straight away... zero time components. Consider your life to be a number line with each number representing some want/fulfilled want, starting at 0 (you not existing) and continuing on to 1 (your first will, to exist maybe?) and then to 2 (perhaps a meringue of some sort) and so on. Now try looking down that road, standing at 0. Pretty long, huh? Now consider, that truly infinite road, bending off into the obscure depths of some Lovecraftian ubër-dimension, is all contained within a single instant. THIS is supposedly the optimal scenario. Yeah... something seems pretty shifty here...

We seem to be creatures built to want things, and so with this in mind, the fulfilling of those wants is our goal. But our higher thoughts, hopefully, would deny this world of immediate gratification, because it isn't a world that wants us for us and so we don't want it either... as I said, hopefully...


I should really try and get some sleep kids... I hope these little morsels are appreciated and I hope you keep striving to feed that hunger for philosophical, spiritual and logical enlightenment.

Boot out.

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