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Author Topic: The Mystery of Evangelical Atheists  (Read 12072 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: November 03, 2009, 12:09:58 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
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« Reply #91 on: November 03, 2009, 02:49:07 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 02:49:25 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #92 on: November 03, 2009, 05:38:31 PM »

Quote
So far from encouraging murdering and stealing, darwinian evolution--whether God-driven or not--encourages things like not murdering, not stealing, etc.

I've been thinking about it more, and I've come to the conclusion that this may only be partially correct. There would indeed seem to be other factors involved, which I didn't seem to allow for in my previous statement(s).
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« Reply #93 on: November 03, 2009, 05:42:13 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".

Rather, I'm simply saying that his writings only become truly problematic when they are taken as 'eternal truths.' In fact, considering any document to be an 'eternal truth' is antithetical to the pursuit of morality.
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« Reply #94 on: November 03, 2009, 05:52:52 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".

Rather, I'm simply saying that his writings only become truly problematic when they are taken as 'eternal truths.' In fact, considering any document to be an 'eternal truth' is antithetical to the pursuit of morality.
I agree. But when we look at the writings of St. Paul, I don't think it is dishonest to see some of what he says as being culturally relative rather than him just "talking out his rear". I can think of a lot of examples where St. Paul is talking about cultural relative issues which are irrelevant or even abhorrent today (e.g, the proper Christian way to have slaves), but I don't think I can find anywhere where he is "talking out out of his rear"; And I think I'm being pretty open to the possibility.
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« Reply #95 on: November 03, 2009, 06:13:55 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".

Rather, I'm simply saying that his writings only become truly problematic when they are taken as 'eternal truths.' In fact, considering any document to be an 'eternal truth' is antithetical to the pursuit of morality.
I agree. But when we look at the writings of St. Paul, I don't think it is dishonest to see some of what he says as being culturally relative rather than him just "talking out his rear". I can think of a lot of examples where St. Paul is talking about cultural relative issues which are irrelevant or even abhorrent today (e.g, the proper Christian way to have slaves), but I don't think I can find anywhere where he is "talking out out of his rear"; And I think I'm being pretty open to the possibility.

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
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« Reply #96 on: November 03, 2009, 06:25:40 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?
2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?
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« Reply #97 on: November 03, 2009, 06:26:10 PM »

GiC,

I suppose you could get that impression from 1 Cor. 15:1-9, but I would assume that Christians would argue that Paul was simply talking about either his conversion experience (Acts 9; Acts 22; Acts 26) or a "vision" (2 Cor. 12)
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« Reply #98 on: November 03, 2009, 07:30:40 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

Quote
2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?

By objective I simply mean open to interpreting the texts in their historical context without any preconceived ideas. But if you're going into the study assuming the texts are the 'inerrant word of god', you are much less likely to point out textual problems and inconsistencies.
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« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2009, 08:01:14 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

Quote
2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?

By objective I simply mean open to interpreting the texts in their historical context without any preconceived ideas. But if you're going into the study assuming the texts are the 'inerrant word of god', you are much less likely to point out textual problems and inconsistencies.
And if you start out with the belief that there is no God you are more predisposed to interperate apparent contradictions as genuine contradictions.
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« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2009, 08:13:03 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?
That would be nice, since right now you're merely appealing to the anonymous "they".
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 08:14:15 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2009, 09:24:45 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?
That would be nice, since right now you're merely appealing to the anonymous "they".

I'll try to pull together a list for you...but asking someone to produce citations for matters of general knowledge is a little excessive.
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« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2009, 09:31:13 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

Quote
2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?

By objective I simply mean open to interpreting the texts in their historical context without any preconceived ideas. But if you're going into the study assuming the texts are the 'inerrant word of god', you are much less likely to point out textual problems and inconsistencies.
And if you start out with the belief that there is no God you are more predisposed to interperate apparent contradictions as genuine contradictions.

I don't know about that, textual criticism is a fairly established field based on the science of linguistics. And furthermore, most textual critics are actually theists though they may not accept such religious details as the authenticity of scripture and may question the historicity of various religious figures.
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« Reply #103 on: November 03, 2009, 10:38:43 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

How about naming one not in the Jesus Seminar?


2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?

By objective I simply mean open to interpreting the texts in their historical context without any preconceived ideas. But if you're going into the study assuming the texts are the 'inerrant word of god', you are much less likely to point out textual problems and inconsistencies.
The literature belies that: the Muslims are if anything FAR more literal about their Quran than the most fundamentalist literalist Christian, and yet there is a HUGE literature on textual problems and reconciling inconsistencies.
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« Reply #104 on: November 03, 2009, 10:40:36 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

Quote
2.  Does objective--I take you to mean "not clouded by belief in the truth of the texts"--necessarily mean believable?

By objective I simply mean open to interpreting the texts in their historical context without any preconceived ideas. But if you're going into the study assuming the texts are the 'inerrant word of god', you are much less likely to point out textual problems and inconsistencies.
And if you start out with the belief that there is no God you are more predisposed to interperate apparent contradictions as genuine contradictions.

I don't know about that, textual criticism is a fairly established field based on the science of linguistics. And furthermore, most textual critics are actually theists though they may not accept such religious details as the authenticity of scripture and may question the historicity of various religious figures.

I do believe you once shared your opinion of Thomas Kuhn's textual criticism of scientific literature.
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« Reply #105 on: November 03, 2009, 10:51:29 PM »

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
1.  Can you name these anonymous-to-this-discussion scholars so we can cross-reference their works?

Nearly any biblical scholar in the field of higher criticism...do you really need the who's who list?

How about naming one not in the Jesus Seminar?

While that wouldn't be a major problem since most such biblical scholars and theologians date from the 19th century, why would I exclude those in the Jesus Seminar; they are, quite frankly, far more learned in these matters than probably anyone on this board and their conclusions should carry significantly more weight than those of the posters in this thread.
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« Reply #106 on: November 03, 2009, 10:55:37 PM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 

I'm coming to this thread late, I know, but I say that the fundamentalist atheist is fundamentally (pardon the pun) no different to the fundamentalist Christian. They are both "control freaks", who desire everyone to believe exactly as they do. When faced with those who disagree with their paradigm their only recourse is to elliminate their opponants case by any means at their disposal. And though it's disappointing, I find fundamentalist atheists no more dishonest than fundamentalist Christians.

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« Reply #107 on: November 04, 2009, 03:42:03 AM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".

Rather, I'm simply saying that his writings only become truly problematic when they are taken as 'eternal truths.' In fact, considering any document to be an 'eternal truth' is antithetical to the pursuit of morality.
I agree. But when we look at the writings of St. Paul, I don't think it is dishonest to see some of what he says as being culturally relative rather than him just "talking out his rear". I can think of a lot of examples where St. Paul is talking about cultural relative issues which are irrelevant or even abhorrent today (e.g, the proper Christian way to have slaves), but I don't think I can find anywhere where he is "talking out out of his rear"; And I think I'm being pretty open to the possibility.

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
St. Paul does claim to have encountered Christ and more than likely, St. Paul is the man whom he refers to as having been caught up to the third heaven:
"I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven." 2 Corinthians 12:2
I would say that this is in fact culturally relative. St. Paul is describing his experience based on his cultural concepts. The reason I say this is because I have had several "Peak Experiences" as described by Maslow, and I too find myself having to describe them in terms with which I am familiar (i.e. culturally relative terms). What I am saying is that what St. Paul may have experienced may have been a real experience (just as a Peak Experience is a real experience) and is using culturally bound terms to describe it (the cultural terms of first century Christianity coming out of a Jewish history and which has challenged many Jewish taboos like inclusion of uncircumscribed Gentiles).
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« Reply #108 on: November 04, 2009, 12:14:39 PM »

I misspoke a bit, I have no objection to using various ancient texts be it the judeo-christian scriptures, or the Tao Te Ching, or the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Quran for that matter...provided they're used as philosophical texts and not as dogma.
I would actually agree with you here. But I think that this is unremarkable in that the vast majority of Christian Scripture is not actually "dogma" in the "Apostolic" Churches anyway (Orthodox, RC, Anglican...etc...).

Granted, only the formal statements of faith from the Oecumenical Synods are technically dogma. However, with that said, the importance ascribed to scripture and the canons by the 'Apostolic' Churches means that when used they function far closer to dogma than to philosophical texts open to objective criticism. For instance, you may see people try to manipulate St. Paul's writings by talking about cultural context and spiritual meanings, but you'll rarely see the 'faithful' say, 'you know, Paul's just talking out his rear in this instance, this is nonsense and simply shouldn't be taken seriously.' When, at times, that's simply the case.
Do you think perhaps you are attributing a greater level of importance to the writings of St. Paul than some fundamentalists do when you say that some of his writings are him "talking out his rear", rather than being culturally relative? It's as if the expectation you have is that they should all be "eternal truths".

Rather, I'm simply saying that his writings only become truly problematic when they are taken as 'eternal truths.' In fact, considering any document to be an 'eternal truth' is antithetical to the pursuit of morality.
I agree. But when we look at the writings of St. Paul, I don't think it is dishonest to see some of what he says as being culturally relative rather than him just "talking out his rear". I can think of a lot of examples where St. Paul is talking about cultural relative issues which are irrelevant or even abhorrent today (e.g, the proper Christian way to have slaves), but I don't think I can find anywhere where he is "talking out out of his rear"; And I think I'm being pretty open to the possibility.

Well, I'll confess it's been quite some time since I've read Paul but, correct me if I'm wrong, I do recall some statement about him having met Christ in the flesh or something to that extent and actually using that claim to assert his influence and authority. As far as I can that's a statement that can't be considered culturally relevant and is, according to most objective biblical scholars, simply incorrect.
St. Paul does claim to have encountered Christ and more than likely, St. Paul is the man whom he refers to as having been caught up to the third heaven:
"I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven." 2 Corinthians 12:2
I would say that this is in fact culturally relative. St. Paul is describing his experience based on his cultural concepts. The reason I say this is because I have had several "Peak Experiences" as described by Maslow, and I too find myself having to describe them in terms with which I am familiar (i.e. culturally relative terms). What I am saying is that what St. Paul may have experienced may have been a real experience (just as a Peak Experience is a real experience) and is using culturally bound terms to describe it (the cultural terms of first century Christianity coming out of a Jewish history and which has challenged many Jewish taboos like inclusion of uncircumscribed Gentiles).

The description may be culturally relevant, but the assumption that this 'peak experience' granted moral insight is simply nonsensical. I've had a couple 'peak experiences', granted all chemically induced, but I would never claim that scrambling my neurons, regardless of how fun, exciting, and interesting the experience was, offered me any objective insight. Sure, it gives some subjective insight into the workings of one's mind...but to argue objective authority based on those experiences would just be absurd.
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« Reply #109 on: November 04, 2009, 01:31:27 PM »

why would I exclude those in the Jesus Seminar; they are, quite frankly, far more learned in these matters than probably anyone on this board and their conclusions should carry significantly more weight than those of the posters in this thread.

I don't know why I would ask you to refrain from an argument from authority when others here are incapable of doing so, but at least it's worth a try.
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« Reply #110 on: November 04, 2009, 01:32:43 PM »

The description may be culturally relevant, but the assumption that this 'peak experience' granted moral insight is simply nonsensical. I've had a couple 'peak experiences', granted all chemically induced, but I would never claim that scrambling my neurons, regardless of how fun, exciting, and interesting the experience was, offered me any objective insight. Sure, it gives some subjective insight into the workings of one's mind...but to argue objective authority based on those experiences would just be absurd.

So argue coherently against Maslow's theory, rather than expecting us to accept your off-the-cuff criticism as some sort of rebuttal.
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« Reply #111 on: November 04, 2009, 02:41:22 PM »

why would I exclude those in the Jesus Seminar; they are, quite frankly, far more learned in these matters than probably anyone on this board and their conclusions should carry significantly more weight than those of the posters in this thread.

I don't know why I would ask you to refrain from an argument from authority when others here are incapable of doing so, but at least it's worth a try.

It is a fallacy, but resulted from being asked to provide an argument from authority in response to a matter of general knowledge in the context of modern theology. But while it is never prudent to discuss one's rhetorical strategies, I believe there is value to providing authorities, when pushed at least, that by every standard of academia are indeed authorities and who's research is as objective as the field allows, yet are believed to be simply unacceptable by your opponent. If they dismiss your authorities out of hand, they have no right to uphold their own authorities...which, just maybe, might cause people to actually consider the issues at hand independent of what they have been told by others.

Probably a pipe-dream, but one can always hope. Wink
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« Reply #112 on: November 04, 2009, 02:57:01 PM »

The description may be culturally relevant, but the assumption that this 'peak experience' granted moral insight is simply nonsensical. I've had a couple 'peak experiences', granted all chemically induced, but I would never claim that scrambling my neurons, regardless of how fun, exciting, and interesting the experience was, offered me any objective insight. Sure, it gives some subjective insight into the workings of one's mind...but to argue objective authority based on those experiences would just be absurd.

So argue coherently against Maslow's theory, rather than expecting us to accept your off-the-cuff criticism as some sort of rebuttal.

But I'm not arguing against Maslow's theory, I think his theory, while still being fully developed in experimental psychology, show's merit. However, his theory focuses on subjective and personal responses to these types of experiences, which seems to be validated by actual research (Griffiths RR, Richards WA, McCann U, Jesse R (2006) Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 187(3):268-83; Griffiths R, Richards W, Johnson M, McCann U, Jesse R (2008) Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin mediate the attribution of personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later. J Psychopharmacol. 22(6):621-32.). What I am arguing, primarily from experience, not merely an 'off-the-cuff criticism', is that these experiences don't correlate to objective authority or insights into objective 'universal' principles...and I believe that, on that point, Maslow would actually agree. His concerns were with psychological well-being moreso than 'absolute philosophical truths'.

Furthermore, the proper context for the significance of these experiences in this theory of psychology really falls within his Hierarchy of Needs, well as an addendum to them, he added the category of self-transcendence as the final stage of his theory. Staying within his theory I could argue that the ability to fully utilize and appreciate these experiences and, self-transcendence in general would be limited, at best, without more basic needs being met. These more basic needs may be unacceptable to many on this forum, but Paul certainly had not fulfilled them as Maslow places significant emphasis on the physical act of sex as a most basic need and slightly further down the list emphasis is placed on sexual intimacy. So while some models may be available to argue Paul reached a high level of psychological development, thus presenting the possibility of presenting him as a moral authority, he falls short within the context of this model. So, again, I'm not arguing against Maslow here, only against the the conclusions that, I believe, were inaccurately drawn from his psychology.
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« Reply #113 on: November 04, 2009, 03:19:23 PM »

why would I exclude those in the Jesus Seminar; they are, quite frankly, far more learned in these matters than probably anyone on this board and their conclusions should carry significantly more weight than those of the posters in this thread.

I don't know why I would ask you to refrain from an argument from authority when others here are incapable of doing so, but at least it's worth a try.

It is a fallacy, but resulted from being asked to provide an argument from authority in response to a matter of general knowledge in the context of modern theology.
You assume that everyone here is as knowledgeable of theology as you like to think yourself to be?

But while it is never prudent to discuss one's rhetorical strategies, I believe there is value to providing authorities, when pushed at least, that by every standard of academia are indeed authorities and who's research is as objective as the field allows, yet are believed to be simply unacceptable by your opponent. If they dismiss your authorities out of hand, they have no right to uphold their own authorities...which, just maybe, might cause people to actually consider the issues at hand independent of what they have been told by others.
Of course, I never dismissed your authorities out of hand or in my hand.  You made an appeal to nameless authorities as if the simple fact that you deem them authoritative should be enough to convince us; I merely asked you to name them.

Probably a pipe-dream, but one can always hope. Wink
Yup.  One can always hope.
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« Reply #114 on: November 04, 2009, 03:23:03 PM »

GiC is my favorite!
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« Reply #115 on: November 04, 2009, 04:25:44 PM »

^^  laugh  I'm glad he is back too!
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« Reply #116 on: November 04, 2009, 05:14:43 PM »

Maybe it all comes down to a worship of matter & the militant atheist tendency is to eliminate the plausibility that Christian believers of a creator God cannot be authentic scientists of which is discussed here http://www.ocrpl.org/?p=26 The understanding of science within creation has plenty of foundation from St. Paul's passage: "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." (1 Corinthians 15:46) Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method. There even seems to be selectivity based on purpose (or cowardice?) from a major militant atheist http://www.osamasaeed.org/osama/2006/01/dawkins_decides.html
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« Reply #117 on: November 04, 2009, 05:52:25 PM »

So while some models may be available to argue Paul reached a high level of psychological development, thus presenting the possibility of presenting him as a moral authority, he falls short within the context of this model.

But does St. Paul ever claim some sort of moral authority because of his transcendant experience? He claims the authority of an Apostle, but so what? Even St. Paul doesn't think the authority of an Apostle is inerrant or infallible when it comes to morals and ethics. His beef with St. Peter is a philosophical argument about ethics, not a claim of some higher moral authority based on a mystical experience:  "Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision; and the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy." (Galatians 2:11-13)
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« Reply #118 on: May 24, 2010, 11:18:29 PM »

Quote
Maybe it all comes down to a worship of matter

Most atheists I know don't worship matter. I suppose you could say that pantheists worship matter in a sense... but I don't think that'd be a fair statement about most atheists.
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« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2010, 06:29:51 AM »

Quote
Maybe it all comes down to a worship of matter

Most atheists I know don't worship matter. I suppose you could say that pantheists worship matter in a sense... but I don't think that'd be a fair statement about most atheists.
I was referring to the evangelical atheists who have made a religion of their atheism & seek to convert others to it. To do this something has to be considered a source of worship & there is no spiritual realm in this scheme.
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« Reply #120 on: May 25, 2010, 07:52:08 AM »

Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method.
Is creation ex nihilo a scientific idea? That is, can it demonstrated empirically?
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« Reply #121 on: May 25, 2010, 08:01:06 AM »

Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method.
Is creation ex nihilo a scientific idea? That is, can it demonstrated empirically?
I do not believe ex nihilo is a scientific idea in the secular sense. I believe that what science would consider what is reality & what Christianity would consider creation exists within common laws of physics, biology, etc.
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« Reply #122 on: May 25, 2010, 11:43:58 AM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 

The "Evangelical" atheists I've heard (e.g. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins) do not strike me as the existential type.  Especially in the case of Richard Dawkins, it is a positivist mindset that stands behind their atheism.  While these "Evangelical" atheists reject God, they still share humanitarianism with Christians.  The debates between key figures from both sides often involves the unsaid question, which belief system leads to the greater good of humanity?  I believe there is a certain degree to which these atheists actually believe that atheism would be better for humanity.  For them, atheism and reason go hand and hand; and they believe that if everyone were rational, superstitions and taboos connected with violence and war would come to an end.   

The difficulty I see with this kind of atheism is that it professes to believe only that which can be empirically proven, yet it rests on values that cannot be proven by science.  God is rejected, since there is no empirical proof for his existence, and yet a whole range of values emphasized especially in the West are treated as intrinsic values: duty to humanity, to society, to family, etc.; peacefulness, non-violence; equality, freedoms, rights.  There is no real consideration of a "transvaluation of values" entailed in the rejection of God.  I see an especial problem in how this kind of atheism deals with values formerly linked with reward in the hereafter.  If this is the only life I have (there being no immortality of the soul), then why ought I sacrifice my life, wholly or partially, in alleged service of family, country, society, and a future humanity (that I'll never see and which faces destruction just like myself)?           
Why bother serving others to the detriment of self when I can serve myself and not feel guilty about, there being no punishment save a possibly earthly one? 

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche have both traversed these topics far better than the "Evangelical" atheists I've heard in debates.   
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« Reply #123 on: May 25, 2010, 12:22:07 PM »

Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method.
Is creation ex nihilo a scientific idea? That is, can it demonstrated empirically?
I do not believe ex nihilo is a scientific idea in the secular sense. I believe that what science would consider what is reality & what Christianity would consider creation exists within common laws of physics, biology, etc.

Why does this question keep being brought up? Was I the only person who went to class any day in the whole TWO weeks spent on Vacuum Fluctuations and Virtual Particles in Introductory Quantum Mechanics?
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« Reply #124 on: May 25, 2010, 12:24:08 PM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist. If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Well, maybe I just answered my own question. I guess since their belief system is so devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose, then they cling to the ledge of existentialism as they dangle over the precipice of nihilism and decide to provide some meaning to their lives by desperately trying to convince everyone else that God does not exist.

But like Diogenes who looked for an honest man, I keep looking for an honest atheist. Show me a man who has calculated how to achieve the greatest amount of sensual pleasure for the longest possible duration - regardless of the consequences to himself or others - and I will believe him when he tells me he is an atheist. Otherwise, I only see in all these ostensible atheists actual theists that are desperately trying to convince themselves of their own tenuous and subjective presuppositions.

So what say ye?


Selam 

The "Evangelical" atheists I've heard (e.g. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins) do not strike me as the existential type.  Especially in the case of Richard Dawkins, it is a positivist mindset that stands behind their atheism.  While these "Evangelical" atheists reject God, they still share humanitarianism with Christians.  The debates between key figures from both sides often involves the unsaid question, which belief system leads to the greater good of humanity?  I believe there is a certain degree to which these atheists actually believe that atheism would be better for humanity.  For them, atheism and reason go hand and hand; and they believe that if everyone were rational, superstitions and taboos connected with violence and war would come to an end.   

The difficulty I see with this kind of atheism is that it professes to believe only that which can be empirically proven, yet it rests on values that cannot be proven by science.  God is rejected, since there is no empirical proof for his existence, and yet a whole range of values emphasized especially in the West are treated as intrinsic values: duty to humanity, to society, to family

So do Chimpanzees...are they motivated by their belief in an afterlife? or, perhaps, simply genetically predisposed to this type of behaviour, as are humans.
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« Reply #125 on: May 25, 2010, 12:47:11 PM »

StGeorge, I have to agree. The militants represent a dated, enlightenment-era humanism which it seems to me Nietzsche for one ran over with a truck.
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« Reply #126 on: May 25, 2010, 04:24:36 PM »

Quote
I see an especial problem in how this kind of atheism deals with values formerly linked with reward in the hereafter.  If this is the only life I have (there being no immortality of the soul), then why ought I sacrifice my life, wholly or partially, in alleged service of family, country, society, and a future humanity (that I'll never see and which faces destruction just like myself)?           
Why bother serving others to the detriment of self when I can serve myself and not feel guilty about, there being no punishment save a possibly earthly one? 

There is value for the atheist in such things in two ways. First, if an activity betters the chances of them and their offspring to survive and thrive, then that activity is of some value. Second, if a person has decided that some cause or view gives their life meaning, they can pursue the furthering of that cause or view, even to the point of dying for it.
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« Reply #127 on: May 25, 2010, 04:25:03 PM »

StGeorge, I have to agree. The militants represent a dated, enlightenment-era humanism which it seems to me Nietzsche for one ran over with a truck.

Could you expand on this?
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« Reply #128 on: May 25, 2010, 04:32:35 PM »

Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method.
Is creation ex nihilo a scientific idea? That is, can it demonstrated empirically?
I do not believe ex nihilo is a scientific idea in the secular sense. I believe that what science would consider what is reality & what Christianity would consider creation exists within common laws of physics, biology, etc.

Why does this question keep being brought up? Was I the only person who went to class any day in the whole TWO weeks spent on Vacuum Fluctuations and Virtual Particles in Introductory Quantum Mechanics?
I am sorry I am not as intelligent as you but I simply see a created universe with scientific laws that operate within it. Obviously an atheist will see differently but it would seem that Newton believing in a creator had a similar perspective?
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« Reply #129 on: May 25, 2010, 05:11:22 PM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist.


Correction, Carl Sagan was NOT an atheist. He was a classic agnostic. And contrary to this Fundamentalist opinion of Sagan you've described, he spent his life devoted to teaching the wonders of science, the cosmos, history, and spent very little time trying to convince anyone there was no God. He would NEVER have said such a thing, and in fact felt that atheists were "some of the silliest people" he knew. His poor widow has been debunking this urban legend (that Sagan was a hardcore atheist) for many years now. Maybe if people would just take the time to actually READ some of his books, listen to his lectures, and watch his TV programs, people would stop saying this about Sagan. He was NOT an atheist.

In fact, a lot of people say things about Dawkins that are in fact not really true either, and I used to be one of those, until I began reading his stuff. He is not nearly as vitriolic as most Christian anti-Dawkins folks are.


Quote
If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Ann Druyan (Sagan's widow) told a story about how after Carl gave a lecture at a planetarium about the big bang, cosmic evolution and the like, afterwards a young man came up to him and almost in tears asked, "what am I supposed to do now that you've sucked all the meaning out of my life?" (apparently one lecture converted him from believer to atheist) Sagan paused, and then replied "go do something meaningful with your life!"

How the heck is that nihilistic? I find that many Christians, (myself included at one time) disparage atheists because of our own deep seeded doubts. Deep down WE would be nihilistic, or immoral, or see life as meaningless without God...but instead of admitting "well if there was no God I'd kill anyone I got ticked off at" we accuse atheists of having the same low moral quotient that we have. (only God keeps me moral, without God I'd be immoral, so too, all atheists must feel like ME). The problem is most atheists do NOT do immoral things, and do not live meaningless or nihilistic lives. There are plenty of stories in fact of people leaving behind faith, becoming atheists or agnostics and ending up with MORE meaning in their lives than they ever did as a believer. Why? Because they say, they realize THIS life is all we have, and we need to do our best, each day to love, laugh, help those in need, without the consolation that even if we screw up ours and everyone elses life around us, it will all be better in Heaven. (that's their reasoning anyways, whether we disagree with or not is not the point, the point is it makes sense to them)

Anyways, I only posted because lumping Sagan in with Dawkins as though they were "two of a kind" is just not accurate.  Even Dawkins has said he does NOT take the Sagan approach, and he (Dawkins) has debated Lawrence Krauss (who does take the Sagan approach) as to which is the better method for science education. In fact Dawkin's is not really a science educator, but writing about religion specifically outside of the context of science, which is something I don't believe Sagan ever did.



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« Reply #130 on: May 25, 2010, 05:30:05 PM »

Just because science says that matter is neither created nor destroyed & Christianity says that it was created would seem moot within the everday understanding of the scientific method.
Is creation ex nihilo a scientific idea? That is, can it demonstrated empirically?
I do not believe ex nihilo is a scientific idea in the secular sense. I believe that what science would consider what is reality & what Christianity would consider creation exists within common laws of physics, biology, etc.

Why does this question keep being brought up? Was I the only person who went to class any day in the whole TWO weeks spent on Vacuum Fluctuations and Virtual Particles in Introductory Quantum Mechanics?
I am sorry I am not as intelligent as you but I simply see a created universe with scientific laws that operate within it. Obviously an atheist will see differently but it would seem that Newton believing in a creator had a similar perspective?

With all do respect to Newton's great accomplishments, he got a lot of stuff wrong, and I'm not even talking about his theological views here. He didn't realize that matter could be created and destroyed, that mass was affected by velocity, he had no understanding of the relationship between mass and energy, and knew nothing of the uncertainty principle, or Quantum Mechanics in general. Newtons science, while useful as an engineering tool, was deeply flawed, that he concluded one thing based on its principles should have no bearing on our conclusions in the light of modern physics.

So, all that I'm asking, is that you approach this issue with the common understanding of 20th Century developments in physics, that you include discoveries that are now nearly 100 years old in your analysis, surely that isn't asking too much?
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« Reply #131 on: May 25, 2010, 06:58:45 PM »

He was a classic agnostic. And contrary to this Fundamentalist opinion of Sagan you've described, he spent his life devoted to teaching the wonders of science, the cosmos, history, and spent very little time trying to convince anyone there was no God.
Sagan would only speak out against religion (though he would typically refer to it as 'superstition') when it came into direct conflict with scientific evidence or with what he viewed as basic human rights.  He spoke out against creationism, medical restrictions based on religious texts (whether it was JWs and blood transfusions or stem cell research), alternative medicine, astrology, etc.  It was never out of malice though, but out of genuine concern for those who partake in them.

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He would NEVER have said such a thing, and in fact felt that atheists were "some of the silliest people" he knew.
More or less.  He said that anyone who was a 100% Atheist was much smarter than he, and violating basic scientific thinking.

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In fact, a lot of people say things about Dawkins that are in fact not really true either, and I used to be one of those, until I began reading his stuff. He is not nearly as vitriolic as most Christian anti-Dawkins folks are.
He is outspoken, but I hardly believe he garners some of the attacks he gets.  If you ever get the pleasure of meeting him in person, he is incredibly pleasant and even soft-spoken.

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How the heck is that nihilistic? I find that many Christians, (myself included at one time) disparage atheists because of our own deep seeded doubts. Deep down WE would be nihilistic, or immoral, or see life as meaningless without God...but instead of admitting "well if there was no God I'd kill anyone I got ticked off at" we accuse atheists of having the same low moral quotient that we have. (only God keeps me moral, without God I'd be immoral, so too, all atheists must feel like ME). The problem is most atheists do NOT do immoral things, and do not live meaningless or nihilistic lives. There are plenty of stories in fact of people leaving behind faith, becoming atheists or agnostics and ending up with MORE meaning in their lives than they ever did as a believer. Why? Because they say, they realize THIS life is all we have, and we need to do our best, each day to love, laugh, help those in need, without the consolation that even if we screw up ours and everyone elses life around us, it will all be better in Heaven.
Well said.
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« Reply #132 on: May 25, 2010, 07:25:09 PM »

I have always wondered why many atheists (such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins) are so concerned with convincing the rest of us that God does not exist.


Correction, Carl Sagan was NOT an atheist. He was a classic agnostic. And contrary to this Fundamentalist opinion of Sagan you've described, he spent his life devoted to teaching the wonders of science, the cosmos, history, and spent very little time trying to convince anyone there was no God. He would NEVER have said such a thing, and in fact felt that atheists were "some of the silliest people" he knew. His poor widow has been debunking this urban legend (that Sagan was a hardcore atheist) for many years now. Maybe if people would just take the time to actually READ some of his books, listen to his lectures, and watch his TV programs, people would stop saying this about Sagan. He was NOT an atheist.

In fact, a lot of people say things about Dawkins that are in fact not really true either, and I used to be one of those, until I began reading his stuff. He is not nearly as vitriolic as most Christian anti-Dawkins folks are.


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If there is no God, then there is no purpose or meaning other than that which we fabricate in order to assuage our nihilistic angst. So I am curious as to why a true atheist would waste their finite putrid existence on efforts to convert others to their godless faith.

Ann Druyan (Sagan's widow) told a story about how after Carl gave a lecture at a planetarium about the big bang, cosmic evolution and the like, afterwards a young man came up to him and almost in tears asked, "what am I supposed to do now that you've sucked all the meaning out of my life?" (apparently one lecture converted him from believer to atheist) Sagan paused, and then replied "go do something meaningful with your life!"

How the heck is that nihilistic?


That's not nihilistic; it's existential, which is the inevitable result of nihilism.

But thanks for clarifying the distinction between Dawkins and Sagan.


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« Reply #133 on: May 25, 2010, 09:16:17 PM »

More or less.  He said that anyone who was a 100% Atheist was much smarter than he, and violating basic scientific thinking.
Just for the record, Dawkins also states, in The God Delusion, that he is not a 100% atheist, either -- more like a 90% atheist. angel
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« Reply #134 on: May 25, 2010, 09:32:09 PM »

More or less.  He said that anyone who was a 100% Atheist was much smarter than he, and violating basic scientific thinking.
Just for the record, Dawkins also states, in The God Delusion, that he is not a 100% atheist, either -- more like a 90% atheist. angel
Yup, he lists himself as a 6.x on his 7 point scale.

"6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there."

Sagan would probably be between 5 and 6 on the same scale.

"5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be sceptical."
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