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Author Topic: Why an afterlife is bad  (Read 14832 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: December 12, 2010, 01:01:38 AM »

TtC, believe it or not, most Eastern Christians are quite comfortable saying "I don't know" - it's one of the things I found attractive and refreshing when I discovered them.
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« Reply #136 on: December 12, 2010, 02:41:17 AM »

Sorry minasoliman I should have gone a bit deeper into your response, I enjoy discussing with you.

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Science is a method, not a faith to me.

It's a method to me too.  But it rest on an epistemology, logical empiricism, which I think you would classify as my faith.  Since I place my trust in it, it would be tediously pedantic for me to split semantic hairs with you, so I won't.  Certainly I place my trust in logical empiricism.

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When science becomes a faith, it makes sense as to why character improvement is not in the picture.  They instead would like to analyze what it is that leads one to believe in character improvement, but they already assume its falsehood from the beginning, and so they've convinced themselves not to be "ensnared" into this "garbage" concerning the validity of things that improve success and character, but understand, let's say, how it sociologically and neurobiologically works, which literally defeats the purpose out of anything really.

Scientists, and I along with them, would claim a distinction between utility and truth.  A concept can be true yet lack utility in a particular circumstance.  Likewise, a concept can be false yet in a particular circumstance be highly utile.  If a lie is the only, or the best, tool currently available, one may legitimately employ it, but one would hopefully retain some reservations about doing so, and be on the look-out for a truth that one could employ instead, one with equal or greater utility.  After all, lies can be found out, at which point their utility evaporates.  I'm having this exact discussion on my thread about atheism and the 12 step movement.

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Humanity has logic, but it also has emotion. Science by definition is only logic.

True.

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When humanity follows science alone, you pretty much seek to destroy the emotion out of anything.

I would say instead that logic and emotion govern separate domains.  Aesthetics is largely emotional for most people, and certainly for me.  Arguments as to why it's illogical for me to like a particular song will fall on deaf ears.  I don't care about logic when listening to a song.  Likewise, I don't care about emotion when assessing a proposition about causality.    

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Slowly, we turn pretty much into programmed robots.

I'm a big fan of robots. Cool

I also happily view myself, and you, and all living creatures, as automotons, programmed by chemistry and history.

I suspect sapient robots, if they ever emerge, will have logic and will, but no emotion.  Thus happiness will be alien to them.  But purpose and its fulfillment will be front and center in their mental apparatus.  They will do what they must because they must, and in that, they won't be so very different from you and me.

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You've probably heard the adage before, "science seeks to ask how, religion seeks to ask why." Those who are rigid in following science as a faith say there's no such thing as a why. It just is.

The stream of causality stretches backward into what might as well be infinity, and forward, likewise, into what might as well be infinity.  The difference between past and future is this: the past can be known, whereas the future can only be guessed.  The present, meanwhile, can sometimes be controled.  Science, in its most actualized state, permits us to know the past, control the present, and guess with some confidence the future.  Interestingly, science has always assumed the stream of causality flowed only in one direction, from the past through the present to the future.  Recent experiments in quantum mechanics have yielded data suggestive of backward causality, the reversal of the stream, so that it flows from the future through the present to the past.  I mention this because backward causality is implied in Christian eschatology as some would interpret it.  The Parousia, being foreordained, reaches backward into the past to ensure its own present.  An interesting correlation between the underpinnings of theology and the latest findings in science.  Source regarding the science: Understanding Time and Causality is the Key to Understanding Quantum Mechanics - http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/faculty/wharton/time_and_causality.pdf

In any case, when you talk about why, you mean purpose, hence will.  You want the universe to have a will, so you assume it does.  I don't have that particular desire, but if I did, and if I decided to fulfill it by fiat; I.e., by simply saying it was so; I would figure the will of the universe was mutation and natural selection, flux and struggle, innovation and competition, abundance and annihilation, diversity and brutality, since those are what I see around me.  But since those things I see around me would be there any way, willed or unwilled, I am apathetic as to whether will is present.

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That's terrifying. Instead of making sense out of why, the why in us is sought to be destroyed.

Terrifying to you, trivial to me.  The universe may or may not have a will, but you have a will, and I have a will.  You have reasons and I have reasons.  If the universe has a will, my own must align with it, since I'm part of the universe, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this would likewise fulfill the universe's will.  If the universe doesn't have a will, then my own is as good as any other, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this will make me happiest.  Thus, once again, as is always the case, the question of God's existence is irrelevant, and I am therefore apathetic toward it.
  
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So, it is this "why" that scientists call a self-deception. But if the why is always nagging at me, then I call the rejection of the why a delusion.

Yet the Earth abounds with purpose, and scientists acknowledge it.  I mean the purposes of earthly creatures.  Everywhere living beings pursue their goals.

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I don't know how scientists see this as self-deception. Of course this goes both ways, but I wonder at people like CS Lewis, Francis Collins, Ann Rice, all who were atheists, all who understand what this is, and yet they decided to reject that this is a case of self-deception, that there is validity to asking the question "why."

Usually what happens is a tap on the shoulder from death.  Suddenly mortality is brought into sharp focus, and up pops fear.

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Even atheists agree that there are a certain set of morals to follow when interacting with others.

I don't.  But I think we humans can agree to be good to one another for practical reasons.

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So, I'm not really convinced by subjectivity.  It is extremely inconsistent to me.

That's because very few people are willing to admit that there is no such thing as objective morality, and so they project their subjective preferences onto the universe. and imagine their own wills to be the will of God.  The only reason Christianity makes sense to you is because selflessness makes sense to you.

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Doctors do much practical good in the world, but they can be a bunch of arrogant self-worshippers sometimes. They too can be saints and heros in at least the work they do, but a lot of people can agree that they are necessary, but not necessarily good.

You mean morally good, which to me is irrelevant.  Practical results are what matter.  Help me for selfish reasons and you have still helped me.  I don't need you to be selfless.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 02:45:29 AM by TryingtoConvert » Logged
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« Reply #137 on: December 12, 2010, 03:14:46 AM »

Why are you suddenly able to write in coherent English, sir?  police
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« Reply #138 on: December 12, 2010, 03:21:28 AM »

I directed the Revelation discussion to another thread, if anyone is interested.

So if two people have opposing viewpoints, why are certain people so militant about them?
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« Reply #139 on: December 12, 2010, 03:34:41 AM »

Why are you suddenly able to write in coherent English, sir?  police

Whenever a good discussion arises from it, you have anything you would like to contribute?
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« Reply #140 on: December 12, 2010, 03:35:52 AM »

TtC, believe it or not, most Eastern Christians are quite comfortable saying "I don't know" - it's one of the things I found attractive and refreshing when I discovered them.

Hmm but you do know God does exist by Christ no? What I'm saying is you have faith Christ existed, resurrected and will come again. This is 100% right?
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« Reply #141 on: December 12, 2010, 03:39:04 AM »

TtC, believe it or not, most Eastern Christians are quite comfortable saying "I don't know" - it's one of the things I found attractive and refreshing when I discovered them.

Hmm but you do know God does exist by Christ no? What I'm saying is you have faith Christ existed, resurrected and will come again. This is 100% right?
There are things we know, yes, but also things that are left unexplained or undefined.

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #142 on: December 12, 2010, 03:40:13 AM »

So your belief that their is a God is 100%, so it was wrong of me to say she is an agnostic? I guess I have trouble understanding that if you believe God 100% what exactly are you doubting? The theology of the faith?
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« Reply #143 on: December 12, 2010, 03:43:36 AM »

So your belief that their is a God is 100%, so it was wrong of me to say she is an agnostic? I guess I have trouble understanding that if you believe God 100% what exactly are you doubting? The theology of the faith?
In Orthodoxy, certain things about God are revealed. Certain things about God and the universe are not revealed. Orthodox are not compelled to over-speculate or synthesize information regarding what is not revealed, nor to appoint such information to the level of doctrine or dogma.

As to your demeanor on this site: An internet debate mindset is not the same as a scientific mindset. Remember that. One is centered on ego, the other on material truth.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #144 on: December 12, 2010, 04:00:11 AM »

So your belief that their is a God is 100%, so it was wrong of me to say she is an agnostic? I guess I have trouble understanding that if you believe God 100% what exactly are you doubting? The theology of the faith?

I have heard several people express on these forums that the are agnostic theist. That is, they believe there is a God, but they do not think this will ever be able to be proved.
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« Reply #145 on: December 12, 2010, 09:33:16 AM »

So your belief that their is a God is 100%, so it was wrong of me to say she is an agnostic? I guess I have trouble understanding that if you believe God 100% what exactly are you doubting? The theology of the faith?

I have heard several people express on these forums that the are agnostic theist. That is, they believe there is a God, but they do not think this will ever be able to be proved.
Not even after they die?
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« Reply #146 on: December 12, 2010, 12:44:07 PM »

I can't speak for anyone else, TtC. But I'm a theist in the Martin Gardner tradition.  Look it up. Wink
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« Reply #147 on: December 12, 2010, 03:52:36 PM »

I can't speak for anyone else, TtC. But I'm a theist in the Martin Gardner tradition.  Look it up. Wink
So you are a mathematical Neoplatonist?
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« Reply #148 on: December 12, 2010, 04:58:33 PM »

I'm going to go off on a different tangent until I get a response from minoslaimn.

Christianity preaches selflessness, different denominations to a greater or lesser degree. Preaching and praxis can differ and often do. Your denomination, Orthodoxy, is similar to the Roman Catholics, is one that preaches selflessness to a great degree. Your posts certainly glorify selflessness as a virtue.

I have the feeling that Christianity assumes everyone is selfish and hence dangles the carrot of eternal love and happiness for being good and eternal torment for being bad.
so long as you add belief in the Atonement as at least equally important, if not more so, depending on the denomination. Being good, from a Greek/Russian/Slavic Orthodox or Roman Catholic perspective, is largely selflessness.

The usual teaching would be, "Believe and try. At first your attempts may be inwardly false, but habit will start to make the inside match the outside; plus, more importantly, the Holy Spirit will go to work within you. Eventually the part of you that is in the divine image will have its Resurrection, and genuine selflessness will begin to manifest."

I don't defend the logic of any of that. I merely report it, as an anthropologist might.

Rocks are selfless because they lack the capacity to be anything else. Puppies, meanwhile, can manifest an instinctive loyalty to the pack, such that, in certain situations, self-sacrifice can occur. Some humans will demonstrate something similar. Both atheists and theists are theoretically capable of it. Moreover, an atheist could preach selflessness without engaging in contradiction. Lack of belief in a deity doesn't stop us from believing in the moral good, and our concept of the moral good might incorporate selflessness as a proposed virtue, perhaps the central or even the only one. Whether our praxis matched our preaching would be a separate question, as it is for theists. I personally don't propose selflessness as any kind of virtue, moral or practical. I don't propose moral virtues at all. I propose practical virtues, such as self-discipline, balance, and caution, called out for their utility both to self and to society. Practical virtues bring earthly benefit to earthly creatures and their earthly neighbors.

If God does exist, he'll know I've led a good life, and thus will not chuck me out of Heaven. If he would stop me entering Heaven then he's not quite the guy you all think he is - a god shouldn't really hold grudges, being perfect and all? If he'd prevent me from entering his Kingdom, then do I want to know him at all? Nope.

I can go throughout my life not believing in this deity because he is nothing more than a fabrication of men. If he did turn out to be real (not going to happen, but theoretically if) then I can still go throughout life not believing because he should in theory forgive me anyway.

Cheers God!

I'd like to live longer, a lot longer, but eternity is just too long maaaaan. I think fear of death meaning everything ending for ever is quite a frightening concept and therefore a big motivating factor to believe in God and heaven. That does not make it real unfortunately. If It did, I'm sure most people would jump on the bandwagon.

It is hard to accept the finality of it all. Even as an atheist, the ending of it all bothers me somewhat.
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« Reply #149 on: December 12, 2010, 05:10:29 PM »

I have the feeling that Christianity assumes everyone is selfish and hence dangles the carrot of eternal love and happiness for being good and eternal torment for being bad.

Perhaps a little research would go a long way in dismantling this "feeling" of yours.  This only serves the oft-put-forward notion that you know next to nothing about authentic Christianity/Orthodoxy.

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so long as you add belief in the Atonement as at least equally important, if not more so, depending on the denomination. Being good, from a Greek/Russian/Slavic Orthodox or Roman Catholic perspective, is largely selflessness.

Nope.

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The usual teaching would be, "Believe and try. At first your attempts may be inwardly false, but habit will start to make the inside match the outside; plus, more importantly, the Holy Spirit will go to work within you. Eventually the part of you that is in the divine image will have its Resurrection, and genuine selflessness will begin to manifest."

The usual teaching of who and what?

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If God does exist, he'll know I've led a good life, and thus will not chuck me out of Heaven.

If he would stop me entering Heaven then he's not quite the guy you all think he is - a god shouldn't really hold grudges, being perfect and all? If he'd prevent me from entering his Kingdom, then do I want to know him at all? Nope.

I can go throughout my life not believing in this deity because he is nothing more than a fabrication of men. If he did turn out to be real (not going to happen, but theoretically if) then I can still go throughout life not believing because he should in theory forgive me anyway.

Cheers God!

I'd like to live longer, a lot longer, but eternity is just too long maaaaan. I think fear of death meaning everything ending for ever is quite a frightening concept and therefore a big motivating factor to believe in God and heaven. That does not make it real unfortunately. If It did, I'm sure most people would jump on the bandwagon.

It is hard to accept the finality of it all. Even as an atheist, the ending of it all bothers me somewhat.

So, basically, whatever your raw intuition and gut feelings are is exactly what God should agree with and if He doesn't, it's all rubbish?  Brilliant!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 05:10:47 PM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #150 on: December 12, 2010, 05:14:13 PM »

Well Sleeper I'd rather talk about immortality on Earth, via reincarnation or transhumanism, then sign me up. On a planet where new books are continually being written, new movies made, new gadgets, toys, and games invented, and new social constructs attempted, I don't know why I'd want to leave if I still had a strong and agile body, or why I wouldn't want to reincarnate if I could. Couple that with the possibility of genetically enhancing other species all the way to sapience, developing robots all the way to sapience, and maybe encountering sapient extra-terrestrials, and the mighty cornucopia of books, movies, gadgets, toys, games, and social constructs just spirals into such myriad multiplicities as to transcend the limits of language's ability to describe. Only some horrific nightmare scenario would make me want to die or not reincarnate.
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« Reply #151 on: December 12, 2010, 05:19:04 PM »

I have no idea what you just said.  Grin
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« Reply #152 on: December 12, 2010, 05:23:49 PM »

What I'm saying is I want to live longer, if there was a way sign me up. All sorts of stuff that is being created now and so forth would be awesome to keep experiencing.
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« Reply #153 on: December 12, 2010, 05:32:16 PM »

TTC, posts like your "different tangent" above frustrate us, because they assume that Orthodox christianity is the same as Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity.
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« Reply #154 on: December 12, 2010, 05:37:14 PM »

What I'm saying is I want to live longer, if there was a way sign me up. All sorts of stuff that is being created now and so forth would be awesome to keep experiencing.

And your understanding of "Christianity's" Heaven would somehow negate the wonders of human ingenuity and culture?
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« Reply #155 on: December 12, 2010, 05:48:11 PM »

I'm going to go off on a different tangent until I get a response from minoslaimn.

In my five years here, I have never seen a username so butchered. Good job!

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I have the feeling that Christianity assumes everyone is selfish...

The Church knows that most people will be selfish. The Church also knows that God is merciful and desires the salvation of all.

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...and hence dangles the carrot of eternal love and happiness for being good and eternal torment for being bad.

The aim of the Church is not to make bad men good but to make dead men live.

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so long as you add belief in the Atonement as at least equally important, if not more so, depending on the denomination.

The vast majority of Orthodox believers reject Atonement as a false concept.

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Moreover, an atheist could preach selflessness without engaging in contradiction.

To an atheist, selflessness can only lead to the dissolution of the self into nothingness, aka nihilism. To a theist, selflessness can only lead to the dissolution of one's self into God, while at the same time revealing the true self.

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Lack of belief in a deity doesn't stop us from believing in the moral good,

With no higher power/deity, your concept of a moral good can only be based on your opinion, shaped as it is from your own opinion. You would have no right to force it on others, and certainly no reason to proclaim anything outside your own experience to be right or wrong. Thus, you are left with no possibility of moral outrage at the events which took place at Auschwitz, Dachau, the GULAGs, etc.

Or to quote Jeffrey Dahmer:“If it all happens naturalistically, what’s the need for a God? Can’t I set my own rules? Who owns me? I own myself.”

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If God does exist, he'll know I've led a good life, and thus will not chuck me out of Heaven.

The issue is that the experiences of Heaven and Hell for each person, are not the fault of God, but of that person. God does not change. He is the same for St John the Theologian as He is for Hitler or Lenin or anyone else. But how a person experiences God is wholly dependent on themselves. You yourself disbelieve in God. You have closed the door and barred it from the inside, refusing to let God in. Your morality hardly factors into it.

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If he would stop me entering Heaven then he's not quite the guy you all think he is - a god shouldn't really hold grudges, being perfect and all? If he'd prevent me from entering his Kingdom, then do I want to know him at all? Nope.

He does not stop you from entering into His Kingdom. You refuse to enter. He merely accepts your will. God refuses to override what you have chosen for yourself.

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I can go throughout my life not believing in this deity because he is nothing more than a fabrication of men. If he did turn out to be real (not going to happen, but theoretically if) then I can still go throughout life not believing because he should in theory forgive me anyway.

God forgives everyone. The issue is that not everyone thinks they need that forgiveness in order to repent and accept it.


Well Sleeper I'd rather talk about immortality on Earth, via reincarnation or transhumanism, then sign me up. On a planet where new books are continually being written, new movies made, new gadgets, toys, and games invented, and new social constructs attempted, I don't know why I'd want to leave if I still had a strong and agile body, or why I wouldn't want to reincarnate if I could. Couple that with the possibility of genetically enhancing other species all the way to sapience, developing robots all the way to sapience, and maybe encountering sapient extra-terrestrials, and the mighty cornucopia of books, movies, gadgets, toys, games, and social constructs just spirals into such myriad multiplicities as to transcend the limits of language's ability to describe. Only some horrific nightmare scenario would make me want to die or not reincarnate.

So you are saying that you won't worship God....but you have no problem setting up science, technology and the human mind as idols and worshipping them?? Gotcha.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 06:05:06 PM by John of the North » Logged

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« Reply #156 on: December 12, 2010, 07:44:21 PM »

John maybe you could answer a question, or someone else, I have been pondering, but regarding the nature of salvation. I do apologize for my ignorance, but in the Orthodox faith what sort of sincerity must one have to come to God and repent?

What I'm saying is, I don't want to delude myself into thinking I'm saved just because I feel I was sincere in my confession for sins, etc. Is this were the Eucharist takes over, where there is some solid foundation for the remission of sins?

Also my biggest concern is if we are all going to be judged at the Final Judgment, would God forget the past sins that we did because of our repentence? We would only be judged from thereafter?
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« Reply #157 on: December 12, 2010, 08:54:22 PM »

Seriously though, have you ever heard any talk from the Christians about heaven and what they'd do there aside from offer praise to God? Jehovah's Witnesses, I think, expect heaven to be like Earth, but with all the problems resolved. Lions will lie down beside lambs -- that sort of thing. I guess the lions' teeth and gut will be modified to resemble that of sheep and perhaps their paws will be turned to hoves. What about us? Will we too be forced to become vegetarians or will we just not have to eat? -- being dead and all. Aside from that I don't think life in heaven is something Christians give much thought too, or am I wrong?

Also going back to some statements made before
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The way we attain faith in the Christian understanding is by the trustworthiness and consistency of prayer and spiritual exercises.
I've heard this from others. I have just never had the experience. Prayer never worked for me, or perhaps I for it?

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The way we attain faith in the scientific method is by personal experience of it and its trustworthiness and consistency to attain materialistic data.
You are saying our confidence in the scientific method is derived from our success in attaining data, but I think greater than that is the technological success we see around us. Every aspect of our modern lives is touched by the fruits of the scientific revolution. The method by which we gather knowledge of it clearly works. It has transformed the world and our understanding of it. What equivalent transformation has prayer brought in the thousands of years its been practiced? What clear evidence is there that it works? Everyone, everywhere, can clearly see the benefits wrought by science, I observe nothing equivalent coming from prayer or spiritual exercises. I can understand how meditative experiences might benefit individuals, but society as a whole sees nothing transformative.

I must be honest. I don't see that faith plays a role in science. We say we have faith in God, but then we don't have physical evidence of God, so we require faith. I don't require faith in the internal combustion engine, I can see that it works. It powers my car. Faith is a requirement if we wish to believe in something for which we lack physical evidence. The 2nd OED definition defines faith as a "strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof." This "spiritual conviction rather than proof' is the hallmark of religious faith. Spiritual conviction does not provide answers to scientific issues. I have faith, perhaps, that the ISS will remain in orbit, for now, but faith is useless to keep it in orbit -- for that we need to use applications developed by the scientific method.

There is, however, a larger issue. If you've attained "... faith in... Christian understanding" through the "trustworthiness and consistency of prayer and spiritual exercises" then how is it that there are so many Christian denominations and sects? If "prayer and spiritual exercises" provides "trustworthy" results how are all the discrepancies in religious belief around the world and through time explained? Where is the evidence that transcendent sources provide consistent results?
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« Reply #158 on: December 12, 2010, 09:14:56 PM »

What I'm saying is I want to live longer, if there was a way sign me up. All sorts of stuff that is being created now and so forth would be awesome to keep experiencing.

I agree. Life is beautiful indeed.
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« Reply #159 on: December 12, 2010, 09:26:21 PM »

TtC, your posts are frustrating because, as others have pointed out, you don't seem to be aware that Orthodox Christianity does NOT teach the same things about eternity that you apparently have imbibed from Protestant fundamentalists.

What (if anything) have you read about Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #160 on: December 12, 2010, 09:31:05 PM »

John maybe you could answer a question, or someone else, I have been pondering, but regarding the nature of salvation. I do apologize for my ignorance, but in the Orthodox faith what sort of sincerity must one have to come to God and repent?

What I'm saying is, I don't want to delude myself into thinking I'm saved just because I feel I was sincere in my confession for sins, etc. Is this were the Eucharist takes over, where there is some solid foundation for the remission of sins?

Also my biggest concern is if we are all going to be judged at the Final Judgment, would God forget the past sins that we did because of our repentence? We would only be judged from thereafter?
Once absolution is given, the past is wipped clean.  

As to sincerity, you must resolve not to sin again, and pick yourself up and dust yourself off with confession when you sin again, and continue on the Path.

The solid foundation for the remission of sins is that through an Orthodox priest (through ordination always an armslength from an apostle) of the Catholic Church  absolution is given you by the power of the keys given by Christ to the Apostles.
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« Reply #161 on: December 12, 2010, 09:32:54 PM »

John maybe you could answer a question, or someone else, I have been pondering, but regarding the nature of salvation. I do apologize for my ignorance, but in the Orthodox faith what sort of sincerity must one have to come to God and repent?

What I'm saying is, I don't want to delude myself into thinking I'm saved just because I feel I was sincere in my confession for sins, etc. Is this were the Eucharist takes over, where there is some solid foundation for the remission of sins?

"Repentance then isn’t asking God to forgive us for acting “badly” and vowing that we will live “better lives,” it is recognizing that the way we have been living is focusing on ourselves and then trying to fundamentally alter our world-view. Our salvation comes through this whole-hearted attempt to live the way which God wants for us, which we were created for. Salvation comes from recognizing that our individual efforts are not enough, that our individuality is a lie told to us by the world and that is symptom of a mis-directed will."

http://semantron.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/orthodox-personhood-sin-and-salvation/

I could recommend several books in the space, but as I am not ordained clergy, I will refrain.

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Also my biggest concern is if we are all going to be judged at the Final Judgment, would God forget the past sins that we did because of our repentence? We would only be judged from thereafter?

All of our sins are already forgiven. The issue is not lack of forgiveness on God's part, but rather lack of repentance on, perhaps not the part of others but certainly my part. So it comes down to "recognizing that our individual efforts are not enough, that our individuality is a lie told to us by the world and that is symptom of a mis-directed will."

Seriously though, have you ever heard any talk from the Christians about heaven and what they'd do there aside from offer praise to God?

Are these Christians Orthodox?? Does it matter what they say?? I could say, if I wanted to, that heaven is a facsimile of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, with no evidence to the contrary. My fantasies over what Heaven could or could not be is irrelevant. What matters is what Heaven is. Heaven is the unescapable presence of God as experienced by a repentant person trodding the narrow path.

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Jehovah's Witnesses, I think, expect heaven to be like Earth, but with all the problems resolved.

Does the perception of JWs on matters of theology matter on an Orthodox forum?? We are not JWs, and they are not us.

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Aside from that I don't think life in heaven is something Christians give much thought too, or am I wrong?

It seems to be a topic quite popular with people who believe in neither Heaven nor Hell.

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Prayer never worked for me, or perhaps I for it?

What exactly were you lacking that would make prayer "work?"

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What equivalent transformation has prayer brought in the thousands of years its been practiced? What clear evidence is there that it works?

Prayer is a practice whereupon its effects can only be seen in its absence.

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Everyone, everywhere, can clearly see the benefits wrought by science, I observe nothing equivalent coming from prayer or spiritual exercises. I can understand how meditative experiences might benefit individuals, but society as a whole sees nothing transformative.

Just because you can't perceive something, doesn't mean it's not there. The blind may lack sight, but that doesn't mean all the rest of us are all blind.
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« Reply #162 on: December 13, 2010, 12:40:06 AM »

As I progress in the Orthodox faith, I have less desire to do pointless, worldly things. I also seem to have a greater and greater appreciation for high culture, art, music, etc.  I believe that God's grace refines humanity, and does not blot it out.  After all, we are still in his image, even if corrupted by sin. And that means we are creative.

I think this is true with all Orthodox Christians!   Smiley
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« Reply #163 on: December 13, 2010, 12:48:11 AM »

Are these Christians Orthodox?? Does it matter what they say?? I could say, if I wanted to, that heaven is a facsimile of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, with no evidence to the contrary. My fantasies over what Heaven could or could not be is irrelevant. What matters is what Heaven is. Heaven is the unescapable presence of God as experienced by a repentant person trodding the narrow path.
Hang on for a second there. You just essentially shot down all non-orthodox christian views of heaven. Then, you proceeded to give us your (the orthodox) version of heaven as the truth.

Honest question here: How does that make any sense at all?

Here we go. It doesn't matter to me what other people say the Moon is. If I wanted to, I could say the moon was a giant rock orbiting the Earth. My fantasies over what the Moon is or isn't is irrelevant. What matters is what the Moon is. The moon is a giant ball of cheese in the sky and is the place fairies go to die when you stop believing in them.

I really would like to know how any of that made any sense at all.

And yes, if you're wondering, I do think it's more likely that heaven would be a facsimile of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Simply because in light of absolutely no proof or even evidence of heaven existing, I'm simply going to go with what sounds good to me. And I'll be damned if I don't like chocolate.
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« Reply #164 on: December 13, 2010, 12:51:39 AM »

Sorry, I posted this only after reading your two posts.  I didn't realize your third post.  I'm going to read it now Smiley

Thanks for your reply minasoliman. The time you took is appreciated. I have chosen to respond to your discussion on faith in a later post. One problem we have here is that we work from different definitions. I use a different definition for the words faith and agnostic than you do. I've decided to address agnostic first, simply because its a bit quicker to answer.

True agnostics see the world through no particular understanding necessarily. They doubt a strict materialistic worldview, but they also doubt transcendant worldview.
I think you have reshaped the meaning of agnostic.  You see it as a middle ground between our two positions, accepting neither one: expressing skepticism on both the transcendent and materialist world views, agnostic to both; but that is not the original meaning, nor is it the Oxford dictionary definition.
 
Quote from: ODE, 2006
agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.
 
To my way of thinking the word agnostic implies skepticism toward the legitimacy of the sources of knowledge used to prove the existence of God.  That is its meaning.  It does not imply skepticism to anything else.  The agnostic may be skeptical of other things, but the only thing you can know for certain is that he remains unconvinced that anything can be known for certain about God. Agnosticism does not imply skepticism toward science, the scientific method or those things examined by this method.

I think you have taken the word agnostic and modified its original meaning so that it implies skepticism toward all things.  I suspect most who call themselves agnostic have no difficulty perceiving materialistic explanations as trustworthy.  I don't think they doubt the 'materialistic worldview.'  I suspect most agnostics see the material world as the only certain source of knowledge that we possess.

----------

Are there any agnostics present who could way in and lend their view?

By your definition really most atheists are not really atheists in the extreme sense, but agnostics.  Nevertheless, they've redefined atheism as a way of thought.  Most agnostics also who call themselves agnostic are really atheists.

In the old arguments against atheism, one would say, "It takes much more faith to not believe in God."  But atheists today tweek this.  Yes, they don't believe in God, but not in the sense that they are absolutely sure.  They're simply skeptical, and have a way of thought.

So in the old definition, faith meant a leap in belief without proper investigation.  But that's not really how faith I believe has been used in the Church.  Faith has been synonymous with theology, or a Christian way of thinking, or as you put it, an epistemology.  That really is the more accurate understanding of "faith."  Faith is what shapes our actions, and not just merely a belief.  We can say for instance, Satan believes that God exists, but he has no faith.

These definitions change all the time.  Oxford dictionary or no oxford dictionary, to be honest, you have to use the word within its context.  I think a lot of Christians really sullied the understanding of faith.  Therefore, to be consistent, "agnostic" a true agnostic is someone who is skeptical but open to the possibility of the transcendental.  For an agnostic to be just skeptical to the transcendental just teeter-totters one on the side of atheistic thinking.  Richard Dawkins redefined atheism as a way of thought really, not necessarily a label of firm belief.  So if anything, my definition of agnosticism is really no different than Dawkins' "4 scale."

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Doctors do much practical good in the world, but they can be a bunch of arrogant self-worshippers sometimes
Do you challenge these doctors to their face or simply publish critical judgement on public forums?

I'm working with these doctors.  Well actually to be more precise, I am being apprenticed by them.  Not all of them of course are arrogant.  But the more successful ones usually suffer the God-complex issue, or at least they pretend they care in front of you.

I'll add one more group of people.  Christians can be a bunch of Pharisaical arrogant hypocrites.

Since I belong to a group of physician-gonna-bes and Christians, I think I am entitled to give my opinion of my experience.

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Okay, let me give you a different perspective. Faith is what you put your trust is, the lens by which you see the world.

You see the world through the lens of what you can only sense.

I see the world through Christian understanding.

I am going to play the old dictionary game again.  The Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) offers two definitions for faith:

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i) complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

ii) strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

When you admit to seeing the world through Christian eyes your are admitting, it seems to me, seeing the world through the doctrines of a religion.  I would think you might also acknowledge basing your beliefs on spiritual convictions, thought I think you are less likely to admit not having proof.  This latter point, I think, is where you might have the biggest hang-up for the definition.  This 2nd definition, for me, is the one that immediately comes to mind when I think of the word faith.  You can see, then, why I would probably object myself to any assertion that I possess faith.

So you don't trust the scientific method?

The second definition stems from a culture of atheistic misunderstanding of what faith really means.  It's no different than the bastardization of the word "theory" by creationist groups, misunderstanding its scientific usage.  So I'm here to tell you, the second definition is not true, at least for true Christians.  Since spirituality is by definition a certain transcendant way of life that materialism is not able to test, then the scientific method is not even valid to judge it to begin with.  There's a different way to "prove" it.

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Though I do see the world through a lens based on evidence constructed from the physical world, I don't recognize this as a matter of faith.  Your faith, it would seem to me, precludes change.  You might correct me on this if I am wrong.  Because of spiritual convictions I imagine you are locked into believing the same things over time.  New evidence doesn't cause you to modify your beliefs about God, or does it?  Those, like myself, who rely on physical evidence from the world to establish our perceptions of it, change our views when conflicting evidence comes available.  I don't think that anyone who maintains views of the world based on physical evidence would ever insist they had complete trust in any scientific claim, as per the 1st definition.  My world view prevents me from having complete trust and so is the opposite of having faith.

But you do have faith.  You have faith in what you see, hear, touch, etc.  I have no problem with that, but the proof for my faith is the incompleteness and inconsistency of such a thought for the general human nature.  Human nature is more than an animal.  Human nature is a phenomenon that is capable day by day to subdue all other nature around it more and more.  Human nature is an ever-growing powerful force.  While Nature may have been taken part in making us, we certainly take part in now shaping it.  Therefore, I don't have faith in scientific methodology alone, but also in transcendant force that allows human nature to be quite unique from everything else in this world at least.  This allows me to investigate in a different manner the many beliefs that seem to me most compatible with this truth, and how we are connected to a much higher purpose.

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Faith is something you believe in. It's the precursor to a philosophy. I talk about the Christian faith, that is the beliefs, the theology of our Church, etc. Faith is dogma, and everyone has a certain dogma they live by, whether it be atheists or believers.

Dogma is tied closely to claiming possession of absolute truth.  Let's look at the dictionary again.

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dogma: a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

That -- incontrovertibly true -- part, is an integral part of dogma.  This is what sets scientific theories apart from religious doctrine.  The demand that something is incontrovertibly true is never heard in science.  Conservative Christians frequently make much of the observation that hypotheses in science are often here today and gone tomorrow.  They perceive change in science as proof that scientists don't know what they are talking about.

There's some truth in what you say, but truly practically, scientists today have now dogmatized many theories.  For one thing, evolution is considered both a theory and a truth.  It is now the driving force to learn all biology and other life sciences.  It has truly become dogma even if it's considered "falsifiable."  The idea now is that evolution occurs and it's definitely beyond a doubt now a TRUTH.  How evolution occurs is the falsifiable part of science, and this is not dogma.

So I don't know about you, but scientists have already dogmatized it whether they want to admit it or not.  It has stood the test of time, and it is pretty much have been far more established with better foundations than the theory of gravity.  The only way in which one can prove evolution is wrong is if one can prove I am not related to my parents or sister or cousin using the same DNA techniques (which in a sense makes it falsifiable, but at this point, about .0000001% falsifiable).  So since that has now been established truth, then you can't tell me there's no dogma in science.  There's even dogma in the how life is described, i.e. a degree of homeostasis, organization of cells, metabolism, growth, adaptation and response to stimuli, and reproduction.  Anything mathematical seems to be dogma to people anyway, which leads many to worship the field of mathematics, and probably theoretical physics.

I can say the same about Church dogmas.  The Church in a practical sense have already firmly established "theories" that help best explain their faith and spirituality.  Therefore, since the dogmas have firm grounding in our understanding of spirituality, there is truth in them.

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I recognize that dogma is tied up with faith which is another reason I object to the assertion that I possess faith.  I hold that one species may evolve into something different, but  give me good reason to believe this view is wrong and I will change my mind.  I am not locked into an incontrovertible truth.  My views are not dogmatic.

Indeed you might think you're not dogmatic, but practically, you make it impossible for yourself to think in any other way than with the senses.  You've essentially dogmatized that life is nothing more than your material senses, and your faith is nothing more than in not taking life for granted, for I will cease to exist eventually.
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« Reply #165 on: December 13, 2010, 12:55:07 AM »

There is, however, a larger issue. If you've attained "... faith in... Christian understanding" through the "trustworthiness and consistency of prayer and spiritual exercises" then how is it that there are so many Christian denominations and sects? If "prayer and spiritual exercises" provides "trustworthy" results how are all the discrepancies in religious belief around the world and through time explained? Where is the evidence that transcendent sources provide consistent results?

The answer to the first bolded item lies with the man-made Scientific Method.

The answer to the second bolded item rests with man and his free will.

Surprisingly, the answers are the same....
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« Reply #166 on: December 13, 2010, 01:27:58 AM »

The vast majority of Orthodox believers reject Atonement as a false concept.

This intrigued me a great deal so I went googling and found this article, which confirms what you say, John, and fleshes it out nicely, as I hope you'll agree.

Salvation and Atonement - http://khanya.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/salvation-and-atonement/

I look forward to hearing your opinion of the article.

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To an atheist, selflessness can only lead to the dissolution of the self into nothingness, aka nihilism. To a theist, selflessness can only lead to the dissolution of one's self into God, while at the same time revealing the true self.

I agree with all of that.  Rather than the self's dissolution, I pursue its actualization.  I would like to be more me today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today.

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With no higher power/deity, your concept of a moral good can only be based on your opinion, shaped as it is from your own opinion.

I agree!  But somehow some atheists satisfy themselves otherwise.  As noted in quite a few posts recently, I reject any notion of objective morality, and since I see no point in a subjective morality, I reject the whole kit and kaboodle, and focus instead on good and evil as defined by practicality rather than morality; I.e., as providing earthly benefit to earthly creatures for the sake of some of that benefit accruing to myself directly or indirectly, and also for the sake of the sense of accomplishment I get from making a positive material difference here in the material world.

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You would have no right to force it on others

You say that like it's a bad thing.  I, for my part, announce it as a triumph of reason.

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and certainly no reason to proclaim anything outside your own experience to be right or wrong.

Like it's a bad thing, you say that.  As a triumph of reason, I, for my part, announce it.  I want a Yoda icon. Cool

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Thus, you are left with no possibility of moral outrage at the events which took place at Auschwitz, Dachau, the GULAGs, etc.

Since moral outrage neither fills my belly nor beautifies my days, I don't miss its absence.

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Or to quote Jeffrey Dahmer:“If it all happens naturalistically, what’s the need for a God? Can’t I set my own rules? Who owns me? I own myself.”

I agree with his statement.  Eating people is grotesque and vile, however.  Yuck.  Incidentally, we don't need morality to deter people from what Dahmer did.  We have legislation and enforcement.  Bullets in a cop's gun and meeting Bubba in the prison shower are prospects more real and sobering by far than any imagined hellfire.
 
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So you are saying that you won't worship God...but you have no problem setting up science, technology and the human mind as idols and worshipping them? Gotcha.

No need to worship them.  Just employ them and partake of their fruits.
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« Reply #167 on: December 13, 2010, 02:06:11 AM »

Sorry minasoliman I should have gone a bit deeper into your response, I enjoy discussing with you.

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Science is a method, not a faith to me.

It's a method to me too.  But it rest on an epistemology, logical empiricism, which I think you would classify as my faith.  Since I place my trust in it, it would be tediously pedantic for me to split semantic hairs with you, so I won't.  Certainly I place my trust in logical empiricism.

Ya, we'll get into semantics.  I think by now, you understand what I mean when I say science to you is both a method and faith.  Science to me is a method, but the faith lies in Christianity.  I suppose when I do science, I do it as a way of praising God.  I know it's trivial to you if I in the end end up helping somebody along the way.  But this is a form of a Machiavellian philosophy, i.e. that the ends justify the means.  As I am reading this message, that's the impression I'm getting.

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When science becomes a faith, it makes sense as to why character improvement is not in the picture.  They instead would like to analyze what it is that leads one to believe in character improvement, but they already assume its falsehood from the beginning, and so they've convinced themselves not to be "ensnared" into this "garbage" concerning the validity of things that improve success and character, but understand, let's say, how it sociologically and neurobiologically works, which literally defeats the purpose out of anything really.

Scientists, and I along with them, would claim a distinction between utility and truth.  A concept can be true yet lack utility in a particular circumstance.  Likewise, a concept can be false yet in a particular circumstance be highly utile.  If a lie is the only, or the best, tool currently available, one may legitimately employ it, but one would hopefully retain some reservations about doing so, and be on the look-out for a truth that one could employ instead, one with equal or greater utility.  After all, lies can be found out, at which point their utility evaporates.  I'm having this exact discussion on my thread about atheism and the 12 step movement.

Where's this discussion?  What's the 12 step movement?

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Humanity has logic, but it also has emotion. Science by definition is only logic.

True.

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When humanity follows science alone, you pretty much seek to destroy the emotion out of anything.

I would say instead that logic and emotion govern separate domains.  Aesthetics is largely emotional for most people, and certainly for me.  Arguments as to why it's illogical for me to like a particular song will fall on deaf ears.  I don't care about logic when listening to a song.  Likewise, I don't care about emotion when assessing a proposition about causality.   

Forgive me, I don't mean to say that emotion justifies my faith.  Logic justifies science.  Emotion justifies morals.  Logic and Emotion together justifies the transcendant in my opinion.  I like what Archbishop Rowan Williams says here that I think Jetevan posts elsewhere:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POBKL0zHZyc
Beauty is an emotion.  It is an idea that we cannot prove scientifically, but while there might be some scientific principles of beauty, certainly science can only go so far, and emotion can only go so far as well.  I think both combine to develop the sense of the truth of beauty.

I've heard from many Christians, even ancient ones, that the spirit is the intellect.  I think there's more to the spirit than just intellect or emotion.  It's the means of transcending both, and bridge to the divine.  We can scientifically explain intellect and emotion.  But we also can see beauty in them.  To turn it into something meaningless as long as we can get practical results is essentially ignoring Nature's cry and praise.

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Slowly, we turn pretty much into programmed robots.

I'm a big fan of robots. Cool

I also happily view myself, and you, and all living creatures, as automotons, programmed by chemistry and history.

I suspect sapient robots, if they ever emerge, will have logic and will, but no emotion.  Thus happiness will be alien to them.  But purpose and its fulfillment will be front and center in their mental apparatus.  They will do what they must because they must, and in that, they won't be so very different from you and me.

This is a matter of glass half empty vs. glass half full.  You stress that they won't be very different from you and me.  But I can stress that their seemingly minute difference makes us very different from you and me.  I'm not sure though if you as a scientist is willing to agree that we won't be able to program emotion in robots as well.  I think there's a lot of faith in the scientific community that they can recreate humanity with nuts and bolts once they crack the human "neuro code," or "neurome," if you know what I mean.

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You've probably heard the adage before, "science seeks to ask how, religion seeks to ask why." Those who are rigid in following science as a faith say there's no such thing as a why. It just is.

The stream of causality stretches backward into what might as well be infinity, and forward, likewise, into what might as well be infinity.  The difference between past and future is this: the past can be known, whereas the future can only be guessed.  The present, meanwhile, can sometimes be controled.  Science, in its most actualized state, permits us to know the past, control the present, and guess with some confidence the future.  Interestingly, science has always assumed the stream of causality flowed only in one direction, from the past through the present to the future.  Recent experiments in quantum mechanics have yielded data suggestive of backward causality, the reversal of the stream, so that it flows from the future through the present to the past.  I mention this because backward causality is implied in Christian eschatology as some would interpret it.  The Parousia, being foreordained, reaches backward into the past to ensure its own present.  An interesting correlation between the underpinnings of theology and the latest findings in science.  Source regarding the science: Understanding Time and Causality is the Key to Understanding Quantum Mechanics - http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/faculty/wharton/time_and_causality.pdf

In any case, when you talk about why, you mean purpose, hence will.  You want the universe to have a will, so you assume it does.  I don't have that particular desire, but if I did, and if I decided to fulfill it by fiat; I.e., by simply saying it was so; I would figure the will of the universe was mutation and natural selection, flux and struggle, innovation and competition, abundance and annihilation, diversity and brutality, since those are what I see around me.  But since those things I see around me would be there any way, willed or unwilled, I am apathetic as to whether will is present.

Let me take your thought a bit further.  I think science has faith that they can one day control the future.  With the way things are going, they've abandoned other faiths and seemed to go along with a hope that if not them, their progeny can be immortal, and maybe even time travel, collect DNA and Neurological circuits of people, where we can be recreated, reborn, and live while keeping our memories intact.  I think this hope really validates a true purpose in people that seem to want to fully and without a doubt invalidate other faiths that speak about afterlives and ever-existence.  It speaks to those who truly want to live forever, and so their actions and purpose of advancing what we know seems to show they have some hope perhaps in a form of scientific "resurrection."

In other words the hope is there.  The faith is there.  Without this, I don't think the scientific community really can function.  This is the underlying understanding of an ultimate purpose.  These people have a passion for science by a hope that really tries if anything to destroy the notion of nihilism.  The problem is not all will be saved  Wink

But this is the point.  It's not that I want the Universe to have a will.  I truly believe the will is programmed in us.  The truth of this will what I investigate.  I believe that a lot people seem to bank on living longer as an ultimate purpose.  But living longer is only a means of the ultimate purpose, and that is the communion with God.  I am convinced that communion with God is an experience that allows me to forget about everything else behind me, a true "high" so to speak, and I seek it because it's the same high I achieve when selfless love is given to me, and I give back.  If life was merely about trying to strive to live longer, then really, there's no point in faith in God unless there's no hope for man to achieve this, and even if there isn't hope, as you personally see it, you find no difference in living forever in God or dying forever because you don't understand what communion in God really means and really feels like.

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That's terrifying. Instead of making sense out of why, the why in us is sought to be destroyed.

Terrifying to you, trivial to me.  The universe may or may not have a will, but you have a will, and I have a will.  You have reasons and I have reasons.  If the universe has a will, my own must align with it, since I'm part of the universe, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this would likewise fulfill the universe's will.  If the universe doesn't have a will, then my own is as good as any other, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this will make me happiest.  Thus, once again, as is always the case, the question of God's existence is irrelevant, and I am therefore apathetic toward it.
 
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So, it is this "why" that scientists call a self-deception. But if the why is always nagging at me, then I call the rejection of the why a delusion.

Yet the Earth abounds with purpose, and scientists acknowledge it.  I mean the purposes of earthly creatures.  Everywhere living beings pursue their goals.

If all purposes seem to lead to non-existence as an ultimate end, there's really no point.

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I don't know how scientists see this as self-deception. Of course this goes both ways, but I wonder at people like CS Lewis, Francis Collins, Ann Rice, all who were atheists, all who understand what this is, and yet they decided to reject that this is a case of self-deception, that there is validity to asking the question "why."

Usually what happens is a tap on the shoulder from death.  Suddenly mortality is brought into sharp focus, and up pops fear.

But Christianity in its essence is totally against this.  "Oh Death" says St. Paul, "where is thy sting?"  Christians in history, true Christians, have been shown to be fearless to death.

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Even atheists agree that there are a certain set of morals to follow when interacting with others.

I don't.  But I think we humans can agree to be good to one another for practical reasons.

You know, the best salesman is one who believes in the product he sells.  If the salesman simply pretends and is indifferent, or worse, actually hates the product, he may be practical for himself for a while, but eventually, when the drive and passion is not there, you tend to hate it or drive yourself crazy.

If life is nothing more than practical, then those who are passionate about it really are just wasting their passion.  And certainly, there are those who definitely wish to choose, if won't choose, to do the opposite of what is considered good to certain others.

It seems to me also, the drive to be practical is fear of chaos, and fear of death.  I see more fear in this than in believing in the transcendant.

The ultimate reality of a perfect life is a life with no laws, where all truly live with understanding and love and a way to move forward fearlessly.  This is not just a spirit of practicality, but in essence a passion that aids in enlivening practicality.  Practicality is dead without actually feeling the necessity of its practicality.

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So, I'm not really convinced by subjectivity.  It is extremely inconsistent to me.

That's because very few people are willing to admit that there is no such thing as objective morality, and so they project their subjective preferences onto the universe. and imagine their own wills to be the will of God.  The only reason Christianity makes sense to you is because selflessness makes sense to you.

However, for practical reasons, you believe that we should do good to others.  First, that's assuming that everyone agrees what good means.  I think your intention was believing in the golden rule, "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you."  Even the golden rule becomes an objective morality now.  Practically speaking, we have to live as if there exists objective truth.

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Doctors do much practical good in the world, but they can be a bunch of arrogant self-worshippers sometimes. They too can be saints and heros in at least the work they do, but a lot of people can agree that they are necessary, but not necessarily good.

You mean morally good, which to me is irrelevant.  Practical results are what matter.  Help me for selfish reasons and you have still helped me.  I don't need you to be selfless.

There's that Machiavellian idea again.  The ends justify the means.  I know you don't take this idea strictly, because you still believe that there is a "good" man does, and that is this golden rule.  But I say practicality can also mean that if I have to kill a few people to get somewhere faster, I think this world would be up for some competition of traits once again.  Subjectivity only exists in an abstract sense it seems when looking at the world with its different cultures and rules.  Objectivity exists in a concrete sense when looking at the need to survive as a group, and so to make this practical, you also need to make it feel practical.  What this indicates to me is not the existence of subjectivity, but rather the existence of true objective rules and false ones, one that can stand out and invalidate all other rules.
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« Reply #168 on: December 13, 2010, 02:37:27 AM »

I agree with all of that.  Rather than the self's dissolution, I pursue its actualization.  I would like to be more me today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today.

I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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But somehow some atheists satisfy themselves otherwise.

As if the whole goal is self-satisfaction. I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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As noted in quite a few posts recently, I reject any notion of objective morality, and since I see no point in a subjective morality, I reject the whole kit and kaboodle, and focus instead on good and evil as defined by practicality rather than morality; I.e., as providing earthly benefit to earthly creatures for the sake of some of that benefit accruing to myself directly or indirectly, and also for the sake of the sense of accomplishment I get from making a positive material difference here in the material world.

I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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You say that like it's a bad thing.  I, for my part, announce it as a triumph of reason.

I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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Like it's a bad thing, you say that.  As a triumph of reason, I, for my part, announce it.  I want a Yoda icon. Cool

I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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Since moral outrage neither fills my belly nor beautifies my days, I don't miss its absence.

I, I, I, I. Me, me, me, me.

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I agree with his statement.  Eating people is grotesque and vile, however.  Yuck.  Incidentally, we don't need morality to deter people from what Dahmer did.  We have legislation and enforcement.  Bullets in a cop's gun and meeting Bubba in the prison shower are prospects more real and sobering by far than any imagined hellfire.

Quite the Macchiavellian, you are.
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« Reply #169 on: December 13, 2010, 02:44:42 AM »

Oh come on!  Just because I said "Machiavellian" doesn't mean we have to throw it at him in such a childish manner.  I think this really discourages people from the faith, more than it helps.
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« Reply #170 on: December 13, 2010, 02:44:49 AM »

It is unique that the theist is able to subjugate his self-desires in order perform truly selfless acts. There is no such as thing as a 'selfless' act, according to strict darwinian principles, because the animal is ultimately looking out for itself and the distribution of it's own genetic material as the highest purpose/goal, ultimately controlled by it's 'selfish' genes.
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« Reply #171 on: December 13, 2010, 03:02:43 AM »

Oh come on!  Just because I said "Machiavellian" doesn't mean we have to throw it at him in such a childish manner.  I think this really discourages people from the faith, more than it helps.

I was actually in the process of writing my reply when you wrote yours. So my reference to Macchiavelli wasn't connected to yours. At any rate, his might makes right approach is firmly Macchiavellian.

Of course, he rejects both objective and subjective morality, so even "might makes right" seems out of place in a world view where there is no "right."
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« Reply #172 on: December 13, 2010, 03:05:41 AM »

Oh come on!  Just because I said "Machiavellian" doesn't mean we have to throw it at him in such a childish manner.  I think this really discourages people from the faith, more than it helps.

I was actually in the process of writing my reply when you wrote yours. So my reference to Macchiavelli wasn't connected to yours. At any rate, his might makes right approach is firmly Macchiavellian.

For the benefit of the doubt, how would it take you 30 minutes to write essentially I, I, I, me, me, me over and over again.
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« Reply #173 on: December 13, 2010, 03:06:49 AM »

Oh come on!  Just because I said "Machiavellian" doesn't mean we have to throw it at him in such a childish manner.  I think this really discourages people from the faith, more than it helps.

I was actually in the process of writing my reply when you wrote yours. So my reference to Macchiavelli wasn't connected to yours. At any rate, his might makes right approach is firmly Macchiavellian.

For the benefit of the doubt, how would it take you 30 minutes to write essentially I, I, I, me, me, me over and over again.

I was doing more than one thing at once.
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« Reply #174 on: December 13, 2010, 03:14:29 AM »

Dear Tryingtoconvert,

I just wanted to add one more thought that came to my mind.  It helps a lot at least in terms of practicality that people can help those who are in need.  Unless, one believes it's impractical and a waste of time to help them anyway.  But assuming practicality, we have to admit, a huge majority, even among the educated masses, are very impractical at best.
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« Reply #175 on: December 13, 2010, 07:04:07 AM »

There is no such as thing as a 'selfless' act, according to strict darwinian principles...
I'm not so sure this is true.  And I'm not even talking about the idea that there are no principles in Darwinian theory (simply a desire to explain our observations, although I guess that's a principle).  But already I digress...

I would consider it selfless for a person to devote their life's energy (for example) to understanding stellar formation.  And plenty of other pursuits seem to offer equally negligible "immediate impact" to our species' survival, at least as Darwin would describe it.
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« Reply #176 on: December 13, 2010, 07:17:52 AM »

There is no such as thing as a 'selfless' act, according to strict darwinian principles...
I'm not so sure this is true.  And I'm not even talking about the idea that there are no principles in Darwinian theory (simply a desire to explain our observations, although I guess that's a principle).  But already I digress...

I would consider it selfless for a person to devote their life's energy (for example) to understanding stellar formation.  And plenty of other pursuits seem to offer equally negligible "immediate impact" to our species' survival, at least as Darwin would describe it.

Perhaps your example isn't selfish from a Darwinian standpoint, (that is beneficial to reproduction, at least so far as we can tell on the surface) but wouldn't you agree it can be interpreted as ultimately selfish from a secular viewpoint? (That is, the person enjoys cosmology, so they study it.)
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« Reply #177 on: December 13, 2010, 07:23:36 AM »

There is no such as thing as a 'selfless' act, according to strict darwinian principles...
I'm not so sure this is true.  And I'm not even talking about the idea that there are no principles in Darwinian theory (simply a desire to explain our observations, although I guess that's a principle).  But already I digress...

I would consider it selfless for a person to devote their life's energy (for example) to understanding stellar formation.  And plenty of other pursuits seem to offer equally negligible "immediate impact" to our species' survival, at least as Darwin would describe it.

Or perhaps consider this; this person is being selfish from a Darwinian standpoint merely because they are refusing to devote their time to propogating their species!  Wink Grin (Or perhaps this could be interpreted as a form of natural selection, either way...)
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« Reply #178 on: December 13, 2010, 03:16:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Agreed Habte, technology is neutral until it is applied morally. But one must ask the creation of a nuclear warhead, how could that ever be used positively?
How about blowing a comet to smithereens, saving the entire planet?
So even assuming such a silly plan would work instead of creating an even more dangerous bombardment of rubble like that which crashed into Saturn a few years ago creating explosions larger than the size of the earth itself, would you honestly argue that the risk of utter annihilation is worth the potential benefit of a truly one in a million shot and further supposing that we couldn't come up with a more effect, less dangerous non-nuclear weapon based solution to such a problem? Please, we are talking about real life here, not science fiction and considering there is a real nuclear treaty on the works and a vociferous public debate about nuclear proliferation in Iran and Korea and Israel etc etc I think we should all take it a bit more seriously.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #179 on: December 13, 2010, 03:26:55 PM »

Please, we are talking about real life here, not science fiction...
Oh, sorry.  Never mind, then.
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