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Author Topic: Criticism of Atheism  (Read 13781 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 30, 2010, 10:05:17 PM »

This is an article I just translated by a Brazilian philosopher criticizing the mainstream militants of atheism, for you appreciation.

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Olavo de Carvalho - 23/12/2010 - 19h40

The crooks' "debate" techniques have been very simplified in the last years. They no longer appeal to the refinements of the old sophists, nor to the trickeries of the false rhetoric which Aristotle called eristics. To save time, or maybe for laziness and incompetence to study these things, they transfer the challenge from the field of logic to that of psychological manipulation, seeking not to persuade or confound, but simply to intimidate and subjugate.

The method to obtain such a result is simple. With an innocent countenance they throw shocking or insulting statements in a deceivingly sophisticated language. Next, they impose to the adversary rules of politeness that exclude every possibility of complaining or any proper reaction. To the poor victim there is no other way but to submit to the chicanery, timidly trying to move in a field defined to humiliate him.

The polemicists who have stood up the most in employing these techniques are the Four Asses of the Apocalypse - Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett - whose goal is to wipe out religion from the face of Earth, imposing the cult of "reason" and of "science".

They do not hate all religions equally. Their bête noire is Christianity and, in particular, Catholics, in whom they behold the greatest enemies of humanity. For reasons we shall soon see, they would rather destroy them by means of a generic attack against "religion", hoping, rather reasonably, that the suppression of the gender brings the annihilation of the species.

The issue is that "religion", in the way they use it, is not a historically identifiable entity; it's not even a concept. It's a fetish word, a verbal straw-man with meanings that include, with no distinction, Christianity, Gnosis, state worship of the Caesars, witchcraft, shamanism, astrology, alchemy and esoterism in general, all indian religions, Mormonism, ufology, spiritualism and who knows how many more, giving them a fictional unity by using a common word.

Next, they give to the amorphous entity the unity of a conscious subject, able to take decisions and act - of having moral responsibility - and then proceed with the judgment of this weird creature. In such conditions, condemnation  is inevitable. With so diverse historical incarnations, heterogeneous and mutually incompatible, "religion" can escape almost none of the accusations made on it. Omnipresent and undefined, the imaginary monstrosity takes the blame for all the evils that affect the human race. And because what is general applies to all particular cases, each existing "religion" bears not only its own faults, but those of the group, and by attribution, the faults of the other ones.

The normality, the flamboyance and the frequency with which the four idols of the atheistic militancy appeal to this transfer of guilt would suffice to list them among the greatest intellectual cheaters of all times. Just to give one example: in one of his last polemical charges, Christopher Hitchens concluded that Nazism was a Christian Catholic regime because German soldiers of World War II bore on their belts the phrase "Gott mit uns" (God is with us), and, therefore, the Roman Church was to be blamed for the war, the Holocaust etc.

The missing detail is that although Hitler was not an Atheist, he was not Catholic. He was a gnostic, engaged in reshaping the Gospel and in actualizing an earthly Judgment Day without waiting for the heavenly one. For that, he used to say, it was necessary "to crush the Catholic Church like you step on a toad".

Gnosticism is the oldest and wildest enemy of the Church, which condemns it as the root of all heresies. But, for Christopher Hitchens this makes no difference. Catholicism is "religion", gnosticism is "religion": their faults are, thus, interchangeable. But isn't gnosticism a pseudo-religion? It matters not: pseudo-religion is religion.

The most constant and efficient use of this trick has been to claim that the deeds of the Islamic terrorists are proof of how dangerous... Christianity is! And atheism, isn't it guilt of anything? The most striking fact of modern history is that the atheistic ideology of communism killed more people, in a few decades, than all the religious wars since the beginning of the world.

From a rational point of view, thus, there shouldn't be reason for discussing which is worse, atheism or religions - all of them put together. How do the Four Asses get out of that? They say communism is also "religion", and the problem is solved. "Religions", in particular Catholicism, are now guilty of all the crimes of the governments that killed the largest number of believers and religious people in name of scientific atheism.

Being an atheist, say the Four, consists merely in the refusal of believing in God - any God - and not in advancing any goals or concrete values. Thus conceived, atheism is just an inner attitude, with no identifiable historical incarnation and can't, by definition, be accused of anything.

The fact that in practice this atheism never limits itself to the refusal to believe, but brings with it the apology of "reason" and "science", can't make it responsible for the crimes of the scientific ideologies of Marxism and Nazism, because, according to the Four, they were not based on science, but on pseudoscience.

I will not even ask with which legitimacy the concept of "pseudo", forbidden to the defenders of religion, could suddenly reappear as a valid distinctive criteria. I do not ask either with which right they appeal to the distinction of science and pseudoscience as it were something obvious, primary and automatic, when it seems to have escaped completely from a whole constellation of eminent Marxist scientists.

What seems most beautiful in this jink is appealing to the notion of "purity", denied to the defenders of religion. According to the Four, that Marx or even Darwin himself openly defended the systematic killing of "inferior peoples" does not make their atheism guilty of anything, because, when proposing this murderous idea, they didn't do it for a coherent devotion to scientific and rational atheism, but for a brief religious temptation...

Reduced to a pure idea, or, more exactly, to the personal version this idea assumes in the heads of the Four Asses, atheism is as innocent, as untouchable as a geometric figure in the heavens of platonic forms.

This is the debate that the Four put forward. Just like communists propose the confrontation of the innocence of their ideal society and the evils and sins of the existing society. Just like Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in “Ideals and Realities of Islam”, compares the beauties of his ideal Islam to the ugliness of the Western societies historically known. The demand for a honest confrontation - comparing ideals with ideals, realities with realities - is dodged a priori. For the adversaries of the Four rests only the inglorious task of defending, in vain, reality from ideal.

With the help of their editors and billionaire marketing people, such has been the "invitation to debate" the Four offer to whom may be naïve enough to fall for the cheat. The strictness in the demand for academic politeness is what makes impossible the denunciation of the essential cheat which created and shaped the invitation. Once the cheat is debunked, though, all the fake intellectual respectability of Hitchens and his partners falls into pieces. It is not healthy to discuss politely with cheaters, because denouncing the trick is forbidden, in limine, as an awful insult.

Olavo de Carvalho is an essayist, journalist and teacher of philosophy
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 11:03:07 PM »

They do not hate all religions equally. Their bête noire is Christianity and, in particular, Catholics, in whom they behold the greatest enemies of humanity.

This isn't true. Hitchens has also attacked Buddhism, emphasizing that not only must people move away from Christianity, but "there is no Eastern solution." And of course Hitchens has stood against Islam many a time.

I find the New Atheists to be a tiring group of anti-intellectual demogogues (at least earlier atheist apologists like Mackie tried to clearly and carefully argue their points), but if you want to beat them, you have to understand them first.
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 11:43:54 PM »

They do not hate all religions equally. Their bête noire is Christianity and, in particular, Catholics, in whom they behold the greatest enemies of humanity.

This isn't true. Hitchens has also attacked Buddhism, emphasizing that not only must people move away from Christianity, but "there is no Eastern solution." And of course Hitchens has stood against Islam many a time.

I find the New Atheists to be a tiring group of anti-intellectual demogogues (at least earlier atheist apologists like Mackie tried to clearly and carefully argue their points), but if you want to beat them, you have to understand them first.

But it is true, there is quite a stance on anti-Christianity and I would argue that Hitchens sways much of his argumentation against Christianity. This is because every religion besides Christianity can be disproven, can see its fallacies and falsehood. But also at the same time there seems to be an "outrage" going on against the ignorant Christians who may disregard certain inconsistiences or seeming contradictions in the Bible. This is what the "New Atheists" don't understand because they don't understand the context of which these books of the Bible were written. One final point I would add is Christianity is the world's largest religion, which has 2.2 billion followers and it's popularity will sure have more attention towards it.

Anytime you make an argument against Christ and his teachings, you have to understand the society that was there at the time which was much different than the post-enlightenment worldview we have today. We can't look in the ancient world with that view, it is impossible.

More back to the point, I believe Richard Dawkins recently conceded to saying that the Christian God is the only God that would be plausible for the existence of a god. This is another reason for such scrutiny against Christianity.
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 11:53:49 PM »

More back to the point, I believe Richard Dawkins recently conceded to saying that the Christian God is the only God that would be plausible for the existence of a god. This is another reason for such scrutiny against Christianity.

I would love to read that quote by Dawkins you mention!
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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2010, 12:02:58 AM »

More back to the point, I believe Richard Dawkins recently conceded to saying that the Christian God is the only God that would be plausible for the existence of a god. This is another reason for such scrutiny against Christianity.
I'd be interested is seeing proof of that.

I've heard him say that a reasonable case could be put forward for the existence of the deist god, but it wouldn't be a case he would accept.
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« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2010, 02:51:35 AM »

More back to the point, I believe Richard Dawkins recently conceded to saying that the Christian God is the only God that would be plausible for the existence of a god. This is another reason for such scrutiny against Christianity.

I would love to read that quote by Dawkins you mention!

Hmm I may have been mistaken for the actual quote since it doesn't suggest what I asserted, my apologies. Here's what I originally referring to:
Quote
Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7085129.ece

That Dawkins can make a bigoted remark only demonstrates that Dawkins can make a bigoted remark.

And frankly it's not all that shocking.

On Intelligent Design:
Quote
"Well, it could come about in the following way, it could be that at some earlier time somewhere in the universe a civilization... [came] to a very very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility, an intriguing possibility, and I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry and molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer. And that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe." -- Richard Dawkins, biologist, 2008
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« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2010, 03:33:04 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).
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« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2010, 03:34:44 AM »

More back to the point, I believe Richard Dawkins recently conceded to saying that the Christian God is the only God that would be plausible for the existence of a god. This is another reason for such scrutiny against Christianity.
I'd be interested is seeing proof of that.

I've heard him say that a reasonable case could be put forward for the existence of the deist god, but it wouldn't be a case he would accept.

I've never heard him say that before either, and based on what I've heard from him, it would seem a very unlikely statement.
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2010, 03:36:42 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

You mean the sacredness of life?
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2010, 03:49:22 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

You mean the sacredness of life?

I think this is the definition that I am mostly referring to:

"Sacred - 4. Hence, not to be profaned or violated; inviolable." (inviolable: esp. in the sense that something is not to be dishonored)

http://define.com/sacred

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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2010, 02:36:25 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).
Reason (as they understand it) is their sacred principle.
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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2010, 02:36:44 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2010, 03:08:12 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

Well, let me offer a practical example:



Upon seeing a t-shirt like this, someone might very well say, "wow, is anything sacred anymore?"

It is this type of thinking that I believe the new atheism movement is furthering to advance which I find disturbing.
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 03:44:06 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 05:56:00 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I agree. There are atheists in the world who understand art, beauty, philosophy, etc., but the current crop of 2-dimensional demagogues won't produce anything of the calibre of H.P. Lovecraft.
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2011, 01:47:44 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

Well, let me offer a practical example:



Upon seeing a t-shirt like this, someone might very well say, "wow, is anything sacred anymore?"

It is this type of thinking that I believe the new atheism movement is furthering to advance which I find disturbing.

What a shame that people aren't ashamed of exercising what has been determiend to be a constitutional right. Roll Eyes I guess I fail to get your point.
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2011, 01:53:51 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2011, 02:00:26 AM »

I found this to be particularly salient. I've seen this very thing demonstrated on this forum all too often:

"The crooks' "debate" techniques have been very simplified in the last years. They no longer appeal to the refinements of the old sophists, nor to the trickeries of the false rhetoric which Aristotle called eristics. To save time, or maybe for laziness and incompetence to study these things, they transfer the challenge from the field of logic to that of psychological manipulation, seeking not to persuade or confound, but simply to intimidate and subjugate.

The method to obtain such a result is simple. With an innocent countenance they throw shocking or insulting statements in a deceivingly sophisticated language. Next, they impose to the adversary rules of politeness that exclude every possibility of complaining or any proper reaction. To the poor victim there is no other way but to submit to the chicanery, timidly trying to move in a field defined to humiliate him."



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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2011, 02:07:25 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

But what is real?
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2011, 02:19:40 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

But what is real?

That which has the highest correlation to verifiable observation.
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« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2011, 02:25:21 AM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

But what is real?

That which has the highest correlation to verifiable observation.

And does this observation have to be verifiable by the majority, the subject matter experts, a select few, or just by a few people?
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« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2011, 12:48:05 PM »

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

Says the brain in the vat. 
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2011, 03:59:20 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

But what is real?

That which has the highest correlation to verifiable observation.

And does this observation have to be verifiable by the majority, the subject matter experts, a select few, or just by a few people?

It should, ideally, be verifiable by anyone who follows the same set of steps that were used to make the original observation. In a few very select fields, such as astronomy, this isn't always possible because the observations are time dependent. In these cases, prediction is essential: prior to the event, the steps required to verify the observation should be published and anyone who follows these steps at the predicted time and from the predicted locations should be able to verify the predicted observation.

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« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2011, 04:01:49 PM »

Interesting... Thank you very much...
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2011, 04:45:19 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

Well, let me offer a practical example:



Upon seeing a t-shirt like this, someone might very well say, "wow, is anything sacred anymore?"

It is this type of thinking that I believe the new atheism movement is furthering to advance which I find disturbing.

What a shame that people aren't ashamed of exercising what has been determiend to be a constitutional right. Roll Eyes I guess I fail to get your point.

Let me expound on this point if I may. This t-shirt and others like it are part of an active campaign to de-sensitive the public to the idea of abortion and to reduce the associated stigma with the procedure. In fact, it is almost as if one wears it like a badge of honor, much like how someone would wear a t-shirt that had a logo of the New York Yankees on it. I find this to be particularly disturbing, but I also find this way of thinking to be augmented and supported by a worldview which asserts that a fetus in the womb is nothing more than a cluster of cells that can be removed or destroyed at a whim.

In my opinion, abortion is a very serious issue, which is to be properly understood as having very serious consequences. We are dealing with a real life here, a human life that has it's genetic mapping all sorted out, and is flourishing in the womb. To snuff out such should be considered a very solemn act indeed. I mean, what's next..t-shirts that say, "I pulled the plug on my grandma"? I hope you can see how this ties into my argument of the importance of the concept of the sacred, and the sacred nature of life in particular.
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2011, 05:05:13 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

By the same reasoning couldn't I argue against anything you claim to be reality?  Beauty might be a psychological response, but that doesn't mean that it is any less real than a star or blade of grass or atom.  For what is observation but a neurological response that has been programmed into us by the same evolution? 

Just because I know the wall I see is an optical response created by the reaction of light on the retinal nerve doesn't mean I can rise above my evolutionary programming and keep driving straight ahead.  By ignoring my evolutionary programming in this circumstance I take myself outside of evolution altogether!

The idea of the "beautiful" and the "sacred" is still evolutionarily advantageous to our species.  I find a forest beautiful, and good thing, because it keeps the carbon dioxide levels down and emits the oxygen my species needs to survive.  I find a woman beautiful, she happens to hold the preferred genes for the continuation and betterment of my species.  I hold life sacred, especially human life, and this prevents my species from going into extinction due to genocide or atomic war.

Even if you take the observation of the senses out of the equation and hold to strictly what is mathematically provable, you still can't rid us of beauty.  Beauty can be mathematically defined, we prefer certain patterns because of the mathematical soundness inherent in them.  The human face possessed by the person with the best genetic contributions will have a more perfect proportion.  The forest grows according to mathematical principles we still don't entirely comprehend.  And life holds within it a near infinite mathematical complexity and harmony.
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2011, 05:24:52 PM »

GiC just a question to ask, but do you have a girlfriend or wife?
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2011, 05:32:44 PM »

Also I quite like this from Elder Paisios:

Quote
Although the modern rationalist worldview was born in Western Europe during the Enlightenment era, it has progressively been inundating the entire world, including Orthodox lands such as Greece. Therefore, when Elder Paisios speaks to the spiritual malady of rationalism in contemporary Greece, he is also speaking to our spiritual malady in America and the West.

Ultimately, the malady of modern rationalism comes down to one essential ingredient: trusting the conclusions of one’s logical mind. We of the modern West have been raised with an underlying assumption, summed up in the well-known phrase of Rene Descartes at the beginning of the Enlightenment era: "I think, therefore I am." The worldview of modern rationalism, having lost an awareness of the immortal soul in man, leads us to believe that our thoughts are v/ho we are, and, conversely, that we are the sum total of our thoughts. Therefore, we automatically feel that we have to trust our thoughts, to take a stand for them, to defend them as we would our own flesh and blood.

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

Elsewhere Elder Paisius counseled: "We ought always to be careful and be in constant hesitation about whether things are really as we think. For when someone is constantly occupied with his thoughts and trusts in them, the devil will manage things in such a way that he will make the man evil, even if by nature he was good.

"The ancient fathers did not trust their thoughts at all, but even in the smallest things, when they had to give an answer, they addressed the matter in their prayer, joining to it fasting, in order in some way to ‘force’ Divine Grace to inform them what was the right answer according to God. And when they received the ‘information,’ they gave the answer.

"Today I observe that even with great matters, when someone asks, before he has even had the time to complete his question, we interrupt him and answer him. This shows that not only do we not seek enlightenment from the Grace of God, but we do not even judge with the reason God gave us. On the contrary, whatever our thoughts suggest to us, immediately, without hesitation, we trust it and consent to it, often with disastrous results.

"Almost all of us view thoughts as being something simple and natural, and that is why we naively trust them. However, we should neither trust them nor accept them.

"Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land!" (Ibid., pp. 29-30, 48).
http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/elder_paisios_mount_athos.htm
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2011, 05:42:19 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2011, 05:53:53 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.
I read Elder Paisios as saying that too much thinking, not thinking merely, is the problem.
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« Reply #30 on: January 01, 2011, 05:57:47 PM »

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism.

Ah yes, because atheism is the natural outcome of logical thinking and rationalism  Roll Eyes

Quote
Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

You're mistaking "religion" for unthinking irrationality.  Try applying some of this supposed logical thinking and rationalism that you think you're utilizing and start to think above your false representations and silly mischaracterizations.
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« Reply #31 on: January 01, 2011, 06:10:11 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

No, we shouldn't be spreading atheism. I sick of other non-theist spewing that garage.

Being an atheist is not a ticket to being a rational human being.  I think it is better picked apart by it's socio-political aspects.



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« Reply #32 on: January 01, 2011, 06:17:27 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

Actually, recent studies show that if people were trying to make decisions based solely on logic we would get stuck in a loop.  All logic can tell us is what the outcome(s) of a particular decision might be, not which outcome is preferable.  Preference is a value judgment, and thus ruled by the intuitive and emotional parts of the brain.
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« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2011, 07:18:48 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

Actually, recent studies show that if people were trying to make decisions based solely on logic we would get stuck in a loop.  All logic can tell us is what the outcome(s) of a particular decision might be, not which outcome is preferable.  Preference is a value judgment, and thus ruled by the intuitive and emotional parts of the brain.
Depends on what you are trying to decide.

Logic works very well on math problems...not so well on what color to paint a room.
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« Reply #34 on: January 01, 2011, 07:25:49 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

There is tremendous beauty and consistency in the universe.  To me, that holds quite a sacred value to creation.

The fact that we are advanced enough to manipulate things in this world, and eventually in the universe holds an even higher level of sacredness.

But we have come to understand that 'beauty' is nothing but a psychological response that has been programmed into us by evolution. It is an accomplishment to understand this fact, to rise above our evolutionary programming, and to dismiss what we want to believe in favour of what is real.

By the same reasoning couldn't I argue against anything you claim to be reality?  Beauty might be a psychological response, but that doesn't mean that it is any less real than a star or blade of grass or atom.  For what is observation but a neurological response that has been programmed into us by the same evolution? 

Just because I know the wall I see is an optical response created by the reaction of light on the retinal nerve doesn't mean I can rise above my evolutionary programming and keep driving straight ahead.  By ignoring my evolutionary programming in this circumstance I take myself outside of evolution altogether!

The idea of the "beautiful" and the "sacred" is still evolutionarily advantageous to our species.  I find a forest beautiful, and good thing, because it keeps the carbon dioxide levels down and emits the oxygen my species needs to survive.  I find a woman beautiful, she happens to hold the preferred genes for the continuation and betterment of my species.  I hold life sacred, especially human life, and this prevents my species from going into extinction due to genocide or atomic war.

Even if you take the observation of the senses out of the equation and hold to strictly what is mathematically provable, you still can't rid us of beauty.  Beauty can be mathematically defined, we prefer certain patterns because of the mathematical soundness inherent in them.  The human face possessed by the person with the best genetic contributions will have a more perfect proportion.  The forest grows according to mathematical principles we still don't entirely comprehend.  And life holds within it a near infinite mathematical complexity and harmony.

My thoughts exactly.  Couldn't have said it better myself.  What is shaped by evolution is necessarily that which is shaped by nature.  If beauty is in nature, surely, our brain develops both an emotional and a logical sense of what beauty is.  Just as evolution shapes my discernment of colors, so in beauty, sacredness, and value of things around us.
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« Reply #35 on: January 01, 2011, 07:43:03 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

Actually, recent studies show that if people were trying to make decisions based solely on logic we would get stuck in a loop.  All logic can tell us is what the outcome(s) of a particular decision might be, not which outcome is preferable.  Preference is a value judgment, and thus ruled by the intuitive and emotional parts of the brain.
Depends on what you are trying to decide.

Logic works very well on math problems...not so well on what color to paint a room.

Math isn't making a decision.  When I look at 2+2 (assuming base 10) there is no decision as to what the sum is, I can prefer 5 or 12 all day long, but the answer is 4.  Pi is always going to be equal to the circumference divided by the diameter, no matter how lazy I'm feeling 3.14 is always going to be short an infinite amount of decimal places.

Questions like should I have the grapefruit or the orange, or should I date this girl or that one, or how should I treat this particular person I am interacting with have no logical solution.  All logic can tell me is that the grapefruit tastes different than the orange, it's up to me if I prefer bitter or sweet.  Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 
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« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »

Here's a few problems I have with accepting the belief in the Christian God

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Christians cannot reconcile this, try as they might.

Evil comes from God.

Isaiah 45:7: "I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things."
Lamentations 3:38: "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?"
Jeremiah 18:11: "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you."
Ezekiel 20:25,26: "I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord."

Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
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« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2011, 08:41:38 PM »


Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.


Awesome logical fallacy bro.
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« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2011, 08:53:40 PM »

Here's a few problems I have with accepting the belief in the Christian God

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Christians cannot reconcile this, try as they might.


God is willing that man should have free will.  This creates the possibility for evil.  Man can choose either God, and by choosing God do good, or man can choose to do evil.  As God is Good, and the created order is good, by definition preventing evil is limiting the choice for man to just good, and thus just God.  God is All-powerful, but God is also humble.  Indeed, we have the example of God the Word, begotten of the Father before all creation, who counted equality with the Father as His right; He emptied Himself, taking on the form and likeness of a man, condescending to be born of a Virgin, and chose service to His father over His birthright.  He humbled Himself even further, so that He who could not know death knew Death, His humiliation going so far as being cursed by hanging on a cross.

Was He willing to prevent evil, and thus negate any choice man would make?  No, for that would not have been Love.  Instead He chose to overcome evil with Good.  He does not fit in any little a=b boxes we try to place Him in, rather He tells us He is neither a, nor b, nor even c, that a only equals b from our limited perception, and that c is greater than we could imagine.

Quote
Evil comes from God.

Isaiah 45:7: "I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things."
Lamentations 3:38: "Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?"
Jeremiah 18:11: "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you."
Ezekiel 20:25,26: "I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord."

The first three verses you provide are old translations, from the Masoretic text no less. The Isaiah passage means something like "calamity", "storm", or "war"; the Lamentations quote should read: "For evil and good shall not proceed from the mouth of the Most High." (declarative, not interrogative); and Jeremiah should read as well "Calamities", "plagues", etc.  You might as well cite the 9 plagues on the house of Pharoah as some faith shattering proof.

Ezekiel 20:25,26 is no less than what the Lord told Israel would happen if they did not obey His commands all the way back in Exodus.  It's like having a dog that refuses to be trained against rolling in his crap but wants to be an inside dog.  After a while you just leave him outside to roll in his crap, if he likes it bad enough.

Quote
Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Evidence is there.  He who has eyes to see, let him see.
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« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2011, 09:43:14 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.
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« Reply #40 on: January 01, 2011, 09:45:24 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to.

What is there to reconcile, exactly?

Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane.

So? 

His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

I wasn't aware that there were "billions" who considered themselves Abraham's "followers".
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« Reply #41 on: January 01, 2011, 09:57:35 PM »

One trend that I find particularly disturbing in the 'new atheist' movement is the lack of appreciation and respect for the sacred (and I mean this in a general sense, not strictly religious).

I would argue the great achievement in atheist thought over the last century, which was brought about by greater scientific understanding of the universe, is the widespread realization that there is nothing sacred to either appreciate or not appreciate. To view something as set apart or untouchable is usually the result of ignorance on the matter.

Well, let me offer a practical example:



Upon seeing a t-shirt like this, someone might very well say, "wow, is anything sacred anymore?"

It is this type of thinking that I believe the new atheism movement is furthering to advance which I find disturbing.

What a shame that people aren't ashamed of exercising what has been determiend to be a constitutional right. Roll Eyes I guess I fail to get your point.

Let me expound on this point if I may. This t-shirt and others like it are part of an active campaign to de-sensitive the public to the idea of abortion and to reduce the associated stigma with the procedure. In fact, it is almost as if one wears it like a badge of honor, much like how someone would wear a t-shirt that had a logo of the New York Yankees on it. I find this to be particularly disturbing, but I also find this way of thinking to be augmented and supported by a worldview which asserts that a fetus in the womb is nothing more than a cluster of cells that can be removed or destroyed at a whim.

This sounds like a good thing to me, we should encourage rational rather than emotional responses.
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« Reply #42 on: January 01, 2011, 10:04:34 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

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« Reply #43 on: January 01, 2011, 10:05:56 PM »

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« Reply #44 on: January 01, 2011, 11:30:43 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.

Actually, recent studies show that if people were trying to make decisions based solely on logic we would get stuck in a loop.  All logic can tell us is what the outcome(s) of a particular decision might be, not which outcome is preferable.  Preference is a value judgment, and thus ruled by the intuitive and emotional parts of the brain.
Depends on what you are trying to decide.

Logic works very well on math problems...not so well on what color to paint a room.

Math isn't making a decision.  When I look at 2+2 (assuming base 10) there is no decision as to what the sum is, I can prefer 5 or 12 all day long, but the answer is 4.  Pi is always going to be equal to the circumference divided by the diameter, no matter how lazy I'm feeling 3.14 is always going to be short an infinite amount of decimal places.

Questions like should I have the grapefruit or the orange, or should I date this girl or that one, or how should I treat this particular person I am interacting with have no logical solution.  All logic can tell me is that the grapefruit tastes different than the orange, it's up to me if I prefer bitter or sweet.  Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 
Wrong again...kind of. Logic and rational thinking will tell you that the choice you prefer is best in these situations.
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« Reply #45 on: January 01, 2011, 11:34:02 PM »

Ah yes, because atheism is the natural outcome of logical thinking and rationalism  Roll Eyes
You seem to be saying that sarcastically, yet it makes perfect sense. I'm confused

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You're mistaking "religion" for unthinking irrationality.
The two are closely related.

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Try applying some of this supposed logical thinking and rationalism that you think you're utilizing and start to think above your false representations and silly mischaracterizations.
Uh huh.
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« Reply #46 on: January 01, 2011, 11:35:50 PM »

This is the essential fallacy of the modern worldview. It is precisely by placing absolute trust in the formulations of the fallen human mind — rather than in divine revelation — that modern Western man has come to water down or abandon his once-cherished Christian Faith. We Orthodox Christians living in the West must act against this influence by refusing to accord outright trust to our thoughts.

Elder Paisios teaches: "The devil does not hunt after those who are lost; he hunts after those who are aware, those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. Therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.

"Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. The logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

This is some exactly the reason why we must try to spread logical thinking and rationalism, and as a result, atheism. Mindsets like the above are downright dangerous. This is what religion does to people. This is why it must be fought.

Yes, I'm sure the problem with the West is that people are too rational. Nice try, but once again, no.
I read Elder Paisios as saying that too much thinking, not thinking merely, is the problem.
Once again, our problem is not thinking too much. Rather, it's the exact opposite. This is clearly evident if you just look around (at least, in the good 'ol U.S. of A).
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« Reply #47 on: January 01, 2011, 11:40:35 PM »

Here's a few problems I have with accepting the belief in the Christian God

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Christians cannot reconcile this, try as they might.


God is willing that man should have free will.  This creates the possibility for evil.  Man can choose either God, and by choosing God do good, or man can choose to do evil.
And who made this how it is? God did. He created logic, physics, etc. etc. Everything. He could have made things differently if he wanted to.

Christians never seem to take this into account. They always seem to assume that things would have to be relatively similar. They don't. God can do anything. He could have made anything. Things don't have to be the way they are.
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« Reply #48 on: January 01, 2011, 11:54:07 PM »

Ah yes, because atheism is the natural outcome of logical thinking and rationalism  Roll Eyes
You seem to be saying that sarcastically, yet it makes perfect sense. I'm confused

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.  This is a belief that does not arise from science, but one that must be held before it.  Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them? 

Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent. 

As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.  This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.  We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
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« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2011, 12:10:43 AM »

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.
This is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to learn anything.

Quote
This is a belief that does not arise from science, but one that must be held before it.
Again, axiom.

Quote
Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them?
Why shouldn't I?
  
Quote
Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent.  
Yeahhhhhhhhhh...whatever you say, buddy.

Quote
As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
God made us in his image. Why would he not want us to understand the world? Doesn't he want us to use the logic and rationality he gave us?

I'm asking why evil exists at all. If God is perfect and can do anything, why couldn't he make things happen the way he wants them to without using evil? The answer: he can.

Quote
This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
But it's pretty good evidence that there isn't one.

Quote
We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
Again, the "belief" that logic and rational thinking are correct is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to do anything meaningful. And since your god doesn't exist, we can't trust him to help with anything.
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« Reply #50 on: January 02, 2011, 12:25:03 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

And the Epicurean quote you quoted.  It consists of two answers.  Man's free will and God's incarnation.  In fact, I remember reading from a Church father, "without sin, there is no salvation."  Truly, we take our lives for granted.  Sometimes we need a little nudge in life to make us stronger, and the mistakes we do now help us to avoid them later.

If you give any example of whatever evil goes on in this world, there's always a Christian answer to it.
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« Reply #51 on: January 02, 2011, 12:32:43 AM »

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.
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« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2011, 12:33:59 AM »

I wasn't aware that there were "billions" who considered themselves Abraham's "followers".

Billions of people are in the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), so most of them are followers of Abraham.
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« Reply #53 on: January 02, 2011, 12:34:51 AM »

Atheism undermines science, because science begins on the supposition that the universe is rational and intelligible.
This is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to learn anything.

That's fine, as long as you realize that you're not starting from any more of a "reasonable" place than a theist.

Quote
Quote
Because pure reductionist materialism, which atheists generally subscribe to, is based on the premise of random unguided processes.  If we then reduce the nature of believing something, i.e. the way our brain works, to the physics and chemistry of neurological structures, this raises a question:  If my beliefs, and my theories are simply the result of the motion of atoms in my brain produced by an unguided mindless process, why should I believe them?
Why shouldn't I?

Because, as you've said before, you demand good reasons to believe something and this worldview is laughably unreasonable.  You have absolutely no grounds to say that you can trust your beliefs and experiences knowing full well that they're "nothing more" than the firing of neurons in the brain.  Unguided, random firings.  I mean, by all means, believe them.  But don't pretend that it's a reasonable position to do so.
  
Quote
Quote
Atheism undercuts the scientific endeavor.  An argument that purports to be a rationality rising from utter irrationality doesn’t even rise to the level of a delusion.  It is logically incoherent.  
Yeahhhhhhhhhh...whatever you say, buddy.

Nice retort.

Quote
Quote
As for the supposed "problem of evil" that you think Christians have no answer for, I'd like to point out a few things.  Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless.
God made us in his image. Why would he not want us to understand the world? Doesn't he want us to use the logic and rationality he gave us?

Sure.  Did I imply otherwise?  Unless of course you think "understanding the world" amounts to no mystery whatsoever and having every single answer.

Quote
I'm asking why evil exists at all. If God is perfect and can do anything, why couldn't he make things happen the way he wants them to without using evil? The answer: he can.

The answer:  he did.  And from the Christian point of view, man mucked it up, not God.  If you're asking why God couldn't create a world where man never chose evil, well, you're getting into a different question altogether, one with a pretty obvious answer.

Quote
Quote
This reasoning is, of course, fallacious.  Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
But it's pretty good evidence that there isn't one.

I would agree if it weren't for Jesus of Nazareth.  If we ask the question, “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the whole answer is.  However, we now know what the answer isn’t.  It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.  It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition.  God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on Himself.

Quote
Quote
We see lurking within this supposedly hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.  If our minds can’t plumb the depths of the universe for good answers to suffering, well then, there can’t be any!  This is faith of a high order.
Again, the "belief" that logic and rational thinking are correct is an axiom. Without it, we wouldn't be able to do anything meaningful. And since your god doesn't exist, we can't trust him to help with anything.

Again, that's fine as long as you realize that it's a groundless claim with no more reasons to believe it than a belief in God would merit.
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« Reply #54 on: January 02, 2011, 12:34:55 AM »

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.

One needs to look that the view I hold is no new view, but an ancient one held by my own Alexandrian Church, and even before Christianity, by Philo the Jew of Alexandria, who we have received influence from.

http://tertullian.org/fathers/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm

So, I'm keeping with an Orthodox tradition of the Church

Judaism cannot really give a reason for the story of Abraham and Isaac other than a faithful and obedient man.  We see this story as the Father sending His only True Begotten Son to die on the wood for us.
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« Reply #55 on: January 02, 2011, 12:37:30 AM »

I wasn't aware that there were "billions" who considered themselves Abraham's "followers".

Billions of people are in the three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), so most of them are followers of Abraham.

And you still believe you're applying logic and reason?  What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?

Quote
If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.
That's a liberal view you have, and I commend you for it, but you hold a fringe position; most believes hold the bible as inerrant, and believe the story of Abraham to be a literal historical event.

Once again mistaking Orthodoxy for Protestantism.  This is not a fringe position within Orthodoxy for we do not hold the Bible to be inerrant.
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« Reply #56 on: January 02, 2011, 01:03:48 AM »

That's fine, as long as you realize that you're not starting from any more of a "reasonable" place than a theist.
Not all axioms are created equal.

Quote
Because, as you've said before, you demand good reasons to believe something and this worldview is laughably unreasonable.  You have absolutely no grounds to say that you can trust your beliefs and experiences knowing full well that they're "nothing more" than the firing of neurons in the brain.  Unguided, random firings.  I mean, by all means, believe them.  But don't pretend that it's a reasonable position to do so.
I don't trust all my beliefs and experiences -- our brains are good at making things up (like religious experiences), but I think it's generally easy to separate fact from fiction when you apply a little logic and rational thinking.

Our brains aren't random. And what else do you suppose I trust, then? If I can't trust my brain, what can I trust? Oh, yeah, right. A magical sky fairy. Uh huh. I think I'll stick with my brain, thanks.

Also, again: not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that we can generally trust our brains with a reasonable amount of certainty is a much more reasonable one than...well, whatever you want to put in its place.
  
Quote
Nice retort.
Nice retort to my nice retort.

Quote
Sure.  Did I imply otherwise?  Unless of course you think "understanding the world" amounts to no mystery whatsoever and having every single answer.
Why would God make us think he was a cruel one by making evil appear pointless to us when we think logically and rationally?

Quote
The answer:  he did.  And from the Christian point of view, man mucked it up, not God.  If you're asking why God couldn't create a world where man never chose evil, well, you're getting into a different question altogether, one with a pretty obvious answer.
I feel like you ignored what I just said. God can make anything -- ANYTHING -- happen the way he wants it. He could have changed logic and physics. Why couldn't he have made us have free will why still never choosing evil? Why does he punish us for one sin that Adam and Eve committed? And such questions like that.

Quote
I would agree if it weren't for Jesus of Nazareth.  If we ask the question, “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?” and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the whole answer is.  However, we now know what the answer isn’t.  It can’t be that he doesn’t love us.  It can’t be that he is indifferent or detached from our condition.  God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that he was willing to take it on Himself.
So, God sending his son, which was also himself, to sacrifice himself on a cross to "pay" for the sin of simply being born human because our first ancestors ate a piece of fruit from a tree he forbade them to eat from, even know he knew full well that they would still eat it because he's omniscient and all?

Hopefully, I don't need to point out all the problems with this theory. Hint: there's a lot.

Quote
Again, that's fine as long as you realize that it's a groundless claim with no more reasons to believe it than a belief in God would merit.
We must believe that logic and rational thinking are correct. We don't have to have belief in God. Again, not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that god exists is baseless and useless.
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« Reply #57 on: January 02, 2011, 01:06:03 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.
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« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2011, 01:15:55 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



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« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2011, 01:21:45 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.
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« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2011, 01:21:45 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

Abraham didn't found any, sorry.
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« Reply #61 on: January 02, 2011, 01:24:54 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

Abraham didn't found any, sorry.

Well, to be fair, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all called Abrahamic religions for a reason.
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« Reply #62 on: January 02, 2011, 01:27:20 AM »

I don't trust all my beliefs and experiences -- our brains are good at making things up (like religious experiences), but I think it's generally easy to separate fact from fiction when you apply a little logic and rational thinking.

You're missing the larger point.  I'm not talking about fact versus fiction, I'm talking about the very fundamentals of how the brain works and the problems that creates for those who hold a materialistic worldview.

Quote
Our brains aren't random. And what else do you suppose I trust, then? If I can't trust my brain, what can I trust? Oh, yeah, right. A magical sky fairy. Uh huh. I think I'll stick with my brain, thanks.

What do you mean our brains aren't random?  How else could they be from a purely materialistic viewpoint?  I'm not sure what a magical sky fairy is but it sounds cool.

Your "logic" continues to astound me...

Quote
Also, again: not all axioms are created equal. The axiom that we can generally trust our brains with a reasonable amount of certainty is a much more reasonable one than...well, whatever you want to put in its place.

Again, that's fine as long as you realize it's a faith position.  Your faith that our senses and our memories are (usually) reliable, rather than being hallucinations induced by some unknown outside source; your belief that our short-term thought processes are (usually) reliable (that is, that we are sane at all); your belief that the entire universe didn't whisk into existence a second ago (including all of us, with a complete set of fake memories), and won't whisk out of existence a second later; your belief that other bodies which act like ours contain conscious awarenesses like our own (and that the "intensity" with which they feel sensations and emotions can be judged by the complexity of their behavior); so on and so forth.

These little puddle-jumps of faith are the foundation for your reason. I think they are justified. But that reason is really a belief, an act of faith, an acknowledgment that, as humans, we have no "contingency-free" place from where to start at all and no "contingency-free" place on earth to end up at.

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Why would God make us think he was a cruel one by making evil appear pointless to us when we think logically and rationally?

He wouldn't.  

Quote
I feel like you ignored what I just said. God can make anything -- ANYTHING -- happen the way he wants it. He could have changed logic and physics. Why couldn't he have made us have free will why still never choosing evil?

Because...that wouldn't be free will.  Are you serious?

Quote
Why does he punish us for one sin that Adam and Eve committed?

I'm not sure who'd believe such a thing but it sounds atrocious.

Quote
So, God sending his son, which was also himself, to sacrifice himself on a cross to "pay" for the sin of simply being born human because our first ancestors ate a piece of fruit from a tree he forbade them to eat from, even know he knew full well that they would still eat it because he's omniscient and all?

Hopefully, I don't need to point out all the problems with this theory. Hint: there's a lot.

I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!

Quote
We must believe that logic and rational thinking are correct.

Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
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« Reply #63 on: January 02, 2011, 01:28:01 AM »

What does it even mean to "follow Abraham"?
To follow the religions he started.

This must be that dizzying "logic" of yours at work.
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« Reply #64 on: January 02, 2011, 01:47:34 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we have a hermeneutical tradition called Andimpta. It takes many years of study to learn this sacred interpretational method of the Holy Books. I do not pretend to grasp such wisdom. But I do know the basic premise, which is that the Scriptures contain numerous meanings, typologies, allegories, etc. But the historical books are nevertheless historical. Many lessons, applications, and meanings can perhaps be derived from the account of Abraham and Isaac; but in seeking these various meanings we must not discount the historical truth of the event.

You say that if the story were true, then Abraham would be “a crazy and stupid man.”  Well, the atheists and skeptics say we are crazy and stupid people to think that we will go to heaven because we eat the body and blood of Jesus. We Orthodox Christians have even been ridiculed as cannibals and vampires, but shall we discard the literal Truth of the Holy Sacraments in order that we will not appear to be crazy and stupid people? I am afraid that your way of thinking presents a very steep and slippery slope that could lead to the rejection of the very Sacraments upon which our salvation depends. Of course, I know that you would never reject the literalness of the Sacraments (at least I hope not). But if you rely on your own subjective opinion to reject the historicity of the account of Abraham and Isaac as illogical, then it appears quite contradictory to then affirm something equally as “illogical” such as the Holy Sacraments.

We can disagree my brother, and I suspect that we will continue to do so over this matter. I don’t think any less of you because of it, and I pray that you will understand that I mean no judgment or malice towards you.

Selam
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« Reply #65 on: January 02, 2011, 01:52:09 AM »

You're missing the larger point.  I'm not talking about fact versus fiction, I'm talking about the very fundamentals of how the brain works and the problems that creates for those who hold a materialistic worldview.
And I said that I believe that our experiences are usually generally reliable. If I didn't believe so, life wouldn't be worth living.

Quote
What do you mean our brains aren't random?  How else could they be from a purely materialistic viewpoint?
How are our brains random? A stimuli happens. My brain responds. That's not random.

Quote
I'm not sure what a magical sky fairy is but it sounds cool.
Oh, it is.

Quote
Your "logic" continues to astound me...
Thanks, I'm glad my logic astounds you with its brilliance.

Quote
Again, that's fine as long as you realize it's a faith position.  Your faith that our senses and our memories are (usually) reliable, rather than being hallucinations induced by some unknown outside source; your belief that our short-term thought processes are (usually) reliable (that is, that we are sane at all); your belief that the entire universe didn't whisk into existence a second ago (including all of us, with a complete set of fake memories), and won't whisk out of existence a second later; your belief that other bodies which act like ours contain conscious awarenesses like our own (and that the "intensity" with which they feel sensations and emotions can be judged by the complexity of their behavior); so on and so forth.

These little puddle-jumps of faith are the foundation for your reason. I think they are justified. But that reason is really a belief, an act of faith, an acknowledgment that, as humans, we have no "contingency-free" place from where to start at all and no "contingency-free" place on earth to end up at.
I wouldn't call axioms "faith positions", but call them whatever you want, as long as you realize how necessary they are.

Quote
He wouldn't.
But yet he does, assuming he exists and all.  

Quote
Because...that wouldn't be free will.  Are you serious?
AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You are ignoring what I'm saying.

Quote
I'm not sure who'd believe such a thing but it sounds atrocious.
Most people in your religion believe it, actually. Of course, I keep forgetting you don't believe the basis of your religion.

Quote
I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!
Do you not even believe in the story of Jesus then?

Quote
Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
I am not amused.
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« Reply #66 on: January 02, 2011, 02:17:16 AM »

And I said that I believe that our experiences are usually generally reliable. If I didn't believe so, life wouldn't be worth living.

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.

Quote
How are our brains random? A stimuli happens. My brain responds. That's not random.

Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?

Quote
Thanks, I'm glad my logic astounds you with its brilliance.

LOL!

Quote
I wouldn't call axioms "faith positions", but call them whatever you want, as long as you realize how necessary they are.

If it quacks like a duck...

Quote
Quote
He wouldn't.
But yet he does, assuming he exists and all.

As far as suffering goes, though it’s hard to imagine why God would let it happen, my point was that we can always turn to the cross and see that at least God has become part of it, rather than ignore it. This gives Christians hope that somehow, he is working everything into good, even if we don’t understand it.  If a cathedral is bombed, you can still find hints of its original beauty.  Suffering is a very important concept that needs to be dealt with.  The universe doesn’t show a one-sided, unmitigated picture of how things are, total suffering or total joy, etc., so in and of itself, this is not an argument against God, per se, considering we have positive evidence for God.  But the question is, do we have sufficient evidence to trust God in the midst of a universe that has ragged edges.  And that’s what brings us to the cross.  God has come into our world, and taken part in human suffering, and this gives us enough to trust him.

Quote
AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. You are ignoring what I'm saying.

I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...

Quote
Most people in your religion believe it, actually. Of course, I keep forgetting you don't believe the basis of your religion.

It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.

Quote
Quote
I'm afraid the only thing that needs to be pointed out is how someone like yourself can spend this much time on an Orthodox message board and still have absolutely no idea what Orthodox actually believe.  Truly, it's impressive!
Do you not even believe in the story of Jesus then?

What on earth are you talking about?

Quote
Quote
Those neurons of yours must be firing randomly again.
I am not amused.

Not my job to amuse you.
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« Reply #67 on: January 02, 2011, 02:20:34 AM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.

Dear Mina,

Just because a biblical account contains allegory does not mean it's merely allegorical. In your efforts to appear intellectual and relevant to the skeptics, please do not resort to mythologizing the Old Testament.

It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.” God’s ways are not man’s ways; and if we reduce God to that which is comprehensible to finite logic, then we have only created an idol.

I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics. Do you really think that if you mythologize the Bible, embrace an unproven secular scientific theory, and critique the ways of God that you will actually lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and belief in the Holy Mysteries of the Church?

Just something to consider my dear brother. I didn't mean to sound rude.



Selam

Dear Gebre,

Forgive me for disagreeing with you.  I do not mean to sound intellectual or sophisticated on the manner.  I don't do this out of desperation either.  I simply am using human common sense on the subject.  For if the story is true in a literal sense, Abraham would be a crazy and stupid man.

I'm glad for once using this idea was not a new idea, but an ancient and Orthodox idea.  Even if there were no skeptic around to question this story, the Church still found wisdom to allow the teaching that one should use common sense, and understand the way in which these stories are told were for a much higher purpose.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we have a hermeneutical tradition called Andimpta. It takes many years of study to learn this sacred interpretational method of the Holy Books. I do not pretend to grasp such wisdom. But I do know the basic premise, which is that the Scriptures contain numerous meanings, typologies, allegories, etc. But the historical books are nevertheless historical. Many lessons, applications, and meanings can perhaps be derived from the account of Abraham and Isaac; but in seeking these various meanings we must not discount the historical truth of the event.

You say that if the story were true, then Abraham would be “a crazy and stupid man.”  Well, the atheists and skeptics say we are crazy and stupid people to think that we will go to heaven because we eat the body and blood of Jesus. We Orthodox Christians have even been ridiculed as cannibals and vampires, but shall we discard the literal Truth of the Holy Sacraments in order that we will not appear to be crazy and stupid people? I am afraid that your way of thinking presents a very steep and slippery slope that could lead to the rejection of the very Sacraments upon which our salvation depends. Of course, I know that you would never reject the literalness of the Sacraments (at least I hope not). But if you rely on your own subjective opinion to reject the historicity of the account of Abraham and Isaac as illogical, then it appears quite contradictory to then affirm something equally as “illogical” such as the Holy Sacraments.

We can disagree my brother, and I suspect that we will continue to do so over this matter. I don’t think any less of you because of it, and I pray that you will understand that I mean no judgment or malice towards you.

Selam


And under the Alexandrian interpretation, we find it that there are stories interwoven with history to give a full picture of the Holy Spirit's revelation of Christ while not doing harm to human intelligence in the process.  I will leave it at that.

As for the sacraments, I cannot in good conscience compare the story of Abraham to the mysteries of the Church.  The sacraments are mysteries.  The result of partaking of the body and blood of Christ is not the same as partaking of human flesh, for Christ's flesh isn't lessened by it, nor are we given it for mere physical nourishment.  Neither are we partaking of something different from us, for we are mysteriously the body of Christ, and as the canons and liturgy teach, no one can partake of something he is not part of ("the Holies for the Holies").  To compare the mystery of the Eucharist to the story of Abraham does injustice to the Eucharist.  For this particular story of Abraham helps validate the purpose of the salvation of Christ, true or not, but the Eucharist is necessary for our salvation, and damnation to those who partake of it unworthily.

I will not think any less of you either.  This is just my personal and sincere thinking of the matter.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 02:23:53 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #68 on: January 02, 2011, 03:40:16 AM »


Contrary to popular belief, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.


Awesome logical fallacy bro.

What logical fallacy? Drawing a categorical conclusion would constitute a fallacy. The Wiki article is wrong, though, because absence of evidence is a data point in support of the hypothesis that the postulated entity is not there. Indeed, it was precisely this kind of evidence that led to the dropping of the luminiferous ether from our models of the universe, because if it existed, it would have left specific evidence which, when sought, was not found. In any case where the entity is properly defined, it is absolutely valid to infer absence from lack of evidence.

What absence of evidence is not is 'proof' of absence, but it is evidence. If you read the Wiki article fully, it actually makes a distinction and describes circumstances in which such inductive reasoning is important. Again, I would warn against drawing any categorical conclusions.

If I just went by the definitions that most people use to describe a god, I have no issue with saying that I know it is false. It is logically impossible for the Jewish/Christian/Muslim God to exist and yet I am led to believe that saying this deity is impossible makes me the jerk. Also since this Jewish/Christian/Muslim God does not exist it's because he has been given logically absurd and impossible attributes, but they don't cover all possible conceptions of deity.

The Judeo-Christian conception is not even a representative conception of deity in reality. It is only one of many, many conceptions of deity. Not all of them are logically absurd, although every single one I ever came across failed the test of parsimony. That's not to say, though, that a conception doesn't exist that is logical and parsimonious. This is another of those things that falls under the rubric of Hume's problem of induction.
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« Reply #69 on: January 02, 2011, 04:05:41 AM »

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.
Axioms are completely logical. They may be "faith" positions, but, like I've already said like, three times, they're completely necessary, which makes them logical and rational. Stop trying to say they aren't. They are.

Quote
Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?
You mean evolution? That's not random. And even if our brains are a result of random processes, this does not make them random themselves.

Quote
LOL!
Yes, the truth can be quite hilarious.

Quote
If it quacks like a duck...
Like I said, call them what you will, but they aren't illogical.

Quote
Blah blah blah I have faith blah blah blah considering we have positive evidence for God blah blah blah God is good blah blah blah.
Whoa, wait a second -- positive evidence for God? Care to share some of this "evidence"?

Quote
I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...
I'm saying that God didn't have to make things the way they are. Why is not having free will bad?

Quote
It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.
Ah, okay.

Quote
What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

Quote
Not my job to amuse you.
Then what the heck am I paying you for?

...Oh, right. I don't pay you. It's not your job to do anything at this forum.

You are purely based on faith. If I want to know what you think I'll read the bible and then read some transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church.

If I want to open up your mind I would have to get my ideas published in the bible or the transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church. You do not afford yourself the luxiory of thinking.

You seem very intelligent however your logic seems illogical. I like that you try to introduce the concept that logic and reasoning are simply beliefs, however I don't agree on this. I do get a bit frustrated with regards to my conversations with you because your responses with regards to your stance do often get mixed up with the stance of your Orthodoxy. I would like to view you as an individual but you do not afford me that luxiury.

I was surprised with regards to Achronos' stance on thinking so have posted something that I was hoping would get a reaction, I was hoping he would backtrack and suggest that he does engage his own brain towards thinking things through rather than strictly adhere to what he is told by his spiritual advisors. I am sure he is a thinker so maybe he has a little bit of devil in him.

If he doesn't think then it seems to be a waste of god's gift (his intellect and reasoning capacity) to him.
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« Reply #70 on: January 02, 2011, 04:33:22 AM »

If the universe is intelligible, it is impossible for a being to begin to exist in time unless another being caused it to exist. Likewise, if the universe is intelligible, an infinite being exists.

It is irrational to say God doesn't existence because there is no need to make a decision about God's existence. The only decision that has to be made is whether or not to believe in revelation. The part about God existing is a no-brainer.
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« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2011, 11:20:56 AM »

Quote
It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.”

I'm sorry, but I also see it the opposite. I think it is dangerous to simply drop one's God-given capacity for logic and sense in order to believe in an ancient religious text in a literal way. Literalism leads to fundamentalism, and that can lead to all kinds of terrible things. Choosing this route also leads to ignoring things like scientific facts (or at least mountains of scientific evidence) whenever they contradict one's literal scripture interpretation. This, in turn, leads to a refusal to engage in relevant discourse with the secular world... not to mention cognitive dissonance. 

Quote
I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics.


I also often see Christians desperately rejecting intellectual honesty and refusing to acknowledge sound arguments or scientific evidence in order to maintain a literal interpretation of a thousands-year-old religious text.

How can someone come to any sense of the truth regarding any matter if someone adheres inflexibly to one view (e.g. a literal interpretation of Genesis) and refuses anything, evidential or not, that contradicts this view? This is not truth, but verges on a kind of fanaticism, I daresay.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 11:27:46 AM by stavros_388 » Logged

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« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2011, 11:45:23 AM »

Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 

Such indulgences usually only make you miserable if you've let someone hoodwink you into feeling guilty for no good reason. That's been my experience, anyway.

Btw, five star thread, would read again  police
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« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2011, 01:50:45 PM »

Logic might tell me that one girl will make me happier while the other turns me on more, it's my preference as to whether or not I'd prefer happiness or miserable indulgence. 

Such indulgences usually only make you miserable if you've let someone hoodwink you into feeling guilty for no good reason. That's been my experience, anyway.

Btw, five star thread, would read again  police

I was thinking more in the sense of long term relationship.  It's been my experience that the girls that tend to be most sexually attractive (not just pretty, in other ways as well) are also the ones most capable of making your life a living hell.
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« Reply #74 on: January 02, 2011, 02:02:24 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.
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« Reply #75 on: January 02, 2011, 02:46:21 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Excellent point.  A story to refute the sacrifice of children.  I can agree to that.
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« Reply #76 on: January 02, 2011, 03:18:33 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]
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« Reply #77 on: January 02, 2011, 03:47:11 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Yet another fine example of your impeccable logic and reason.  I've never encountered such clear thinking!  It's truly refreshing!  Please, please keep it coming!  It's so...nuanced and balanced and I'd even dare say sophisticated in its magnitude of understanding and depth.  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.

I'd have never worked on that dang Bible degree hanging on my wall had I known this is what the Bible taught.  How did I not know this after the 5 years I spent studying every book in detail?  Thank you for freeing my mind!
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« Reply #78 on: January 02, 2011, 03:49:52 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Oh noes!  God doesn't display the watered-down, cowardly, namby-pamby definition of love preferred by a 21st century quasi-rationalist!  He says things that are hard to understand, and can't be tweeted!  He actually wants us to think AND feel, and we can barely chew gum and walk at the same time!  Abandon faith, folks!

[Context?  If you think goat-herders are anything but hard-minded rationalists of the first degree, you haven't met any goat-herders.  And if you think daily life isn't apocalyptic, then you've a) never tried to struggle against yourself and b) have yet to realize that big, dramatic end could be tomorrow for anyone.  For an example of people taking modern atheistic superstitions to heart, go into any inner city wearing a brand new pair of nikes and a lot of gold (or just ask a group of teenagers in a small-town Florida movie theater to please not talk during the movie).  ]
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« Reply #79 on: January 02, 2011, 05:26:28 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.
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« Reply #80 on: January 02, 2011, 05:34:59 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Excellent point.  A story to refute the sacrifice of children.  I can agree to that.

I can agree to that as well.

Selam
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« Reply #81 on: January 02, 2011, 05:36:02 PM »

I had a point in mind, but forget it because now he claims Sleeper is playing "chess" with him? You've been checkmated many a time in the past my friend...
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« Reply #82 on: January 02, 2011, 05:42:30 PM »

Quote
It is dangerous to judge the Scriptures and the Author of the Scriptures by the criteria of human logic or your subjective opinion of what constitutes a “right mind.”

I'm sorry, but I also see it the opposite. I think it is dangerous to simply drop one's God-given capacity for logic and sense in order to believe in an ancient religious text in a literal way. Literalism leads to fundamentalism, and that can lead to all kinds of terrible things. Choosing this route also leads to ignoring things like scientific facts (or at least mountains of scientific evidence) whenever they contradict one's literal scripture interpretation. This, in turn, leads to a refusal to engage in relevant discourse with the secular world... not to mention cognitive dissonance. 

Quote
I often see Christians desperately trying to prove themselves to be relevant, logical, and intellectually sophisticated in the eyes of atheists and skeptics.


I also often see Christians desperately rejecting intellectual honesty and refusing to acknowledge sound arguments or scientific evidence in order to maintain a literal interpretation of a thousands-year-old religious text.

How can someone come to any sense of the truth regarding any matter if someone adheres inflexibly to one view (e.g. a literal interpretation of Genesis) and refuses anything, evidential or not, that contradicts this view? This is not truth, but verges on a kind of fanaticism, I daresay.

I never said that we should jettison logic or always interpret the Bible literally. The ways of God are not contrary to human logic, but they often transcend human logic. Therefore, we should not make human logic the final arbiter of divine Truth.

As for the Bible, we have to recognize that it is comprised of historical, parabolic, epistlary, poetic, and prophetic liteature. To intepret the poetic as historical or the historical as epistlary is what leads to all manner of heresies, including fundamentalism. 

Selam 
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« Reply #83 on: January 02, 2011, 05:50:18 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

Quote
It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 05:50:58 PM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #84 on: January 02, 2011, 05:52:47 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.
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« Reply #85 on: January 02, 2011, 05:59:37 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
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« Reply #86 on: January 02, 2011, 06:11:21 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

Quote
It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
Once again, you seem so keen on showing that you have no individual thoughts of your own. I guess you don't want the Devil to take over your brain because, you know, that's what will happen if you start to think.

I'm ready to keep going on if you respond to my post.
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« Reply #87 on: January 02, 2011, 06:12:26 PM »

  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
That's not what a strawman is.
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« Reply #88 on: January 02, 2011, 06:15:52 PM »

*sigh*

Sleeper is playing chess with my responses. Sometimes you flank and sometimes you make a full-on assault. I'll pretend a full-on assault in this case to illustrate.

Which response are you referring to?  Had you presented any sort of reasonable argument in your childish diatribe against what you think Orthodox Christians believe (which I'm still baffled by, considering how much effort many kind people on this forum have exerted in trying to correct you) I could've responded with much less sarcasm.  But alas, such was not the case.

Quote
SLEEPER: Jesus Christ is axiomatic for me. He is necessary for my happiness and my salvation. My faith in Him is therefore logical and rational.

My faith in Christ is logical and rational, not because it's axiomatic, but because it's the fruit of historical inquiry, philosophy, scientific inquiry and personal experience; i.e. the way everyone comes to conclusions about anything.

Quote
At this point your head (if it's like mine) explodes.

The problem with the above imaginary response is that it treats the word necessary differently from how you meant it. When you said necessary you meant absolutely necessary, such that, without certain axioms life could not in any sense proceed, because all motion, all decision-making, all strategic or logistical thought would be paralysed. To seriously and comprehensively question the validity of logical empiricism leads inexorably to complete paralysis. That's what you meant when you said necessary. Call it strong necessity. But in the chess game, your word will be warped so as to imply, instead, weak necessity, of the sort that could include, say, comic books as necessary for the happiness of the comic book fanatic, or the sacrament of baptism as necessary for salvation.

Do you live on a farm?  Because the endless amount of straw you seem to have available for these caricatures of yours is remarkable!

Let me know when you're actually ready and willing to engage serious ideas.

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It's pointless to engage with you. You aren't really conversing. You're playing chess.

I love chess.  But truly, how do you expect to converse with someone when you're so unwilling to understand where they're coming from?  I've mentioned it in almost every single post, and you never address it, but seriously, I'm shocked at what you still think Orthodox Christians believe.  Do you realize you've not once provided a response to anything I actually believe?  Tell me how this supposed conversation you want to have is supposed to happen under these circumstances?  Because I, and everyone else here, are obviously willing to engage you and yet you keep copying and pasting ramblings that have absolutely no bearing on what anyone here says.  Forgive us if we find it tiring...
Once again, you seem so keen on showing that you have no individual thoughts of your own. I guess you don't want the Devil to take over your brain because, you know, that's what will happen if you start to think.

And once again you refuse to address the fact that you've not presented anything Orthodox Christians actually believe.  Do that and we can proceed...

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I'm ready to keep going on if you respond to my post.

Which one?  I thought I had replied to all of them.  I mean, the last few have been attempts at humor in trying to make a caricature of what I believe, but I don't believe much of what you posted so I'm not sure what needs to be responded to...

 The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
Don't feel ashamed Sleeper, the bible is a very difficult read, some parts are to be taken literally, others are not, however there is no indication as to which is which. I am very smart and yet a friendly person and I am sure will provide you in assistance with understanding the true meaning of the bible. But first you need to open your mind, stop the nagging criticism and rational thoughts that you have and simply have faith with regards to what I tell you. It is through opening yourself to my explainations that you will truley get to know and understand the word of god. I know this through my faith, it is the essence of what I am, have faith my friend, it is the only thing you can trust. You can not trust your thoughts they are simply random firings that have been compromised by the devil himself. You must simply trust and have faith in what you are told.

Scarecrow, is that you?  I haven't seen you since the Yellow Brick Road!
That's not what a strawman is.

I thought he was a man made out of straw  Wink
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 06:17:28 PM by Sleeper » Logged
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« Reply #89 on: January 02, 2011, 06:19:02 PM »

This right here Sleeper:

And I said that you have no grounds to believe this, which is fine, but don't pretend that it's a logical position to hold.  You keep rambling on and on about how materialistic atheism is somehow a logical and reasonable conclusion, when it is anything but.  Yes, it's an axiom, but that does not excuse it from being a faith position.
Axioms are completely logical. They may be "faith" positions, but, like I've already said like, three times, they're completely necessary, which makes them logical and rational. Stop trying to say they aren't. They are.

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Materialism says that life is the product of random, unguided processes.  This would include the neurological structure of the brain, i.e. how the brain works.  If you deny this, then what do you propose in its place?
You mean evolution? That's not random. And even if our brains are a result of random processes, this does not make them random themselves.

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LOL!
Yes, the truth can be quite hilarious.

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If it quacks like a duck...
Like I said, call them what you will, but they aren't illogical.

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Blah blah blah I have faith blah blah blah considering we have positive evidence for God blah blah blah God is good blah blah blah.
Whoa, wait a second -- positive evidence for God? Care to share some of this "evidence"?

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I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...
I'm saying that God didn't have to make things the way they are. Why is not having free will bad?

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It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.
Ah, okay.

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What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

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Not my job to amuse you.
Then what the heck am I paying you for?

...Oh, right. I don't pay you. It's not your job to do anything at this forum.

You are purely based on faith. If I want to know what you think I'll read the bible and then read some transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church.

If I want to open up your mind I would have to get my ideas published in the bible or the transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church. You do not afford yourself the luxiory of thinking.

You seem very intelligent however your logic seems illogical. I like that you try to introduce the concept that logic and reasoning are simply beliefs, however I don't agree on this. I do get a bit frustrated with regards to my conversations with you because your responses with regards to your stance do often get mixed up with the stance of your Orthodoxy. I would like to view you as an individual but you do not afford me that luxiury.

I was surprised with regards to Achronos' stance on thinking so have posted something that I was hoping would get a reaction, I was hoping he would backtrack and suggest that he does engage his own brain towards thinking things through rather than strictly adhere to what he is told by his spiritual advisors. I am sure he is a thinker so maybe he has a little bit of devil in him.

If he doesn't think then it seems to be a waste of god's gift (his intellect and reasoning capacity) to him.
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« Reply #90 on: January 02, 2011, 06:23:31 PM »

If the universe is intelligible, it is impossible for a being to begin to exist in time unless another being caused it to exist. Likewise, if the universe is intelligible, an infinite being exists.

I guess you need to define 'intelligible', for one thing quantum mechanics makes the traditional notion of direct causality a little naive. Then there's this linear notion of time you have which seems to ignore general relativity. Does a black hole exist 'in time'? Even though within the event horizon time passes at an infinite rate relative to our time of reference and time never passes for us relative to its frame of reference? Do you even understand what time is?

If you want to discuss these things, let's at least start from the science of the 1920's and progress from there. That was nearly a hundred years ago now, for the sake of these discussions I think we should be able to take the mathematics of Gauss (nearly 200 years ago) and Cantor, Quantum Mechanics, and General Relativity as read. Their implications certainly shouldn't have to be pointed out every time this topic comes up. Undecided
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« Reply #91 on: January 02, 2011, 06:24:34 PM »

I thought he was a man made out of straw  Wink
Please keep this on an amicable level, if you disagree with "my" logic or what I have said I am happy to hear what the flaws are in the logic. There is no need to resort to personal insults. If your intent was to insult me then you have suceeded, I feel insulted however I refuse to respond in kind.
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« Reply #92 on: January 02, 2011, 06:53:02 PM »

Axioms are completely logical. They may be "faith" positions, but, like I've already said like, three times, they're completely necessary, which makes them logical and rational. Stop trying to say they aren't. They are.

What I'm addressing is the double standard materialists have.  You said earlier that religious experiences are basically the brain playing tricks on you, and materialists will outright reject the experiences of people who believe in God because they don't think they're trustworthy.  I'm applying the logic right back on you in the sense that you have no reason to trust your experiences anymore than a believer's experience of God.

In large part, I'm actually agreeing with you.  We have to start somewhere.  My point is that you're in no position to assert that the religious experiences of people aren't something to be trusted.  You're in no position to scoff at people for believing in Jesus Christ because they claim to have had a genuine experience of him.

I follow what is known as the Principle of Credulity:  It is rational to accept what experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  We accept what experience tells us in the absence of special reasons not to.

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Blah blah blah I have faith blah blah blah considering we have positive evidence for God blah blah blah God is good blah blah blah.

And you wonder why we find it tiresome interacting with you...

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Whoa, wait a second -- positive evidence for God? Care to share some of this "evidence"?

I did.  In another thread, to which you replied, "I got nothing. The only logical conclusion I have is he did Resurrect."  Oh, but then you meandered on over to your favorite "debunking" site and were "convinced" by someone else.  Pretty rich coming from someone who is always harping on "thinking for one's self."

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I'm not ignoring anything.  You're just not saying anything...
I'm saying that God didn't have to make things the way they are. Why is not having free will bad?

Because love is not possible without it.

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It's not the only thing you apparently keep forgetting.  I can't count the number of times people on these boards have told you that Orthodox do not believe in this notion of Original Sin and Atonement that you think we do.  It's not the basis for anything in our faith.
Ah, okay.

Still waiting for this to be addressed...

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What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

To defeat death.  Orthodox Christians do not believe in the imputation of "original sin."  We are only accountable for our own sins.  But that's beside the point.

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You are purely based on faith. If I want to know what you think I'll read the bible and then read some transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church.

If I want to open up your mind I would have to get my ideas published in the bible or the transcription of that written by the Orthodoxy Church. You do not afford yourself the luxiory of thinking.

You seem very intelligent however your logic seems illogical. I like that you try to introduce the concept that logic and reasoning are simply beliefs, however I don't agree on this. I do get a bit frustrated with regards to my conversations with you because your responses with regards to your stance do often get mixed up with the stance of your Orthodoxy. I would like to view you as an individual but you do not afford me that luxiury.

I was surprised with regards to Achronos' stance on thinking so have posted something that I was hoping would get a reaction, I was hoping he would backtrack and suggest that he does engage his own brain towards thinking things through rather than strictly adhere to what he is told by his spiritual advisors. I am sure he is a thinker so maybe he has a little bit of devil in him.

If he doesn't think then it seems to be a waste of god's gift (his intellect and reasoning capacity) to him.

And the caricatures continue...
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« Reply #93 on: January 02, 2011, 06:54:30 PM »

I thought he was a man made out of straw  Wink
Please keep this on an amicable level, if you disagree with "my" logic or what I have said I am happy to hear what the flaws are in the logic. There is no need to resort to personal insults. If your intent was to insult me then you have suceeded, I feel insulted however I refuse to respond in kind.

Um, how is saying the Wizard of Oz's Strawman is a man made out straw in any way a personal insult to you?
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« Reply #94 on: January 02, 2011, 07:27:17 PM »

What I'm addressing is the double standard materialists have.  You said earlier that religious experiences are basically the brain playing tricks on you, and materialists will outright reject the experiences of people who believe in God because they don't think they're trustworthy.  I'm applying the logic right back on you in the sense that you have no reason to trust your experiences anymore than a believer's experience of God.

In large part, I'm actually agreeing with you.  We have to start somewhere.  My point is that you're in no position to assert that the religious experiences of people aren't something to be trusted.  You're in no position to scoff at people for believing in Jesus Christ because they claim to have had a genuine experience of him.

I follow what is known as the Principle of Credulity:  It is rational to accept what experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  We accept what experience tells us in the absence of special reasons not to.
And now I'm going to attempt to bring this back on you. Do you accept the religious experiences people of other religions claim to have as true? Do you accept the extra-terrestrial experiences people claim to have as true?

I actually agree with your last paragraph. I think the reason "It's been proven how easy this stuff is to make up and it's super crazy" is a good enough reason to distrust them, not to mention the lack of evidence.

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And you wonder why we find it tiresome interacting with you...
Same for you, buddy.

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I did.  In another thread, to which you replied, "I got nothing. The only logical conclusion I have is he did Resurrect."  Oh, but then you meandered on over to your favorite "debunking" site and were "convinced" by someone else.  Pretty rich coming from someone who is always harping on "thinking for one's self."
Ugh, the Jesus story debate. I don't want to even get into that.

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Because love is not possible without it.
Why? Who made this the way it is?

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Still waiting for this to be addressed...
I acknowledged that I did not know this, and so I withdraw my original argument.

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What on earth are you talking about?
Why did Jesus have to die, if not to correct original sin?

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To defeat death.  Orthodox Christians do not believe in the imputation of "original sin."  We are only accountable for our own sins.  But that's beside the point.
To defeat death? Huh? Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #95 on: January 02, 2011, 09:23:48 PM »

If the universe is intelligible, it is impossible for a being to begin to exist in time unless another being caused it to exist. Likewise, if the universe is intelligible, an infinite being exists.

I guess you need to define 'intelligible', for one thing quantum mechanics makes the traditional notion of direct causality a little naive. Then there's this linear notion of time you have which seems to ignore general relativity. Does a black hole exist 'in time'? Even though within the event horizon time passes at an infinite rate relative to our time of reference and time never passes for us relative to its frame of reference? Do you even understand what time is?

If you want to discuss these things, let's at least start from the science of the 1920's and progress from there. That was nearly a hundred years ago now, for the sake of these discussions I think we should be able to take the mathematics of Gauss (nearly 200 years ago) and Cantor, Quantum Mechanics, and General Relativity as read. Their implications certainly shouldn't have to be pointed out every time this topic comes up. Undecided
Time cannot exactly be defined without controversy. Stephen Hawking has postulated that time began after the Big Bang, and even if time was before the Big Bang it would be meaningless. For example the "Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems" require the existence of a singularity at the beginning of cosmic time. However, these theorems assume that general relativity is correct, but general relativity must break down before the universe reaches the Planck temperature, and a correct treatment of quantum gravity may avoid the singularity. Now the "Hartle-Hawking boundary condition" in which the whole of space-time is finite; the Big Bang does represent the limit of time, but without the need for a singularity.

However that last account is theory at the moment, and that theorom states that it may avoid the need of a singularity. However if we took the opposite that a singularity is needed, I would propse that the 'singularity' is God.

On the "intelligeble universe"? "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible"- Einstein.  I think it means that everything about the universe is knowable. No matter how esoteric or mathematically complicated or counter-intuitive, it can all be figured out.

Einstein was marveling at the order we find in the universe and our ability to come up with clever ways to understand the things and phenomena we see. He might have even entertained the notion of a divine creator who created the universe in such a way that intelligent beings could discover all of its secrets. This is exactly why Einstein reached the point of an ocean of metaphysics, this is exactly why we have super string theories, multiverses, and unification theories.

So since we have an intelligible universe; the fabric of reality is built out of eternal mathematical truth. Going back to Einstein's quote, the so-called "anthropic principle" and that we would not be here to ask this question unless the universe had enough order for complicated creatures like us to evolve. So therefore we have a cause for the existence by someone that caused its being to exist. Therefore, like Einstein alluded to, there is an infinite, eternal, Creator behind this order.
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« Reply #96 on: January 02, 2011, 09:49:28 PM »

Was He willing to prevent evil, and thus negate any choice man would make?  No, for that would not have been Love.  Instead He chose to overcome evil with Good.
I'm not sure if I addressed this earlier since I've been having convos with Sleeper. So let me get this straight. God loves us because he would not prevent evil. How does this concept work? Even if I accept that this really enabled free will somehow, how can you say God loves anyone when he allowed so many good, God fearing people to suffer because of evil? Why not prevent these peoples suffering by the hands of the evil? Because of Gods allowance of a choice many people suffer greatly. This is malevolent. There is no real choice to be made however.

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He does not fit in any little a=b boxes we try to place Him in, rather He tells us He is neither a, nor b, nor even c, that a only equals b from our limited perception, and that c is greater than we could imagine.
This is a very telling argument. This, to me, is almost an admission of your own lack of knowledge (don't worry, there is none to be had). God is always something real and tangible until we review him closely. When we get to the details he gets more and more fuzzy and more and more contradictory. What you really seem to be saying here is, "There are some things that may be contradictory about God but we are only seeing a small part of a bigger picture." I completely reject this notion. God is always greater than we can imagine when we ask questions. There is always suppose to be some much greater meaning that we simply do not get. If you believe that, then what makes you so sure that you know anything about God? If the revealed words of God are not enough for us to understand him how can we be held accountable for disbelieving him? More importantly, what esoteric knowledge do you posses that allows you to know what is in Gods mind, if he fits into no boxes we can place around him? If our ways of observing the world cannot detect or understand him there is no reason to assume he exists.
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« Reply #97 on: January 02, 2011, 11:10:57 PM »

Was He willing to prevent evil, and thus negate any choice man would make?  No, for that would not have been Love.  Instead He chose to overcome evil with Good.
I'm not sure if I addressed this earlier since I've been having convos with Sleeper. So let me get this straight. God loves us because he would not prevent evil. How does this concept work? Even if I accept that this really enabled free will somehow, how can you say God loves anyone when he allowed so many good, God fearing people to suffer because of evil? Why not prevent these peoples suffering by the hands of the evil? Because of Gods allowance of a choice many people suffer greatly. This is malevolent. There is no real choice to be made however.


If we accept the Biblical narrative about the Fall, we find that evil only exists because of man.  In fact, evil is an action, not something that happens.  There are things that happen that are tragic, such as calamities, plagues, and famines and such, but in a good vs evil debate these don't rise to the level of evil.  In fact, if it weren't for our fear of death (whether it's the fear of damnation, or the fear of total non-existence) events would have no sense of tragedy to them at all.  If everyone knew for certain that after you die you go to a place even better than the one you know now (I hear there's pie) death would not be mourned, but celebrated.

Evil requires an action.  It takes a rather twisted humanity to turn tragic circumstances into evil circumstances.  A hurricane might kill a few, a disease might cause some suffering.  It takes humanity to force people to live under deprived conditions, to ensure that death involves as much suffering as possible, to send people off to gulags to wait in fear of execution.  Animals might kill for food, or to protect territory and mating rights, it takes a human to kill for an I-pod.

It exists because man is given the freedom to choose, he can choose God and the good and life, or he can choose evil and death.  There is no other way that would allow for choice.  God is good, to reject Him is evil.  It couldn't be a choice between God and ice-cream, for the opposite of God is not ice-cream.

The only way for God to not allow evil would be if God were to not allow humans.  We could perhaps argue if it were better for God to not have created humans, but if the answer is that God is evil because He created humanity, then the only answer is mass genocide of the species.  That'll show Him.

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He does not fit in any little a=b boxes we try to place Him in, rather He tells us He is neither a, nor b, nor even c, that a only equals b from our limited perception, and that c is greater than we could imagine.
This is a very telling argument. This, to me, is almost an admission of your own lack of knowledge (don't worry, there is none to be had). God is always something real and tangible until we review him closely. When we get to the details he gets more and more fuzzy and more and more contradictory. What you really seem to be saying here is, "There are some things that may be contradictory about God but we are only seeing a small part of a bigger picture." I completely reject this notion. God is always greater than we can imagine when we ask questions. There is always suppose to be some much greater meaning that we simply do not get. If you believe that, then what makes you so sure that you know anything about God? If the revealed words of God are not enough for us to understand him how can we be held accountable for disbelieving him? More importantly, what esoteric knowledge do you posses that allows you to know what is in Gods mind, if he fits into no boxes we can place around him? If our ways of observing the world cannot detect or understand him there is no reason to assume he exists.
[/quote]

To echo others on here, I don't think you really have comprehended yet what Orthodox teaching is.  God is in essence unknowable.  We can know He exists, we can know certain things about His existence by His revelation, and in conjunction with that revelation we can determine certain things about Him from creation. 

But, don't misunderstand, it's not that when we get to the details He gets more fuzzy.  It's that when we get to the details He gets more complex.  And this is so with anything.  Anything seems simple enough when you take it on face value, it's when you start asking questions, delving into answers, that more questions are bred. 

Take anything in the natural world.  A human being seems simple enough at first, then you start examining each part.  You go underneath the skin and find a host of bones, connected by ligament and powered by muscles.  Behind those bones is a brain and heart.  Delve further under a microscope and you find all sorts of cells.  Then you reach DNA.  And even DNA is constructed of even tinier pieces.  But you don't find these things out until you accept that a thing called a man can exist. 

We could have never realized the complexity of bacteria and virii until we stopped questioning that tiny invisible particles can cause diseases, and we started looking for them instead.

Even better, take that dizzying world of Quantum Physics.  The more questions we answer, the more questions pop up.  We have more questions about the nature of reality with all of our answers than the Greek philosophers could have dreamed of.

It is even more so with God.  The more I know God the more I realize just how unknowable He is.  Knowing He is Good is a good starting point, then I find there is more to goodness than I ever imagined.  Right did Milton tell us that "How Awful goodness is." 

Fortunately, we don't have to understand Him.  But even this is not surprising.  I cannot even begin to understand a fellow human being, the second I think I do they do something so shockingly surprising (good, bad, or just unusual) that I am left puzzled.  When you get right down to it, I don't even understand myself all the time, I am constantly doing things (good, bad, or unusual) that I never would have thought myself capable of.  Know what's in God's mind?  My good fellow, if I could just know what's in your mind it would be a miracle!  But you don't need to understand someone to have a relationship with them.  You can understand some things about them, the rest you take on faith.  I understand that my friend is occasionally grouchy because his father abused him, I have faith that if I'm in a pickle he'll be the first one to get my back (faith within reason, he's had my back since day one).  I understand that God is terribly good, I have faith (within reason because of the Incarnation) that He will make me good as well.
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« Reply #98 on: January 02, 2011, 11:19:55 PM »

I tried to edit my original post, but I could not. So I had to make a new one.
What I'm addressing is the double standard materialists have.  You said earlier that religious experiences are basically the brain playing tricks on you, and materialists will outright reject the experiences of people who believe in God because they don't think they're trustworthy.  I'm applying the logic right back on you in the sense that you have no reason to trust your experiences anymore than a believer's experience of God.

So you employed a different full-on attack than the one I suggested you might, but you used the same essential tactic. When you or I say experiences we mean, "information gleaned from the senses." In the quote above, you are using the same word, experiences, but you don't mean information gleaned from the senses. You mean information gleaned from emotion and intuition. You may mention logic, but logic needs premises, and religious premises come from emotion and intuition, either one's own or someone else's. I reject out of hand any notion that emotion or intuition provide data, as they can only suggest hypotheses to be tested by the senses - and you know I reject that notion out of hand because I have been telling you that from day one. What the senses cannot detect isn't knowledge. This isn't some weird arbitrary stance I take. Emotion and intuition provide questions, not answers. I love questions. But answers about reality come only from the senses. You think otherwise and therein lies the epistemological divide that can never be bridged. All I can do is keep lobbing grenades at one another. My grenades say, "Senses!" yours say, "Emotion and intuition!" And so it goes.

Now sometimes you'll employ a flanking maneuver, and start talking about the history, tradition, and authority of your church, but if I press you hard enough for what these ultimately rest on, you'll answer that they're based on religious experiences, by which you mean, emotion and intuition, since you can't possibly mean the senses. You acceptsthe history, tradition, and authority of your church because of your own emotional and intuitive experiences, and those of your advisors, and those of a long line of people stretching backwards two thousand years into the past, all of which you consider to be evidence, and none of which I consider to be evidence, because none of it is derived from the senses, and only the senses provide evidence. Once again, we lob grenades over the divide. Mine say, "Senses!" Yours say, "Emotion and intuition!" And so it goes.

So then I say, "Wait a minute, Muslims have religious experiences too! Why should we believe yours and not theirs?" You scoff at this, of course, because, unlike me, you consider emotion and intuition to be sources of answers rather than questions, and, of course, answers can be true or false. For you, then, it is perfectly appropriate for you emotions and intuitions, your answers, to be true, while a Muslim's emotions and intuitions, a Muslim's answers, are false, and not just a Muslim's, but a Jew's also, and not just theirs, but a Catholic's or Protestant's, even a Catholic's or Protestant's, fellow Christians though they are. This is ludicrous to me, because, where reality is concerned, we deem the senses to be the sole arbiters of what is true and what is false. Once again, we lob grenades over the divide. Mine say, "Senses!" Yours say, "Emotion and intuition!" And so it goes.

The above three paragraphs summarize pages and pages of going back and forth and round and round. No resolution is available. You won't accept the senses as the sole arbiters of truth or falsehood about reality, and I won't accept anything other than that. The divide remains tall and thick and insurmountable and will remain so forever.
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« Reply #99 on: January 02, 2011, 11:53:45 PM »

Btw, five star thread, would read again  police

Agree!
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« Reply #100 on: January 02, 2011, 11:55:04 PM »

If we accept the Biblical narrative about the Fall, we find that evil only exists because of man.
And God let evil exist because of man.

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In fact, evil is an action, not something that happens.
Uh, an action is something that happens...

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There are things that happen that are tragic, such as calamities, plagues, and famines and such, but in a good vs evil debate these don't rise to the level of evil.
Yes, natural disasters that take potentially thousands, maybe even millions, of lives aren't evil. Not at all.

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In fact, if it weren't for our fear of death (whether it's the fear of damnation, or the fear of total non-existence) events would have no sense of tragedy to them at all.
Who gave us our fear of death?

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If everyone knew for certain that after you die you go to a place even better than the one you know now (I hear there's pie) death would not be mourned, but celebrated.
This is demonstrably false. Christians and other theists who sincerely believe they are going to heaven when they die are just as afraid and saddened at death as anyone else.

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Evil requires an action.
True.

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It takes a rather twisted humanity to turn tragic circumstances into evil circumstances.  A hurricane might kill a few, a disease might cause some suffering.  It takes humanity to force people to live under deprived conditions, to ensure that death involves as much suffering as possible, to send people off to gulags to wait in fear of execution.  Animals might kill for food, or to protect territory and mating rights, it takes a human to kill for an I-pod.
And God made humans. What does this say about him?

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It exists because man is given the freedom to choose, he can choose God and the good and life, or he can choose evil and death.
 
Why must he choose between these two things? Why can't he still be good without God? Why does he have the ability to reject God? Why does he have abilities that, when utilized, point towards no God?

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There is no other way that would allow for choice.
Why is choice good?

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God is good, to reject Him is evil.
Why?

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It couldn't be a choice between God and ice-cream, for the opposite of God is not ice-cream.
Why not?

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The only way for God to not allow evil would be if God were to not allow humans.
Why?

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We could perhaps argue if it were better for God to not have created humans, but if the answer is that God is evil because He created humanity, then the only answer is mass genocide of the species.  That'll show Him.
Why did God have to create humans the way they are?

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To echo others on here, I don't think you really have comprehended yet what Orthodox teaching is.  God is in essence unknowable.
Why?

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We can know He exists, we can know certain things about His existence by His revelation, and in conjunction with that revelation we can determine certain things about Him from creation.
Why can't we know more? 

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It is even more so with God.  The more I know God the more I realize just how unknowable He is.  Knowing He is Good is a good starting point, then I find there is more to goodness than I ever imagined.  Right did Milton tell us that "How Awful goodness is." 
If you accept that God is good from the start, then anything he does is good automatically, making the word "good" useless when talking about God.

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Fortunately, we don't have to understand Him.  But even this is not surprising.  I cannot even begin to understand a fellow human being, the second I think I do they do something so shockingly surprising (good, bad, or just unusual) that I am left puzzled.  When you get right down to it, I don't even understand myself all the time, I am constantly doing things (good, bad, or unusual) that I never would have thought myself capable of.  Know what's in God's mind?  My good fellow, if I could just know what's in your mind it would be a miracle!  But you don't need to understand someone to have a relationship with them.  You can understand some things about them, the rest you take on faith.  I understand that my friend is occasionally grouchy because his father abused him, I have faith that if I'm in a pickle he'll be the first one to get my back (faith within reason, he's had my back since day one).  I understand that God is terribly good, I have faith (within reason because of the Incarnation) that He will make me good as well.
Why is faith good? Why wouldn't God prize intelligence and rationality more? Why aren't all humans equal?
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« Reply #101 on: January 03, 2011, 01:33:55 AM »

I follow what is known as the Principle of Credulity:  It is rational to accept what experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  We accept what experience tells us in the absence of special reasons not to.
And now I'm going to attempt to bring this back on you. Do you accept the religious experiences people of other religions claim to have as true? Do you accept the extra-terrestrial experiences people claim to have as true?

I accept what a person's experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  Perhaps some examples might help...

Suppose it seems to you that you are looking at a tree.  Your visual experience indicates as much.  Is it rational for you to believe that there is indeed a tree before you?  Under normal circumstances, the answer is yes, of course.  But let's consider two other circumstances.  First, you have been wandering around a desert for days on end, with no water.  You are severely dehydrated.  You have a visual experience that seems to be a refreshing pool of water surrounded by trees.  In this circumstance, you have a good reason to doubt what your visual experience is communicating to you.  You're likely hallucinating.

Second, suppose you see a tree running.  You know trees don't run.  This is absurd.  You have a good reason to believe your visual experience is false.

In the first example, even though you wouldn't question seeing trees and water under normal circumstances, the special circumstances change everything.  In the second example, apart from the circumstances in question, you have a good reason to doubt your visual experience, because you know trees don't run.

The Principle of Credulity tells us, essentially, to give the benefit of the doubt to our experience in the sense of direct awareness.  We accept what our experience tells us when there aren't any good reasons to think otherwise.

When it comes to the religious experience of other people or alien encounters, I'm not willing to make blanket statements so I'd have to look into the details of each case.

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I did.  In another thread, to which you replied, "I got nothing. The only logical conclusion I have is he did Resurrect."  Oh, but then you meandered on over to your favorite "debunking" site and were "convinced" by someone else.  Pretty rich coming from someone who is always harping on "thinking for one's self."
Ugh, the Jesus story debate. I don't want to even get into that.

That's fine, we don't have to.  You asked me a question and I answered it.  Isn't that how this works?

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Because love is not possible without it.
Why? Who made this the way it is?

Why can't God create a rock so heavy he can't lift it?  Do you really want to go down this path?

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Still waiting for this to be addressed...
I acknowledged that I did not know this, and so I withdraw my original argument.

Fair enough.

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To defeat death.  Orthodox Christians do not believe in the imputation of "original sin."  We are only accountable for our own sins.  But that's beside the point.
To defeat death? Huh? Care to elaborate?

Romans 6:9: "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him."

1 Corinthians 15: "20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

So you employed a different full-on attack than the one I suggested you might, but you used the same essential tactic. When you or I say experiences we mean, "information gleaned from the senses." In the quote above, you are using the same word, experiences, but you don't mean information gleaned from the senses. You mean information gleaned from emotion and intuition.

I mean your definition, actually.  Perhaps emotion and intuition can play important roles at times, but that's not what I'm talking about.

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You may mention logic, but logic needs premises, and religious premises come from emotion and intuition, either one's own or someone else's. I reject out of hand any notion that emotion or intuition provide data, as they can only suggest hypotheses to be tested by the senses - and you know I reject that notion out of hand because I have been telling you that from day one.

Good, we're on the same page then.

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What the senses cannot detect isn't knowledge. This isn't some weird arbitrary stance I take. Emotion and intuition provide questions, not answers. I love questions. But answers about reality come only from the senses. You think otherwise and therein lies the epistemological divide that can never be bridged. All I can do is keep lobbing grenades at one another. My grenades say, "Senses!" yours say, "Emotion and intuition!" And so it goes.

I'm not sure what I said that indicated emotion and intuition was what I meant, but I assure you, it wasn't.

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Now sometimes you'll employ a flanking maneuver, and start talking about the history, tradition, and authority of your church, but if I press you hard enough for what these ultimately rest on, you'll answer that they're based on religious experiences, by which you mean, emotion and intuition, since you can't possibly mean the senses.

Actually, when you press me I write a lengthy summation to which you reply, "I got nothing, I agree..." (until you find your way to the "debunking" sites anyway) and then say, "Ugh, I don't want to talk about that."  I'm not really sure what you want...

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You acceptsthe history, tradition, and authority of your church because of your own emotional and intuitive experiences,

I'm not quite sure what that would look like, but again, it's quite simply not the case.

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and those of your advisors, and those of a long line of people stretching backwards two thousand years into the past, all of which you consider to be evidence, and none of which I consider to be evidence, because none of it is derived from the senses, and only the senses provide evidence.

I don't fully agree with you here about sense perception (surprise!) but the only thing I've provided as evidence is history, philosophy, science and personal experience.

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So then I say, "Wait a minute, Muslims have religious experiences too! Why should we believe yours and not theirs?"

You shouldn't believe anyone's.  You should believe your own.  The invitation of Orthodoxy is to come and see for yourself.  Don't rely on my experience or anyone else's if you don't want to.

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You scoff at this, of course

I'm having trouble remembering when and where I did this.  Care to provide a quote?

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Because, unlike me, you consider emotion and intuition to be sources of answers rather than questions, and, of course, answers can be true or false. For you, then, it is perfectly appropriate for you emotions and intuitions, your answers, to be true, while a Muslim's emotions and intuitions, a Muslim's answers, are false, and not just a Muslim's, but a Jew's also, and not just theirs, but a Catholic's or Protestant's, even a Catholic's or Protestant's, fellow Christians though they are. This is ludicrous to me, because, where reality is concerned, we deem the senses to be the sole arbiters of what is true and what is false. Once again, we lob grenades over the divide. Mine say, "Senses!" Yours say, "Emotion and intuition!" And so it goes.

The above three paragraphs summarize pages and pages of going back and forth and round and round. No resolution is available. You won't accept the senses as the sole arbiters of truth or falsehood about reality, and I won't accept anything other than that. The divide remains tall and thick and insurmountable and will remain so forever.

Well, at least we now know why we've been talking past each other!  And, much to everyone's surprise, the answer is yet again your inability to understand what anyone is really saying.  At what point, anywhere on this message board, did I ever say anything about a Muslim or Jewish, Catholic or Protestant person's religious experience?  When did I ever tell you that by experience I meant "emotion and intuition"?  The divide remains tall and thick because your cherished "debunking" websites all deal with a Christianity that Orthodox Christians do not adhere to, and you don't know how to grapple with anything we've put forward on your own, so you have nothing left to do but continue down the path of assuming you know what we believe and we end up talking in circles.
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« Reply #102 on: January 03, 2011, 02:09:16 AM »

TtC, I would also agree that many of the claims you make against Christianity assume a fundamentalist evangelical belief system. For this reason, I find many of the particulars that you level against Christianity (such as God appeasing his anger by sacrificing his son, etc.) to be irrelevant here, given that this is an Orthodox Christian community.
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« Reply #103 on: January 03, 2011, 02:30:32 AM »


I accept what a person's experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  Perhaps some examples might help...

Suppose it seems to you that you are looking at a tree.  Your visual experience indicates as much.  Is it rational for you to believe that there is indeed a tree before you?  Under normal circumstances, the answer is yes, of course.  But let's consider two other circumstances.  First, you have been wandering around a desert for days on end, with no water.  You are severely dehydrated.  You have a visual experience that seems to be a refreshing pool of water surrounded by trees.  In this circumstance, you have a good reason to doubt what your visual experience is communicating to you.  You're likely hallucinating.

Second, suppose you see a tree running.  You know trees don't run.  This is absurd.  You have a good reason to believe your visual experience is false.

In the first example, even though you wouldn't question seeing trees and water under normal circumstances, the special circumstances change everything.  In the second example, apart from the circumstances in question, you have a good reason to doubt your visual experience, because you know trees don't run.

The Principle of Credulity tells us, essentially, to give the benefit of the doubt to our experience in the sense of direct awareness.  We accept what our experience tells us when there aren't any good reasons to think otherwise.

When it comes to the religious experience of other people or alien encounters, I'm not willing to make blanket statements so I'd have to look into the details of each case.
That is all good, and I agree. The problem is, religious experiences aren't just limited to your religion alone; in fact, they're not just limited to religion, but to a whole wide range of crazy things I assume you don't believe. I choose to remain skeptical regarding these types of experiences.

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That's fine, we don't have to.  You asked me a question and I answered it.  Isn't that how this works?
Yes, although I don't accept it.

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Romans 6:9: "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him."

1 Corinthians 15: "20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death."
Throwing some scripture at me doesn't help. Pretend I'm a member of your Bible study or something. What does that mean?
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« Reply #104 on: January 03, 2011, 02:52:50 AM »


I accept what a person's experience indicates unless special reasons apply.  Perhaps some examples might help...

Suppose it seems to you that you are looking at a tree.  Your visual experience indicates as much.  Is it rational for you to believe that there is indeed a tree before you?  Under normal circumstances, the answer is yes, of course.  But let's consider two other circumstances.  First, you have been wandering around a desert for days on end, with no water.  You are severely dehydrated.  You have a visual experience that seems to be a refreshing pool of water surrounded by trees.  In this circumstance, you have a good reason to doubt what your visual experience is communicating to you.  You're likely hallucinating.

Second, suppose you see a tree running.  You know trees don't run.  This is absurd.  You have a good reason to believe your visual experience is false.

In the first example, even though you wouldn't question seeing trees and water under normal circumstances, the special circumstances change everything.  In the second example, apart from the circumstances in question, you have a good reason to doubt your visual experience, because you know trees don't run.

The Principle of Credulity tells us, essentially, to give the benefit of the doubt to our experience in the sense of direct awareness.  We accept what our experience tells us when there aren't any good reasons to think otherwise.

When it comes to the religious experience of other people or alien encounters, I'm not willing to make blanket statements so I'd have to look into the details of each case.
That is all good, and I agree. The problem is, religious experiences aren't just limited to your religion alone; in fact, they're not just limited to religion, but to a whole wide range of crazy things I assume you don't believe. I choose to remain skeptical regarding these types of experiences.

That's fine, I'm not offering these as proofs of anything.  My point this whole time has been that those of us who have had such experiences are logically and reasonably justified in our "religious faith" because it is based on an experience that has every bit as much validity as anything else we experience in life.  The Principle of Credulity holds up here.  

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Romans 6:9: "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him."

1 Corinthians 15: "20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death."
Throwing some scripture at me doesn't help. Pretend I'm a member of your Bible study or something. What does that mean?

It means that death is the ultimate enemy of mankind.  Yes, from an Orthodox perspective, death is intimately related to sin and in that sense, Jesus' death was "for our sins," but this shouldn't be mistaken for the common judiciary view that Jesus was punished on account of our guilty status due to Adam's "original sin."  Orthodox do not believe this.  The Orthodox view is that man was meant for union with God and Jesus' Incarnation was not "Plan B" but was "Plan A" in the sense that God had always intended to take creation upon himself in order for real union with humans to occur.  Death is the great enemy of this plan, so Jesus had to die in order to defeat death.  Much like he had to take on life in order to unite mankind to himself, he had to take on death in order to free us from it.  Eternal life is the goal and death stands in the way of that.  Death must be conquered.  That happened in the Resurrection.

I know you don't believe any of this, but hopefully this sheds at least a little light on what Orthodox mean when they say "Jesus died for our sins" or otherwise talk about why he "had" to die.  Because it's definitely not for the reasons most like to think it is.
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« Reply #105 on: January 03, 2011, 03:13:44 AM »

GiC or others,

There's something I've wanted to understand.  How did Stephen Hawking and several other theoretical physicists come at a mathematical interpretation that there are infinite universes?  How did they reach the calculation "infinite" and what could that "infinity" number signify something else or is there some strict mathematical proof that this "infinity" only is attributable in its interpretation to universes?
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« Reply #106 on: January 03, 2011, 04:14:53 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Yet another fine example of your impeccable logic and reason.  I've never encountered such clear thinking!  It's truly refreshing!  Please, please keep it coming!  It's so...nuanced and balanced and I'd even dare say sophisticated in its magnitude of understanding and depth.  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
It would have been better had you deconstructed my points instead of leaving me an insult.

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I'd have never worked on that dang Bible degree hanging on my wall had I known this is what the Bible taught.
So? I'm not very impressed that you have a degree in supernatural studies written by ancient goat herders

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How did I not know this after the 5 years I spent studying every book in detail?
For the same reason people think crystals will heal their every ills. Now, why not expand that wonderful mind of yours and spend five years each on the book of Mormon, Theravada, etc.
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« Reply #107 on: January 03, 2011, 04:22:17 PM »

And how do you reconcile Abraham, who would have butchered his own son because the voices in his head told him to. Alive today he would have been prosecuted and put away in an asylum for the criminally insane. His followers number in the billions. Consider that.

If you ask me, I don't think that's a real story, but a fictional one with prophetic allegory.  It's quite obvious any father with a right mind will reject a God who asks him to go kill his own son.


Actually, whether or not the account is a true or a fictional allegory, it is also an account that needs to be taken into historical context.  At the time of the story's writing (and at the time-frame in which the story takes place) the sacrifice of the first-born to the gods was a common everyday occurrence.  The strange thing in the tale of Abraham wasn't that our God asked the sacrifice as a test of Abraham's faith, but that our God spared Isaac's life.  By this, our God set Himself apart from the host of Canaanite deities, and showed that He was not only good to His covenant, but Good as well.

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Oh noes!  God doesn't display the watered-down, cowardly, namby-pamby definition of love preferred by a 21st century quasi-rationalist!  He says things that are hard to understand, and can't be tweeted!  He actually wants us to think AND feel, and we can barely chew gum and walk at the same time!  Abandon faith, folks!
Now you're getting it!

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[Context?  If you think goat-herders are anything but hard-minded rationalists of the first degree, you haven't met any goat-herders.
Well, there's quite a few goat herders where I live. More cattle ranchers, though. I'd wager nearly every one of them is a theist...which in my understanding, leaves rationalism outside the church doors. Not entirely unlike you, except you bring unrationalism here.

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And if you think daily life isn't apocalyptic, then you've a) never tried to struggle against yourself and b) have yet to realize that big, dramatic end could be tomorrow for anyone.
You're still having coherent problems with context I see.

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For an example of people taking modern atheistic superstitions to heart,
And you're still have misunderstandings of what superstitions are or mean

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go into any inner city wearing a brand new pair of nikes and a lot of gold (or just ask a group of teenagers in a small-town Florida movie theater to please not talk during the movie).  ]

I don't know how long you've been studying the bible, but it has given you at least - wrong definitions of the words "apocalyptic" and "superstition". How odd. I've probably been studying the bible for nearly 3 times longer than you and I still maintain a coherent understanding of these words and the biblical definition of "apocalypse".

When you can study Mormonism, Buddhism, Islam unbiased for five years each, no need to gain a degree...come back here and let us know what you find out.
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« Reply #108 on: January 03, 2011, 04:24:13 PM »

If we accept the Biblical narrative about the Fall, we find that evil only exists because of man.
And God let evil exist because of man.

Well, yes, otherwise there wouldn't have been any point in the whole free will exercise.  "You can choose me or something else.  Go ahead, it's your choice.  Wait, you chose something else?  Okay, show's over

In fact, evil is an action, not something that happens.
Uh, an action is something that happens...

That would have probably been better stated as "Evil is an action of will, not an occurrence.

There are things that happen that are tragic, such as calamities, plagues, and famines and such, but in a good vs evil debate these don't rise to the level of evil.
Yes, natural disasters that take potentially thousands, maybe even millions, of lives aren't evil. Not at all.

Not in the same sense.  There is no malevolent intent behind a natural disaster.  Hurricanes and earthquakes happen because that is the way the world works, pressure builds and releases.  The only reason they kill thousands or even millions is because we were dumb enough to say "You know, I know that earthquakes are common in this region, but I want to live here.  This fault line looks like an excellent place for a high-rise."  Or my personal favorite: "I know this region is prone to storms with high winds and lots of water.  Let's push some water into a levy, and complain when the levy breaks."

In fact, if it weren't for our fear of death (whether it's the fear of damnation, or the fear of total non-existence) events would have no sense of tragedy to them at all.
Who gave us our fear of death?

We did.
If everyone knew for certain that after you die you go to a place even better than the one you know now (I hear there's pie) death would not be mourned, but celebrated.
This is demonstrably false. Christians and other theists who sincerely believe they are going to heaven when they die are just as afraid and saddened at death as anyone else.
I'm not entirely sure that's true, at least the fear part.  In our current society, where a large majority of people who call themselves Christian have separated themselves from the Church, it might seem that way.  But there's nothing like a good round of persecution to demonstrate the fearlessness of Christians in the face of death.  As far as sadness, that is only natural.  I am saddened when a friend or loved one moves far away so that I am unable to see them every days or weeks or months.
Evil requires an action.
True.

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It takes a rather twisted humanity to turn tragic circumstances into evil circumstances.  A hurricane might kill a few, a disease might cause some suffering.  It takes humanity to force people to live under deprived conditions, to ensure that death involves as much suffering as possible, to send people off to gulags to wait in fear of execution.  Animals might kill for food, or to protect territory and mating rights, it takes a human to kill for an I-pod.
And God made humans. What does this say about him?

One of two things, which assuming a belief in the existence of God you are going to have to decide for yourself: God is good, yet humble, that His love for man drove Him to create man; basically that He chose to love man, and extends this same choice to man in regards to Him.  Or that God is neutral at best, evil at worst.
It exists because man is given the freedom to choose, he can choose God and the good and life, or he can choose evil and death.
 
Why must he choose between these two things? Why can't he still be good without God? Why does he have the ability to reject God? Why does he have abilities that, when utilized, point towards no God?
Because trying to be good without God is like trying to fly without an airplane.  Because without the ability to reject God our love for God would mean nothing:  Some people would love nothing more than the object of their affection MUST love them.  These are never good people.  As for why our abilities allow us to believe there is no God, the human being is capable of great amounts of self deception.

There is no other way that would allow for choice.
Why is choice good?
I can't answer that.  I can't tell you why anything is good.  What I can tell you is that nothing but the most evil people in our world would deny choice (even, or perhaps most especially those who would deny choice in the name of good).

For the same reason that breathing needs oxygen, to reject oxygen is suffocation.

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It couldn't be a choice between God and ice-cream, for the opposite of God is not ice-cream.
Why not?
[/quote]

Because God is not a warm puddle of lactates mixed with the flavoring of your choice.

The only way for God to not allow evil would be if God were to not allow humans.
Why?

Because free will is one of the defining characteristics of humanity.  Why do whales live in the ocean?  Why are cats the most annoying creatures on the planet?

We could perhaps argue if it were better for God to not have created humans, but if the answer is that God is evil because He created humanity, then the only answer is mass genocide of the species.  That'll show Him.
Why did God have to create humans the way they are?


Why does an author write a book that, while excellent to read, has nothing resembling a happy ending?

To echo others on here, I don't think you really have comprehended yet what Orthodox teaching is.  God is in essence unknowable.
Why?

Because we only have a finite capacity for knowing.  We can never completely know God just like we can never completely know pi.

We can know He exists, we can know certain things about His existence by His revelation, and in conjunction with that revelation we can determine certain things about Him from creation.
Why can't we know more? 

You can always know more.  You can know as much as a lifetime of human experience can teach you.  A saint knows more about God than he could ever hope to explain to me, the same as a biologist knows more about organic functions than I ever will.

It is even more so with God.  The more I know God the more I realize just how unknowable He is.  Knowing He is Good is a good starting point, then I find there is more to goodness than I ever imagined.  Right did Milton tell us that "How Awful goodness is." 
If you accept that God is good from the start, then anything he does is good automatically, making the word "good" useless when talking about God.
From a purely etymological perspective, the word "good" is useless unless you're talking about God.  But, more to address the situation, what you just said makes no sense.  I know an airplane flies, that doesn't make flight useless when talking about an airplane.  In fact, talking about an airplane would be useless if the airplane didn't fly.

Fortunately, we don't have to understand Him.  But even this is not surprising.  I cannot even begin to understand a fellow human being, the second I think I do they do something so shockingly surprising (good, bad, or just unusual) that I am left puzzled.  When you get right down to it, I don't even understand myself all the time, I am constantly doing things (good, bad, or unusual) that I never would have thought myself capable of.  Know what's in God's mind?  My good fellow, if I could just know what's in your mind it would be a miracle!  But you don't need to understand someone to have a relationship with them.  You can understand some things about them, the rest you take on faith.  I understand that my friend is occasionally grouchy because his father abused him, I have faith that if I'm in a pickle he'll be the first one to get my back (faith within reason, he's had my back since day one).  I understand that God is terribly good, I have faith (within reason because of the Incarnation) that He will make me good as well.
Why is faith good? Why wouldn't God prize intelligence and rationality more? Why aren't all humans equal?

First, you have to stop thinking of faith as some sort of opposite to intelligence and rationality.  You have to break out of your 20th century mindset (I say 20th century because your arguments are very modern and we are moving into the post-modern, whatever that means) that thinks it knows what a word means just because a small percentage of the population (the one with Ivy League degrees) defines it that way.  Faith is not blindly believing in something despite all rational objections.  Faith is continuing to believe despite all irrational objections.  We have faith in science, that it will explain things within the realm of the natural, not because science has never done so before, but because it has.  We demonstrate this faith in science every time we set foot on an airplane: All our irrational objections tell us that something so large was never meant to fly, that the sheer weight of it must send it hurling back to earth.  The irrational objections seem logical enough, but we know this not to be so.  Now, this faith in science is demonstrated most soundly whenever an experiment fails: those who have no faith or a weak faith in science will loudly declaim the failed experiment as an example of why those scientists never should have been trusted to begin with, those with faith in science will calmly explain that the experiment failed not because science is wrong, but because the hypothesis was faulty. 

Without faith nothing would ever get done, without faith in other people no cooperation or friendship would ever be accomplished, without faith in our observations nothing would ever be recorded.  Without faith no one would ever leave the house and the human race would have been still-born.

The faith of a Christian is similar.  We don't believe in God because there is no reason, but because we are fairly sure that there is every reason.  Our faith in God is based of off observation, we observe God because we use the proper tools for the observation of God.  It's all well and good for me to dismiss the existence of the microbe if I refuse to ever look into the microscope, tales abound of the Roman Cardinal who refused to glance through Galileo's telescope.  Without prayer and listening in the stillness one will never observe God.  Without the reading of Scripture and the Church Fathers I will never be able to compare my observations with others.  I would be like a staunch Luddite, looking through neither microscope nor telescope, poring through scientific journals going "Aha!  This scientist two hundred years ago tells me the atom is the smallest particle in existence.  This scientist a hundred years ago says atoms are composed of neutrons, protons, and electrons.  And now some scientist tells me that there are even smaller particles than that!  Utter nonsense!  Why, look at this biologist who tells me all life is composed of cells, now you tell me that virii are alive and composed of mere protein strands!  I bid you good day!"  This same Luddite grabs a book on quantum physics and jumps up triumphantly in the air, citing one contradiction and paradox after another, and thinks himself smart for being able to do so.

As to your question about all men being equal:  All men are equal, but all men are also different.  Take any element on the periodical table and assemble it so that each is exactly the same mass.  One will be denser and more compact, another is gaseous, and still another is a liquid.  So it is with man, everyone is brilliant, but in a different way.  For every Hawking or Einstein there's a van Gogh or Picasso or someone who is absolutely the best sheep-herder hands down.  Einstein can't paint worth squat (although I hear he was a very good violinist), Picasso could never write a theory of relativity, and neither one could convince a herd of sheep to get in it's pen.
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« Reply #109 on: January 03, 2011, 05:24:04 PM »

Sorry, but the Christians gods are anything but love. They are are duplicitous, contradictory and unclear in their inspiration to man; making themselves and too many of their believers avenging, hateful, wicked, dominating and manipulative. The Bible's teachings (Jesus's in particular), precepts and guidelines are absurd, fatally flawed and very much so questionable. And people glean family values out of that? Look up family values in the bible. What do you find? Look up "family" in the Bible. The very first instance of the word is in Leviticus 20:5: “Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people."
Look up words such as "trust", "kindness", "compassion" and "honesty". Ironically, the very first act of compassion in the Bible comes from pagan Egypt. The Pharaoh's daughter, who at the risk of her own life rescued baby Moses from certain death, and adopted him into her home and raised him as her own son.

What could be more dangerous than Corinthians 1:9: “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.”?

Oh, I know...Matthew 10:34–37: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

[Context? I say that the superstitious authors of Jesus taught an apocalyptic doctrine of salvation...1900 years ago for superstitious goat herders. Paul's authors taught their own doctrine. People willing to take this mumbo jumbo for and from ancient superstitious people and try to apply it to modern times takes the entire thing out of context.]

Oh noes!  God doesn't display the watered-down, cowardly, namby-pamby definition of love preferred by a 21st century quasi-rationalist!  He says things that are hard to understand, and can't be tweeted!  He actually wants us to think AND feel, and we can barely chew gum and walk at the same time!  Abandon faith, folks!
Now you're getting it!

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[Context?  If you think goat-herders are anything but hard-minded rationalists of the first degree, you haven't met any goat-herders.
Well, there's quite a few goat herders where I live. More cattle ranchers, though. I'd wager nearly every one of them is a theist...which in my understanding, leaves rationalism outside the church doors. Not entirely unlike you, except you bring unrationalism here.

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And if you think daily life isn't apocalyptic, then you've a) never tried to struggle against yourself and b) have yet to realize that big, dramatic end could be tomorrow for anyone.
You're still having coherent problems with context I see.

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For an example of people taking modern atheistic superstitions to heart,
And you're still have misunderstandings of what superstitions are or mean

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go into any inner city wearing a brand new pair of nikes and a lot of gold (or just ask a group of teenagers in a small-town Florida movie theater to please not talk during the movie).  ]

I don't know how long you've been studying the bible, but it has given you at least - wrong definitions of the words "apocalyptic" and "superstition". How odd. I've probably been studying the bible for nearly 3 times longer than you and I still maintain a coherent understanding of these words and the biblical definition of "apocalypse".

When you can study Mormonism, Buddhism, Islam unbiased for five years each, no need to gain a degree...come back here and let us know what you find out.

First: My definitions of "apocalyptic" and "superstition" aren't wrong, they just aren't your limited definition.  You would probably call my usage of "Romantic" wrong as well, just because I almost never use it to mean what the editors of Harlequin books think it means.

"Apocalyptic" can mean: 1) describing or prophesying the complete destruction of the world, 2)momentous or catastrophic, or 3) of or resembling the biblical Apocalypse (OED).  I would also add 4) a struggle between good and evil.  Superhero comics are apocalyptic when the heroes strive against great villainy (and I would add at their best when this is so), they cease to be apocalyptic when heroes and villains devolve to mere protagonist/antagonist relationships.  Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is apocalyptic because it involves a momentous struggle between good and evil.  Despite being post-apocalyptic in sense (1) Stephen King's The Stand is apocalyptic in senses (2) and (4).  The biblical apocalyptic scenarios fit all four definitions.

Now, if what you mean is that people in the first century expected the world could end at any moment in a very literal and not merely personal sense, you are correct.  When by saying that you imply the modern world has somehow risen above that, you are horribly wrong.  Atheism hasn't made the world ending any less likely, it's just removed the supernatural from the equation.  At any moment an asteroid could hurtle into the earth, we are warned if we don't change our wicked ways the polar ice-caps will melt, and there is still the threat of world-ending nuclear or biological warfare.

Now, superstition means: a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2
: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary . (Webster's.  The unfortunate thing about dictionaries is you are subject to the biases and philosophies of the dictionary writers, the current OED definition was meaningless.)

You can accuse me and the goat-herder of being superstitious in sense 1(b) only if you can demonstrate that we are indeed irrational in our attitudes toward God.  But seeing as how the whole point of the argument is whether or not belief in God could be rational sense 1(b) is useless in our discussion.

I accuse atheism of superstition in senses 1(a) and 2.  I believe atheism has a false conception of causation by the very fact that it believes something can be caused by nothing, and that it maintains it's notions despite an overwhelming amount of evidence in favor of God.  As for other atheistic superstitions, the concept of evolution has developed quite a few, such as a belief that the newer is better than the older, that the fittest survives and thus that which survives is fittest, and that there is no good or evil merely action.  You can argue that this is a misapplication of atheism and evolutionary theory, but I can also argue that most of what is considered "superstition" within Christianity is a misapplication of Christianity.

As to the study of other religions, I have indeed studied Buddhism and Taoism with an open mind (not looking to convert, but with a goodhearted curiosity).  There are many admirable things within both, but they fall short of the mark.  Buddhism is good when it tells me to seek dispassion, not so good when it tells me to seek inaction.  Taoism is good (and has even enhanced my understanding of Christianity) when it tells me to deem something is to allow for it's opposite.  It's not so good for telling me which to prefer.  

Mormonism and Islam I have studied, not with an open mind, but the same way a banker compares a counterfeit note to a real one.

edit: fixed quote tags
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« Reply #110 on: January 03, 2011, 05:37:25 PM »

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Yet another fine example of your impeccable logic and reason.  I've never encountered such clear thinking!  It's truly refreshing!  Please, please keep it coming!  It's so...nuanced and balanced and I'd even dare say sophisticated in its magnitude of understanding and depth.  The amount of time you've spent studying the Bible and its teachings is so evident, I honestly feel a bit ashamed that I nor anyone else on these boards are at the same level.
It would have been better had you deconstructed my points instead of leaving me an insult.

Um, you didn't make any points, hence the sarcasm.  Nobody here believes what you think we believe in this tirade of yours, so there's nothing to reply to.

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I'd have never worked on that dang Bible degree hanging on my wall had I known this is what the Bible taught.
So? I'm not very impressed that you have a degree in supernatural studies written by ancient goat herders.

Not trying to impress anybody.  My point was that I have a degree in Bible and that you think you know more about it because of a debunking site is laughable.  That's why I threw a little sarcastic humor out there.

You can be honest, and nobody will judge you, but have you legitimately read the Bible cover to cover?  Until you have, your thoughts about it deserve to be completely ignored.

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How did I not know this after the 5 years I spent studying every book in detail?
For the same reason people think crystals will heal their every ills.

Oh.  Okay.  Getting a degree is the same thing as healing crystals in your mind.  Got it.  This explains a lot!

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Now, why not expand that wonderful mind of yours and spend five years each on the book of Mormon, Theravada, etc.

Probably because I've never experienced Joseph Smith or any of the Buddhist gods.  They've not cared to make themselves known apparently.  This common, yet laughable, atheistic line of reasoning that we have to have considered every religion in order to reject it doesn't work man...

Now, instead of replying to really old posts, how about addressing the newer ones?
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« Reply #111 on: January 03, 2011, 06:19:10 PM »

That's fine, I'm not offering these as proofs of anything.  My point this whole time has been that those of us who have had such experiences are logically and reasonably justified in our "religious faith" because it is based on an experience that has every bit as much validity as anything else we experience in life.  The Principle of Credulity holds up here.
First, let's deal with The Principle of Credulity which states:
If it seems that x is present, then x is probably present. In other words, it is reasonable to believe the world is probably as we experience it to be. Unless there is some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God. How very subjective and full of bullocks. The PoC is a fallacy in itself. On the other hand, I am an atheist who experiences the absence of God. Using the PoC that you hold in high regard, it seems to me the world is godless.

As far as fallacies go, the PoC suffers from a form of "Affirming the Consequent", which means
1) If A then B
2) B
Therefore:
3) A

In this case it's:
1) If A then A
2) A
Therefore
3) A
It leaves no room for any other possibility.

The argument is also a Subjectivist Fallacy.
1) Q is objectively true (because objective claims have the same truth-value for everyone)
2) Q is subjective.
Therefore:
3) Your argument fails.

Prima facie
Quote from: Wiki
It is logically and intuitively clear that just because a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts that both the notion of the evidence presenting a case in a self-evident manner and the facts actually being facts (which, presumably, would require evidence of at least a minimum degree of quality) can often be reduced to entirely subjective interpretations that are independent of any truthful merit by sufficiently skilled individuals.
Basically, appearances can be deceptive.

PoC also requires a burden of proof, both for the person having the religious experience and for those that the person who had the religious experience to makes claims about to other individuals. Religious experience arguments for the existence of God are not in the realm of rational inquiry, but into the realm of subjective experience. I tend to think the the supposition that those having religious experiences are not really having an experience of the divine but are merely experiencing the world religiously. Philosopher John Hick thought this way as well.

Those who wish to claim they have or are having a religious experience must come to grips of which divine figure/s they are experiencing. If it is an experience within their own tradition or cultural presupposition how do they (or we) know doesn't have some sort of natural but purely psychological bias? If that is the case, which most religious experiences are, how does one know it is not a psychological experience brought on from drugs or simple imagination? How does one know it is not just mental saturation of specific religious imagery or outlook?

The deluded don't know. And that's why they rely on the Principle of Credulity, which is not credible at all.

It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.
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« Reply #112 on: January 03, 2011, 06:43:52 PM »


I don't know how long you've been studying the bible, but it has given you at least - wrong definitions of the words "apocalyptic" and "superstition". How odd.


And what exactly do you think the "biblical definition" of Apocalyptic actually is? If you actually get this correct I'd moonwalk across my front yard for ya. (of course you won't see it but...lol!)

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I've probably been studying the bible for nearly 3 times longer than you and I still maintain a coherent understanding of these words and the biblical definition of "apocalypse".

Like I said, I will be truly shocked if you know what the word actually means.

And I'm confused, what is all this bantering about that I see going on here? "i've studied the Bible more than you, take that!"

The fact that you refer to the Bible the way you do makes me really think you HAVEN'T studied the Bible very much at all, rather you've studied what some atheistic apologist has said about the Bible, which means you haven't really studied it anymore than a Christian has "studied" Judaism because they once listened to what John Hagee had to say about the Jewish people.

When you saying things like studying the bible is "studying superstitions of goat herders" or whatever, I wonder . . . do you also think scholars of the Illiad are morons too? What about historians who DO study other religious texts? Do you believe anthropologists are idiots for reading about and studying religions? I doubt it. You're simply being divisive and cat calling to rile up people. You claim you've studied all the world religions, cool. Care to talk about those too? I'm up for it! I have studied Judaism, and a bit of Hinduism, I'm only vaguely familiar with Buddhism though I find it very interesting, if a little to "mental" for me. What do you know of these faiths? Like it or not, Biblical studies is in fact a real discipline. I'm not talking about apologetics, but I'm talking about Biblical studies, origins, higher and lower criticism, theology and all the rest. Even if you see the Bible as nothing more than a product of the human mind, why so hostile to the Bible, but not to the Iliad? Atheists never get worked up over scholars of Homor, or Egyptologists coming on TV talking at great length about Egyptian religion, but bring up the Bible and it's ridiculous comments like "the Bible was written by goat herders!" First, so what? What's wrong with goat herders? Secondly, if you think the Redactor of the Torah was a mere goat herder then you probably need to do a bit more studying of your own.



Quote
When you can study Mormonism, Buddhism, Islam unbiased for five years each, no need to gain a degree...come back here and let us know what you find out.

Why should others be required to study something unbiased when you clearly aren't unbiased yourself? I agree, unbiased study is the proper path, but the fact that you keep touting out the typical poor catch phrases used to attack the Bible, the more I doubt your own unbiased POV. The problem as I see it is I'm not sure you are sure what it is you want to actually discuss. I wouldn't mind a private discussion via PM, if you so choose. However I think you tend to caricature Christianity and the Bible at times; you seem to be quite capable of an intellectually honest discussion but also seem bent on getting a rise out people as well. Maybe I'm way off base here, if I am, I do sincerely apologize. I just do not like straw men whether it's Christians attacking atheists or atheists attacking religion/the Bible etc. We may never agree, but can't we agree to have a starting point of interest? Maybe not, but I it would be nice.


NP

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« Reply #113 on: January 03, 2011, 06:51:02 PM »

It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.

Um, what exactly is a committed atheist?

That seems contradictory, how can one be committed to the non existence of a non existent "being"? Surely you must mean something other than that.

Second, what does one mean buy the phrase "experience the world religiously?" How do you know atheists dont? Christopher Hitchens seems to disagree with you whole heartedly, though he uses the phrase "numinous" as opposed to "religious". There are atheists who go to Church because the "myth" (as they see it) speaks to them, helps give them "meaning", encourages them even though they don't believe any of the "myths".

Don't believe me, there is a brand new book out about the subject:


http://www.christiannontheism.org/members/theconcept

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« Reply #114 on: January 03, 2011, 07:31:24 PM »

Sorry to snip this, quote field wasnt working.
Well, yes, otherwise there..... wouldn't have been any point in the whole free will exercise.  "You can choose me or As to your question about all men being equal:  All men are equal, but all men are also different.  Take any element on the periodical table and assemble it so that each is exactly the same mass.  One will be denser and more compact, another is gaseous, and still another is a liquid.  So it is with man, everyone is brilliant, but in a different way.  For every Hawking or Einstein there's a van Gogh or Picasso or someone who is absolutely the best sheep-herder hands down.  Einstein can't paint worth squat (although I hear he was a very good violinist), Picasso could never write a theory of relativity, and neither one could convince a herd of sheep to get in it's pen.
The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.
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« Reply #115 on: January 03, 2011, 07:35:16 PM »

Um, what exactly is a committed atheist?
I'm committed that there is no God.

Quote
Second, what does one mean buy the phrase "experience the world religiously?" How do you know atheists dont? Christopher Hitchens seems to disagree with you whole heartedly, though he uses the phrase "numinous" as opposed to "religious". There are atheists who go to Church because the "myth" (as they see it) speaks to them, helps give them "meaning", encourages them even though they don't believe any of the "myths".
Nonreligious people can't experience the world religiously, but they can experience it spiritually. There's a difference.

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Don't believe me, there is a brand new book out about the subject:

http://www.christiannontheism.org/members/theconcept
I've seen that before. Pretty stupid if you ask me, but whatever floats their boat.
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« Reply #116 on: January 03, 2011, 08:08:05 PM »


Don't believe me, there is a brand new book out about the subject:


http://www.christiannontheism.org/members/theconcept


There's also religious naturalism: "Religious Naturalism is a form of naturalism that endorses human religious responses and value commitments within a naturalistic framework."
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« Reply #117 on: January 03, 2011, 08:21:01 PM »

The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.

You say that, yet what would you prefer?  God could have done it differently?  How so?  He could have created the world out of nerf balls and fluffy down pillows, perhaps, made us into rejects from Hello, Kitty, living our lives as one continuous Precious Moments or Family Circus strip.  Perhaps He could have created us by the rules of some bowdlerized mid-80's cartoon, a GI Joe universe where the pilot always ejects as the plane explodes and the machinations of evil men are incompetent to the point of being laughable.  Or like the Care Bears!  

Talk about hell on earth.  That would be an evil God.
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« Reply #118 on: January 03, 2011, 09:05:34 PM »

The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.

You say that, yet what would you prefer?  God could have done it differently?  How so?  He could have created the world out of nerf balls and fluffy down pillows, perhaps, made us into rejects from Hello, Kitty, living our lives as one continuous Precious Moments or Family Circus strip.  Perhaps He could have created us by the rules of some bowdlerized mid-80's cartoon, a GI Joe universe where the pilot always ejects as the plane explodes and the machinations of evil men are incompetent to the point of being laughable.  Or like the Care Bears!  

Talk about hell on earth.  That would be an evil God.
A world where there is no evil, for starters.
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« Reply #119 on: January 03, 2011, 09:10:48 PM »

The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.

You say that, yet what would you prefer?  God could have done it differently?  How so?  He could have created the world out of nerf balls and fluffy down pillows, perhaps, made us into rejects from Hello, Kitty, living our lives as one continuous Precious Moments or Family Circus strip.  Perhaps He could have created us by the rules of some bowdlerized mid-80's cartoon, a GI Joe universe where the pilot always ejects as the plane explodes and the machinations of evil men are incompetent to the point of being laughable.  Or like the Care Bears!  

Talk about hell on earth.  That would be an evil God.
A world where there is no evil, for starters.

What is evil?
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« Reply #120 on: January 03, 2011, 09:40:15 PM »

The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.

You say that, yet what would you prefer?  God could have done it differently?  How so?  He could have created the world out of nerf balls and fluffy down pillows, perhaps, made us into rejects from Hello, Kitty, living our lives as one continuous Precious Moments or Family Circus strip.  Perhaps He could have created us by the rules of some bowdlerized mid-80's cartoon, a GI Joe universe where the pilot always ejects as the plane explodes and the machinations of evil men are incompetent to the point of being laughable.  Or like the Care Bears!  

Talk about hell on earth.  That would be an evil God.
A world where there is no evil, for starters.

I'm going to have to go back to one of your earlier questions:
Quote
Why wouldn't God prize intelligence and rationality more?
  The answer is, of course, that He does prize these highly, otherwise we wouldn't have them.   What you seem to have a problem with is the fact that we have a choice how to employ this intelligence and rationality.

I'm guessing what you would prefer, since you prefer a world without evil, is for all of us to walk around like computer programs, fulfilling our designated functions and tasks.  The problem with this is it would be a world without evil, but it would be a world without any good, either. 
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« Reply #121 on: January 03, 2011, 09:47:56 PM »

Sorry to snip this, quote field wasnt working.
Well, yes, otherwise there..... wouldn't have been any point in the whole free will exercise.  "You can choose me or As to your question about all men being equal:  All men are equal, but all men are also different.  Take any element on the periodical table and assemble it so that each is exactly the same mass.  One will be denser and more compact, another is gaseous, and still another is a liquid.  So it is with man, everyone is brilliant, but in a different way.  For every Hawking or Einstein there's a van Gogh or Picasso or someone who is absolutely the best sheep-herder hands down.  Einstein can't paint worth squat (although I hear he was a very good violinist), Picasso could never write a theory of relativity, and neither one could convince a herd of sheep to get in it's pen.
The correct answer I was looking for to all of my why questions is that God made it that way. He could have made things differently, in a way where evil is not a requirement. But he didn't. That is evil.

Well, if he could have made things differently, he didn't.  And I'm not so sure he could have.  Regardless, the nature of our world might very well be a good reason to not like God, but not much of one to "disprove" him. I'm not saying this is your case at all, but it seems that very often someone's "proof" for not believing in God, is really just a reason for not liking him.
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« Reply #122 on: January 03, 2011, 10:02:36 PM »

I'm guessing what you would prefer, since you prefer a world without evil, is for all of us to walk around like computer programs, fulfilling our designated functions and tasks.  The problem with this is it would be a world without evil, but it would be a world without any good, either. 
Why?
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« Reply #123 on: January 03, 2011, 10:20:27 PM »

I'm guessing what you would prefer, since you prefer a world without evil, is for all of us to walk around like computer programs, fulfilling our designated functions and tasks.  The problem with this is it would be a world without evil, but it would be a world without any good, either. 
Why?

Because "good" requires a choice.  My computer might run well or it might not, depending on the programs it picks up.  Sometimes a program might not execute to my liking, but the program is not being evil or bad, it's behaving perfectly in accord with it's code.  Sometimes a program executes exactly as to my desired wishes, but the program is not being good, it is again behaving exactly as it's code defines it.  Now, if upon the execution of a program it could decide (let's say it's a music recording program) whether it wants to record my guitar track, or if it wants to reproduce Jay-Z instead, or if it wants to destroy all other programs and corrupt the operating system, then I could label the program as being good, or bad, or wicked.  But when the only thing it's capable of is doing what I tell it to, all it is being is "functional".
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« Reply #124 on: January 03, 2011, 10:43:29 PM »

Because "good" requires a choice.
Why?

This line of questioning will inevitably lead to my point all along. It's good to have a choice because god made it so.
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« Reply #125 on: January 03, 2011, 11:21:38 PM »

I'm just annoyed by when the freewill argument is reduced to "choice" when the real issue is much more complex than that.

It is ridiculous to say that good and bad can't exist without freewill though because that would mean the existence of "good" and "bad" are evidence of freewill.
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« Reply #126 on: January 04, 2011, 02:32:19 AM »

Evil is pretty much in the simplest terms possible going backwards, or being backwards, or going in a different direction other than forwards.  In growth, we go in one direction, but sometimes in growth we're pushed somewhere, or we see something and we talk towards it, away from the path of growth.  To do good is simply to follow the path of growth.

Now we can be programmed to grow, forced to stay within a narrow path unable to get out of it, or we have an open road with an arrow point that way.  If we are programmed to grow, God is a puppetmaster.  If we are forced to stay within a narrow path, God is an obsessive and psychopathic lover of mankind, truly malevolent.  If we are given open space with the arrow point that way, God becomes loving, unforceful but available for help, not rude but not ignoring us, not malevolent but not intrusive.  We can push Him away, and we can ask Him to come back, and readily He does no matter how many times we pushed Him away, whenever, wherever.

When it comes to suffering in this world, God became man and lived among us.  He walked the path down for us, to show us how one can suffer, but can never be pushed away from this path.  One can be tempted, but can never look anywhere but forward.  One can even undergo some natural disaster or disease, but His spirit is as healthy as ever.  One can die, but live on with much force in the world, as if He rose from the dead and lives on in each and every suffering Christian right afterwards.
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« Reply #127 on: January 04, 2011, 02:51:56 AM »

Unless there is some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God.[/i] How very subjective and full of bullocks.

I never said it wasn't subjective.  Re-read me earlier post where I made it quite clear that I'm not using this as a proof for anything.  It's merely to show that the person with a religious experience is as justified in trusting that experience as they are in trusting any other experience they have.

Quote
The PoC is a fallacy in itself. On the other hand, I am an atheist who experiences the absence of God. Using the PoC that you hold in high regard, it seems to me the world is godless.

I don't doubt that.  Did I imply otherwise?

Quote
As far as fallacies go, the PoC suffers from a form of "Affirming the Consequent", which means
1) If A then B
2) B
Therefore:
3) A

In this case it's:
1) If A then A
2) A
Therefore
3) A
It leaves no room for any other possibility.

The argument is also a Subjectivist Fallacy.
1) Q is objectively true (because objective claims have the same truth-value for everyone)
2) Q is subjective.
Therefore:
3) Your argument fails.

It only fails if one assumes the person using this line of reasoning is doing so as a proof of God's existence or as a reason for why someone else should believe.  That is not, as I've stated, my purpose.  It is merely to demonstrate that trusting our religious experiences under the Principle of Credulity is as logical and reasonable a thing to do as trusting any other experience we have in life when there is no reason to think otherwise.

Quote
Prima facie
Quote from: Wiki
It is logically and intuitively clear that just because a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts that both the notion of the evidence presenting a case in a self-evident manner and the facts actually being facts (which, presumably, would require evidence of at least a minimum degree of quality) can often be reduced to entirely subjective interpretations that are independent of any truthful merit by sufficiently skilled individuals.
Basically, appearances can be deceptive.

Agreed.

Quote
PoC also requires a burden of proof, both for the person having the religious experience and for those that the person who had the religious experience to makes claims about to other individuals. Religious experience arguments for the existence of God are not in the realm of rational inquiry, but into the realm of subjective experience.

Which is precisely why I have not used it for this purpose at all.  I'm not sure why you think I did...

Quote
Those who wish to claim they have or are having a religious experience must come to grips of which divine figure/s they are experiencing.

Quite easy to do within Orthodoxy.

Quote
If it is an experience within their own tradition or cultural presupposition how do they (or we) know doesn't have some sort of natural but purely psychological bias?

How do we know this about anything?!  This is precisely my point!  There is no way to prove to anyone anything that is experienced by the senses.  There is no way for you to prove to me that you are not a brain in a vat being fed sensory experiences.  Which is why we have no other option besides trusting our experiences when there is no good reason not to.

Quote
If that is the case, which most religious experiences are, how does one know it is not a psychological experience brought on from drugs or simple imagination?

Because the person was not experimenting with any drugs and was not utilizing their imagination at the time.  Take these (real) experiences as examples:

“Then, just as I was exhausted and despairing—I had the most wonderful sense of the presence of God.  He was in a particular place in the room about five feet from me—I didn’t look up, but kept my head in my hands and my eyes shut.” 

“I was walking along a long, lonely country road by myself…then the experience came.  It lasted about 20 minutes—I sensed a presence on my right, keeping level with me as I went along. “

“Then, in a very gentle and gradual way, not with a shock at all, it began to dawn on me that I was not alone in the room.  Someone else was there, located fairly precisely about two yards to my right front.  Yet there was no sort of sensory hallucination.  I neither saw him nor heard him in any sense of the word “see” and “hear,” but there he was; I had no doubt about it.”

Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely.  What we have here, contrary to what you implied earlier, is not a mere outpouring of emotion, but fairly clear descriptions of a direct awareness of a divine presence.

I’m not saying this is proof of anything or that you should believe in God based upon the supposed experiences of others.  I’m saying that their experience can’t be looked upon as invalid and they are justified in their belief.  Because we ought to apply the Principle of Credulity to any form of experience (in the sense of “apparent direct awareness”).   

Quote
How does one know it is not just mental saturation of specific religious imagery or outlook?

How does one not know this about the computer in front of them?  The book they're reading?  Pick anything, how can you ever prove to someone else your sensory experience?

Quote
The deluded don't know. And that's why they rely on the Principle of Credulity, which is not credible at all.

Oh is that why?  I was curious.

Quote
It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.

"Ask and ye shall receive.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened."
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« Reply #128 on: January 04, 2011, 03:35:09 AM »

Evil is pretty much in the simplest terms possible going backwards, or being backwards, or going in a different direction other than forwards.  In growth, we go in one direction, but sometimes in growth we're pushed somewhere, or we see something and we talk towards it, away from the path of growth.  To do good is simply to follow the path of growth.
Nonsense. Evil is only another concept of opinion because morality itself is purely subject to positive, negative, and neutral selection and adaptation within society, and psychology.  

Example:

A woman who loves cats so dearly may see those who eat cats as "EVIL" or immoral.

You are at best playing to equate morality as an argument for a "GODS" existence when it is no such argument. Even a GOD (still a concept of opinion) can not create the basic laws of existence to which it's own existence depends on. The laws of "positive, negative, and neutral", and as said prior, it's because itself is slave to require them for it's own existence. These are the very same laws that govern existence itself, evolution, natural selection, emergence, emotion, feeling, morality, action, reaction, choice, decision, intent, cognitive dynamics, consciousness, self-awareness, or anything you can possibly think of.

Quote
Now we can be programmed to grow, forced to stay within a narrow path unable to get out of it, or we have an open road with an arrow point that way.  If we are programmed to grow, God is a puppetmaster.  If we are forced to stay within a narrow path, God is an obsessive and psychopathic lover of mankind, truly malevolent.  If we are given open space with the arrow point that way, God becomes loving, unforceful but available for help, not rude but not ignoring us, not malevolent but not intrusive.  We can push Him away, and we can ask Him to come back, and readily He does no matter how many times we pushed Him away, whenever, wherever.

Again, consciousness itself requires information to exist.It takes far more cause to support consciousness than it does to support unconsciousness. programs begin with information and not a "programmer" who requires it in order to function or even know itself exists. You can not create that which yourself needs to exist. Thus the concept of "Creationism" in itself is a logical fallacy. Worse yet, all minds require a place to exist in, and to be made of something to which they could neither create or exist without. GODS can not solve infinite regress or represent a Universal Set of all Sets.

And nobody is pushing anything away vs actually thinking and putting things into reason, and logical context.

Quote
When it comes to suffering in this world, God became man and lived among us.  He walked the path down for us, to show us how one can suffer, but can never be pushed away from this path.  One can be tempted, but can never look anywhere but forward.  One can even undergo some natural disaster or disease, but His spirit is as healthy as ever.  One can die, but live on with much force in the world, as if He rose from the dead and lives on in each and every suffering Christian right afterwards.

Again, this is nothing more than philosophical nonsense looking to pull the strings of emotion to manipulate people into conforming to your ideological construct. Try convincing people without using such dishonest arguments that are borderline use of fear mongering as a tool of conversion.


To put this simply:

YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT IN A WORLD OF OPINION!

Why do you think there are 1,000's of supposed GODS? Can you even Define the concept? NOPE!
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« Reply #129 on: January 04, 2011, 03:38:30 AM »

Oh, and did you miss the bit about your god not existing? I can prove this in formal logic if you like. it may be that a deity exists, but it isn't the one you've chosen, because he's been given logically absurd and contradictory attributes by your book of wibble. Thought you might like to know that.
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« Reply #130 on: January 04, 2011, 03:47:25 AM »

Oh, and did you miss the bit about your god not existing? I can prove this in formal logic if you like. it may be that a deity exists, but it isn't the one you've chosen, because he's been given logically absurd and contradictory attributes by your book of wibble. Thought you might like to know that.

I remember a piece in Skeptic Magazine about 5-6 years ago in which someone spent two pages trying to disprove the existence of God using some type of theoretical logic or other. It was sort of funny, and sort of confusing. Maybe it was just over my head, I dunno. Anyway, as an evil, demon-possessed apostate, I'd say... if you have a proof, do share it.
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« Reply #131 on: January 04, 2011, 04:53:06 AM »

Evil is pretty much in the simplest terms possible going backwards, or being backwards, or going in a different direction other than forwards.  In growth, we go in one direction, but sometimes in growth we're pushed somewhere, or we see something and we talk towards it, away from the path of growth.  To do good is simply to follow the path of growth.
Nonsense. Evil is only another concept of opinion because morality itself is purely subject to positive, negative, and neutral selection and adaptation within society, and psychology.   

Example:

A woman who loves cats so dearly may see those who eat cats as "EVIL" or immoral.

You are at best playing to equate morality as an argument for a "GODS" existence when it is no such argument. Even a GOD (still a concept of opinion) can not create the basic laws of existence to which it's own existence depends on. The laws of "positive, negative, and neutral", and as said prior, it's because itself is slave to require them for it's own existence. These are the very same laws that govern existence itself, evolution, natural selection, emergence, emotion, feeling, morality, action, reaction, choice, decision, intent, cognitive dynamics, consciousness, self-awareness, or anything you can possibly think of.

Quote
Now we can be programmed to grow, forced to stay within a narrow path unable to get out of it, or we have an open road with an arrow point that way.  If we are programmed to grow, God is a puppetmaster.  If we are forced to stay within a narrow path, God is an obsessive and psychopathic lover of mankind, truly malevolent.  If we are given open space with the arrow point that way, God becomes loving, unforceful but available for help, not rude but not ignoring us, not malevolent but not intrusive.  We can push Him away, and we can ask Him to come back, and readily He does no matter how many times we pushed Him away, whenever, wherever.

Again, consciousness itself requires information to exist.It takes far more cause to support consciousness than it does to support unconsciousness. programs begin with information and not a "programmer" who requires it in order to function or even know itself exists. You can not create that which yourself needs to exist. Thus the concept of "Creationism" in itself is a logical fallacy. Worse yet, all minds require a place to exist in, and to be made of something to which they could neither create or exist without. GODS can not solve infinite regress or represent a Universal Set of all Sets.

And nobody is pushing anything away vs actually thinking and putting things into reason, and logical context.

Quote
When it comes to suffering in this world, God became man and lived among us.  He walked the path down for us, to show us how one can suffer, but can never be pushed away from this path.  One can be tempted, but can never look anywhere but forward.  One can even undergo some natural disaster or disease, but His spirit is as healthy as ever.  One can die, but live on with much force in the world, as if He rose from the dead and lives on in each and every suffering Christian right afterwards.

Again, this is nothing more than philosophical nonsense looking to pull the strings of emotion to manipulate people into conforming to your ideological construct. Try convincing people without using such dishonest arguments that are borderline use of fear mongering as a tool of conversion.


To put this simply:

YOUR OPINION IS IRRELEVANT IN A WORLD OF OPINION!

Why do you think there are 1,000's of supposed GODS? Can you even Define the concept? NOPE!

You know what's interesting in this whole argument, you go by one basic assumption:  That the laws and material of nature are eternal, but that has yet to be proven.  You know they exist, but you don't know that they're ever-existent, not yet at least. Programs and information and programmer all had a beginning, from a Beginning-Maker, Who has no beginning.

What fear mongering did I use in my argument?  Did I scare you or something?  I simply gave you how life is like.  We grow, and sometimes our growth is stunted by many things in life.  It is a fact of life, not an opinion, not fear mongering.  If a physician was to help a patient in any way physical, if a friend was to be humane to others, it is the same as God helping our spiritual lives and giving purpose for growth to be furthered even after death.  It's not that I am using fear mongering to prove my point.  Your arguments do not show a need to hammer common sense into us, but rather a fear that you may be wrong.  Last week, you seemed respectful and open, at the very least understanding that you are in an Orthodox Christian board that leans towards a specific bias, but all of a sudden you snapped into rudeness again.

Why Christianity?  Because it is the best model of growth for humanity.  Why are there other gods?  Same reason why there are unpleasantries from people in this world.  Many people are convinced in this world by "homeopathy" or "naturopathy" and ditch real medicine for the quacks, and then there are those who don't believe in medicine, just themselves.  Religion is no different.  There's a true one, and there are false ones, and there are ones who go without it.
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« Reply #132 on: January 04, 2011, 06:00:02 AM »

You know what's interesting in this whole argument, you go by one basic assumption:  That the laws and material of nature are eternal, but that has yet to be proven.  You know they exist, but you don't know that they're ever-existent, not yet at least. Programs and information and programmer all had a beginning, from a Beginning-Maker, Who has no beginning.
Actually they are proven.

For example:

Nothing can not be an existing person, object, substance, place or thing. Thus arguments like non-material, a-spatial ect are idiotic.. You can't exist as a -2 dimensional object or entity either. In fact, spatial capacity and dimension are considered infinite simply because the opposite is literally impossible to exist! You can't have a -1 dimensional space or volume of capacity. Nor can such concepts contain anything, have substance, or be existent.

Laws of material nature a proven because I doubt even a theist would be dumb enough to try and argue that their GOD is made of "Nothing". Have fun with that position.

Quote
What fear mongering did I use in my argument?  Did I scare you or something?  I simply gave you how life is like.  We grow, and sometimes our growth is stunted by many things in life.  It is a fact of life, not an opinion, not fear mongering.  If a physician was to help a patient in any way physical, if a friend was to be humane to others, it is the same as God helping our spiritual lives and giving purpose for growth to be furthered even after death.  It's not that I am using fear mongering to prove my point.  Your arguments do not show a need to hammer common sense into us, but rather a fear that you may be wrong.  Last week, you seemed respectful and open, at the very least understanding that you are in an Orthodox Christian board that leans towards a specific bias, but all of a sudden you snapped into rudeness again.
If you even have read the bible and then put that into context of your argument of "Pushing him away" you would understand the border line fear mongering. And I don't even have to go into the morality argument about murder or killing. Regardless, that is all irrelevant in terms of argument. And your argument here that tries to suggest that I fear that I might be wrong is nonsensical. I actually fear more about being right. Emotional pleading for acceptance of said ideological construct does not grant it any sort of relevance to reality. It's still sheer concept of opinion.

Quote
Why Christianity?  Because it is the best model of growth for humanity.  Why are there other gods?  Same reason why there are unpleasantries from people in this world.  Many people are convinced in this world by "homeopathy" or "naturopathy" and ditch real medicine for the quacks, and then there are those who don't believe in medicine, just themselves.  Religion is no different.  There's a true one, and there are false ones, and there are ones who go without it.
Actually it is not. Especially if you actually pay attention to how it really operates.
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« Reply #133 on: January 04, 2011, 09:18:57 AM »

I'm going to try and be straight to the point with you ok. So don't take anything as hostile because I feel it's required we address the issues directly here. So be prepared to really start thinking about these issues, or I would recommend not furthering the discussion

Quote
You know what's interesting in this whole argument, you go by one basic assumption: That the laws and material of nature are eternal, but that has yet to be proven. You know they exist, but you don't know that they're ever-existent, not yet at least.

Actually they are proven.

For example:

Nothing can not be an existing person, object, substance, place or thing. Thus arguments like non-material, a-spatial ect are idiotic.. You can't exist as a -2 dimensional object or entity either. In fact, spatial capacity and dimension are considered infinite simply because the opposite is literally impossible to exist! You can't have a -1 dimensional space or volume of capacity. Nor can such negative concepts contain anything, have substance, or be existent. When Christians try to apply attributes associated with values of non-existence to a GOD, it almost makes me giggle because they don't even realize it.  You may as well try and argue that your deity exist in a place of non-existence.

Laws of material nature are proven, and I doubt even a theist would be dumb enough to try and argue that their GOD is made of "Nothing", and exists in a place of non-existence. Have fun with that position should you attempt to use it. Those 3 laws I gave you are the very base laws to existence itself. They are impossible to violate, or exist outside of. Worse yet, all minds must be temporally bound because it takes time to do things such as thinking, or even "Creating". There can be no progress without progression of one frame of reference to another. Especially in considering consciousness.

However, one of the worst things about the argument of a GOD is that it takes more cause to support consciousness than unconsciousness. Undecided  

And lastly, you didn't address anything. You simply tried to use a Carl Sagan's Dragon argument.

Quote
What fear mongering did I use in my argument? I simply gave you how life is like. We grow, and sometimes our growth is stunted by many things in life. It is a fact of life, not an opinion, not fear mongering. If a physician was to help a patient in any way physical, if a friend was to be humane to others, it is the same as God helping our spiritual lives and giving purpose for growth to be furthered even after death. It's not that I am using fear mongering to prove my point. Your arguments do not show a need to hammer common sense into us, but rather a fear that you may be wrong.

If you even have read the bible and then put that into context of your argument of "Pushing him away" you would understand the border line fear mongering. And I don't even have to go into the morality argument about murder or killing. Regardless, that is all irrelevant in terms of argument. And your argument here that tries to suggest that I fear that I might be wrong is nonsensical. I actually fear more about being right. Emotional pleading for acceptance of said ideological construct does not grant it any sort of relevance to reality. It's still sheer concept of opinion. And even in the quote above, you still used the fear and carrot tools commonly used in the mechanics of subliminal programming and brainwashing. The use of "Death" and possible there after as an argument, is very subliminally suggestive and rides on people's fears of death. It's almost as bad as the Damnation vs salvation argument.

Quote
Why Christianity? Because it is the best model of growth for humanity.

Actually it is not. Especially if you actually pay attention to how it really operates. And one thing to note is that I used to be a Christian, right up until I read books on the mechanics of brainwashing and how it applied to what I was doing when I did advertising for Christian churches. It's something I recommend everyone should do, go read those books on the subject of brainwashing and subliminal programming and sit back and observe things like TV commercials, News, Politics, Advertising, Religion, or anything else for that matter as it doesn't just apply to religion. It's pretty funny when someone tries to manipulate me in sale of a product for example Tongue It doesn't work on me anymore Smiley
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« Reply #134 on: January 04, 2011, 09:22:12 AM »

Ugh I thought I edited my post...just wanted to add more thoughts
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« Reply #135 on: January 04, 2011, 10:26:48 AM »

Unless there is some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God.[/i] How very subjective and full of bullocks.

I never said it wasn't subjective.  Re-read me earlier post where I made it quite clear that I'm not using this as a proof for anything.  It's merely to show that the person with a religious experience is as justified in trusting that experience as they are in trusting any other experience they have.

Quote
The PoC is a fallacy in itself. On the other hand, I am an atheist who experiences the absence of God. Using the PoC that you hold in high regard, it seems to me the world is godless.

I don't doubt that.  Did I imply otherwise?

Quote
As far as fallacies go, the PoC suffers from a form of "Affirming the Consequent", which means
1) If A then B
2) B
Therefore:
3) A

In this case it's:
1) If A then A
2) A
Therefore
3) A
It leaves no room for any other possibility.

The argument is also a Subjectivist Fallacy.
1) Q is objectively true (because objective claims have the same truth-value for everyone)
2) Q is subjective.
Therefore:
3) Your argument fails.

It only fails if one assumes the person using this line of reasoning is doing so as a proof of God's existence or as a reason for why someone else should believe.  That is not, as I've stated, my purpose.  It is merely to demonstrate that trusting our religious experiences under the Principle of Credulity is as logical and reasonable a thing to do as trusting any other experience we have in life when there is no reason to think otherwise.

Quote
Prima facie
Quote from: Wiki
It is logically and intuitively clear that just because a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts that both the notion of the evidence presenting a case in a self-evident manner and the facts actually being facts (which, presumably, would require evidence of at least a minimum degree of quality) can often be reduced to entirely subjective interpretations that are independent of any truthful merit by sufficiently skilled individuals.
Basically, appearances can be deceptive.

Agreed.

Quote
PoC also requires a burden of proof, both for the person having the religious experience and for those that the person who had the religious experience to makes claims about to other individuals. Religious experience arguments for the existence of God are not in the realm of rational inquiry, but into the realm of subjective experience.

Which is precisely why I have not used it for this purpose at all.  I'm not sure why you think I did...

Quote
Those who wish to claim they have or are having a religious experience must come to grips of which divine figure/s they are experiencing.

Quite easy to do within Orthodoxy.

Quote
If it is an experience within their own tradition or cultural presupposition how do they (or we) know doesn't have some sort of natural but purely psychological bias?

How do we know this about anything?!  This is precisely my point!  There is no way to prove to anyone anything that is experienced by the senses.  There is no way for you to prove to me that you are not a brain in a vat being fed sensory experiences.  Which is why we have no other option besides trusting our experiences when there is no good reason not to.

Quote
If that is the case, which most religious experiences are, how does one know it is not a psychological experience brought on from drugs or simple imagination?

Because the person was not experimenting with any drugs and was not utilizing their imagination at the time.  Take these (real) experiences as examples:

“Then, just as I was exhausted and despairing—I had the most wonderful sense of the presence of God.  He was in a particular place in the room about five feet from me—I didn’t look up, but kept my head in my hands and my eyes shut.”  

“I was walking along a long, lonely country road by myself…then the experience came.  It lasted about 20 minutes—I sensed a presence on my right, keeping level with me as I went along. “

“Then, in a very gentle and gradual way, not with a shock at all, it began to dawn on me that I was not alone in the room.  Someone else was there, located fairly precisely about two yards to my right front.  Yet there was no sort of sensory hallucination.  I neither saw him nor heard him in any sense of the word “see” and “hear,” but there he was; I had no doubt about it.”

Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely.  What we have here, contrary to what you implied earlier, is not a mere outpouring of emotion, but fairly clear descriptions of a direct awareness of a divine presence.

I’m not saying this is proof of anything or that you should believe in God based upon the supposed experiences of others.  I’m saying that their experience can’t be looked upon as invalid and they are justified in their belief.  Because we ought to apply the Principle of Credulity to any form of experience (in the sense of “apparent direct awareness”).  

Quote
How does one know it is not just mental saturation of specific religious imagery or outlook?

How does one not know this about the computer in front of them?  The book they're reading?  Pick anything, how can you ever prove to someone else your sensory experience?

Quote
The deluded don't know. And that's why they rely on the Principle of Credulity, which is not credible at all.

Oh is that why?  I was curious.

Quote
It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.

"Ask and ye shall receive.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened."
Alright. In this post, I'm going to leave aside everything you just said with the exception of one thing. Yes. I have read the bible. Once, cover to cover, the KJV, which was a grueling task. And again, cover to cover (and the New Testament twice) the NIV. I have read all the so called "lost" books, the book of Mormon and the JW bible. I have researched Buddhism, Shintoism, and Roman, Wicca/Pagan and Egyptian pantheism. And I didn't need a religious experience to want to research any of them. Nor did I have a religious experience by researching any of them.

I research the bible in at least 6 various forms at least 4 days a week. I have tried to study Koine Greek and Modal Logic, both of which escape me. I use Bible Gateway exclusively for biblical research.

I had been a member of a defunct atheist board since 2003 - a Moderator there for 5 years in the Existence of God/s Forum, Moral Foundations & Principles Forum and General Religious Discussions forum. I was Lead Administrator for one year, which means I was in charge of 50-60 Moderators in 31 separate forums. I have been a member of at least a dozen other discussion boards and the old MSN/Yahoo chats. I would make a wager, if I could prove it that I have posted on the internet more than 30,000 times all of which had something to do with religion.

I have been in a face to face debate with a Presbyterian minister that lasted for several months and an email debate with a deacon of the Disciples of Christ. I have been in the oldest Christian church and the biggest Christian church in the UK and stood in awe in both of them.

I have written over 300 pages (in MS Word) and amassed 200 times that from others.

All the above took place since 1997.

Eh...I'll throw in one more.
Quote
Until you have {read the bible cover to cover}, your thoughts about it deserve to be completely ignored.
I'll remember this and discount it for when you decide to talk about something you never personally experienced.

The rest of what I want to say will not be said because there is such a thing as courtesy...something you, as a Christian seem to lack. At any rate, your debate style is one of Christian Superiority Complex (which I have seen numerous times over the years), full of snide remarks, logical fallacies and quite unprofessional; all coming from a person who says he has a bible degree. I hope you're not like this away from the computer.

I will take care of the rest of your current post in due time.
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« Reply #136 on: January 04, 2011, 10:40:05 AM »

Unless there is some specific reason to question a religious experience, therefore, then we ought to accept that it is at least prima facie evidence for the existence of God.[/i] How very subjective and full of bullocks.

I never said it wasn't subjective.  Re-read me earlier post where I made it quite clear that I'm not using this as a proof for anything.  It's merely to show that the person with a religious experience is as justified in trusting that experience as they are in trusting any other experience they have.

Quote
The PoC is a fallacy in itself. On the other hand, I am an atheist who experiences the absence of God. Using the PoC that you hold in high regard, it seems to me the world is godless.

I don't doubt that.  Did I imply otherwise?

Quote
As far as fallacies go, the PoC suffers from a form of "Affirming the Consequent", which means
1) If A then B
2) B
Therefore:
3) A

In this case it's:
1) If A then A
2) A
Therefore
3) A
It leaves no room for any other possibility.

The argument is also a Subjectivist Fallacy.
1) Q is objectively true (because objective claims have the same truth-value for everyone)
2) Q is subjective.
Therefore:
3) Your argument fails.

It only fails if one assumes the person using this line of reasoning is doing so as a proof of God's existence or as a reason for why someone else should believe.  That is not, as I've stated, my purpose.  It is merely to demonstrate that trusting our religious experiences under the Principle of Credulity is as logical and reasonable a thing to do as trusting any other experience we have in life when there is no reason to think otherwise.

Quote
Prima facie
Quote from: Wiki
It is logically and intuitively clear that just because a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts that both the notion of the evidence presenting a case in a self-evident manner and the facts actually being facts (which, presumably, would require evidence of at least a minimum degree of quality) can often be reduced to entirely subjective interpretations that are independent of any truthful merit by sufficiently skilled individuals.
Basically, appearances can be deceptive.

Agreed.

Quote
PoC also requires a burden of proof, both for the person having the religious experience and for those that the person who had the religious experience to makes claims about to other individuals. Religious experience arguments for the existence of God are not in the realm of rational inquiry, but into the realm of subjective experience.

Which is precisely why I have not used it for this purpose at all.  I'm not sure why you think I did...

Quote
Those who wish to claim they have or are having a religious experience must come to grips of which divine figure/s they are experiencing.

Quite easy to do within Orthodoxy.

Quote
If it is an experience within their own tradition or cultural presupposition how do they (or we) know doesn't have some sort of natural but purely psychological bias?

How do we know this about anything?!  This is precisely my point!  There is no way to prove to anyone anything that is experienced by the senses.  There is no way for you to prove to me that you are not a brain in a vat being fed sensory experiences.  Which is why we have no other option besides trusting our experiences when there is no good reason not to.

Quote
If that is the case, which most religious experiences are, how does one know it is not a psychological experience brought on from drugs or simple imagination?

Because the person was not experimenting with any drugs and was not utilizing their imagination at the time.  Take these (real) experiences as examples:

“Then, just as I was exhausted and despairing—I had the most wonderful sense of the presence of God.  He was in a particular place in the room about five feet from me—I didn’t look up, but kept my head in my hands and my eyes shut.”  

“I was walking along a long, lonely country road by myself…then the experience came.  It lasted about 20 minutes—I sensed a presence on my right, keeping level with me as I went along. “

“Then, in a very gentle and gradual way, not with a shock at all, it began to dawn on me that I was not alone in the room.  Someone else was there, located fairly precisely about two yards to my right front.  Yet there was no sort of sensory hallucination.  I neither saw him nor heard him in any sense of the word “see” and “hear,” but there he was; I had no doubt about it.”

Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely.  What we have here, contrary to what you implied earlier, is not a mere outpouring of emotion, but fairly clear descriptions of a direct awareness of a divine presence.

I’m not saying this is proof of anything or that you should believe in God based upon the supposed experiences of others.  I’m saying that their experience can’t be looked upon as invalid and they are justified in their belief.  Because we ought to apply the Principle of Credulity to any form of experience (in the sense of “apparent direct awareness”).  

Quote
How does one know it is not just mental saturation of specific religious imagery or outlook?

How does one not know this about the computer in front of them?  The book they're reading?  Pick anything, how can you ever prove to someone else your sensory experience?

Quote
The deluded don't know. And that's why they rely on the Principle of Credulity, which is not credible at all.

Oh is that why?  I was curious.

Quote
It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.

"Ask and ye shall receive.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened."
Good grief Sleeper.
If I go outside, come back in and tell you it's raining, by your logic, you would consider me a liar or deceived in any case because you have not experienced my experience in the rain even though you would go outside and stand in the rain experiencing it. But because you can't experience my experience it's not raining when I tell you it is, but it's raining to you because you had your own unique experience of it.

When I have an experience that I'm an axe-wielding orc that can shoot fireballs out of my nostrils, you say:
Quote
I’m saying that their experience can’t be looked upon as invalid and they are justified in their belief. Because we ought to apply the Principle of Credulity to any form of experience (in the sense of “apparent direct awareness”).
I reckon it's time to let loose the psych wards, then.
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« Reply #137 on: January 04, 2011, 11:24:50 AM »

Um, what exactly is a committed atheist?
I'm committed that there is no God.

That simply makes NO SENSE! How can you be committed to something that you cannot possibly know? That's like saying you're committed to the idea that I'm of a specific ethnicity when in fact you would at best be taking an educated guess. If you're committed to "atheism" how is that any different than being committed to any other idealogy? Like a committed democrat and republican, or a committed capitalist? This just doesn't make one bit of sense for someone claiming to be an atheist on the basis of evidence. You're defining yourself by what you are NOT, and are committed to NOT being something; of course you cannot know if the something you are committed to it not existing actually doesn't exist. This is the mirror image of the super faithful religious person who claims to never have any doubt about the existence of God at. Again, the apple doesn't fall from the tree.


Quote
Nonreligious people can't experience the world religiously, but they can experience it spiritually. There's a difference.

Linguistic hairsplitting popularized by people like Bill Maher and Sam Harris.

Quote

Quote
Don't believe me, there is a brand new book out about the subject:

http://www.christiannontheism.org/members/theconcept
I've seen that before. Pretty stupid if you ask me, but whatever floats their boat.

How would you know if it is stupid before even reading the book? That's like Christians who protested the Golden Compass or the Last Temptation of Christ without ever even seeing either movie to know if they were really "evil" or not. You reject a concept because you reject it? How is that any different than a Christian rejecting another religion, because, well Jesus told them to? I suppose Richard Dawkins is stupid too since he considers himself a Christian atheist as well, then huh? So you're into making up your mind before weighing any other evidence or thinking outside your own personal worldview's box, then? How can you deride religious people for not thinking outside the box when you clearly won't yourself? You're being just as hypocritical as any uptight ultra religious person ever was. I also noticed you refused to answer my question on what is the Biblical definition of "apocalypse"...I wonder why that is?

Edited to add a PS:

I'm not trying to argue for or against belief in God/gods or anything else. I just find your "logic" radically inconsistent. You demand religious people be held to a standard you will not hold yourself too. You reject ideas out of hand, not because you've weighed evidence in favor of one hypothesis or another, but you reject them because they don't tow the party line you've "committed" yourself to. That's okay actually, as long as you're willing to admit that that is what you are doing. Like Fr. Raymond Brown did with his work on the Gospels, but still accepted certain beliefs "through the eyes of faith". At least he was honest, something you don't seem to be doing. You argue against straw men, caricature the Orthodox faith, the Bible, theology, doctrine, ancient thinkers and expect that because it works with some Fundamentalist Protestant, it will work with everyone here. Now you're in a "debate" with a couple of users over "bragging rights" about who has the most "credentials" about religious doctrines and biblical origins, yet I wonder, do you know who the Ecclesiastical redactor of the NT was? (or likely was? Or even what the concept even is?) Do you know what Old Testament Minimalism is? Are you familiar with the theories of Walter Bauer, DF Strauss . . . what are your thoughts on Margaret Barker's magnificent theories on "Popular Judaism" vs ecclesiastical Judaism at the time of Jesus? What do you think of Paul Tillich, Rudolph Bultmaan, Spinoza etc? Do you think they're all idiots too? If so, why? What makes you right and them wrong? Do you even know what I'm talking about? If you've studied the Bible as much as you claim, these names should all be as familiar to you as old friends. Or when you say you studied the Bible do you mean you just attended Bible study classes in Church for a bunch of years, and read the "skeptics guide to the Bible?" Some of the greatest "scholars" of the Bible and religion have been "amateurs" and some of the biggest frauds have had PhD's up the wahoo...

Again, not arguing for or against anything other than honesty in debate and discourse. As the atheist you should be taking the high road (according to atheists that is), yet I see lots of cat calling, little digs and attempts to deliberately get under people's skin because you think you know which buttons to push. Maybe that's what you've done with me too. Perhaps this is all just a "game" and you're not interested in learning or discussing anything at all. I do not know. It's too bad you can be more open to other ideas like Asteriktos is, maybe we could learn something from each other. Alas, I have feeling that isn't going to happen.

No offense intended, and if I've misjudged the situation well, as I said before, I do apologize. Maybe you've just got me on an off week, who knows.

No harm intended, just some observations from my personal perspective.

NP


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« Reply #138 on: January 04, 2011, 11:49:02 AM »

Quote
Quote
It is unlikely a committed atheist will experience the world religiously.

"Ask and ye shall receive.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened."
Alright. In this post, I'm going to leave aside everything you just said with the exception of one thing.

Pity, because there a few things I'd have liked you to address.  Particularly why you think experience applies to you but not to others; why you are certain you're not a brain in a vat and yet certain that someone's religious experience can only be false.

Quote
Yes. I have read the bible. Once, cover to cover, the KJV, which was a grueling task. And again, cover to cover (and the New Testament twice) the NIV. I have read all the so called "lost" books, the book of Mormon and the JW bible. I have researched Buddhism, Shintoism, and Roman, Wicca/Pagan and Egyptian pantheism. And I didn't need a religious experience to want to research any of them. Nor did I have a religious experience by researching any of them.

I research the bible in at least 6 various forms at least 4 days a week. I have tried to study Koine Greek and Modal Logic, both of which escape me. I use Bible Gateway exclusively for biblical research.

I had been a member of a defunct atheist board since 2003 - a Moderator there for 5 years in the Existence of God/s Forum, Moral Foundations & Principles Forum and General Religious Discussions forum. I was Lead Administrator for one year, which means I was in charge of 50-60 Moderators in 31 separate forums. I have been a member of at least a dozen other discussion boards and the old MSN/Yahoo chats. I would make a wager, if I could prove it that I have posted on the internet more than 30,000 times all of which had something to do with religion.

I have been in a face to face debate with a Presbyterian minister that lasted for several months and an email debate with a deacon of the Disciples of Christ. I have been in the oldest Christian church and the biggest Christian church in the UK and stood in awe in both of them.

I have written over 300 pages (in MS Word) and amassed 200 times that from others.

All the above took place since 1997.

Very nice.

Quote
Eh...I'll throw in one more.
Quote
Until you have {read the bible cover to cover}, your thoughts about it deserve to be completely ignored.
I'll remember this and discount it for when you decide to talk about something you never personally experienced.

Please do.  I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert on something when I haven't put in the time to try to understand it.  I don't doubt that you've studied the Bible as much as you have, but I'll be honest and say that I find that pretty impossible to believe considering the childish caricatures you assign to it.

Quote
The rest of what I want to say will not be said because there is such a thing as courtesy...something you, as a Christian seem to lack. At any rate, your debate style is one of Christian Superiority Complex (which I have seen numerous times over the years), full of snide remarks, logical fallacies and quite unprofessional; all coming from a person who says he has a bible degree. I hope you're not like this away from the computer.

Not quite sure what this is in reference to, but okay.  One would think the time I'm willing to put in in replying to you would be a quality identified as "courtesy" (especially given that you're clearly unwilling to actually try to understand what I'm trying to say).  I have no debate style because I'm not debating you or anyone.  I don't much care for debate because it results in trying to score points rather than trying to find truth.

Quote
I will take care of the rest of your current post in due time.

Please do.

Quote
Good grief Sleeper.
If I go outside, come back in and tell you it's raining, by your logic, you would consider me a liar or deceived in any case because you have not experienced my experience in the rain even though you would go outside and stand in the rain experiencing it.

On the contrary, this is what you would do.  My logic works the other way around.  See, I'm not trying to invalidate someone else's experiences (under the reasonable Principle of Credulity) whereas you are.  I'm saying that, under completely normal circumstances, we are all justified in trusting our experiences if there is nothing to make that unreasonable.

Quote
But because you can't experience my experience it's not raining when I tell you it is, but it's raining to you because you had your own unique experience of it.

You have this backwards...

Quote
When I have an experience that I'm an axe-wielding orc that can shoot fireballs out of my nostrils, you say:
Quote
I’m saying that their experience can’t be looked upon as invalid and they are justified in their belief. Because we ought to apply the Principle of Credulity to any form of experience (in the sense of “apparent direct awareness”).
I reckon it's time to let loose the psych wards, then.

Perhaps you should go back and re-read some of what I wrote earlier in regards to the Principle of Credulity.  Because if you read it, and think that I implied in any way whatsoever that it would be reasonable for you to believe you're an axe-wielding orc that can shoot fireballs out his nose, I'm really not sure how much longer I can do this.

I've said the same thing a billion times now and I don't know how else to help you see what you're clearly not seeing.
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« Reply #139 on: January 04, 2011, 02:28:51 PM »


Actually they are proven.

For example:

Nothing can not be an existing person, object, substance, place or thing. Thus arguments like non-material, a-spatial ect are idiotic.. You can't exist as a -2 dimensional object or entity either. In fact, spatial capacity and dimension are considered infinite simply because the opposite is literally impossible to exist! You can't have a -1 dimensional space or volume of capacity. Nor can such negative concepts contain anything, have substance, or be existent. When Christians try to apply attributes associated with values of non-existence to a GOD, it almost makes me giggle because they don't even realize it.  You may as well try and argue that your deity exist in a place of non-existence.

Laws of material nature are proven, and I doubt even a theist would be dumb enough to try and argue that their GOD is made of "Nothing", and exists in a place of non-existence. Have fun with that position should you attempt to use it. Those 3 laws I gave you are the very base laws to existence itself. They are impossible to violate, or exist outside of. Worse yet, all minds must be temporally bound because it takes time to do things such as thinking, or even "Creating". There can be no progress without progression of one frame of reference to another. Especially in considering consciousness.

However, one of the worst things about the argument of a GOD is that it takes more cause to support consciousness than unconsciousness. Undecided 

And lastly, you didn't address anything. You simply tried to use a Carl Sagan's Dragon argument.

I'm having trouble following your argument here.  Can you clarify?

Quote
If you even have read the bible and then put that into context of your argument of "Pushing him away" you would understand the border line fear mongering. And I don't even have to go into the morality argument about murder or killing. Regardless, that is all irrelevant in terms of argument. And your argument here that tries to suggest that I fear that I might be wrong is nonsensical. I actually fear more about being right. Emotional pleading for acceptance of said ideological construct does not grant it any sort of relevance to reality. It's still sheer concept of opinion. And even in the quote above, you still used the fear and carrot tools commonly used in the mechanics of subliminal programming and brainwashing. The use of "Death" and possible there after as an argument, is very subliminally suggestive and rides on people's fears of death. It's almost as bad as the Damnation vs salvation argument.

If you fear that you are right, why are you so callous?  The problem with de-emotionalizing reality is simply in my opinion a destruction of reality, and a destruction of who we really are.

For instance, I love my girlfriend.  There are two levels of understanding this "love."  One is a biochemical understanding and another is a purposeful understanding.  If I simply throw away the purpose of emotion, and simply shrug my shoulders and call love simply an irrelevant feeling resultant of neuronal firing, I am fooling myself for the importance of love in one's life.  This is how God is to me, how prayer is important to me.  There is a physical side that can be explained, but to ascribe to it fakeness, an action towards something that doesn't exist is to me far from reality.  I don't mean to use fear mongering.  Apparently, you're not afraid of what I said, so your argument of fear mongering is irrelevant.

But I simply believe this.  There's always a why or how to everything around us.  It's amazing how Stephen Hawking has proven everything in this world spontaneously created from nothing.  I simply wonder, how did it just spontaneously create itself?  How is there a cosmic balance of reactions between subparticles in the first place?  How did these branes and strings (which are considered one-dimensional, so I don't understand your one or two dimensional argument) come about?  How did they first start moving or shaking or vibrating into the material we are?  The answer to atheists like you is simply the Laws of Nature.  Really?  You know that's borderline deism.  You can't call yourself an atheist anymore and not consider the eternal nature of the "Laws."  In addition, "eternalness" and "infinity" are scientifically unobservable.  I cannot fathom how theoretical physicists simply assume their mathematical construct of infinity as creation.  I'd like to find out.  If infinity is indeed observable, then by all means, I don't mind God being the unobservable one that created it. 

The point is this, all things "move" in some sense, and I believe in a "Mover."  Your "Mover" is the Laws of Nature.  I simply the Laws of Nature are collectively the blueprint of the Logos, a "Law-Giver".  This necessitates the idea that there are things here that did not exist before.  Case in point:  I didn't exist before, and my self-awareness allows me to be even more contemplative of this fact and of my material nature.  Therefore, I also believe in a Creator, not Someone who reassembles what's already there, but Who brings about things that didn't exist before and keeps them existing, a blueprint of His ever-existence.  Finally, the ever-evolving and complicated Life that exists suggests a moving energy, a blueprint of a Life-Giver.  I believe in the Pantocrator, the Logos, and Life-Giver.  Creation attests to this, and I worship the one Name of God it truly bears.

How do I come up with this assumption?  Well, I simply tested it.  Is it worth believing in Him or not?  If so, this God should also love, and move a sense of emotion in all of us to Love, and for this I simply tested this assumption by prayer, and sure enough, He exists, but not in the same plane as any form of other existence there is.  He is both existent and non-existent, infinite and infinitesimal, everything and nothing, transcendant and imminent.  He is the ultimate paradox, but I exist, and I don't want to stop existing.  I am moved, and I don't want to stop moving.  I have life, and I don't want it to go away.  Call it emotional or fear mongering if you like.  I call it the doorway to ultimate truth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God.  Everything starts with an assumption, and you test it.  With atheism, there's nothing to test because it's a mere denial of the transcendant, not a fuller understanding of nature.

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Actually it is not. Especially if you actually pay attention to how it really operates. And one thing to note is that I used to be a Christian, right up until I read books on the mechanics of brainwashing and how it applied to what I was doing when I did advertising for Christian churches. It's something I recommend everyone should do, go read those books on the subject of brainwashing and subliminal programming and sit back and observe things like TV commercials, News, Politics, Advertising, Religion, or anything else for that matter as it doesn't just apply to religion. It's pretty funny when someone tries to manipulate me in sale of a product for example Tongue It doesn't work on me anymore Smiley

No one is advertising anything to you.  Let me give you some things straight out.  If you are a Christian, your heavenly realm is growth and unity with God.  If you are a Christian, you are to be self-sacrificial even to those who hate you or persecute you.  If you are a Christian, any poor person that needs your help, you are commanded to help, irregardless of who this person is.  If you a Christian, you should treat all as equals and not be deceptive, but straightforward and respectful with others.  No advertising, no superficial clean image, no fear mongering.  Just simply live your life and let others live, but when you live your life, you will suffer.  I don't think that's something comforting to sell, and rather than brainwashing, it's rejected by most brains even among nominal Christians, but that's what a true Christian is.  By your example alone, you should be able to draw people to yourself, not be a Protestant pop-up ad to others.

TTC, even when you were a "Christian" you were an atheist all along.  You never really was a Christian.
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« Reply #140 on: January 04, 2011, 02:49:07 PM »

First: My definitions of "apocalyptic" and "superstition" aren't wrong, they just aren't your limited definition.  You would probably call my usage of "Romantic" wrong as well, just because I almost never use it to mean what the editors of Harlequin books think it means.
Well, Christians have been known to redefine words to fit their eschatology.

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First: My definitions of "apocalyptic" and "superstition" aren't wrong, they just aren't your limited definition.  You would probably call my usage of "Romantic" wrong as well, just because I almost never use it to mean what the editors of Harlequin books think it means.
Well, Christians have been known to redefine words to fit their eschatology.

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"Apocalyptic" can mean: etc., etc., etc.

You have been explained to that Jesus' ministry was written in an apocalyptic format, meaning then end of days. I'll tell you further that Revelation was written by a disgruntled Jew AFTER the second temple tear down and means nothing in the way of the end of the world. The end of HIS world, perhaps, as he knew it. It'll be interesting to see your take on that...*chucklin*

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Now, if what you mean is that people in the first century expected the world could end at any moment in a very literal and not merely personal sense, you are correct.  When by saying that you imply the modern world has somehow risen above that, you are horribly wrong.  
What I'm saying that Jesus taught the end was near...imminent.

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Atheism hasn't made the world ending any less likely,...

Non sequitor.

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...it's just removed the supernatural from the equation.
 
When one can show evidence of the supernatural, I have no choice but to revamp my atheism.

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At any moment an asteroid could hurtle into the earth, we are warned if we don't change our wicked ways the polar ice-caps will melt, and there is still the threat of world-ending nuclear or biological warfare.
Yes, and many will ascribe this train of thought by God's hand. It was God's hand that actually hurtled the asteroid...blah blah blah.

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Now, superstition means: a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary .
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(Webster's.  The unfortunate thing about dictionaries is you are subject to the biases and philosophies of the dictionary writers, the current OED definition was meaningless.)
I'll agree with that.

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You can accuse me and the goat-herder of being superstitious in sense 1(b) only if you can demonstrate that we are indeed irrational in our attitudes toward God.  But seeing as how the whole point of the argument is whether or not belief in God could be rational sense 1(b) is useless in our discussion.
Not quite there, buckaroo. Gods are supernatural. Belief in Gods is superstition. The "abject" part means nothing in our debate. Just because one is high in spirit in his belief of the supernatural does not raise him out of the supernatural realm and into reality. I believe I have discussed this elsewhere and do not wish to do so again. It is a lengthy subject. Suffice to say that you cannot, in your reality, point to god and show me god because you experience it.

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I accuse atheism of superstition in senses 1(a) and 2.
That is because you have an erroneous view of atheism. Many theists do.

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I can also argue that most of what is considered "superstition" within Christianity is a misapplication of Christianity.
Only from your superstitious point of view. A Southern Baptist will tell you the exact same thing.

I'll bring up Sleeper's quote again:
Probably because I've never experienced Joseph Smith or any of the Buddhist gods.  They've not cared to make themselves known apparently.  This common, yet laughable, atheistic line of reasoning that we have to have considered every religion in order to reject it doesn't work man...
Then your knowledge base on these unexplored religions is zero and you cannot make an intelligent statement about them. How do you know that one of these religions you have not expored is the correct one and the religion you experience now is brought to you via courtesy the devil?
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« Reply #141 on: January 04, 2011, 03:36:09 PM »

Sleeper, Imagining that Elvis Presley is talking to you in your mind is the same thing as imagining a God is talking to you in your mind. In neither case would I think that a reasonable thing to believe, unless sufficient evidence were given in favor of it.

The claim to be having a religious experience looks suspiciously 'human'. When looked at from the angle of deciding how one knows one is having a religious experience of God, why do people presume their experience is good ("I felt something guiding me", or "Someone must be watching over me")/. Unless you have a direct unmediated out-of-body experience with God (which is not possible even for mystics who are still 'trapped' in the mental realm by language) you are merely presuming your experience to be from a good and/or right or correct source. You are using a human-centered ethical criterion of good/right/correct in order to interpret a religious experience.

But could it be that you are being deceived by an evil spirit (or another god) and being led astray? No, you are still be presuming your encounter to be from a bad/evil source. Unless one presupposes that good things come from a good 'spiritual' source there is no way of knowing. Even subsequent 'evidence' or rather cause and effect may be or may become corrupted. Christians (and many other believers) will argue that their experience concurs with the testimony of their Scripture. They can't all be having a real experience of their God. This also takes us back to religious experience is colored by one's culture and tradition and therefore human centered.

Because one claims to have had a religious experience does not mean that God exists. Just because you believe God is there (epistemology) does not mean God is actually there (ontology). You need something more than the 'feeling' of religious experience for verification of that. Verification. This is why religious experiences fail. They cannot be verified sufficiently enough to those that do not have religious experiences, to those that have religious experiences outside your culture and/or tradition and many times by the person having a religious experience. And all this leads us to religious experiences are brought on by the imagination or drugs.
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« Reply #142 on: January 04, 2011, 04:04:16 PM »

First: My definitions of "apocalyptic" and "superstition" aren't wrong, they just aren't your limited definition.  You would probably call my usage of "Romantic" wrong as well, just because I almost never use it to mean what the editors of Harlequin books think it means.
Well, Christians have been known to redefine words to fit their eschatology.
I have no need to redefine words, I stand on their classical definitions.  It's the modern atheist who has tried to frame these words in a near Orwellian manner so that they mean absolutely nothing other than "Christian fallacies".

"Apocalyptic" can mean: etc., etc., etc.

You have been explained to that Jesus' ministry was written in an apocalyptic format, meaning then end of days. I'll tell you further that Revelation was written by a disgruntled Jew AFTER the second temple tear down and means nothing in the way of the end of the world. The end of HIS world, perhaps, as he knew it. It'll be interesting to see your take on that...*chucklin*
I would be well within the realm of Patristic thought if I took you back to my original definition of Apocalyptic: The apocalypse happens everyday in everyone's world.  Indeed, the end of St John's world (you don't shock me when you say Revelation was written AFTER the destruction of the second temple, the Church has maintained such since the beginning.  You might scare a 19th century dispensationalist, perhaps), or the end of many a Jew's world who happened to live in or around Jerusalem in AD 70.  Let's talk about the different worlds whose end started with the destruction of the Jewish temple: the old pagan polytheistic structure, the Pax Romana, the Old Roman Empire itself.  The Jewish Apocalyptic tradition doesn't prophesy the end of all life, it prophesies the end of life as we know it, the current age.  Daniel prophesies the downfall of the Babylonian Empire and it's take over by Persia, the end of the Persian Empire and it's take over by the Greek, and the end of the Greek Empire and it's take over by Rome.  Revelation prophecies the destruction of Rome and the existence of a thousand year Christian Empire.  Let's see Rome fell in AD 470 and Constantinople lasted... 1000 years.  

Now, if what you mean is that people in the first century expected the world could end at any moment in a very literal and not merely personal sense, you are correct.  When by saying that you imply the modern world has somehow risen above that, you are horribly wrong.  
What I'm saying that Jesus taught the end was near...imminent.
And it was.  The Temple was destroyed in AD 70.  That generation had indeed not passed away.

Atheism hasn't made the world ending any less likely,...

Non sequitor...
Not at all.  The mindset hasn't changed, even with a supposedly rational frame of reference.  If anything people are more frightened at the end of the world than ever.

...it's just removed the supernatural from the equation.
 
When one can show evidence of the supernatural, I have no choice but to revamp my atheism.

If and when you can be offered a plate of gourmet food and realize it for the feast it is, without saying it is all grass and protein strands you will be halfway there.  But that's not the point.  The point was...

At any moment an asteroid could hurtle into the earth, we are warned if we don't change our wicked ways the polar ice-caps will melt, and there is still the threat of world-ending nuclear or biological warfare.
Yes, and many will ascribe this train of thought by God's hand. It was God's hand that actually hurtled the asteroid...blah blah blah.


Oh, look, you shot right past the point and continued on your "Supernaturalism is silly" merry-go-round.  Point there, point gone again, point there, point gone again.  When the world finally does meet it's end, however that might be, it's not going to matter if it was God's hand that hurled the asteroid or just a hurtling bullet set into place by physics after the big bang that took 4 billion years to meet it's target.  World gone, poof, bye bye mankind.  The point is: it's no more or less silly to believe the world is going to end at any moment, when in fact it is a very likely that it could end at any moment.  You might think the Egyptians silly for believing a god caused the Nile to flood every year but there was nothing silly about the Egyptians planning their crops around that event.

Now, superstition means: a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary .
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(Webster's.  The unfortunate thing about dictionaries is you are subject to the biases and philosophies of the dictionary writers, the current OED definition was meaningless.)
I'll agree with that.

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You can accuse me and the goat-herder of being superstitious in sense 1(b) only if you can demonstrate that we are indeed irrational in our attitudes toward God.  But seeing as how the whole point of the argument is whether or not belief in God could be rational sense 1(b) is useless in our discussion.
Not quite there, buckaroo. Gods are supernatural. Belief in Gods is superstition. The "abject" part means nothing in our debate. Just because one is high in spirit in his belief of the supernatural does not raise him out of the supernatural realm and into reality. I believe I have discussed this elsewhere and do not wish to do so again. It is a lengthy subject. Suffice to say that you cannot, in your reality, point to god and show me god because you experience it.


Who said anything about "abject"?  *rereads his statement*  Nope, nothing about "abject" up there.  The word "irrational" appears up there, and the definition is "an irrational abject frame of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition".  If the point of the argument is whether or not belief in God is rational or irrational, then the word "Superstitious" applied to a belief in God is meaningless, it considers your side of the argument already proved, which it is not.

I accuse atheism of superstition in senses 1(a) and 2.
That is because you have an erroneous view of atheism. Many theists do.

So you assert, but you don't prove.

I can also argue that most of what is considered "superstition" within Christianity is a misapplication of Christianity.
Only from your superstitious point of view. A Southern Baptist will tell you the exact same thing.
I would actually agree with a Southern Baptist on many points.  The only areas of which they would accuse me of superstition is in the usage of icons and prayers to saints.  I go easy on them, they haven't read enough and don't drink, no wonder their minds don't think clearly.

I'll bring up Sleeper's quote again:
Probably because I've never experienced Joseph Smith or any of the Buddhist gods.  They've not cared to make themselves known apparently.  This common, yet laughable, atheistic line of reasoning that we have to have considered every religion in order to reject it doesn't work man...
Then your knowledge base on these unexplored religions is zero and you cannot make an intelligent statement about them. How do you know that one of these religions you have not expored is the correct one and the religion you experience now is brought to you via courtesy the devil?

You bring up Sleeper's quote on other religions while completely ignoring mine, which states that I indeed have explored other religions.  If I reject Joseph Smith's teachings out of hand, that is because he makes claims in an area where I most assuredly know more.  Buddhism makes claims that any student of religion would do well to take seriously (though I fail to see if Buddhism is right and I am wrong how my religion could be "of the devil".  At the most it could be evidence of my unenlightenment and lack of karmic development).  An analogy: If religion were art Buddhism would be Ming vase, while Joseph Smith would be a six year old fresh from the Louvre insisting that his stick-figure finger-painting is the real Mona Lisa and the one on display is a fake.

edit: fixed quote tags
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« Reply #143 on: January 04, 2011, 04:20:56 PM »

If you fear that you are right, why are you so callous?  The problem with de-emotionalizing reality is simply in my opinion a destruction of reality, and a destruction of who we really are.

For instance, I love my girlfriend.  There are two levels of understanding this "love."  One is a biochemical understanding and another is a purposeful understanding.  If I simply throw away the purpose of emotion, and simply shrug my shoulders and call love simply an irrelevant feeling resultant of neuronal firing, I am fooling myself for the importance of love in one's life.  This is how God is to me, how prayer is important to me.  There is a physical side that can be explained, but to ascribe to it fakeness, an action towards something that doesn't exist is to me far from reality.  I don't mean to use fear mongering.  Apparently, you're not afraid of what I said, so your argument of fear mongering is irrelevant.
This sounds like an appeal to consequences fallacy to me.

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But I simply believe this.  There's always a why or how to everything around us.  It's amazing how Stephen Hawking has proven everything in this world spontaneously created from nothing.  I simply wonder, how did it just spontaneously create itself?
Straw man fallacy.

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How is there a cosmic balance of reactions between subparticles in the first place?  How did these branes and strings (which are considered one-dimensional, so I don't understand your one or two dimensional argument) come about?  How did they first start moving or shaking or vibrating into the material we are?  The answer to atheists like you is simply the Laws of Nature.
Straw man fallacy.

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Really?  You know that's borderline deism.  You can't call yourself an atheist anymore and not consider the eternal nature of the "Laws."  In addition, "eternalness" and "infinity" are scientifically unobservable.  I cannot fathom how theoretical physicists simply assume their mathematical construct of infinity as creation.  I'd like to find out.  If infinity is indeed observable, then by all means, I don't mind God being the unobservable one that created it.
This looks like an argument from ignorance.

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The point is this, all things "move" in some sense, and I believe in a "Mover."  Your "Mover" is the Laws of Nature.  I simply the Laws of Nature are collectively the blueprint of the Logos, a "Law-Giver".  This necessitates the idea that there are things here that did not exist before.  Case in point:  I didn't exist before, and my self-awareness allows me to be even more contemplative of this fact and of my material nature.  Therefore, I also believe in a Creator, not Someone who reassembles what's already there, but Who brings about things that didn't exist before and keeps them existing, a blueprint of His ever-existence.  Finally, the ever-evolving and complicated Life that exists suggests a moving energy, a blueprint of a Life-Giver.  I believe in the Pantocrator, the Logos, and Life-Giver.  Creation attests to this, and I worship the one Name of God it truly bears.
False dichotomy, straw man fallacies.

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How do I come up with this assumption?  Well, I simply tested it.  Is it worth believing in Him or not?  If so, this God should also love, and move a sense of emotion in all of us to Love, and for this I simply tested this assumption by prayer, and sure enough, He exists, but not in the same plane as any form of other existence there is.  He is both existent and non-existent, infinite and infinitesimal, everything and nothing, transcendant and imminent.  He is the ultimate paradox, but I exist, and I don't want to stop existing.  I am moved, and I don't want to stop moving.  I have life, and I don't want it to go away.  Call it emotional or fear mongering if you like.  I call it the doorway to ultimate truth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God.  Everything starts with an assumption, and you test it.  With atheism, there's nothing to test because it's a mere denial of the transcendant, not a fuller understanding of nature.
Argument from consequences.

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TTC, even when you were a "Christian" you were an atheist all along.  You never really was a Christian.
No True Scotsman fallacy.
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« Reply #144 on: January 04, 2011, 04:45:14 PM »

Oh what the heck I'll just have some fun here Mina, it was too easy to point out your fallacies.

I'm having trouble following your argument here.  Can you clarify?
Seriously? LOL. Nice avoidance of the issue sir. But, let's play dumb for a second and clarify..

There can simply be no Phenomenon, object, person, place, or thing without material physicality... And for the easier clarification. Nothing can not be a something! EVER! It can not be a substance, object, person, place, entity, or thing!

Not hard to grasp at all.

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If you fear that you are right, why are you so callous?  The problem with de-emotionalizing reality is simply in my opinion a destruction of reality, and a destruction of who we really are.
I'm being direct. It's not "de-emotionalizing reality" either. It is preventing you from using such thing as an argument because it's not an argument in regards to this subject. It's called honest discourse, and trying to emotionalize it a common tool used as some sort of argument to a supposed GODS existence when it is no such argument what-so-ever. If I don't be direct with you, this would spiral into nonsensical circular arguments that aren't worth anything in value to the discussion.

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For instance, I love my girlfriend.  There are two levels of understanding this "love."  One is a biochemical understanding and another is a purposeful understanding.  If I simply throw away the purpose of emotion, and simply shrug my shoulders and call love simply an irrelevant feeling resultant of neuronal firing, I am fooling myself for the importance of love in one's life.  This is how God is to me, how prayer is important to me.  There is a physical side that can be explained, but to ascribe to it fakeness, an action towards something that doesn't exist is to me far from reality.  I don't mean to use fear mongering.  Apparently, you're not afraid of what I said, so your argument of fear mongering is irrelevant.
Try feeling love without actually and physically feeling it and expressing it. All emotions and feelings are material physical patterns, and all that means is that they are REAL! Using these as arguments is worthless to the discussion because I don't think you are going to argue that your love is "Nothing", and made of "Nothing". I'm also not afraid of what you said because I've used those arguments before while I was a Christian. I fully comprehend the argument and it's purpose even if it's seemingly not by intention.

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But I simply believe this.  There's always a why or how to everything around us.  It's amazing how Stephen Hawking has proven everything in this world spontaneously created from nothing.
Incorrect. He was referring to zero point energy or ground state. As it GOES, nothing isn't nothing anymore in science! And that is because nothing in literal context is impossible. But for giggles I will post a some info for you.

http://primaxstudio.com/stuff/scale_of_universe/

Gravity is considered a negative energy where expansion is considered positive. It's assumed the the total net energy is zero. But I still consider Zero energy as energy in a state of Equilibrium vs actually being nothing or literally zero. This is why I am more fond of zero-point energy. So at rest there is zero-point energy. This is where zero also = 1 or (0,1)

http://www.curtismenning.com/ZeroEnergyCalc.htm

There are two ways the word nothing is used.. it's either the scientific way, or a means to describe something that is absent to which you expect to be there.. Hence, its use is greatly dependent on the context in which you use it..

Example:

You can say nothing is in my coffee cup, however the nothing is only reference to what is absent.. Hence, where is the coffee that I expect to be in my cup? Well, it's in the coffee pot. However in a scientific context, is your empty cup really empty? Can you take the cup and poor the space out of it? Can you empty the cup of it's existence? No you can't because there will always be something in the cup. This is true even if you smash the cup because the cup itself is made of existence and space. and what is empty space or existence made of?
Well, lets take a closer look at this. What you perceive to be nothing really is a no-thing. And perceptually you can understand, interact, and see what empty space is. You can take any point in space and regress to back to zero or (0,1), or zero base energy.

Confusing right?

So following the scientific context, a real simple way I can explain consciousness is that zero base information (energy) self-oscillates and formulates an informational structure. This can, with enough complexity as a structure, could process other pieces of information including itself with cognitive dynamics that could also lead to consciousness. The example here being that quantum computation does this in qbits that can process information in terms of probability, possibility, or in pure abstract. This could in theory be the driving force behind the butterfly effect, consciousness, emergence, and Quantum Electrodynamics. This is where zero point energy, as discussed above, is zero in the form of something like a qbit (both 0,1)..(clarification) So unlike binary code where the classic bit is either a 0 or a 1, or two separate switches or elements, its more like the Qbits to which are both 0 and 1 at the same time. This gives you a zero value base complexity, and that means you can with enough increase in complexity achieve consciousness, and the probability of any pattern arising from zero without the need for intelligent intervention. Also, IBM has also proven this to an extent with the 4 atom quantum computer.

I simply wonder, how did it just spontaneously create itself?  How is there a cosmic balance of reactions between subparticles in the first place?  How did these branes and strings (which are considered one-dimensional, so I don't understand your one or two dimensional argument) come about?  How did they first start moving or shaking or vibrating into the material we are?  The answer to atheists like you is simply the Laws of Nature.  Really?  You know that's borderline deism.  You can't call yourself an atheist anymore and not consider the eternal nature of the "Laws."  In addition, "eternalness" and "infinity" are scientifically unobservable.  I cannot fathom how theoretical physicists simply assume their mathematical construct of infinity as creation.  I'd like to find out.  If infinity is indeed observable, then by all means, I don't mind God being the unobservable one that created it.  

The point is this, all things "move" in some sense, and I believe in a "Mover."  Your "Mover" is the Laws of Nature.  I simply the Laws of Nature are collectively the blueprint of the Logos, a "Law-Giver".  This necessitates the idea that there are things here that did not exist before.  Case in point:  I didn't exist before, and my self-awareness allows me to be even more contemplative of this fact and of my material nature.  Therefore, I also believe in a Creator, not Someone who reassembles what's already there, but Who brings about things that didn't exist before and keeps them existing, a blueprint of His ever-existence.  Finally, the ever-evolving and complicated Life that exists suggests a moving energy, a blueprint of a Life-Giver.  I believe in the Pantocrator, the Logos, and Life-Giver.  Creation attests to this, and I worship the one Name of God it truly bears.

How do I come up with this assumption?  Well, I simply tested it.  Is it worth believing in Him or not?  If so, this God should also love, and move a sense of emotion in all of us to Love, and for this I simply tested this assumption by prayer, and sure enough, He exists, but not in the same plane as any form of other existence there is.  He is both existent and non-existent, infinite and infinitesimal, everything and nothing, transcendant and imminent.  He is the ultimate paradox, but I exist, and I don't want to stop existing.  I am moved, and I don't want to stop moving.  I have life, and I don't want it to go away.  Call it emotional or fear mongering if you like.  I call it the doorway to ultimate truth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God.  Everything starts with an assumption, and you test it.  With atheism, there's nothing to test because it's a mere denial of the transcendant, not a fuller understanding of nature.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QubitLink

-----

So here is what I was thinking on this issue when it comes to Zero Point energy:

Key:

* 0 = zero = Qbit = (0,1) = energy = a No -thing (base to potential self-oscillating energy)
* (0,1) = a no-thing:
* 0 = no other objects or complexities higher than zero
* 1= the only object even if there are an infinite number of other zero's (0,1)'s or points in space.. Because it's only relative to it's own point in space. Thus is zero point energy. However this could interact or interfere with other 0 points of energy and generate fluctuations and eventually the possibility of expansion and the rise to complexity. This being of course the Universe as we know it.

So in Quantum Electrodynamics, the particle and anti-particles are generated by borrowing energy from other zeros (0,1)'s (the future) to create a fluctuation that spawns them. So adding (0,1) to (0,1) gives you a possibility of getting (0,2). I'm not sure how it would work exactly, but that's just one conceptual idea. So these particles comeback together and destroy each other, leaving of course a byproduct that makes up the stuff of Stars and ourselves.

1) Energy Progression:

0 -> X =

Expansion: 0- infinity?
energy scale: 0 - infinity?
complexity scale: 0 - infinity ?
time scale: 0 -> ? , or 0 -> infinity?
dimensional scale: 0D -> XD


2) Energy Regression / decay:

X -> 0 =

Gravity: 0- Infinity?
energy scale: X? - > 0?
complexity scale: X? - > 0?
time scale: X? - > 0?

3) non-existence / non-material / impossible:
(0,0)
- 0 literal energy
- 0 Dimensional or Spatial Capacity
- Can not be a person place or thing (noun), or can not have or gain mass. Nor can it be or have matter, and energy in the literal sense. It can not even be or contain itself.


Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo&feature=player_embedded
-----
Cool Factoids: We humans are 99.7% - 99.9% EMPTY SPACE!

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I simply wonder, how did it just spontaneously create itself?
The natural properties of energy: Positive, Negative, Neutral.

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How is there a cosmic balance of reactions between subparticles in the first place?
All matter is made of Energy. In fact Energy itself is the very substance to all that exists, and that includes empty space itself. Matter is essentially just different states of Energy. Energy is potential time, movement, action, reaction, complexity, expansion, and emergence. It's a chaotic system of positive, negative, and neutral properties that can be without doubt incredibly complex. Even complex enough for emotions, feelings, and consciousness to arise.

Quantum Electrodynamics:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8R4Tz_vKEE&feature=player_embedded

Chaos Theory and Emerging order from the coupling of positive and negative feedback:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HVRniR3GrQ&feature=player_embedded

Butterfly effect: Secret life of Chaos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6NnCOs20GQ&feature=player_embedded

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How did these branes and strings (which are considered one-dimensional, so I don't understand your one or two dimensional argument) come about?
String theory will still require to follow the rules. That is why they are considered 1 dimensional object and not -1 dimensional because they know -dimensional objects are impossible to exist. negative dimensions is equal to negative existence or negative properties to which are impossible to be properties because they by definition state themselves to not exist.

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How did they first start moving or shaking or vibrating into the material we are?
That's a funny thing when you are talking about energy Wink

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The point is this, all things "move" in some sense, and I believe in a "Mover." Your "Mover" is the Laws of Nature

Again Energy naturally exists. And -1 energy is impossible as -1 spatial capacity considering energy is what makes up spatial capacity as an infinite volume. You can only have ground state to the base of all existence on an energy scale. Ground state represents Zero without literally being Zero since literal Zero is impossible to exist.

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How do I come up with this assumption? Well, I simply tested it. Is it worth believing in Him or not? If so, this God should also love, and move a sense of emotion in all of us to Love, and for this I simply tested this assumption by prayer, and sure enough, He exists, but not in the same plane as any form of other existence there is. He is both existent and non-existent, infinite and infinitesimal, everything and nothing, transcendant and imminent.
A very nonsensical pleading argument.

1) you have a literal impossible self contradiction
2) To say a GOD is infinite is equal to say the sum total of existence is GOD. That includes me, you, and everything. And that conflicts with another argument of "Existing in a different plane".. And the very fact that you claim it to be it's own individual with it's own mind and consciousness already makes it finite and not infinite.
3) You are also no grasping "Existing IN" hence not the answer to existence or creator of. At best you are limited to material physical manipulation no different than man creating cars and big cities, or even synthetic life.

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He is the ultimate paradox, but I exist, and I don't want to stop existing. I am moved, and I don't want to stop moving. I have life, and I don't want it to go away. Call it emotional or fear mongering if you like. I call it the doorway to ultimate truth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God. Everything starts with an assumption, and you test it. With atheism, there's nothing to test because it's a mere denial of the transcendant, not a fuller understanding of nature.
Incorrect. the Ultimate Paradox is that Existence itself doesn't requires Consciousness to exist. It is consciousness that is slave to the rules of existence. You essentially have it backwards. The biggest difference is the Existence simply exists because Non-existence can not exist. There is no creator to existence because that is impossible, and you can argue by virtue of opinion alone that there is no such thing as "GODS". Especially when all entities must follow the rules of existence!

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No one is advertising anything to you.
Never state you did. It was an example.

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Let me give you some things straight out. If you are a Christian, your heavenly realm is growth and unity with God.
Was a Christian. And the Realm of GOD or Heaven,.. Think of your questions in regards to our Universe and then translate those to Heaven or any plane and realm you think could exist. You will find that all those questions will remain unexplained in terms of "Creation" simply because all minds are contained and must have a place to exist in. It's irrelevant if there are an infinite number of realms or universes. You can't create that which yourself require to exist! Thus GODS are logical fallacies.

Quote
If you are a Christian, your heavenly realm is growth and unity with God.  If you are a Christian, you are to be self-sacrificial even to those who hate you or persecute you.  If you are a Christian, any poor person that needs your help, you are commanded to help, irregardless of who this person is.  If you a Christian, you should treat all as equals and not be deceptive, but straightforward and respectful with others.  No advertising, no superficial clean image, no fear mongering.  Just simply live your life and let others live, but when you live your life, you will suffer.  I don't think that's something comforting to sell, and rather than brainwashing, it's rejected by most brains even among nominal Christians, but that's what a true Christian is.  By your example alone, you should be able to draw people to yourself, not be a Protestant pop-up ad to others.
Irrelevant to the discussion, and is also irrelevant to religion vs any other form of belief. That kind of logic is applicable regardless simple because we are conscious entities. This includes emotions, feelings, morality, choices, decisions or whatever you want to claim.

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TTC, even when you were a "Christian" you were an atheist all along.  You never really was a Christian.
False argument.
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« Reply #145 on: January 04, 2011, 05:09:46 PM »

This sounds like an appeal to consequences fallacy to me.

Straw man fallacy.

Straw man fallacy.

This looks like an argument from ignorance.

False dichotomy, straw man fallacies.

Argument from consequences.

No True Scotsman fallacy.

I just realised what's going on here. You're enrolled in a Freshman logic course and using this forum as a testing ground for trying out all the terms you're learning. Come on now, fess up!  Tongue
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« Reply #146 on: January 04, 2011, 05:42:32 PM »

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Sleeper, Imagining that Elvis Presley is talking to you in your mind is the same thing as imagining a God is talking to you in your mind. In neither case would I think that a reasonable thing to believe, unless sufficient evidence were given in favor of it.

Neither would I.  I'm not speaking of hearing voices in one's head (or outside one's head for that matter).

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The claim to be having a religious experience looks suspiciously 'human'.

Would you expect it to be otherwise?  We aren't talking about pillars of fire here.

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When looked at from the angle of deciding how one knows one is having a religious experience of God, why do people presume their experience is good ("I felt something guiding me", or "Someone must be watching over me").

I'm not sure I understand the question.  They aren't presuming the experience they're having, they're just describing it.  It's not a neutral experience to which they're ascribing their own meaning.

You've made it clear how poorly you understand Orthodoxy, but if you were familiar with our spiritual tradition you'd find that our experience of Christ is remarkably consistent.

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Unless you have a direct unmediated out-of-body experience with God (which is not possible even for mystics who are still 'trapped' in the mental realm by language) you are merely presuming your experience to be from a good and/or right or correct source. You are using a human-centered ethical criterion of good/right/correct in order to interpret a religious experience.

I'm not sure what you're basing this on (obviously not personal experience!) but this isn't true.  At any rate, the experience is much, much more than a feeling of goodwill.

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Because one claims to have had a religious experience does not mean that God exists.

Alas!  We are finally on the same page!  I have said this from the beginning.  My sole point this entire time has been that a materialist has no grounds with which they can deny the experience of another human being.

And this is what it all boils down to.  Because I do not think there is airtight proof for God.  I believe there is enough, however, to allow a reasonable and logical person to open themselves up to the possibility of God.  And there are literally billions of people throughout history that have done this very thing and have had experiences that they cannot deny.

Now, before you jump all over that and say it means nothing, please remember that I'm not using this as proof or evidence of God. I'm merely pointing out that we are all in the same boat as far as our sensory experience is concerned, and that the materialist has no legitimate grounds to scoff at those who believe because of their own experiences.

I hope you're beginning to see the difference because you keep addressing these as if I were offering them as reasons for someone to believe in God, which I'm not.

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Just because you believe God is there (epistemology) does not mean God is actually there (ontology).

Agreed.

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You need something more than the 'feeling' of religious experience for verification of that.

Depends on what you mean by "feeling" because you yourself said all we can ever really know is what we experience with our senses.  Are you saying you need something more than "feelings" (our sensory experience) for verification of something?  If so, you're in serious trouble!

Quote
Verification. This is why religious experiences fail. They cannot be verified sufficiently enough to those that do not have religious experiences,

I've said this all along.  My personal experience is no reason for you or anyone else to believe.  It's a way for me to explain why I believe and why you have no grounds on which to deny me those reasons, since all one can do is evaluate their experiences in accordance with reason and logic (for the most part).

Quote
And all this leads us to religious experiences are brought on by the imagination or drugs.

Accept for those multitude of times where the imagination wasn't being utilized and drugs had not been taken.
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« Reply #147 on: January 04, 2011, 06:19:53 PM »

Seriously? LOL. Nice avoidance of the issue sir. But, let's play dumb for a second and clarify..

I wasn't avoiding anything.  If I was, I wouldn't ask you to clarify.  Maybe I am dumb.  I'm sorry.

Give me time for my dyslexic brain to ruminate on what you wrote.

God bless.
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« Reply #148 on: January 04, 2011, 06:24:36 PM »

Thoughts on this video my fellow friends?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE6KqJjeE8A&feature=player_embedded#!
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« Reply #149 on: January 04, 2011, 06:40:56 PM »


This type of issue has been discussed since fairly early on (2nd or 3rd century, I believe). The typical patristic thought, if I am remembering correctly, is that earlier pagan stories that resembled Christian Biblical stories were meant 1) as a type of foreshadowing of the life of Christ, and 2) as a preparation of the world for the message of Christ. I'll see if I can dig up any quotes, and post again if I find anything...
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« Reply #150 on: January 04, 2011, 06:51:34 PM »


This type of issue has been discussed since fairly early on (2nd or 3rd century, I believe). The typical patristic thought, if I am remembering correctly, is that earlier pagan stories that resembled Christian Biblical stories were meant 1) as a type of foreshadowing of the life of Christ, and 2) as a preparation of the world for the message of Christ. I'll see if I can dig up any quotes, and post again if I find anything...

Hmm so the 1st point would be the pagan beliefs, or in this case the Gentiles coming together with the Jews? Which is shown as the three Zorastanist priests that show up at Christ's birth?
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« Reply #151 on: January 04, 2011, 07:15:56 PM »

Unfortunately I searched the book that I thought I had read about this in (the first volume of Jaroslav Pelikan's five volume series on Church history), and all I came up with was a reference to St. Clement of Alexandria which has more to do with philosophy than mythology...

“Accordingly, before the advent of the Lord, philosophy was necessary to the Greeks for righteousness. And now it becomes conducive to piety; being a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration. For your foot, it is said, will not stumble, if you refer what is good, whether belonging to the Greeks or to us, to Providence. (Prov. 3:23) For God is the cause of all good things; but of some primarily, as of the Old and the New Testament; and of others by consequence, as philosophy. Perchance, too, philosophy was given to the Greeks directly and primarily, till the Lord should call the Greeks. For this was a schoolmaster to bring the Hellenic mind, as the law, the Hebrews, to Christ. (Gal. 3:24) Philosophy, therefore, was a preparation, paving the way for him who is perfected in Christ. “ - St. Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 1, 5

If I come up with anything further I'll post it...
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« Reply #152 on: January 04, 2011, 10:57:35 PM »

Seriously? LOL. Nice avoidance of the issue sir. But, let's play dumb for a second and clarify..

I wasn't avoiding anything.  If I was, I wouldn't ask you to clarify.  Maybe I am dumb.  I'm sorry.

Give me time for my dyslexic brain to ruminate on what you wrote.

God bless.
What I wrote was very technical, but how hard is it to understand that "Nothing" can not be in literal context "Something"? It's very easy to conceptually understand, and you even seemingly like to argue that it could within your own self-contradicting arguments. There simply never was literally nothing Tongue As for the technical post, if you understand what a Ground State is to complexity, you are golden to understand that anything above ground state will have higher complexities greater than Zero (ground state).

The rest of that is just understanding the four stages of matter, how emergence works, or what it is when scientists talk about "Nothing" when they are only talking about "Ground state"/"Zero point Energy".

So what best describes existence? Energy! No God required.
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« Reply #153 on: January 05, 2011, 05:42:02 AM »

I'm failing to see the relevance of amateur physics to this discussion. Science is a naturalistic field of study that can only address phenomena that can addressed through experimentation. Zero-point energy and resting state is as utterly irrelevant to this discussion as Eddison's The Worm OuroborosUndecided

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« Reply #154 on: January 05, 2011, 09:22:06 AM »


This type of issue has been discussed since fairly early on (2nd or 3rd century, I believe). The typical patristic thought, if I am remembering correctly, is that earlier pagan stories that resembled Christian Biblical stories were meant 1) as a type of foreshadowing of the life of Christ, and 2) as a preparation of the world for the message of Christ. I'll see if I can dig up any quotes, and post again if I find anything...

Reminds me of an article:

Quote
Pagan similarities

Allegations that Christianity is an adaptation of a pagan cult date from the 19th century. In 1875, Kersey Graves wrote The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours, a book so poor that even the Internet Infidels admit (in rather more diplomatic language) that it is a load of old cobblers. The idea that myths can be fitted into an overall pattern was given rather more credibility by Sir James Frazer in the early 20th century, but his work is now also disregarded by anthropologists. In 1936, Lord Raglan published The Hero: A Study in Myth, Tradition and Dreams, which included a list of attributes that heroic figures of legend are supposed to share. The list often turns up on the internet with claims that Jesus fits the pattern very well. The only problem is that he does not fit the pattern at all, and the case of Raglan's list has been thoroughly debunked.

More recently, the tradition was carried on in The Jesus Mysteries (1999) by Peter Gandy and Timothy Freke, and Tom Harpur in The Pagan Christ (2004). These amateur historians play fast and loose with the facts, using carefully pruned quotations, mistranslation, and anachronism to produce a woefully inaccurate picture. But only by doing this can they maintain their thesis that Jesus is based on pagan antecedents.
The usual method of writers such as these is to read (or, more accurately, misread) some fragment of ancient mythology and claim that there are parallels to be found with the life of Jesus. With this in mind I present James Hannam's Guide to the Production of a Bestseller that Undermines the Roots of Christianity. With this guide, I guarantee that you will be able to find all the parallels you like between paganism and Christianity—or indeed, properly adapted, between any other two unrelated subjects that you care to name.

1)   The first thing to do is ensure you that you cast your net as widely as possible. So, within Christianity you should include every cult, heresy, and sect you can get your hands on. Gnosticism will be particularly helpful as gnostics did indeed borrow large chunks of pagan thought, which is partly why they were considered heretics in the first place. As for paganism, this can include just about everything. Freke and Gandy comb not only Greek cults (Oedipus) but also Egyptian (Horus and Osiris), Roman (Bacchus), and Persian (Mithras). Elsewhere you will find Celtic deities, Norse berserkers, and Indian mystics pulled into the fray. Tom Harpur is a particular fan of Egyptian myth. Now, with this vast body of writing, provided you are willing to wade through it all, finding parallels will not prove too challenging.

2)   Don't restrict yourselves to pagan religions from before the time of Christ. Remember, you can claim that Christians copied pagans, and not the other way around, even when the Christian writing is more ancient than the pagan. This is useful because you can now point to similarities between paganism and Christianity after the latter was already widespread. For instance, there is a poem with a line about the Norse god Odin being attached to the world tree ("I know that I hung on a windy tree, nine long nights, wounded with a spear"). Sounds like Jesus being nailed to the cross? Well, not really, and in any case the Norse myth was written down well after the Vikings converted to Christianity. Don't let that stop you.

...

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Is-Jesus-Christ-a-Myth-Part-Two-James-Hannam?offset=0&max=1
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« Reply #155 on: January 05, 2011, 07:06:51 PM »

Seriously? LOL. Nice avoidance of the issue sir. But, let's play dumb for a second and clarify..

I wasn't avoiding anything.  If I was, I wouldn't ask you to clarify.  Maybe I am dumb.  I'm sorry.

Give me time for my dyslexic brain to ruminate on what you wrote.

God bless.
What I wrote was very technical, but how hard is it to understand that "Nothing" can not be in literal context "Something"? It's very easy to conceptually understand, and you even seemingly like to argue that it could within your own self-contradicting arguments. There simply never was literally nothing Tongue As for the technical post, if you understand what a Ground State is to complexity, you are golden to understand that anything above ground state will have higher complexities greater than Zero (ground state).

The rest of that is just understanding the four stages of matter, how emergence works, or what it is when scientists talk about "Nothing" when they are only talking about "Ground state"/"Zero point Energy".

So what best describes existence? Energy! No God required.

Dude, calm down.  I'm reading your post right now, and it's making sense.  Before I was a bit confused on the point you were making, but you replied with a really long message.  I usually like to read short messages, but I don't have the attention span.  That's why I need some time.

So far I understand that "nothing" in the Hawking sense means a dynamic equilibrium.  The question I propose is how did this equilibrium come about?  And why are we not smashed together into a "0" state rather than keeping elements of the equilibrium separate?

As I read your post, I'll answer your post in full.
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« Reply #156 on: January 05, 2011, 10:27:31 PM »

Okay, some thoughts in this argument, until I'm done listening and reading information you've given me on the physics behind all this:

Seriously? LOL. Nice avoidance of the issue sir. But, let's play dumb for a second and clarify..

There can simply be no Phenomenon, object, person, place, or thing without material physicality... And for the easier clarification. Nothing can not be a something! EVER! It can not be a substance, object, person, place, entity, or thing!

Not hard to grasp at all.

That is why God is no simple phenomenon, object, person,place or thing.  His existence shouldn't even be called "existence."  Words cannot fathom who or what God is.  We have no choice but to use anthropomorphic language to describe Him, but God is not something to be described, but to be experienced, as we are given that capacity to experience Him.

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I'm being direct. It's not "de-emotionalizing reality" either. It is preventing you from using such thing as an argument because it's not an argument in regards to this subject. It's called honest discourse, and trying to emotionalize it a common tool used as some sort of argument to a supposed GODS existence when it is no such argument what-so-ever. If I don't be direct with you, this would spiral into nonsensical circular arguments that aren't worth anything in value to the discussion.

Honestly God is not a "thing" or "person" whose existence should be proven like a stone or Socrates.  He (a pronoun one is forced to use) is the means by which one thinks and acts.  One can only "prove" Him by our actions and by reflecting the inner relationship we have with Him.  Science rightfully lacks emotions in its arguments.  But when I speak of God, emotions cannot be separated from the rational, for both are intertwined in speaking about God.

Atheists "emotionalize" their arguments by pointing out the disasters and atrocities that occur in the world and God does not intervene.  So what do you expect from a believer?  Perhaps, you shouldn't use arguments that point to people's emotions to prove that He doesn't exist, "Where's your God now?  Why hasn't He prevented the deaths of many innocents?"  That's not proving God's inexistence, that's stirring anger and resentment, no less emotional than one's call for God's love and peace in heart and spirit.

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Try feeling love without actually and physically feeling it and expressing it. All emotions and feelings are material physical patterns, and all that means is that they are REAL! Using these as arguments is worthless to the discussion because I don't think you are going to argue that your love is "Nothing", and made of "Nothing". I'm also not afraid of what you said because I've used those arguments before while I was a Christian. I fully comprehend the argument and it's purpose even if it's seemingly not by intention.

You say "Try feeling love without actually and physically feeling it and expressing it."  I say, I do feel the love of God, and I express it back to Him and to others as well.

Now, the rest of your post is scientific, and I'll need time to study it.  But the point is that this whole mode of existence we're in, this whole equilibrium of 0 we have (nothingness in this concept), all this discussion does not matter, because any solid theist who enjoys the study of science would not find this as threatening to his/her own belief in God, as least so far as I might think.  Your whole attack on Christianity is the idea of emotion.  I'm simply saying, you can't remove emotion from rationality in discussing God.  In just as much as God permeates His "Life" through us beyond any physical senses, it is the same in my discussion with you.  You cannot scientifically test God or describe God.  God simply is, whether it makes sense, whether it makes you giggle, or whether I look like a fool to you saying it, in the end, you have to understand that we don't even care what next scientific endeavor there is.

A big mistake on both sides is the idea we use "God of the gaps" argument.  For sure, there are theists who do use "God of the gaps" and there are atheists who recognize it and then generalize it to say we all believe in "God of the gaps."  As science fills the gaps, some people lose faith in their respective religions, but how come I didn't lose faith.  Read my signature.  "Unless the Lord builds the city, the laborers labor in vain."  We already know who builds skyscrapers or homes.  But theists like to give credit to God because He is their primary purpose.  An analogy I like comes from CS Lewis where he states (and I'm paraphrasing it) that he believes in God not like he believes in the sun, but that through Him, like the sun, He can see all things more clearly.

I remember I had a discussion about abortion, and I wasn't arguing embryological abortion, but fetal abortion.  The argument made against me was that a woman has her rights about her own property (her body) just as a man can protect his own house from intruders.  I argued, but what if a toddler crawled into a man's house?  Does the man have a right to shoot and kill the baby?  The answer I received was that my argument is based on emotion, while his is based on logic alone.  I thought that argument indeed lacked emotion, and I didn't criticize this person for being an emotionless psychopath, although I'm sure others might, but I told him reality has it that emotion is as important as rationality.  I think there's a basic agreement to disagree from that point on.

I'm not arguing abortion at all here, but I'm simply stating the fact that to remove emotion from discussing God as if God is some sort of scientific hypothesis is a vain attempt because no one stated God existed in the same way anything else does.  The famous scientist who said, "God?  I have no need of that hypothesis" shows exactly the narrow thinking of scientists.  Logic can only take you so far, and emotion can only take you so far.  Just as "faith" is a philosophy by which one lives by, really the basis of faith is God, God is my faith.  He is not an idea that I live by, but I believe He permeates in my existence that I may live it rightly and freely.

It is why I like to speak of God as "transcendant."  I think that's the most accurate way to describe God, and even that does injustice to His "being".  The paradox is this:  I can conceive that He is inconceivable.  The strange thing is like string theory, one can't prove it, but it works.

There's one more thing I'm reading that I'd like to comment.  You say, "Existence exists because non-existence CANNOT exist."  Maybe I didn't read it (or hear it) yet in your links you gave me, but how is it that existence is in a cosmic equilibrium state and yet chemical and biological processes here require a state of negative free energy for life to continue to occur (by the introduction of larger more positive free energy)?  How is it that all things move in a way in which to prevent complete equilibrium all in one place?  Or how is it that a system continually moves in such a manner as to not "freeze" in a "lifeless" state of equilibrium?

If the answer to that question is something you already answered via one of the links you gave me, you don't have to answer this one.  But then again, I'm not sure if I'm asking it correctly to get my point across.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 10:49:43 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #157 on: January 06, 2011, 12:51:49 AM »

Okay, so more thoughts....I've watched all your videos (except the one hour one) and read all your comments.  Fascinating stuff, but what you seem to not understand is that by understanding more of what you're teaching me, I put more and more importance and majesty into the idea of God's creativity, and my belief in Him is stronger because of it.  As I explained before "God of the gaps" is indeed a God-blunderer.  One's true faith in God is precisely not that which explains gaps in the phenomena, but that which explains the Cause of all phenomena.

When I say I believe in Creator, Mover, Life-Giver, I don't mean that to be explained in a scientific sense.  The laws of physics, the chaos-order dynamic, the increasing and evolving complexity of nature, strings, branes, quantum mechanics/electrodynamics, qubits, mathematics, etc. are all "created, moved, and given life" by God.

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1) you have a literal impossible self contradiction
2) To say a GOD is infinite is equal to say the sum total of existence is GOD. That includes me, you, and everything. And that conflicts with another argument of "Existing in a different plane".. And the very fact that you claim it to be it's own individual with it's own mind and consciousness already makes it finite and not infinite.
3) Y