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Author Topic: Criticism of Atheism  (Read 13775 times) Average Rating: 0
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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?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 07:28:02 PM by TryingtoConvert » Logged
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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!)

Quote
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.

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.
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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.

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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.

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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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