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Author Topic: Who "stick man" is...  (Read 1950 times) Average Rating: 0
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TryingtoConvert
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« on: December 31, 2010, 07:23:40 PM »

Just wanted to advise this forum to stop wasting their time with stick man, he is a dummy account, see the PM I received below:

Hi there, for about a week, I have been looking at your posts on the Orthodox Christianity website. I was wanting to find out more about your background and give you my take on some of the points you were raising. First of all, to briefly introduce myself, you might have noticed my troll posts this past week, under the identities of "stick man" (as a dadaist quasi-Muslim proselytizer) and as "menace2society" (as an even more dadaist, virtually unoriginal troll). I don't normally do this, but couldn't resist the urge to troll a little. I did so just for fun, and some people may get laughs out of it while others might not appreciate it. Whatever the case may be, this is not what I wanted to write about to you, but rather about more serious matters. I was an Orthodox Christian for 15 years (from when I was 12 to when I was 27, I am 31 now) but was never without at least some doubts and finally realized that I was being deluded. I would now describe myself as without any religious belief (perhaps I qualify as what Richard Dawkins calls a "weak atheist" - I hesitate to absolutely discount the possibility of some kind of creator existing, but doubt that a creator exists and will not recognize any unless given hard evidence that he/she/it/they does exist). I don’t recognize any religion and believe that leaving the church is one of the best decisions I ever made, as it gave me a breath of fresh air and a chance to catch up on maturing. I used to be a legitimate (non-troll) poster on that same website, but would reduce the efforts of the people who comment there to a big waste of time.

Can you tell me a little about why you joined these boards and what you believe? Your long thread about the non-existence of God is most intriguing. Early on, you vehemently argue against religion, then suddenly you change your opinion and start showing interest in learning more about Orthodoxy. From your ID “TryingToConvert”, I gather that you’re an atheist who is beginning to doubt your views. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions:
Were you always an atheist or do you come from a religious background?
Where do you live (I’m Canadian and back in Canada after almost 7 years overseas)
How old are you and is it correct that you have kids?
Are you considering converting to Orthodoxy?
What is your reason for potentially starting to believe?
I hope you won’t mind my giving you my opinion on why I think you shouldn’t waste your time with religion. As I said, I believed (albeit not firmly, I had doubts) this bunk for 15 years, and now I am an atheist or something similar.

I will make some random points about this:
The ontological argument – “your speculating about the existence of God is evidence that he exists” – that’s so lame. OK, so I really like gnomes. At some point in the past, someone speculated about their existence. Does that mean they exist? I wish. What if people speculated on the existence of God just because tribal societies with no knowledge of science simply couldn’t come up with a better explanation than that some more powerful spirit(s) created everything?
The argument that the universe must have originated somewhere is a little more intelligent. But assuming that that origin is with a sentient, omnipotent CREATOR is an “argument from ignorance”. Obviously, we don’t know exactly why the universe exists and what (if any) origin it has. But surely it’s a bit pretentious to ASSUME that that origin is in an intelligent spirit and not in some process of science? A good argument against the existence of a creator, in fact is: who created the creator? Religious types would immediately answer: nobody. God is uncreated and has always existed. But if an intelligent creator is allowed to have “always existed”, why couldn’t atoms, subatomic particles, energy, whatever, always existed, too? What if “creation” is really just lifeless energy that did its work over billions of years and eventually evolved into primitive and then more complex life? What is more, in “The God Delusion” in the chapter “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God”, Richard Dawkins argues that it is more logical that everything that exists evolved gradually than that a creator made it. Because by postulating about a creator as the solution to the complexity of everything that exists, you allow for a creator to have always existed who has always been so wonderfully powerful (and thus, probably, more complex than the whole universe which is his creation), that you’re faced with a contradiction. Why does the creator have the right to have always been, so to speak, complex, but not the rest of the universe? In this way you have the same problem with the creator that you have with his supposed creation. I’m not saying this eloquently, Dawkins explains it better. At any rate, isn’t it much simpler to postulate that what always existed was atoms, empty space, etc, and that it gradually developed by simple natural processes into the complex universe that we know today? Bottom line, even if some kind of “origin” has to have been, what is to say that that origin had to have been an intelligent creator and not a scientific process involving the “dead” energy that the universe is full of? The great scientific theoretician Stephen Hawking, who used to support the idea of a creator, recently said that a creator was not necessary for the universe to come about, that the law of gravity could have done it just as well…

Another argument used by Christians, that everything on Earth is so perfectly attuned to the origin of life that it must have been made by a creator, seems to be a mix-up of cause and effect. More likely, life on Earth evolved because the conditions for it evolved there. The universe is big, and in places like Pluto, where there are supposedly no conditions for life, it simply didn’t evolve, and in those (probably much fewer) places where there are conditions for life, it did evolve. Simple as that. Moreover, it is speculated that life could exist in very different environments on other planets, but life which evolved very differently due to there being different conditions. The logic that Earth is a “special” place “made” especially for human, plant and animal life is Earth-centric. It assumes that humans are “special” and that Earth was created for them, rather than consider the possibility that Earth life is just a product of the conditions that happened to evolve on Earth.

I was never impressed by these typical arguments, which seem to be among the most common given by apologists. I always wanted harder evidence. You know, TryingToConvert, I was always interested in WHY EXACTLY other people believed in God. As I said, I always had some doubts during the time I was religious. This worried me (I feared that because of my doubts I would go to Hell, and therefore tried to suppress them) and was therefore very interested in apologetics. But in Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general), I found more blind faith than “proofs”. The thing that kept me believing for a long time was reported miracles. But when I re-examined the basis for my beliefs, I found that many supposed miracles can be written off as pious lies, delusions and coincidences. For example, the Church has a lot of “incorrupt bodies of the saints”. But when you look at these bodies, they don’t look like the day they died. They’re actually ugly, dried out mummies. I have seen pictures of bodies preserved better by natural means in non-Christian environments than everything I’ve seen of Christian relics. Just because there is more left to a body than a skeleton doesn’t mean a miracle took place, simply that it was preserved in good conditions (e.g. put in a crypt or a solid coffin, kept in a dry tomb, etc). Now, when I spoke about this, some Orthodox said that “we don’t need miracles for our faith”. My question then was, so what do you base your faith on? What makes you so convinced that all this teaching is true? The answer often boiled down to flimsy arguments like the one above or, the church is so full of love, or things like this. In essence, people WANTING to believe in the teaching of the church. My approach to faith was always rational: I wanted evidence and supposed miracles were this evidence. I entered and left religion looking for proof one way or another. But I’m afraid that a lot of the faithful don’t look for proof. They uncritically accept any argument, and very often simply believe because they like to or because they are afraid to question the beliefs imparted to them by their parents/community. 

Regarding the Bible, I think your posts clearly show that you realize how frought with problems that book is. It is full of inconsistencies and illogicities, and you ask the people on the forums to explain it to you. My advice to you is, don’t bother. Those problems are there for a reason. The book is actually more of a library – it was written over centuries by people who in many cases had the mentality of those people who now live in Afghanistan. That’s why the god of the Old Testament is so disgustingly brutal. One of the posters on the forum attempted to explain this away by saying that the Old Testament is a reflection of how the immature Jews saw God. But by doing so, he is admitting that the Bible is a human creation more than divinely inspired. You’d think that a book coming from a perfect God would be perfect. But it’s not. It’s full of unfulfilled prophecies, inconsistencies and, especially in the Old Testament, disgusting stories. This all points to human origin. You’d think a god who wants everyone to believe in him and be saved would provide humanity with an easier, cleaner, more perfect book to read, that would be more obvious proof of his existence and not something that causes so much confusion and controversy (someone once said that the Bible itself is the best proof that what it says is not true). You’d think God could at least have inspired the Jews to use an alphabet that has vowels in it, so that we don’t have to wonder whether what they wrote was one thing or another.

I find the morality in the Bible, including the “improved” morality of Jesus in the New Testament to be despicable. It basically says that if you don’t spend your whole life sacrificing yourself, groveling to the all-powerful creator, obeying other people (the authorities, your “owner” if you’re a slave, your husband, your parents), and thinking of the world to come rather than this world, you will rot in hell for all eternity. When I was religious, I never really got to love God, and now that I am not religious, can dare to admit that I ended up hating Him. I would have killed him if it could have made a difference.

I will make one more point, and that is this: whether or not there is a God and whether or not Christianity is right, there’s something I find missing in all religions: concrete proof of what they’re saying. It takes FAITH, and, given how flimsy the proofs that are offered are, essentially blind faith. So what religious people are doing is committing to living a life in devotion to a God that may not exist and to work, in the case of Orthodox and other conservative denominations, work their asses off and miss out on many pleasures in life, for a promise (eternal bliss) and to avoid a punishment (eternal damnation) that has not been backed up by cold, hard facts, but by hearsay. Now I ask you. If someone comes to a bank for a business loan, the bank will not give the loan simply on the basis of the person’s stories about how great a business it will be. Rather than “have faith”, they will want to see that the person has a good business plan and will want evidence that the business will work and that they will be able to repay the loan with interest. So why should someone have “faith” in the claims of a church that cannot provide better evidence than that it says so in the Bible or the ontological argument or what have you? It’s quite frankly irresponsible.

I’ll say that much for now, I hope you can tell me a bit about yourself and that you will be interested in continuing this discussion. It will also be easier for me to comment once I know where you’re coming from. I will end by recommending a few resources:

-“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins – IMHO this guy is a great scholar and his writing is everything the Bible isn’t. Maybe you’ve already read this or his website www.richarddawkins.net

-“God: The Failed Hypothesis” by Victor J. Stenger – a book claiming that science strongly indicates that there is no creator. I don’t understand a lot of what is written in it – I am not a scientist, the writer is – but it seems intelligently written. BTW, I think the comment on your thread that someone made that he would not look to science for facts seems to me to be typical arrogance of a religious nut. As far as I have been able to determine, science is constantly in search of facts, whereas religion cares more about “faith”.

And one website for now, debunks many of the “prophecies” in the Bible:
 http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html
Best regards,

Ned
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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2010, 08:38:03 PM »

rather odd that he feels that he has to pose as a Muslim. GiC posts here all the time for the atheists, and feels no problem with his Orthodox past to denounce Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 08:55:36 PM »

Those arguments are pretty awful for the defense of atheism, seriously why do atheists rely on the same tired arguments that have been debunked so many times? Where are the great thinkers of our time?
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2010, 09:14:37 PM »

That is very odd that he would pose as a Muslim on the public boards but tells you he is a former Orthodox Christian convert turned atheist.   Makes me wonder if any of it is true.

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« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2010, 09:45:53 PM »

I will make one more point, and that is this: whether or not there is a God and whether or not Christianity is right, there’s something I find missing in all religions: concrete proof of what they’re saying. It takes FAITH, and, given how flimsy the proofs that are offered are, essentially blind...

The Holy Bible defines 'faith' as acting upon established truth.

Perhaps you are confusing your modern interpretation with the original....yes?
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2011, 03:40:02 AM »

Those arguments are pretty awful for the defense of atheism, seriously why do atheists rely on the same tired arguments that have been debunked so many times? Where are the great thinkers of our time?

I don't understand it either. There's dozens of good arguments against religion, why do people use poor ones? Very good question, Achronos!
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 04:32:59 AM »

Those arguments are pretty awful for the defense of atheism, seriously why do atheists rely on the same tired arguments that have been debunked so many times? Where are the great thinkers of our time?

I don't understand it either. There's dozens of good arguments against religion, why do people use poor ones? Very good question, Achronos!

Not sure if you were being serious or not but I'll take it as if you are serious. These people always resort to mostly the same arguments, which they sometimes copy-paste in forums that they visit.  These arguments are of an anti-Christian content; they accuse the Old Testament, they are forever looking for contradictions within the New Testament, they strive to prove that Christ never existed, they have amassed every crooked thing that various pseudo-Christians have perpetrated throughout History or any other assorted falsified information, and they use it as an accusation against the Christian faith.  In other words, these people are using those arguments to actually attack Christianity! They don't resort to any philosophical reasons to support their atheism. And the fact alone that most of them use the exact same arguments is clearly indicative of the fact that there is a COMMON SOURCE of arguments.  Someone is supplying them with all these arguments, and they are being used as blind instruments against the Christian faith.  These people lack even an elementary perception, which would have allowed them to see that others are USING them .

We don't have to search very long to discover where that source is, or who is propagating those arguments. One glance at a paper & magazine stand, at the kinds of magazines that are found there (or on the shelves of certain bookshops), is enough for us to realize who is responsible for this brainwashing.
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2011, 04:59:40 AM »

Those arguments are pretty awful for the defense of atheism, seriously why do atheists rely on the same tired arguments that have been debunked so many times? Where are the great thinkers of our time?

All arguments for a god are awful. He pretty much summed up the history of theistic apologetics well. It is pretty much hog-wash.

Even if you buy the ontological, teleological, etc. arguments, what god do you end up having anyway?

The Gospel is not a theistic apologetic.

The way to God is not through sophomoric and yes all the apologies for a deity are sophomoric at best, if you go to a good school you hit them your freshman year, better yet in High School if you go a really good one.

To this day I bristle and wince at all the apologies given by Christians! for a theistic! understanding of the universe. They never start with Christ. How you get from an unmoved mover to Christ, I will never know.

We preach Christ crucified. Foolishness to apologists.

TtC. Read the Gospel. Encounter the Man Jesus Christ the Son of God. Try to follow His Way for a while. Then come to your conclusions.



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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2011, 05:12:10 AM »

Just wanted to advise this forum to stop wasting their time with stick man, he is a dummy account, see the PM I received below:

Hi there, for about a week, I have been looking at your posts on the Orthodox Christianity website. I was wanting to find out more about your background and give you my take on some of the points you were raising. First of all, to briefly introduce myself, you might have noticed my troll posts this past week, under the identities of "stick man" (as a dadaist quasi-Muslim proselytizer) and as "menace2society" (as an even more dadaist, virtually unoriginal troll). I don't normally do this, but couldn't resist the urge to troll a little. I did so just for fun, and some people may get laughs out of it while others might not appreciate it. Whatever the case may be, this is not what I wanted to write about to you, but rather about more serious matters. I was an Orthodox Christian for 15 years (from when I was 12 to when I was 27, I am 31 now) but was never without at least some doubts and finally realized that I was being deluded. I would now describe myself as without any religious belief (perhaps I qualify as what Richard Dawkins calls a "weak atheist" - I hesitate to absolutely discount the possibility of some kind of creator existing, but doubt that a creator exists and will not recognize any unless given hard evidence that he/she/it/they does exist). I don’t recognize any religion and believe that leaving the church is one of the best decisions I ever made, as it gave me a breath of fresh air and a chance to catch up on maturing. I used to be a legitimate (non-troll) poster on that same website, but would reduce the efforts of the people who comment there to a big waste of time.

Can you tell me a little about why you joined these boards and what you believe? Your long thread about the non-existence of God is most intriguing. Early on, you vehemently argue against religion, then suddenly you change your opinion and start showing interest in learning more about Orthodoxy. From your ID “TryingToConvert”, I gather that you’re an atheist who is beginning to doubt your views. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few questions:
Were you always an atheist or do you come from a religious background?
Where do you live (I’m Canadian and back in Canada after almost 7 years overseas)
How old are you and is it correct that you have kids?
Are you considering converting to Orthodoxy?
What is your reason for potentially starting to believe?
I hope you won’t mind my giving you my opinion on why I think you shouldn’t waste your time with religion. As I said, I believed (albeit not firmly, I had doubts) this bunk for 15 years, and now I am an atheist or something similar.

I will make some random points about this:
The ontological argument – “your speculating about the existence of God is evidence that he exists” – that’s so lame. OK, so I really like gnomes. At some point in the past, someone speculated about their existence. Does that mean they exist? I wish. What if people speculated on the existence of God just because tribal societies with no knowledge of science simply couldn’t come up with a better explanation than that some more powerful spirit(s) created everything?
The argument that the universe must have originated somewhere is a little more intelligent. But assuming that that origin is with a sentient, omnipotent CREATOR is an “argument from ignorance”. Obviously, we don’t know exactly why the universe exists and what (if any) origin it has. But surely it’s a bit pretentious to ASSUME that that origin is in an intelligent spirit and not in some process of science? A good argument against the existence of a creator, in fact is: who created the creator? Religious types would immediately answer: nobody. God is uncreated and has always existed. But if an intelligent creator is allowed to have “always existed”, why couldn’t atoms, subatomic particles, energy, whatever, always existed, too? What if “creation” is really just lifeless energy that did its work over billions of years and eventually evolved into primitive and then more complex life? What is more, in “The God Delusion” in the chapter “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God”, Richard Dawkins argues that it is more logical that everything that exists evolved gradually than that a creator made it. Because by postulating about a creator as the solution to the complexity of everything that exists, you allow for a creator to have always existed who has always been so wonderfully powerful (and thus, probably, more complex than the whole universe which is his creation), that you’re faced with a contradiction. Why does the creator have the right to have always been, so to speak, complex, but not the rest of the universe? In this way you have the same problem with the creator that you have with his supposed creation. I’m not saying this eloquently, Dawkins explains it better. At any rate, isn’t it much simpler to postulate that what always existed was atoms, empty space, etc, and that it gradually developed by simple natural processes into the complex universe that we know today? Bottom line, even if some kind of “origin” has to have been, what is to say that that origin had to have been an intelligent creator and not a scientific process involving the “dead” energy that the universe is full of? The great scientific theoretician Stephen Hawking, who used to support the idea of a creator, recently said that a creator was not necessary for the universe to come about, that the law of gravity could have done it just as well…

Another argument used by Christians, that everything on Earth is so perfectly attuned to the origin of life that it must have been made by a creator, seems to be a mix-up of cause and effect. More likely, life on Earth evolved because the conditions for it evolved there. The universe is big, and in places like Pluto, where there are supposedly no conditions for life, it simply didn’t evolve, and in those (probably much fewer) places where there are conditions for life, it did evolve. Simple as that. Moreover, it is speculated that life could exist in very different environments on other planets, but life which evolved very differently due to there being different conditions. The logic that Earth is a “special” place “made” especially for human, plant and animal life is Earth-centric. It assumes that humans are “special” and that Earth was created for them, rather than consider the possibility that Earth life is just a product of the conditions that happened to evolve on Earth.

I was never impressed by these typical arguments, which seem to be among the most common given by apologists. I always wanted harder evidence. You know, TryingToConvert, I was always interested in WHY EXACTLY other people believed in God. As I said, I always had some doubts during the time I was religious. This worried me (I feared that because of my doubts I would go to Hell, and therefore tried to suppress them) and was therefore very interested in apologetics. But in Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general), I found more blind faith than “proofs”. The thing that kept me believing for a long time was reported miracles. But when I re-examined the basis for my beliefs, I found that many supposed miracles can be written off as pious lies, delusions and coincidences. For example, the Church has a lot of “incorrupt bodies of the saints”. But when you look at these bodies, they don’t look like the day they died. They’re actually ugly, dried out mummies. I have seen pictures of bodies preserved better by natural means in non-Christian environments than everything I’ve seen of Christian relics. Just because there is more left to a body than a skeleton doesn’t mean a miracle took place, simply that it was preserved in good conditions (e.g. put in a crypt or a solid coffin, kept in a dry tomb, etc). Now, when I spoke about this, some Orthodox said that “we don’t need miracles for our faith”. My question then was, so what do you base your faith on? What makes you so convinced that all this teaching is true? The answer often boiled down to flimsy arguments like the one above or, the church is so full of love, or things like this. In essence, people WANTING to believe in the teaching of the church. My approach to faith was always rational: I wanted evidence and supposed miracles were this evidence. I entered and left religion looking for proof one way or another. But I’m afraid that a lot of the faithful don’t look for proof. They uncritically accept any argument, and very often simply believe because they like to or because they are afraid to question the beliefs imparted to them by their parents/community. 

Regarding the Bible, I think your posts clearly show that you realize how frought with problems that book is. It is full of inconsistencies and illogicities, and you ask the people on the forums to explain it to you. My advice to you is, don’t bother. Those problems are there for a reason. The book is actually more of a library – it was written over centuries by people who in many cases had the mentality of those people who now live in Afghanistan. That’s why the god of the Old Testament is so disgustingly brutal. One of the posters on the forum attempted to explain this away by saying that the Old Testament is a reflection of how the immature Jews saw God. But by doing so, he is admitting that the Bible is a human creation more than divinely inspired. You’d think that a book coming from a perfect God would be perfect. But it’s not. It’s full of unfulfilled prophecies, inconsistencies and, especially in the Old Testament, disgusting stories. This all points to human origin. You’d think a god who wants everyone to believe in him and be saved would provide humanity with an easier, cleaner, more perfect book to read, that would be more obvious proof of his existence and not something that causes so much confusion and controversy (someone once said that the Bible itself is the best proof that what it says is not true). You’d think God could at least have inspired the Jews to use an alphabet that has vowels in it, so that we don’t have to wonder whether what they wrote was one thing or another.

I find the morality in the Bible, including the “improved” morality of Jesus in the New Testament to be despicable. It basically says that if you don’t spend your whole life sacrificing yourself, groveling to the all-powerful creator, obeying other people (the authorities, your “owner” if you’re a slave, your husband, your parents), and thinking of the world to come rather than this world, you will rot in hell for all eternity. When I was religious, I never really got to love God, and now that I am not religious, can dare to admit that I ended up hating Him. I would have killed him if it could have made a difference.

I will make one more point, and that is this: whether or not there is a God and whether or not Christianity is right, there’s something I find missing in all religions: concrete proof of what they’re saying. It takes FAITH, and, given how flimsy the proofs that are offered are, essentially blind faith. So what religious people are doing is committing to living a life in devotion to a God that may not exist and to work, in the case of Orthodox and other conservative denominations, work their asses off and miss out on many pleasures in life, for a promise (eternal bliss) and to avoid a punishment (eternal damnation) that has not been backed up by cold, hard facts, but by hearsay. Now I ask you. If someone comes to a bank for a business loan, the bank will not give the loan simply on the basis of the person’s stories about how great a business it will be. Rather than “have faith”, they will want to see that the person has a good business plan and will want evidence that the business will work and that they will be able to repay the loan with interest. So why should someone have “faith” in the claims of a church that cannot provide better evidence than that it says so in the Bible or the ontological argument or what have you? It’s quite frankly irresponsible.

I’ll say that much for now, I hope you can tell me a bit about yourself and that you will be interested in continuing this discussion. It will also be easier for me to comment once I know where you’re coming from. I will end by recommending a few resources:

-“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins – IMHO this guy is a great scholar and his writing is everything the Bible isn’t. Maybe you’ve already read this or his website www.richarddawkins.net

-“God: The Failed Hypothesis” by Victor J. Stenger – a book claiming that science strongly indicates that there is no creator. I don’t understand a lot of what is written in it – I am not a scientist, the writer is – but it seems intelligently written. BTW, I think the comment on your thread that someone made that he would not look to science for facts seems to me to be typical arrogance of a religious nut. As far as I have been able to determine, science is constantly in search of facts, whereas religion cares more about “faith”.

And one website for now, debunks many of the “prophecies” in the Bible:
 http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html
Best regards,

Ned


heh, you just have to wonder who on earth Ned is trying to convince with that lengthy dissertation.
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2011, 05:16:24 AM »

Even if you buy the ontological, teleological, etc. arguments, what god do you end up having anyway?

The Christian God. Once you've established that the existence of a god is coherent, it is possible to make a case for the Trinity. Richard Swinburne's The Christian God (Oxford University Press, 1994) is one example.

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The way to God is not through sophomoric and yes all the apologies for a deity are sophomoric at best, if you go to a good school you hit them your freshman year, better yet in High School if you go a really good one.

Philosophy of religion is a traditional sector of the academy and though atheist philosophers disagree with their theist colleagues, they nevertheless find their arguments worth carefully examining.

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TtC. Read the Gospel. Encounter the Man Jesus Christ the Son of God. Try to follow His Way for a while. Then come to your conclusions.

While people have always converted to Christianity out of spontaneous admiration of the life of Jesus, much of Christianity's victory among the learned in the ancient world was due to Christianity making sense against the philosophical background they were raised in. See St. Justin Martyr's claim that ancient philosophy prepared the gentiles for Christ just as the prophets prepared the Jews.
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2011, 05:21:37 AM »

Even if you buy the ontological, teleological, etc. arguments, what god do you end up having anyway?

The Christian God. Once you've established that the existence of a god is coherent, it is possible to make a case for the Trinity. Richard Swinburne's The Christian God (Oxford University Press, 1994) is one example.

Agreed. In fact I renewed my faith in Christianity by starting off philosophically if there was a god or not. I came to conclusion that there was, which then I explored the different religions which claim to knowing that "God". Christianity contains the only God that is coherent and logical from my deductions.

BTW how is that book?
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2011, 12:11:55 PM »



-“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins – IMHO this guy is a great scholar and his writing is everything the Bible isn’t. Maybe you’ve already read this or his website www.richarddawkins.net

Holy Moley!!!!!!!!!

Richard Dawkins is a "great scholar"? Is this guy serious? Come on! LOL!

I have rarely heard such an absolutely idiotic claim from someone claiming to be an atheist. Usually you hear such absurdities from religious apologists, but then again, so many atheists are atheist apologists; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Richard Dawkins is a brilliant biologist; an entertaining and thoughtful author, and often gets labeled with titles from Christian apologists that he doesn't deserve but a SCHOLAR the man is not. He even admits he doesn't know much about theology; he has a vast ignorance of Church history (except for the biggie events like the crusades) and he knows nothing about the Bible, it's history, origins and has only a cursory Sunday school understanding or religious doctrines. I like Dawkins. I really enjoyed the God Delusion, and especially enjoy his scientific books but the man is NOT a scholar! I mean what claim. Next he'll be claiming Christopher Hitchens' was Mother Teresa's biggest fan.

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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2011, 12:41:58 PM »

Interestingly enough, it was Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion that made me start to consider God when I was an atheist.  I rushed out to buy that book because I was hoping to find, at last, a devastating blow to "the God hypothesis" and was found, instead, with some of the most childish and unsophisticated arguments I'd ever encountered.  I laughed out loud several times!

I'd have to disagree with orthonorm.  I think one can very reasonably find their way to the Christian God through nature, philosophy, etc.  I wish it were as simple as picking up a Gospel and reading it, but for many of us, it wasn't.  I do agree, however, that those things can only take you so far.  They serve as means of opening the door a little bit farther each time, but eventually one has to walk through and encounter Christ in person.
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2011, 01:10:53 PM »

While sitting here recovering from a stomach flu, I could not resist posting even when I should be in bed.

It seems the natural reduction of his argument was this:

1) Hi, I routinely deceive people on this forum.
2) Please tell me all your intimate details... truthfully.
3) Don't worry, NOW I am telling the truth.
4) I am not entirely convinced of my own ideas regarding atheism.
5) So, I thought I would try to help you not arrive at your own conclusions, either.

Weird.  Very weird.
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« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 01:27:15 AM »

Makes me wonder if he's the same person as Ishak, who in the past in this forum believed he was in communion with the EO Church of Alexandria who asks for the intercessions of "St. Nestorius."
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2011, 01:43:25 AM »

While sitting here recovering from a stomach flu, I could not resist posting even when I should be in bed.

It seems the natural reduction of his argument was this:

1) Hi, I routinely deceive people on this forum.
2) Please tell me all your intimate details... truthfully.
3) Don't worry, NOW I am telling the truth.
4) I am not entirely convinced of my own ideas regarding atheism.
5) So, I thought I would try to help you not arrive at your own conclusions, either.

Weird.  Very weird.


I literally laughed out loud, that was brilliant. Grin

Lord have mercy on your flu!
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2011, 11:27:11 AM »

Not sure if you were being serious or not but I'll take it as if you are serious. These people always resort to mostly the same arguments, which they sometimes copy-paste in forums that they visit.  These arguments are of an anti-Christian content; they accuse the Old Testament, they are forever looking for contradictions within the New Testament, they strive to prove that Christ never existed, they have amassed every crooked thing that various pseudo-Christians have perpetrated throughout History or any other assorted falsified information, and they use it as an accusation against the Christian faith.  In other words, these people are using those arguments to actually attack Christianity! They don't resort to any philosophical reasons to support their atheism. And the fact alone that most of them use the exact same arguments is clearly indicative of the fact that there is a COMMON SOURCE of arguments.  Someone is supplying them with all these arguments, and they are being used as blind instruments against the Christian faith.  These people lack even an elementary perception, which would have allowed them to see that others are USING them .

Serious? Yes, I was being serious (Whether you can take me seriously is another matter entirely). I mean, I knew you weren't saying what I was implying--that part was a joke--but I was serious about there being lots of arguments against religion. Anyway, the main problems I have with atheist critiques of Christianity is that many people either attack straw men, or they attack a small niche of Christianity, or they use an "everything and the kitchen sink" approach (using any argument they can find, whether it's a good one or not).

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We don't have to search very long to discover where that source is, or who is propagating those arguments. One glance at a paper & magazine stand, at the kinds of magazines that are found there (or on the shelves of certain bookshops), is enough for us to realize who is responsible for this brainwashing.

Satan has the internet now, does he even use magazines and books anymore? Wink
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2011, 12:09:54 AM »

OK, this is Stick Man again...I was blown away the other day to find that TryingToConvert had posted my whole private message to him here. I have to say that that was not very civil of him...I would understand if he had posted a brief message saying that I had written to him and admitted to trolling, but to post the entre message that I wrote privately to him...now that he really didn't have to do.

Anyway, yes, I trolled a bit to have some fun and tease you guys, but now (as in the PM TryingToConvert so indecoriously reproduced above), I am writing very seriously. Yes, I am an ex-Orthodox Christian. While I was in Sweden, I met a lot of people who pointed out the logical fallacies of what I was basing my faith on. I was eventually brought around to reason and now I see it as my mission in life to enlighten people on the delusion that religion is. I see that my supposed-to-be private message has generated some comments, and I will address some of them below.

@Aposphet - you say my arguments are "pretty awful for the defense of atheism". Umm, that's a bald statement. I practically wrote TryingToConvert a whole essay justifying my position...how about tring to write some actual arguments to counter mine? Regarding your second post, my arguments follow basic logic. If you ask who is responsible for “this brainwashing”, no, I didn’t copy and paste the arguments. They are a mix of my own thoughts on the matter and various other peoples’ arguments that seemed logical. On the other hand, when I was Orthodox, I felt very often that priests’/church fathers’/pious laypeople’s logic was flawed, as if they were brainwashed and trying to brainwash me too. That helped put me on the path toward becoming irreligious.

@PrincessMommy - I understand you not trusting me. The Muslim persona was just a joke (and a caricature of Christianity too.  Orthodoxy may not advocate jihad  etc, but I find it to still be a pretty oppressive institution). Don't worry, I left my trolling behind when I was put on moderation 4 months ago. Now I'm writing my actual opinions/

@Bowman – it may be so that the Bible defines faith as acting on established truth, would be interesting to know exactly where. But I consider this irrelevant, because anyone can say a book is established truth. Saying the Bible and its teaching are established truth does not make it established truth. That claim is maid about the Koran, the Talmud, the Book of Mormon, etc. You need to back up your claim that it is “established truth”. In my experience, I find most religious people base their faith on flimsy evidence or none at all.

@Achronos – I quote your words, they are an EXCELLENT example of what I consider to be flawed thinking among religious people: “To this day I bristle and wince at all the apologies given by Christians! for a theistic! understanding of the universe. They never start with Christ. How you get from an unmoved mover to Christ, I will never know. We preach Christ crucified. Foolishness to apologists. TtC. Read the Gospel. Encounter the Man Jesus Christ the Son of God. Try to follow His Way for a while. Then come to your conclusions.” Before I give Christ and his supposed crucifiction and resurrection any more significance than I do Zeus’ turning into a bull and raping Europa, I need something by way of evidence that I should trust the story. Before I start living like Jesus, shouldn’t I have some kind of guarantee (that is more than just the claims of a 2000-year-old book) that he wasn’t just a guy with a certain philosophy? Your preaching is just words until you back it up with evidence. BTW, having been Orthodox, I did try to follow his way, and I was not impressed. Of course, there are many people who are very impressed by Jesus, but just because you ADMIRE his teaching does not mean that it is divine, rather than human in origin.

@NorthernPines: your entire argument for Richard Dawkins not being a great scholar seems to me to be little more than that he has a different way of thinking than you. Dawkins himself made a good point: he doesn’t need to know about theology for the same reasons that he doesn’t need to know about leprechology Put more seriously, theology does not prove that Christianity is true, for the most part, it just interprets Christianity. All right, there’s such thing as “apologetics”, but I’ve read a lot of Orthodox theology in my time, and find that at least 90% of it assumed that the Bible and Christianity are true and merely explained it in detail. It did not do anything to prove that Christianity should be believed in, it assumed that the reader was a believer (this is beside the point, but what apologetics I did find in Orthodox literature was replete with arguments that could easily be argued against).

@FatherGyrius – your comment that “I am not entirely convinced of my ideas regarding atheism” misinterprets what I wrote. I am convinced that the Abrahamic religions are NOT the truth. I don’t believe that any religion that I know about is anything more than a construct of human fantasy. All I said was that I allow for the hypothetical possibility that some kind of creative spirit exists, though I highly doubt he/she/it/they does, and am certain that if it did, that it would not be very similar at all to the god of the Abrahamic religions.

 3 accounts of this user are already banned - Michał Kalina.
 Muted.  Ban requested.
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2011, 12:35:23 AM »

Well, then you are not an atheist after all.  You are an 'agnostic,' since you are not utterly denying some type of divinity.  Atheism requires a certainty which you are not willing to stand behind.

That's fine, but call it for what it is.  You cannot be an atheist per se, but rather an agnostic leaning more towards atheism.

The difficulty with your position is that you have not found a truth you can stand on, yet you want to bring others over into your indecision.  It seems to me that you would want to first find the truth, then start recruiting others.  Otherwise, you may end up with lots of unintended consequences if you discover, in the end, that you brought harm to others without really giving them anything at all.

This is all the more aggravated by the problem of accountability, but that is for a different thread.



<snip>
@FatherGyrius – your comment that “I am not entirely convinced of my ideas regarding atheism” misinterprets what I wrote. I am convinced that the Abrahamic religions are NOT the truth. I don’t believe that any religion that I know about is anything more than a construct of human fantasy. All I said was that I allow for the hypothetical possibility that some kind of creative spirit exists, though I highly doubt he/she/it/they does, and am certain that if it did, that it would not be very similar at all to the god of the Abrahamic religions.

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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2011, 12:47:26 AM »

Well, then you are not an atheist after all.  You are an 'agnostic,' since you are not utterly denying some type of divinity.  Atheism requires a certainty which you are not willing to stand behind.

That's fine, but call it for what it is.  You cannot be an atheist per se, but rather an agnostic leaning more towards atheism.

The difficulty with your position is that you have not found a truth you can stand on, yet you want to bring others over into your indecision.  It seems to me that you would want to first find the truth, then start recruiting others.  Otherwise, you may end up with lots of unintended consequences if you discover, in the end, that you brought harm to others without really giving them anything at all.

This is all the more aggravated by the problem of accountability, but that is for a different thread.




OK, regarding your first point, according to one definition, you're probably right. I fit some definitions of agnostic. I also fit the definition of a "weak atheist" that some people follow. It depends on how you define an agnostic or an atheist. Regarding your point about my not being sure of the truth and my acountability in counseling another, as I said, I am convinced that religions, at least those I know about, do not have the truth. As I am convinced of this, I see no problem in arguing this to another person. As to whether there is any creator at all, as I said, I highly doubt it. I  believe there probably isn't. I am just  allowing the theoretical possibility out of humility - the universe is wide, and we don't have all the answers. But in the highly unlikely event that there is a creator, I can't imagine that it could be an omnipotent, omnicient being worthy of worship like the god of he Bible, at most some kind of impersonal, largely uninvolved spirit. And that's being generous. As long as this spirit does not plainly manifest itself, I have no reason to believe in it.

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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2011, 12:48:10 AM »

This thread for me is a giant:
"Who cares??!!!"
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2011, 12:55:36 AM »

An anagram of "who cares" is "show care". Meditate on that, my friend!  Cool
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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2011, 10:01:12 AM »


My point is that since you cannot rule out the existence of God, but can only modify your potential belief, the best you can offer anyone else is a guess.  You my feel certain of your guess, but it is you personal guess and thus it really is not something from which you can counsel others with certainty.

Your whole approach of freely engaging in deception casts a rather bad light on your beliefs and your approach, since you now feel it is proper to lie about your identity and your beliefs to people from whom you would tolerate no lies.  This would seem to be rather hypocritical, don't you agree?


Well, then you are not an atheist after all.  You are an 'agnostic,' since you are not utterly denying some type of divinity.  Atheism requires a certainty which you are not willing to stand behind.

That's fine, but call it for what it is.  You cannot be an atheist per se, but rather an agnostic leaning more towards atheism.

The difficulty with your position is that you have not found a truth you can stand on, yet you want to bring others over into your indecision.  It seems to me that you would want to first find the truth, then start recruiting others.  Otherwise, you may end up with lots of unintended consequences if you discover, in the end, that you brought harm to others without really giving them anything at all.

This is all the more aggravated by the problem of accountability, but that is for a different thread.




OK, regarding your first point, according to one definition, you're probably right. I fit some definitions of agnostic. I also fit the definition of a "weak atheist" that some people follow. It depends on how you define an agnostic or an atheist. Regarding your point about my not being sure of the truth and my acountability in counseling another, as I said, I am convinced that religions, at least those I know about, do not have the truth. As I am convinced of this, I see no problem in arguing this to another person. As to whether there is any creator at all, as I said, I highly doubt it. I  believe there probably isn't. I am just  allowing the theoretical possibility out of humility - the universe is wide, and we don't have all the answers. But in the highly unlikely event that there is a creator, I can't imagine that it could be an omnipotent, omnicient being worthy of worship like the god of he Bible, at most some kind of impersonal, largely uninvolved spirit. And that's being generous. As long as this spirit does not plainly manifest itself, I have no reason to believe in it.


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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2011, 11:04:56 AM »

I think maybe we've set a record for number of fonts and typefaces in a (thus far) one-page thread.  We've that going for us, anyway!
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« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2011, 11:17:58 AM »


My point is that since you cannot rule out the existence of God, but can only modify your potential belief, the best you can offer anyone else is a guess.  You my feel certain of your guess, but it is you personal guess and thus it really is not something from which you can counsel others with certainty.

Your whole approach of freely engaging in deception casts a rather bad light on your beliefs and your approach, since you now feel it is proper to lie about your identity and your beliefs to people from whom you would tolerate no lies.  This would seem to be rather hypocritical, don't you agree?


I have to flatly disagree with your first point. I am not guessing, I am looking at the evidence. This is for a longer discussion, but I believe that science and critical study of Bible texts, extrabiblical Jewish texts and history prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Abrahamic religions (judaism, Christianity and Islam) are mythological falsehood. Moreover, regarding the non-existence of God in general, my opinions are not a "guess". They are based on a lack of evidence for a god, in fact, if you read the book I mentioned to TryingToConvert, "God" the Failed Hypothesis", you find in there scientific evidence AGAINST the existence of God. So I'm not guessing. I'm going with the evidence. I think you're making a lot from the fact that I allow for a small hypothetical possibility that a creative force of some kind may exist. That is just so as not to completely rule out the possibility, in case our perception of the universe is wrong. Basically, I am allowing for human error. I think the preponderance of the evidence is on there being no creator and the concept of a creator being nothing more than a human meme. Anyway, I think the onus should be on religious people to prove their god exists, not the other way around. As Prof. Dawkins says, I can't prove there is no god, but neither can I prove ther is not a teapot orbiting the earth. In other words, in the absence of evidence, there is no reason to waste one's energies on believing in something that "could concievably" exist.

Regarding your accusation of hypocricy, don't you think you're being a bit polemical here? Whether or not one approves of my previous trolling, come on, that was just a JOKE. Anyone seriously reading those posts will see them. They are of no consequence. On the other hand, what I consider the falsehood of your Christian teaching (and I did not say that anyone here was telling lies - I merely said I don't believe in your teaching) to be of great consequence, as you are teaching people to believe it to be true and to structure their whole lives around it and make huge sacrifices in order to be "saved". I think that's far more serious than a bit of trolling. But OK, its a valid point that maybe I shouldn't have trolled.


 
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« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2011, 11:50:10 AM »

Actually, I can prove there is no teapot: the USAF tracks objects in orbit around the earth larger than a nickle, and they are certain there are no teapots.  Sorry.   laugh

But, the point is that since you cannot prove one way or another, you have to make a decision to make a choice without evidence.  You could make an argument based on what you think is 'rational,' and you may very well have good evidence your individual steps, but that does not make it a 'fact' in the scientific sense.  This is why you have made the wise decision to factor in your own error and admit there is a possibility of some kind of existence.  However, you cannot disprove the existence of God as Christians believe through a similar process to yours.  You may have read a book somewhere, but that does not constitute anything other than another collection of theories which, as it would seem, hasn't entirely convinced you that you are an atheist either, based on your own limited disclaimer.

I don't see any 'joke' in your deception.  There is no punch line.  It wasn't even funny.  It was an intentional act of deceit which was unveiled in a most unflattering way. 

As for what we teach, we are not teaching people to be 'saved' as you put it.  We are offering people our Tradition which we have experienced as a means to deal with their desire to find answers.  We condemn no one to hell, but rather allow people to make free choices even to choose that.  Some folks do, just as some folks choose to be utterly evil.

It would seem that your exposure to Orthodoxy was a negative or incomplete experience, in part from how you are characterizing it.  What I would tell you is this: your actions here would be condemned just as forcefully if you were Orthodox as much as they are condemned with you not being Orthodox.  Deception is immoral, since it is a lie.  For someone who claims to have the truth, you have mingled it with lies.

Since you think we have a lie, then one with less moral fiber could say that this gives one carte blanche to lie as well.  However, it merely points out that a lier is not to be trusted. 

You did not joke, you lied.  Now, everything afterwards is suspect.

I hope you understand I am not insulting atheism, as much as I don't believe in its premise.  There are atheists who have my respect because they are still moral and honest people.  Your actions bring disrepute on them, and for that I think you are not fit to praise them.



My point is that since you cannot rule out the existence of God, but can only modify your potential belief, the best you can offer anyone else is a guess.  You my feel certain of your guess, but it is you personal guess and thus it really is not something from which you can counsel others with certainty.

Your whole approach of freely engaging in deception casts a rather bad light on your beliefs and your approach, since you now feel it is proper to lie about your identity and your beliefs to people from whom you would tolerate no lies.  This would seem to be rather hypocritical, don't you agree?


I have to flatly disagree with your first point. I am not guessing, I am looking at the evidence. This is for a longer discussion, but I believe that science and critical study of Bible texts, extrabiblical Jewish texts and history prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Abrahamic religions (judaism, Christianity and Islam) are mythological falsehood. Moreover, regarding the non-existence of God in general, my opinions are not a "guess". They are based on a lack of evidence for a god, in fact, if you read the book I mentioned to TryingToConvert, "God" the Failed Hypothesis", you find in there scientific evidence AGAINST the existence of God. So I'm not guessing. I'm going with the evidence. I think you're making a lot from the fact that I allow for a small hypothetical possibility that a creative force of some kind may exist. That is just so as not to completely rule out the possibility, in case our perception of the universe is wrong. Basically, I am allowing for human error. I think the preponderance of the evidence is on there being no creator and the concept of a creator being nothing more than a human meme. Anyway, I think the onus should be on religious people to prove their god exists, not the other way around. As Prof. Dawkins says, I can't prove there is no god, but neither can I prove ther is not a teapot orbiting the earth. In other words, in the absence of evidence, there is no reason to waste one's energies on believing in something that "could concievably" exist.

Regarding your accusation of hypocricy, don't you think you're being a bit polemical here? Whether or not one approves of my previous trolling, come on, that was just a JOKE. Anyone seriously reading those posts will see them. They are of no consequence. On the other hand, what I consider the falsehood of your Christian teaching (and I did not say that anyone here was telling lies - I merely said I don't believe in your teaching) to be of great consequence, as you are teaching people to believe it to be true and to structure their whole lives around it and make huge sacrifices in order to be "saved". I think that's far more serious than a bit of trolling. But OK, its a valid point that maybe I shouldn't have trolled.


 
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2011, 12:13:09 PM »

Mods: Check Stickman's IP and compare it to the other sockpuppets we've had recently.

Edit: I read Michael's edit.

I assume we'll be seeing other sockpuppets this guy's used come out of the woodwork in the next few days/weeks.
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« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2011, 12:16:11 PM »

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