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Author Topic: Struggling with my faith...  (Read 2784 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dnarmist
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« on: February 08, 2011, 10:00:19 PM »

I recently had an argument with an atheist over my Christian beliefs and he said something on the lines like this, let’s say the consensus is that our species, homo-sapiens has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years. in order to be christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, war, bitterness, suffering, misery. All of that for about 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference, and then 2000 years ago thinks that’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east. Don’t let’s appear to the chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let’s go to the desert and have another revelation. He said this was nonsense.

Not sure how to deal with this.
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 10:10:07 PM »

I recently had an argument with an atheist over my Christian beliefs and he said something on the lines like this, let’s say the consensus is that our species, homo-sapiens has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years. in order to be christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, war, bitterness, suffering, misery. All of that for about 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference, and then 2000 years ago thinks that’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east. Don’t let’s appear to the chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let’s go to the desert and have another revelation. He said this was nonsense.

Not sure how to deal with this.

This is a huge mischaracterization of Christian belief. The entire OT is a witness to God's plan preparing for and leading up to Christ's incarnation so that He could be recognized and verified by prophecy. This world is temporary and passing away. It is through Christ's death and resurrection that our nature is restored. I wouldn't take his argument seriously, especially considering he doesn't take our faith seriously enough to get it right.
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 10:38:52 PM »

I am somewhat sympathetic when people bring up the idea of God's timing, but some of what he says I just don't understand. For example, what does he think the land that Jesus and the Apostles were in was like? Jesus apparently avoided the more hellenized cities, but the area was not some barren wasteland full of illiterates, incapable of "studying evidence" or whatever.
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 12:33:48 AM »

I recently had an argument with an atheist over my Christian beliefs and he said something on the lines like this, let’s say the consensus is that our species, homo-sapiens has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years. in order to be christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, war, bitterness, suffering, misery. All of that for about 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference,
Assertion, without any evidence.

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and then 2000 years ago thinks that’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene.
Because after that 98,000 years of preparation, man was ready, having produced the Theotokos.
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The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east.
Now, he's really showing himself to be an ignoramus: Palestine at the time was probably one of the most litterate parts of the enitre Roman Empire.  And He didn't condemn anyone to human sacrifice. He sacrificed Himself.

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Don’t let’s appear to the chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let’s go to the desert and have another revelation. He said this was nonsense.
He's idiot, and a sophmore at that.

At the time of Christ, the Han Dynasty of China was promoting Confucianism, which has been founded nearly 5 centuries before Christ, as the state Creed. The Gospel may have reached China in the first century
http://www.chinaartnetworks.com/news/show_news.php?id=1369
At the latest, Christianity reached China in the 7th century.  Confucius, in contrast, would not be known outside of the Far East for another thousand years, and then from translations of his works by Christian missionaries.  If God wanted to baptize all nations, sending the Apostles from China would seem to have been counter productive.

The Romans had a civilization, far more literate with far more people able to read and study evidence.

His "knowledge" of world history is nonsense.

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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 01:35:00 AM »

he best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east.

This is Atonement theory- the idea that Christ "paid the price" necessary to "ransom" us. That is not what the Eastern Orthodox believe. There is nothing in our Liturgical hymnography that says this. Rather, our hymnography points to the fact that Christ died in order to enter Hades and rescue all those dead from the millennia past. The point of Golgotha was the Harrowing of Hades- not "debt paying".
The Crucifixion is what we see on "our side". Here is what it looked like on the "other side":

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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 05:01:22 AM »

The Romans had a civilization, far more literate with far more people able to read and study evidence.

If I may interject this argument for a second, this is what I can't understand about people thinking Christ was just this myth or the Resurrection was a myth. Considering how well literate the Romans were, wouldn't they ask the same questions atheists would have on the historicity of the Resurrection like "Where's the proof?" Surely they asked that sort of question and investiageted the claims before converting, especially very literate people from pagan backgrounds (like St. Augustine).
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 09:00:29 AM »

Thank you all for the responses. Here's the argument I'm having right now with him...I think I'm losing this debate and it's hurting my faith speaking with him. I quoted a few people on this board like theo philosopher and minasoliman's sig to help with my argumentation but to no avail.

Anyway here's what I'm currently debating. Is this guy the next Bertrand Russel or what?

Also my words are in the quotes.

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I will address your final summing up I think of the points you want to address, versus what you quoted me on. I do have rejections on your idea that all morality is subjective and no objective, or should I say absolute, morality exists.
I know you do. You’re a Christian, all Christians believe in an objective source of morality. However, I’m not of the opinion that that source exists. So, we’re bound to encounter problems when discussing the subjective/objective nature of morality.

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This runs into serious problems for example in the courtroom of a murder. I could make a very good atheistic claim that the gun that shot and killed the victim was nothing more than just matter disposing of matter.
Stop. How is this related to Atheism? Atheism is the rejection of God claims; it says nothing about a soul/the mind’s nature, or an afterlife, or reincarnation. You’re thinking of materialism, which is independent of Atheism. But let’s continue.

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Therefore if we eliminate God, Whom absolute morality flows from, then we also eliminate man as well.
No, no, no, no. . . . For one, which God? Yahweh? Vishnu? Allah? Mithra? Odin? Does it matter what God an individual believes in? I know plenty of Hindus who would claim you as technically living an empty life because you don’t know the true God. See, before you assert God (Yahweh) IS the absolute source of morality, you have to demonstrate his existence and that he truly authored anything in the bible. Isn’t it just a zany coinky-dink that Christians still commit crimes? True-believing Christians with unshakable faith at that.

Also, your statement about man does not follow, not only because you haven’t objectively demonstrated the premise (Your God exists and authors morality) but morality still exists independent of your God. Tribes of people who’ve never heard of Christ are still moral. Plenty of countries that follow other religions are as well. Countries before Christianity’s inception were too. Ergo, morality still exists if they don’t know the word O’ Yahweh. Weird, huh?

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The distinction between what is good and bad, morally, is up to subjective interpretation. This is exactly why I brought up Nazism. If we never appealed to a transcendent figure or even God to determine what is absolute in regards to morality, then our claim of exterminating Jews as being wrong would hold no merit. We would have to apply objective morality to expose the wrong of killing these people.
Well, that’s an ironic example. Hitler’s Nazism was fashioned after his interpretation of Christianity. I’ve said before I view it as a failed, new denomination. Devout Christians throughout history have carried out atrocities and genocide. See, it’s not Christianity’ or Atheism’s fault; that’s idiotic thinking. Certain men will be maniacs whether they believe or don’t. Christianity’s historical track record is not one of clean hands. Again, it goes back to individuals’ morality, their twisted minds will shape reality however they see fit, so long as they can justify the atrocities they desire to. Becoming a Christian will not prevent the next Hitler or Mao from trying to seize power and do despicable things.

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Another problem I have with your worldview, is that the underlying current here is that what we interpret as reality is merely up to subjectivity and no objectivity exists.
Well, no. Again, what neuroscience has taught us is that, oftentimes, murderous and violent tendencies/a lack of compassion and empathy are the result of tangible brain-related problems, either chemically, or physically/developmentally. We all agree as a social species that causing harm is bad; we like to be loved and to love, we gain satisfaction from being up-standing, honest, healthy people. It just so happens that what could be written off as ‘simple subjectivity’ is almost always a verifiable defect; a problem in need of treatment. Against the Freudian train of psychological analysis, our upbringing can (literally, not ‘mentally’) affect our brains. What must be remembered is that our brains are growing as we mature into adults. It’s not as though we are born ‘us’. Studies and experiments (I’m reading about now in a lot of fascinating neuroscience books) have shown that chimps raised in a loving environment versus those in a neglectful one end up with different-looking brains. Not surprisingly, the neglected ones fail to interact, are often aloof or act out violently, unlike their well-loved brethren.

This is the case with humans too. Abuse victims who’ve never been loved or educated can grow up to be quite feral, and unable to ever adapt to reality as we know it. So, morals (the good kind) usually emerge from healthy brains, while skewed and corrupt morals develop in defective or neglected brains. There are neurological differences. So, while morals ARE still subjective (rape can be right to the rapist), it’s not incorrect of me to say: “You’re a sick, disgusting human being. You need help.” The proof is in the brain, and its noodles of curvature tell us healthy, responsible morals look different in the brain than those we see as evil. Isn’t learning cool? I literally did not know this a week ago.

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Therefore logically as well, truth does not exist because for truth to exist it must be objectively accepted. We are merely at the whims of what we believe to be subjectively true therefore another man who objects to my subjection is wrong because his interpretation is also subjective. We may come to a point of agree to disagree, but more than likely one of the views will have an upper hand in the argument either by attestation from multiple parties, a better argument, or simply the person who has the upper hand has more authority and power over the other one.
This can, at times, be how agreeing on morals works. Yes, as I said above, healthy brains tend to hate killing and rape, but what of everything else? What is the extent of sexual activity we can allow? What age makes it okay to engage sexually? Is it okay to lie sometimes? These more involved questions are easy to debate, and when it came time to invent laws, quite literally, majority ruled. Laws are an extension of morality, a manifestation of the populations’ strongest morals, basically.

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This is exactly why things like abortion exist, because the "soul" of a human being at conception has been removed because it cannot be "scientifically verifiable" therefore it is a matter of subjectivity one places on the fetus if it has a soul or not.
Well, nobody has ever demonstrated a soul. That’s why we shouldn’t make laws assuming there is one. Your beliefs do not affect reality. . . . And really? The soul houses the non-existent brain at conception? What studies do you have backing this up? Any? What about parasitic twins? They have brains; they’re alive. Do they have souls? Why? “Hey, let’s stick a soul in this barely-alive lump of tissue that will feed from the lifeblood of a healthy person, potentially killing them. Sounds like a plan.” To go on a ramble here: Dissociative Identity Disorder. EEG readings verify different neurological activity while separate personalities (identities) are awake; they are, in every sense of the word, different people. So . . . sometimes souls enter developed bodies? Then, these same bodies have a propensity to attract more souls, some amassing more than fifty. Some personalities believe in a God, some don’t. I’m guessing they’ll all get unique appearances in the afterlife and be judged individually? Isn’t it funny how the ones who collect a soul after conception, when they develop DID, always seem to draw more than one additional soul? Why? Why do many souls not usually permeate us? One never one, and in people who aren’t linked to a verifiable illness? It’s as if brains generate minds.

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Now we get into the realm of the fallacy of naturalism, that I do not want to discuss here because I'd rather open a debate on something else (which I'll get to later), and a rejection of dualism which cannot scientifically be rejected because it is unprovable much like you can't put God into a test tube. It exists outside of the scientific method.
Allegedly (convenient too, I’ll add). But I still require something to be remotely proven or hinted at as the only plausible explanation before I’ll accept a concept’s veracity.

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But back to the case on abortion, if objectivity was to be eliminated then man is free to choose on what one chooses to do. We see a devaluation occur at this moment which would further decline certain aspects which were conceived as first to be morally wrong, but then society gradually accepts it as "socially acceptable". This is why I am so strongly against moral relativism because the distinction is blurred. Like art, morality means drawing the line somewhere.
Wait, what? I’m unaware of a ‘line’ in art. Also, nobody’s saying there isn’t a moral line to be drawn. You think my outlook says it, but I don’t.

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Without the line being drawn somewhere, mankind ultimately will be destroyed by itself.
I actually laughed. You’re serious? If morality is originated subjectively, and morals gradually change as we (and our cultures) do, the end = Armageddon.

Now that's just silly!

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Everything would be permitted and nobody will stop it.
Except those who oppose it, you know, like how morals and laws have always worked?

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You can't appeal to an objective reason, because now it doesn't exist. It's amazing how much the Enlightment movement put us back 2000 years.
Or we understand morality better now than at any point prior. Again, you seem to neglect how our brains work, how we naturally think and behave as a species. Do I need to repeat the bit about non-Christian cultures and cultures predating Christianity still, miraculously, having morals? Just because your favorite God doesn’t exist, does not mean humanity is incapable of agreeing morally and limiting behaviors seen as a detriment or just plain heinous.

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Anyway I am rambling much too long, but let's get back to the initial issue: your purpose in life. If my purpose in life was to rape women, slaughter up their bodies, put them in body bags and throw them away you can't say anything. Remember that's my subjective purpose in life. I derive much pleasure from it, it's what keeps me happy. How can you object to that?
Easy. You’re a twisted, disgusting person. You need help. See, I illustrated the brain differences already, but even if morals were this magical entity not affected by our brains, I could still say that according to me: You’re evil, I despise you, how can you live with yourself? And react to you based on your actions; if I catch you in the process of raping or kidnapping a woman, I will still beat the **** out of you and protect her, because my morality demands it. I don’t care if it gives you pleasure, it would give me pleasure to end your activities and see you thrown in prison. Wow, look at that, I can have a sense of justice and enforce it without believing in a God. Imagine if every individual was like this? Imagine if there were a few odd people who did monstrous things, while 99% of the population would stop at nothing to ensure they can’t do said monstrous things, thus, they invent a system to prosecute people who disrupt the harmony they’re trying to perpetuate. Why, it would look a lot like the world we live in, I bet, and there’s no need for objective morality. Only unity in the species, cooperation, and agreement are needed.

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So I say I'm happy because I do it, but that is not justification for the behavior. I could very much maintain the same happiness if I painted little wooden sailboats. You say we can get onto a platform that is healthy and stable, yet that is subjective on what you and I attest to is "healthy and stable". I think it's healthy to rape women and you don't think it is. Therefore our platform splits. We won't come to an agreement. This is exactly why objectivity plays an important role on having a foundation that both parties can rely upon.
Here’s a really far-out, trippy idea. Stay with me. What if we had these things called brains? And they have these things called instincts. What if sometimes the brains malfunction, resulting in instincts diametrically opposed to those of a healthy, well-functioning brain? What if brains could be treated and altered chemically to verify that they’re functioning improperly, thus establishing our normal instincts as correct. Nah, that would just be silly.

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You say Western morality is on solid footing because that's how it has developed, yet that is because we are living the Christian ideal.
Bull. Our morality in this country is so far away from the bible it’s not even funny. Yes, many Westerners claim to be Christians and believe a guy named Jesus paid the bill, but our morality, overall, is vastly different. There’s also the whole denomination problem, and how many sects of Christianity preach separate morals based on their (subjective) interpretation of scripture.

I doubt the argument can even be made that it’s due to our ancestors’ Christian foundation. Why? Other countries with they have different religions, some being equally civilized as us. I guess their Gods must exist too, because their source of objective morality seems to be doing fine.

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We live in a post-Christian society whether or not you like it.
Now that I agree with. It’s definitely post-Bible. Maybe not post-Christian, per se. Most of America’s populace is ‘Christian’, and claims to uphold ‘Christian values’. Though, the values are quite different and, at times, in opposition of both the New and Old Testament.

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Many scientific, medical discoveries would not have happened if it wasn't for Christianity. (I made a thread about this if you disagree, so I'd like to move that piece of the debate there)
I disagree, but I, unlike you, don’t have insight into the history of alternate dimensions where events in this one never occurred.

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My purpose in life? To be in communion with God, which all practicing and faithful Christians would agree with. We were made into the image and likeness of God, and God Himself wants His creation to partake into his divinity (not ontologically speaking). A relationship that will infinitely grow, as God is infinite, into love more and more. It will be a process that never ends. That's not to say we do this individually either, because we must also take care of our neighbor. Just as we love God we must also love our neighbor. That's the purpose. Everything else is spurious. Even if God did not exist, the material pursuit ultimately would not matter because we would all reach the same conclusion: vanishment.
Unless we were living beings who cared and generated purpose, causing it to exist. I love how you call achieving your dreams or, presumably, doing anything with your mortal life a ‘material pursuit’. How vacuous. It’s okay to admit we’re mortal, and to want our short existence to thrive, and others’ lives be made better. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not a selfish thing. You’re living your life believing you have a personal lifeline to a universe-creating entity and will form a relationship with it post mortem and live forever beside it. Your pursuit is vain. You live in a certain way not for the benefit of your fellow man—that is a masquerade. You live a selfish existence, hoping for that bounty of unending treasure in the sky. You think yourself an immortal who will receive a God’s wisdom. Let that sink in.

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Although I wouldn't advocate pascal's wager as an approach to life, I would say that as an atheist he is on the losing side. Let me show you what I mean.
Much like any refutation to Pascal’s Wager, my first objection is: This is not how belief works. You propose your position because it has a meatier reward, a stick-dangling carrot. I know about it, in fact, I know a lot about most mainstream religions. The fact that you’re so sure of an afterlife and its self-gratifying, intellectually masturbatory reward does not increase its likelihood to me. I don’t believe it’s real. I would like to think a soul is real, and some form of temporary afterlife or reincarnation. But what I’d like to believe does not alter reality. I don’t believe these things because I do not see them as likely. No amount of ruminating over the juicy benefits of one point of view will persuade me. I’m not so cheaply bribed.

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But let's try to address the following

Because vain existence can never exist. (Quote from OC.net forum member minasoliman)
Except when it does, making your sentence sound outlandishly pretentious/meaningless.

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But seriously, the reason being is that without something that lasts forever our purpose has none.
How clouded your thinking is. It really is true, without your faith you honestly see no point to life, to love, to socialization, to dreams, to goals, to effort, to caring, to the future. Unless YOU are immortal, nobody’s purpose matters. Cool story, bro. (Yeah, I’m pretty much done with being remotely polite at this point; my understanding of your mind has taken a sharp turn for the worse.)

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Let me illustrate why. If my goal in life was to become rich, have alot of girls, cars, etc and I take pleasure in this life but ultimately it doesn't matter because the consciousness will cease to exist on death.
No, you DID exist. Your mind was at one point functioning, and you impacted other minds. When an event becomes the past, it does not stop existing. Do you often wonder where outside went when you close the blinds? An event’s age has no bearing on whether it occurred, mattered or still matters. Also, of course your example is of a cliché-ridden, selfish playboy. I guess saying ‘doctor who’s saved countless thousands of lives’ might make your argument sound mean or something.

Did you read the script? What’s that over there, is that the—

Numer 634: Nothing about these arguments makes any sense, oh please somebody kill me.

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Nothingness I go to, I will not feel any sort of "relief" from dying.
Wow, way to not understand what I meant by bringing up the Fountain. His immortal life was torturous, and the idea of finally not existing—his impending death—came to thrill him exorbitantly. I never said the verb, as in, to die, caused relief. Reading comprehension, buy it today at the low, low price of fifty shekels.

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Same thing about taking care of the environment, the argument is made that if I take care of the planet now then I can leave it good enough behind for future generations. However when I die, and we are taking the case no afterlife exists, how will I know it was taken care of?
Wow, you’re just a wonderful person, aren’t you? YOU won’t be around to see it; therefore, it does not matter? Why does your existence dictate what does and does not matter? Oh, right, all of existence and every life on the planet only means something if you get to become immortal and form a relationship with a universe-creating entity. Other people’s feelings? Empathy? Longing to ensure your loved ones will thrive with or without you? Love? What are those, some kind of make-believe?

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After death, a second later WW3 erupts and destroys the planet. Even if WW3 didn't erupt, or sun would eventually become a gas giant making life null on this Earth (please correct me if my science is off) or an eventually heat death occurred none of it would matter.
Why must things matter objectively in order to matter? I’m sorry, I don’t get this. Why do people who are living, their thoughts, emotions, aspirations and passion only matter if they’re really controlled by immortal beings who cannot perish? Things matter now to living beings, meaning exists and will for as long as there are organisms. Meaning, right now, does not get undone when humanity perishes. The past does not change when there are suddenly no organisms. Purpose exists right now, and the fact that it did exist will never change. Caring about your loved ones, having children, buying a house, achieving a respectable career or investing your life in artistic pursuits are not unimportant because you will die. You care about your loved ones, right? You care if people respect you or think well of you, right? You desire to do things, and to accomplish tasks, right? Will any of those emotions be written out of history and people’s memories upon your death? Your life and those of others matter now, they have meaning, and the meaning they had to us will never go away, in a hundred years, or a billion, the past will never disappear.

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This is why I brought up that wager, even if say for example myself was to deny all the pleasures of the world in hope of an afterlife vs the person who enjoys those worldly pleasures....
Assuming going to an afterlife has anything to do with how one lives one’s life.

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and let's say there is no afterlife then it wouldn't matter how we lived because we become nothing.
You’re a broken goddamn record; you never learn or alter your arguments based on new information. I’ve said dozens of times why it does matter in this life how we conduct ourselves. For one, yes, it is (based on my current understanding of reality) your one, finite opportunity to exist. WHY WASTE IT? Why throw it away getting imprisoned or going down a path that will lead to people who like and love you thinking ill of you? Why would you blow your only chance to enjoy what life has to offer? Not even counting how, as I’ve said time and time again, succeeding, helping, loving, and doing good are practically instincts hardwired into us, assuming we grew up in a healthy environment. So, one would have to go far out of his or her way, wants, desires, and anything about them that makes them, them in order to sabotage their lives and do evil. I can’t say it more intelligibly: We are alive and things matter to us, the fact that they DID matter never changes and things do not need to matter forever in order for them to matter temporarily, which is still the state of MATTERING. Criminy.

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We can try as hard as we might to extend a little bit of our life here on Earth, but ultimately its in vain because death is death, in the eyes of the atheist.
Yes, death is our end. Why would you make it come quicker? Why would you shorten the only opportunity you have to exist? It literally makes no sense. Are you some kind of pseudo-solipsist? I mean, you are aware that other people are sentient beings who desire to exist and to be healthy, to love and be loved, right? I’m beginning to wonder. Seriously.

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So what purpose on life are you going to have then? Live however you want to, not caring about anyone else, leading yourself into nihilism? Because that's logically where it goes.
No it doesn’t, you infuriating snake! Why does not believing yourself to be an immortal mean you stop caring about people? How does that follow? I’ve never once encountered one of these cartoon Atheists you’re talking about. The only Atheists I know have huge circles of friends, love people, have families and lead very rich, fulfilling lives. You keep saying Atheism leads to nihilism but every Atheist seems to be saying you’re an imbecile for saying it, and demonstrating it as not the case. Do you ever stop and think: Hmmm, maybe I have some kind of irrational prejudice against people who don’t share my worldview? Time and time again I say being an Atheist is NOT about living however you want and not caring about others (an activity that contradicts one of the strongest aspects of healthy individuals’ psyche), and yet you persist in repeating what I have continuously shown to be incorrect.

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However for me I want that hope for something after this life. It's a tragedy in life that we die, truly it is. We just get a glimpse of something so spectacular in this world, in this universe, and a glimpse its gone forever. Never for us to see it again, how depressing.
It’s really not depressing in the least. We’re lucky to exist at all.

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But even if I do believe in an afterlife I can confidently walk towards my grave with the hope I will live on after this worldly death. Even if I am wrong I will never know I'm wrong. But if I'm right however, oh I'll have the pleasure knowing I'm right.
Your ego got ejaculate on me. Ew.

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There was a fellow from OC.net named theo philosopher who brought up a point I didn't think about. "If death was a natural cause we would embrace it. But why do we have such a hard time embracing death?
Wait, you’re saying death is not natural? As in, organisms are not supposed to cease existing? Okay then. Makes perfect sense. Well, let’s look at this a bit closer. All organisms strive to live, to fend off predators, to satisfy hunger, to reproduce and care for offspring, those who do not, fail as a species, and many HAVE. Natural selection favored those who sought to live prosperously and fought to protect their existence, so, those who did not failed to pass on their inert attitudes. Simple.

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Yet, if death were natural, we would simply embrace it. Even some animals know death is wrong, that it shouldn't be this way. Why do we give a eulogy when ultimately it doesn't matter? Now you might argue that our fear of death is because we are hardwired to survive. But why do we desire survival? If survival is hardwired as desirable, then what do we make of sacrifice?"
We, like many mammals, are highly social and we value the lives of those we care about like they were our own. Protecting them is almost equal to protecting ourselves. Also, to say it is hardwired and then ask why we desire is a classic case of answering your own question. Our ancestors instilled an almost-unbreakable will in us, a disposition, to desire survival.

Though, as organisms who desire continuing their existence, death makes it difficult for us to cope. Many animals will search for a place to die alone, so as not to elicit sorrow in its companions or out of shame, perhaps. Our instincts and our more complex wants beg for us to keep living. I’d say the majority of people go into denial about death, and tell themselves they’ll truly never die.

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You can't argue that it's not something that's really worth hoping for. Because it is, it's one of the most beautiful things that as creatures we hope for it. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.
Well, sure. But believing in something super-duper hard doesn’t make it so. Hope all you want, if it enriches your life to think of yourself as an immortal being who will someday build a relationship with an omnipotent deity, more power to you. Whatever helps you sleep at night. I simply don’t see it as likely, and no matter how much I wish something were the case, I’m sensible enough to admit when it’s probably not.

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Narcissistic though? Nah narcissistic would be saying that I only have this short amount of time in this life to be doing what I want to do.
What? You just did the argumentative equivalent of using ‘no u’ as a rebuttal. Actually, admitting your mortality and limitations as a finite being is not narcissistic at all; it’s humble.

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Not if we last forever with communion with God. Where our relationship with God continues to grow infinitely with love. No more tears shed in pain, suffering or any of that. It would be eternal joy.
Yes, yes, yes, there won’t be pain there, God will have an equal amount of time to bond with everyone, rainbows will unceasingly have sex with lollipops and your childhood dog will come rushing into your arms to lick your face. I know the story. But how will the joy truly remain for billions of years? It makes no sense to me. What if the love of your life goes to hell? Yeah, I’m sure your eternity in heaven will be GREAT. Plus, if the bible is true, and Yahweh is literally the God in heaven; I want absolutely nothing to do with that villainous psychopath.
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 11:43:12 AM »

Atheism wants to blame God for allowing man free will to sin and destroy himself. Atheists do not want to be free human beings, but robots, hence the sort of regimes atheists have created in the world. One must ask, who are the real villainous psychopaths?
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2011, 11:45:01 AM »

Why the emotional appeals, Dnarmist? I'm aware this is awful for you, but resting your mind for a while will at least allow you to move at a reasonable pace and lose some of that "righteous fury".
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2011, 11:48:30 AM »

Atheism wants to blame God for allowing man free will to sin and destroy himself. Atheists do not want to be free human beings, but robots, hence the sort of regimes atheists have created in the world. One must ask, who are the real villainous psychopaths?

Well see now we're making progress.
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2011, 03:29:10 PM »

I recently had an argument with an atheist over my Christian beliefs and he said something on the lines like this, let’s say the consensus is that our species, homo-sapiens has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years. in order to be christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, war, bitterness, suffering, misery. All of that for about 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference, and then 2000 years ago thinks that’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east. Don’t let’s appear to the chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let’s go to the desert and have another revelation. He said this was nonsense.

Not sure how to deal with this.

He just ripped that off from Christopher Hitchens who has been using that example for a number of years. The problem is it is a mischaracterization of at least Catholic/Orthodox understanding of Revelation. Why are atheists so big on ripping off the big names and then trying to pass it off as their own ideas anyways? Sheesh.

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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2011, 03:36:45 PM »

Dnarmist, I don't have time to answer points this atheist throwing at you, others will do a fine job. However I will say do NOT be afraid of your doubts. Doubts do not make an evil sinner, worthy to be cast into hell. God is not angry with you for your doubts, questions etc. If God is God He is not going to be threatened by any questions that arise in your mind and heart, even if YOU are threatened by them. The whole "God didn't speak to humans until Jesus" is first, not biblical, (what about Abraham???) and second it's not archaeological. We know humans were performing religious ceremonies 50,000 years ago. Only if we insist that all the people were "lost pagans" must we take Hitchen's interpretation. However I side with Justin Martyr who felt God spoke even to Pagans, sign posts along the way etc.

Anyways I don't ahve time for more right now, but just don't be afraid, doubting is part of faith. God is a "big boy" he can take care of Himself. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2011, 03:48:13 PM »

Thanks NP for the support, I guess I don't have confidence in my own opinions or arguments. It's when they great broken down like that and I can't respond to them, I start having doubts.
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2011, 04:01:30 PM »

Thanks NP for the support, I guess I don't have confidence in my own opinions or arguments. It's when they great broken down like that and I can't respond to them, I start having doubts.

Put me in a room with a ranting Calvinist or a ranting Ba'hai or a ranting Jewish person for five hours and I'd start having doubts, too.

You can cast doubt on 2+2=4 if you're stubborn and persistent enough; just look at Alfred's posts, for crying out loud! Tongue

Also, if you enter a debate and haven't researched your opponent's likely arguments and frame of mind (it sounds like this particular antitheist 'researched' popular protestant/"low" Catholic cosmology) you will probably lose the argument or have no immediate responses. This is a property of debate, not a property of truth.
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2011, 08:40:28 PM »

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All the aliments of Modern Man like bad teeth which you mentioned plus things like diabetes, cancer and heart disease did not exist in primitive populations of our species of Human. People were far more robust because they ate a natural human diet. Only now with all the processed foods, grains and sugar in our diet have we suffered like you mentioned.

The first recorded cases of both cancer and diabetes come from roughly 1500 BC in Egypt. These diseases have been around for a long time, although there's no question that our modern processed diet and environment in some ways contribute to the high rates of such diseases.

These diseases were rare but started to show up when people switched to a more grain based diet. Hunter gatherer populations probably had no cancer or heart disease at all.  They are a wildfire today. Not many folks die of typhus anymore. Mostly they die from heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes.

You're probably right.

But things weren't always rosy for primitive man. Haven't you seen Quest For Fire?  laugh

Back to the point, we live in a fallen world. There have been different struggles at different times. But to paint the thousands of years that Humans lived a pastoral hunter gatherer life as hellish and absent of God's grace is just wrong. People were healthier in most ways than we are today but had other dangers to worry about that we don't have to the same extent now. I just wanted to say that the premise of the thread is off base.

Indulge me one more point...

The Movie Quest for Fire is a good example of the attitude of superiority we take over our primitive ancestors. We picture them always living right on the brink of survival. No doubt that was the case often enough but I think it is a false depiction of the entirety of primitive human experience.
That attitude was part or our rationalization for wiping out Native American Culture and bringing them into the Industrialzed World. It turns out, their living conditions had much to be envied.

I saw a TV show about a year ago called "Meet the Natives".. They took six or seven men from a very isloated Polynisian Island and brought them to varius cities in the USA. They were not completely isolated and had some knowledge of the rest of the World via a US Navy spotter who was put on their island during WW Two. They developed a cargo cult after his visit.

It seemed to me that their lives on the Island were close to Paradise. They had comfortable conditions and abundence. They were facinated by our life-style when they visited but they commented specifically on how unhealthy our food was. They were taken to a cattle feed lot and when they saw how de-natured the grain feed was they scolded their host and told him that what they were feeding the anaimals was bad for them and would eventually kill us if we ate it.

They had all kinds of wisdom both practical and spiritual....... You could do worse.

Here is one clip. there is a bit of National Geographic type nudity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsGTKcw3-kg    

I absolutely agree with you, actually. We have come a long way from living in harmony with our environment... with Life. I just wanted to point out that cancer and diabetes are not new diseases. Perhaps you're right in saying that they didn't exist (or hardly existed) before agriculture...? Never really thought about it before. Regarding Quest For Fire, I was being a bit facetious by mentioning it Smiley. The movie does, probably for entertainment's sake, make it look like life was just one wild and desperate struggle for survival with little solace... at least from what I remember. Of course, your youtube video offers us a much more positive and realistic look into "savage" existence  Wink.

Thanks for the video link. Looks interesting!

 

Agriculture is relatively new, only about 10,000 years. The theory is that we have not yet had enough time to adpat to these new foods ( grains) and they are the primary cause of cancer and heart problems. Plus, we have accelerated our demise in the last 20 years or so with factory raised anamals, refined foods and lots of sugar. So idea is to eat more like hunter gatherers. Cancer in Eygpt a mere 1500 years ago would be expected.

for more info.: www.thepaleodiet.com
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2011, 09:06:11 PM »

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All the aliments of Modern Man like bad teeth which you mentioned plus things like diabetes, cancer and heart disease did not exist in primitive populations of our species of Human. People were far more robust because they ate a natural human diet. Only now with all the processed foods, grains and sugar in our diet have we suffered like you mentioned.

The first recorded cases of both cancer and diabetes come from roughly 1500 BC in Egypt. These diseases have been around for a long time, although there's no question that our modern processed diet and environment in some ways contribute to the high rates of such diseases.

These diseases were rare but started to show up when people switched to a more grain based diet. Hunter gatherer populations probably had no cancer or heart disease at all.  They are a wildfire today. Not many folks die of typhus anymore. Mostly they die from heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes.

You're probably right.

But things weren't always rosy for primitive man. Haven't you seen Quest For Fire?  laugh

Back to the point, we live in a fallen world. There have been different struggles at different times. But to paint the thousands of years that Humans lived a pastoral hunter gatherer life as hellish and absent of God's grace is just wrong. People were healthier in most ways than we are today but had other dangers to worry about that we don't have to the same extent now. I just wanted to say that the premise of the thread is off base.

Indulge me one more point...

The Movie Quest for Fire is a good example of the attitude of superiority we take over our primitive ancestors. We picture them always living right on the brink of survival. No doubt that was the case often enough but I think it is a false depiction of the entirety of primitive human experience.
That attitude was part or our rationalization for wiping out Native American Culture and bringing them into the Industrialzed World. It turns out, their living conditions had much to be envied.

I saw a TV show about a year ago called "Meet the Natives".. They took six or seven men from a very isloated Polynisian Island and brought them to varius cities in the USA. They were not completely isolated and had some knowledge of the rest of the World via a US Navy spotter who was put on their island during WW Two. They developed a cargo cult after his visit.

It seemed to me that their lives on the Island were close to Paradise. They had comfortable conditions and abundence. They were facinated by our life-style when they visited but they commented specifically on how unhealthy our food was. They were taken to a cattle feed lot and when they saw how de-natured the grain feed was they scolded their host and told him that what they were feeding the anaimals was bad for them and would eventually kill us if we ate it.

They had all kinds of wisdom both practical and spiritual....... You could do worse.

Here is one clip. there is a bit of National Geographic type nudity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsGTKcw3-kg    

I absolutely agree with you, actually. We have come a long way from living in harmony with our environment... with Life. I just wanted to point out that cancer and diabetes are not new diseases. Perhaps you're right in saying that they didn't exist (or hardly existed) before agriculture...? Never really thought about it before. Regarding Quest For Fire, I was being a bit facetious by mentioning it Smiley. The movie does, probably for entertainment's sake, make it look like life was just one wild and desperate struggle for survival with little solace... at least from what I remember. Of course, your youtube video offers us a much more positive and realistic look into "savage" existence  Wink.

Thanks for the video link. Looks interesting!

 

Agriculture is relatively new, only about 10,000 years. The theory is that we have not yet had enough time to adpat to these new foods ( grains) and they are the primary cause of cancer and heart problems. Plus, we have accelerated our demise in the last 20 years or so with factory raised anamals, refined foods and lots of sugar. So idea is to eat more like hunter gatherers. Cancer in Eygpt a mere 1500 years ago would be expected.

for more info.: www.thepaleodiet.com

Ahhh, I see. Interesting. Thnx.

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Plus, we have accelerated our demise in the last 20 years or so with factory raised anamals, refined foods and lots of sugar.

That, and the fact that factory farming has become disgustingly inhumane, is why I don't eat meat anymore.
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« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2011, 11:34:33 AM »


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Plus, we have accelerated our demise in the last 20 years or so with factory raised anamals, refined foods and lots of sugar.

That, and the fact that factory farming has become disgustingly inhumane, is why I don't eat meat anymore.

Ditto for me as well. Well, it started out for health issues, and still is in part, but now that I'm off meat, and even though I do have access to a  REAL FARM, free range etc, I wouldn't go back to eating meat even if I could.  Though I do eat wild caught fish. (no farmed fish...yuck)

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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2011, 12:56:13 PM »

Your post of your objections and his answers is far too much to go through, but I do want to pick at some of they key problems I saw:

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I know you do. You’re a Christian, all Christians believe in an objective source of morality. However, I’m not of the opinion that that source exists. So, we’re bound to encounter problems when discussing the subjective/objective nature of morality...

Stop. How is this related to Atheism? Atheism is the rejection of God claims; it says nothing about a soul/the mind’s nature, or an afterlife, or reincarnation. You’re thinking of materialism, which is independent of Atheism. But let’s continue.

He's a simple atheist and definitely of the Betrand Russell variety, that is, someone who stomp their feet and says, "There is no God" and when you inquire as to how we should then live, they say, "I dunno." Antony Flew, prior to his conversion to Theism, and currently Michael Ruse have it correct; to say "there is no God" requires you to then come up with a philosophical system that explains reality sans God.

So for him to say, "I don't believe there is an objective morality" ties into his atheism - whether he wants to accept it or not, His disbelief in God is either the cause many of his other views, is the result of his other views, or he lives a completely incoherent life.

To say, "There is no God" is a metaphysical statement. Though we have attempted to move away from metaphysics (in philosophy) since Descartes, it has proven to be impossible. Even post-metaphysical philosophies (so-called) rely on an implicit metaphysic. The reason for this is that in order to explain how we know what we know or how we should live or how a family should function all boils down to our view of human origins. If I say that all of creation began for a purpose, that changes everything else in my philosophy (or it should). If I say that it was a random beginning and that we came about through random mutations and natural selection alone (sola natura), this will change my views of ethics, government, etc. Claiming atheism doesn't let one off the hook because there are certain philosophical conclusions that come from atheism, even if the atheists pouts and says, "nuh-uh!"

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Well, that’s an ironic example. Hitler’s Nazism was fashioned after his interpretation of Christianity. I’ve said before I view it as a failed, new denomination. Devout Christians throughout history have carried out atrocities and genocide. See, it’s not Christianity’ or Atheism’s fault; that’s idiotic thinking. Certain men will be maniacs whether they believe or don’t. Christianity’s historical track record is not one of clean hands. Again, it goes back to individuals’ morality, their twisted minds will shape reality however they see fit, so long as they can justify the atrocities they desire to. Becoming a Christian will not prevent the next Hitler or Mao from trying to seize power and do despicable things.

The man's obviously never read a thing by Hitler. If you were to even read his Mein Kampf you'd see that Hitler was very much an atheist who used religion as a tool. In fact, during the war years he wanted to move towards a type of Nordic paganism in order to solidify his belief in Aryan superiority.

However, to his credit he notes that tyrannies rise because of individuals, not because of systems (though some systems do implicitly require tyrannical leaders, such as Communism). But he then extrapolates this to prove there is no objective morality or that morality can exist without God. The fact is, while morality can exist without God, it is not a morality any reasonable human would be comfortable with. After all, if an action can be shown to increase survival or help propagate the species, such an action is justifiable.

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Well, nobody has ever demonstrated a soul

Why must everything in reality be empirical? I cannot empirically prove that my senses exist, because to do so I have to use my senses. Rather, I know a priori that I can generally trust my senses. Likewise, the other problem with empiricism is that it states, "Everything that can be counted as knowledge must be demonstrated in order to be true." The problem, of course, is that such a statement is self-refuting; I cannot demonstrate that the statement is true.

As Paul Boghossian (Epistemology, NYU) wrote in his book Fear of Knowledge:

"Not every belief needs to be supported by some independent item of information that would constitute evidence in its favor: some beliefs are intrinsically credible or self-evident…What non-circular evidence could one adduce, for example, for the belief that one is currently conscious?” (pg. 83)

What Boghossian is referring to is considered a priori knowledge; the question is what is a priori and what do we gain by experience? The atheist must commit himself to genetic a priori knowledge (ideas passed down through genes), but as I'll show below, this actually works as a defeater for naturalism!

Now some attempt to escape this by saying, "Well we know from demonstrations that demonstrating something makes it true," but two things on this:

1) Not necessarily, as the scientific method has failed us in the past

2) This is begging the question; it takes the conclusion and inserts it likewise into the premise (or circular arguments; material fallacies often overlap)

So he says, "You haven't proven the soul!" To which I say, "Yes I have, look at human nature." The fact is, were humans nothing more than a brain, free will wouldn't exist. If free will is illusionary (as he has committed himself to that position), then I can't trust his arguments that free will is illusionary, that God isn't real, or that the Packers just won the Super Bowl!

Here is the aforementioned defeater for naturalism: If free will is illusionary, this means that our minds - due to an evolutionary process aiding in our survival - have purposefully tricked us and we have no way of getting around this trick. If we willed ourselves around the illusion of free will, we would be acting as though we had free will (by willing ourselves), so once again we would be in a self-refutation. Thus, there is no way to escape the illusion (which begets the question of whether or not it really is an illusion). But if we cannot escape the illusion, it means we cannot trust our noetic capabilities because they are geared towards survival and not truth. This means we cannot know if something is rational because we don't know if we're being deceived. So while what he says might be true (it's not, but let's grant it), there is no rational reason to believe anything he says.

This is why naturalism is self-refuting and therefore offers up no reason for belief. If we are 100% physical and free-will is an illusion, then we cannot trust our noetic capabilities, meaning we cannot trust anything we see. But we know a priori that we can trust many of our experiences as being validated in reality, but how so? The only way we can trust our experiences is if empiricism is wrong and there's another epistemological system open to us. But we could only trust this finding if naturalism were false to begin with; thus the atheist is left in quite the quandary. He must either commit himself to his naturalism and give up any hope of validating beliefs or hold a system that can be rationalized, or he must seek to explain how we can both be rational and how empiricism is true, but in order to do so he must give up his naturalism.

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Except those who oppose it, you know, like how morals and laws have always worked?

He takes his position for granted without ever validating it. Yes, societies have always functions with morals and codes, but he fails to give a sufficient reason for the "why." Why is it that we've sought out morals and almost universally so? If for survival, then is anything truly immoral? After all, our genes supposedly gear us towards survival, thus any actions taken are those which are meant to aid in survival. If he argues that sometimes our genes (or brain shapes, which that argument assumes a cause and effect relationship where the brain pattern shaped the ethical behavior rather than the other way around) are defective, then can we truly blame those who act in an "immoral" way? After all, we don't blame people born without an arm for lacking an arm. If he says that sometimes we rationalize our way out of survivalist morality, then it backs up to my previous argument; how can we rationalize our way out of survival unless free will exists?

Thus, every action is genetically determined, either by a corrupt gene (but then again, how do we judge what constitutes "corrupt" in the sense of morals without begging the question as to what is "good" and "bad"?) or by a properly functioning genetic code. But here's the kicker, we have no objective way to tell what constitutes a "good" moral action or a "bad" moral action under a subjective formation of morality, even if we use the evolutionary argument for morality. There's simply no way of escaping it; if he argues that an action doesn't allow for universal survivability, then I would contend that natural selection doesn't always require an individual to act for the whole, but sometimes solely for the individual's own survival. If he argues that it doesn't aid in the individual's survival (because the public will come down on the individual and therefore it's not advantageous for the individual to act out), I would argue that he has snuffed out any attempts for societal reformers (such as Martin Luther King Jr or Ghandi) or any attempt to explain how they came about.

We are left without any real reason to condemn actions we see as abhorrent. For instance, "philosopher" Richard Rorty argues that we can't really condemn the Nazis because they did what they thought was best for their survival. Rather, all we can do is say that we dislike what the Nazis did, but we can hardly call them evil. That is where the naturalist line of thinking takes you...

No matter what, he is left without an explanation for the origin of our morality.

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Again, you seem to neglect how our brains work, how we naturally think and behave as a species. Do I need to repeat the bit about non-Christian cultures and cultures predating Christianity still, miraculously, having morals?

This shows a vast misunderstanding of the Christian argument! If he can't take the time to study Christianity before arguing it, certainly he shouldn't act like he understands it or even attempt to debate against it!

Such a situation is predicted by both Christianity and Scripture; we have a belief that all humans are made in the image of God (imago Dei) and therefore will act in a good manner, that is, morally. At the same time, we also believe that humans have sinned and because of this sin, our wills are pointed away from God, thus we will also act in an evil manner. Thus, the position that, "Other pre-Christian cultures had morals, so boo-yah!" isn't a defeater for Christianity, but rather predicted by Christianity and actually aids the argument in there being an image of God (see the previous section about the difficulty of atheistic morality).

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Wait, you’re saying death is not natural? As in, organisms are not supposed to cease existing? Okay then. Makes perfect sense. Well, let’s look at this a bit closer. All organisms strive to live, to fend off predators, to satisfy hunger, to reproduce and care for offspring, those who do not, fail as a species, and many HAVE. Natural selection favored those who sought to live prosperously and fought to protect their existence, so, those who did not failed to pass on their inert attitudes. Simple.

He's missing the argument entirely; if death were natural, why would we mourn death? I don't mourn over breathing, or having to eat, or anything of that matter. Other natural occurrences in human life don't cause me to look into the abyss of fear and trembling. Death alone (or events related to death) forces me to this precipice; but why? Why don't atheists live like the people of Brave New World who take a nonchalant view of death? And why is it Huxley - an atheist - painted this picture of death for us to display the queer nature of the fictional world he was warning us about?

It would see our abhorrence of death and our attempts to avoid it at every turn would indicate that we know a priori that death is not natural to our essence; that is, while it is a natural occurrence, we know that it shouldn't be. What is the material cause for humans to have a mind for eternity?

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We, like many mammals, are highly social and we value the lives of those we care about like they were our own. Protecting them is almost equal to protecting ourselves. Also, to say it is hardwired and then ask why we desire is a classic case of answering your own question. Our ancestors instilled an almost-unbreakable will in us, a disposition, to desire survival.

Why? Where did the original abhorrence from death come from and why did it pass on? Why was it universal? Etc. He takes his position for granted without ever providing an answer as to "why" and "where".

Essentially, you're dealing with someone who is a "New Atheist." They're high on attitude, but low on content. They're usually very snarky, rude, and very, very, very self-appreciative of their own imagined intellectual prowess. But the fact is they're an embarrassment, to both those who have to debate them and to other true atheists. They don't understand the Christian position and their entire position is based upon one giant strawman fallacy. They're the living, walking, breathing Jack Chick tracts for atheism.

And I understand that I have been more brash than usual in how I've worded some things, but I write all of this to believers so I am a bit more open. I would advise you, however, to be stern with him, but also be loving. In the end, he has a disease of the heart and you possess the cure; look that cure for yourself and do not let the disease overtake you.

A book that will most certainly challenge you, but make you a better thinker, better philosopher, better apologist, and better Christian is to get St. John of Damascus: The Writings by CUA Press (ISBN: 978-0813209685). It's a hefty price (about $35.00), but well worth it.

Other modern authors and books to check out that are a bit easier than the one listed above:

Richard Swinburne's Is There a God? and Was Jesus God?

Peter Kreeft's Christianity for Modern Pagans and Socratic Logic (this will just help you with argumentation and thinking)

William Lane Craig's A Reasonable Faith (even though Bill isn't' popular among a lot of people, his arguments in this book are still outstanding)

Francis Schaeffers' Trilogy (The God Who is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent, all available in one volume I should add)

J.P. Moreland's The Recalcitrant Imago Dei

Now, some of the above books may be over your head, or they may not. If they are, just keep moving along. Don't expect to read them in one or even two months. Struggle through them, find others who have read the books, and work from there.

But let me add this final argument: If you are struggling with doubt, don't neglect the community of believers. Attend mass, speak with your priest, and live in a Godly manner. Faith is informed by philosophy/apologetics, but philosophy is still her handmaiden. Rather, when doubting your faith, seek out answers to your doubts (which are good to have), but also seek to serve the poor and the widows. Read as many books as you can, but fall down prostrate before Christ even more. Faith is a holistic activity, not one limited to the mind. When having doubts, seek the answers, but also seek to live for Christ because then you'll not only learn about Him, but you'll experience Him. In doing this, you will be fulfilling the Greatest Commandment, which is to love your God with all your heart, mind and soul.
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“Wherefore, then, death approaches, gulps down the bait of the body, and is pierced by the hook of the divinity. Then, having tasted of the sinless and life-giving body, it is destroyed and gives up all those whom it had swallowed down of old." - St. John of Damascus
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2011, 03:57:09 PM »

...
Thanks theo, I think I may have some things to address via PM with you if you don't mind.
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« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2011, 04:14:47 PM »

Wait, that post wasn't be ialmisry? This whole icon/avatar thing is gonna take some time to get used to  angel
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Large Marge sent me...
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2011, 01:29:38 AM »

I recently had an argument with an atheist over my Christian beliefs and he said something on the lines like this, let’s say the consensus is that our species, homo-sapiens has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years. in order to be christian you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty five, dying of their teeth, famine, struggle, war, bitterness, suffering, misery. All of that for about 98,000 years, heaven watches it with complete indifference,
Assertion, without any evidence.

Quote
and then 2000 years ago thinks that’s enough of that, it’s time to intervene.
Because after that 98,000 years of preparation, man was ready, having produced the Theotokos.
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The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east.
Now, he's really showing himself to be an ignoramus: Palestine at the time was probably one of the most litterate parts of the enitre Roman Empire.  And He didn't condemn anyone to human sacrifice. He sacrificed Himself.

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Don’t let’s appear to the chinese where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization, let’s go to the desert and have another revelation. He said this was nonsense.
He's idiot, and a sophmore at that.

At the time of Christ, the Han Dynasty of China was promoting Confucianism, which has been founded nearly 5 centuries before Christ, as the state Creed. The Gospel may have reached China in the first century
http://www.chinaartnetworks.com/news/show_news.php?id=1369
At the latest, Christianity reached China in the 7th century.  Confucius, in contrast, would not be known outside of the Far East for another thousand years, and then from translations of his works by Christian missionaries.  If God wanted to baptize all nations, sending the Apostles from China would seem to have been counter productive.

The Romans had a civilization, far more literate with far more people able to read and study evidence.

His "knowledge" of world history is nonsense.


He says he overstated his point when he implied that noone could read there, because he thinks you can both agree that in both cultures literacy was very low and writing was reserved for scribes and priests. It's also true that china is very isolated by it's geography. Nonetheless, he admits he was being flippant.

He did make the following points:

Human sacrifice is a congruent theme throughout the bible.

98,000 years of preparation....white noise

Which part of his assertion is without evidence? (besides the whole heaven watches thing) 100,000 is a low estimate for our specific species, our closest oldest known relative is ardipithicus ramidus, who lived 5 million years ago; not to mention we evolved from life that lived and died some 3 billion years ago.

Mortality rates for just the US in the last 200 years:
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005140.html

Who cares if cavemen ate free range chickens and bug infested produce? What does that have to do with anything - before agriculture (a long time) men were hunter gathering nomads who were barely recognizable as "human" in any modern sense.

Plus, God only chose to reveal Himself as Yahweh to only one region. Why i wonder, is it so that in different regions god seems to be completely different? Curious.
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2011, 02:05:52 AM »

Atheism wants to blame God for allowing man free will to sin and destroy himself. Atheists do not want to be free human beings, but robots, hence the sort of regimes atheists have created in the world. One must ask, who are the real villainous psychopaths?

Some Atheists believe in free will while other atheists don't. I personally believe that the ones that don't are more consistent with what strict philosophical naturalism/materialism would imply.

But most people are inconsistent in their beliefs and so........it's normal to be inconsistent.
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2011, 02:06:35 AM »

before agriculture (a long time) men were hunter gathering nomads who were barely recognizable as "human" in any modern sense.
What on earth? That's quite an assertion.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:07:04 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2011, 03:04:54 AM »

Be careful. St Isaac the Syrian said, "Beware of reading the heretical teachings, for they, more than all else can arm the spirit of blasphemy against you."
St John of the Ladder also says that the blasphemous thoughts come from the demons. He says that the cause of blasphemy is also due to pride, pride is due to not being in union with God.

I've struggled extensively with blasphemy, heresy and unbelief for a while. I got rid of it by not prying into the judgments of God.


Psalm 131

I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

 1O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
   my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me.
2But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child is my soul within me.

 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD
   from this time forth and forevermore.

(ESV)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 03:32:58 AM by IssacTheSyrian » Logged

"To be detached from matter is prior to being bound to God."

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« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2011, 11:23:41 AM »

The diet/organic food tangent has been split off and merged here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24938.msg531536.html#msg531536
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