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Religion...? - Page 2

Poll Results: What best describes you?

 
  • 30% (31)
    Agnostic.
  • 31% (32)
    Atheist.
  • 38% (40)
    Religious, or Upholds Some Beliefs.
103 Total Votes  
post #41 of 159
I am very sincere about my religious beliefs. I sincerely believe any religion that teaches intolerance should be condemned.

Truth be told, my girlfriend grew up Catholic, and she can no longer say the word "Pope" without using the F-word as a modifier, as loudly as possible. Although I'm not as vociferous as she, I cannot stand it when certain people preach intolerance and exclusivity.

She was recently telling a friend that she supports gay rights and the "friend" replied, "Oh, NO! Are you like THAT!?" Like what? Tolerant? Yeah. Are you implying that there's something wrong with being tolerant in that self-righteous tone of yours?

Another friend's mother is dying of cancer. Her constant prayer, keeping her up every night in tears, is that her mother, whom she loves and who has guided her throughout her life, should accept Jesus as her Lord, because if she doesn't, she will "go to hell". If she really believes her God would send her mother to hell for such petty reasons, then how on Earth can she accept such a God.

Another friend in High School said to a group of us, his closest friends, in a very serious tone, "I'm so sorry for all of you because you're going to hell." Just because we didn't worship Jesus.

I don't get it. The message of Jesus has been denied by many Christians in the name of Church doctrine.

I support Liberal Christian Protestantism and have even been to church about five times this year, not because I'm a Christian, but to support one church that has gotten it right.
post #42 of 159
I find it funny that those who preach tolerance the most are probably the most intolerant of anyone.

Stick *that* in your pipe and smoke it. \
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post #43 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
I find it funny that those who preach tolerance the most are probably the most intolerant of anyone.

Stick *that* in your pipe and smoke it. \

Ahh... the old BS Catch 22 about speaking out against intolerance.
post #44 of 159
In case you're still in the dark, when fundies stop telling other people how to live their lives, I'll shut up.

I've never told a fundie how to live their life.

If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one!

If you don't believe in homosexuality, don't have homosexual sex.

If you don't believe in masturbation, don't do it (even though we know you all do it anyway, and fill yourself with guilt afterward ).

If you don't believe in sex before marriage, then go right ahead and save yourself.

Just don't tell others what to do, and then threaten them with punishment for not following your advice. Especially if you're in a position of leadership, like a minister, pastor or priest.

Jesus never damned anyone. He never judged anyone. So why do you all so-called "Christians" think it's your business to do so? In fact, it's extremely "un-Christian", isn't it?
post #45 of 159
Interesting, I had a very similar conversation yesterday with a friend of mine who would best be categorized as agnostic. I think that Gelding's first post aligns with my friend's convictions. We'd begun discussing political alignments and eased into religion. It wasn't as much that he didn't believe in God as he had a lifetime's contempt for the hypocritical people he'd known who'd professed to be Christian while doing things that were anything but Christian.

I couldn't disagree, he was right. Humans are the weakest link.

It saddens me to see "thumbs up" Jesus dolls being sold in the mall, to know that future generations will only know Jesus as a pop icon, the ironic counterpoint of a rock&roll song, a joke. Much of the blame for that diminution of Jesus' message lies directly at the feet of Christians who've improperly bent the words of the Bible to their own means, whether by intention or simple ignorance. Turning to a catchphrase like "Jesus is awesome!" makes me wince because it sounds so silly, so comedic; regardless of the truth of that saying. DiscoCow's reaction exemplifies how people react to that kind of Teenage Mutant Ninjafication of Jesus.

I think that it's wonderful that the secular community shares a fundamental conviction of tolerance and fairness, but they've been sold a load of cobblers in regard to Jesus' message. He wasn't here simply to tell people to be nice to each other, it wasn't a Bill&Ted keynote speech to San Diemos High. It was a Paul Revere mission to make sure that everyone prepare themselves for heaven, trying to get them into the safety of an "eternal ark" (please, no baseball player corpsicle jokes here, leave that to me!).

My friend said "I don't believe in a God who would send me to Hell" but he didn't say "I believe in a God who would let his only Son die to save me from going to Hell". The idea of a dark and angry God isn't wrong, but it's an unfair characterization.

Anyway, I'm preaching now and have entirely forgotten what this thread is about. And I'm hungry too.

I hate it when I read AI before getting my morning started....
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post #46 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
In case you're still in the dark, when fundies stop telling other people how to live their lives, I'll shut up.

I've never told a fundie how to live their life.

If you don't believe in abortion, don't have one!

If you don't believe in homosexuality, don't have homosexual sex.

If you don't believe in masturbation, don't do it (even though we know you all do it anyway, and fill yourself with guilt afterward ).

If you don't believe in sex before marriage, then go right ahead and save yourself.

Just don't tell others what to do, and then threaten them with punishment for not following your advice. Especially if you're in a position of leadership, like a minister, pastor or priest.

Jesus never damned anyone. He never judged anyone. So why do you all so-called "Christians" think it's your business to do so? In fact, it's extremely "un-Christian", isn't it?

Technically you are telling them how to live their lives by telling them not to tell other people how to live their lives. Technically. I agree with you though.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #47 of 159
drewprops:

If it weren't for Jesus being in the pop-culture then America would have gone the way of Western Europe a long time ago.

Quote:
My friend said "I don't believe in a God who would send me to Hell" but he didn't say "I believe in a God who would let his only Son die to save me from going to Hell". The idea of a dark and angry God isn't wrong, but it's an unfair characterization.

Because the second statement is just silly.
God creates me, everything I am.
God creates evil, which he put in me (because nothing is out of his control).
To save me from the hell he created for me (and damned me to before my existence by creating me to do the things that are hell-worthy) he sacrificed someone else (who was him... or something).

It's silly to simultaneously claim that God is all-powerful and omniscient but then simultaneously claim there's an anti-God running around creating a mess God is using Jesus to clean up. Is there any "fair" characterization of such a complex and contradictory God?

If God created everything then God created everything. So the second statement isn't said because it is silly.
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post #48 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Is there any "fair" characterization of such a complex and contradictory God?

If God created everything then God created everything. So the second statement isn't said because it is silly.


Strictly speaking, there should be NO characterization of God whatsoever. The idea of the creation criticizing the Creator is blasphemy, yet humans do it all the time....free will and all.

I too have a problem in decrying that people are born inherently evil - I believe it more accurate to say that the opportunity for evil resides in every person and that individuals can become possessed with evilness, mean spirits and hardened hearts. I believe that everyone here has hatreds, grudges, intolerances, schemes and designs which belie their ability to claim themselves "pure"....and that none of us can go through our lives without exhibiting those behaviors publicly or privately.

I don't think that second statement I made is silly at all.....I think it's wonderful.

But then, we already know how I voted in this poll!
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post #49 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by drewprops
Strictly speaking, there should be NO characterization of God whatsoever. The idea of the creation criticizing the Creator is blasphemy, yet humans do it all the time....free will and all.

I too have a problem in decrying that people are born inherently evil - I believe it more accurate to say that the opportunity for evil resides in every person and that individuals can become possessed with evilness, mean spirits and hardened hearts. I believe that everyone here has hatreds, grudges, intolerances, schemes and designs which belie their ability to claim themselves "pure"....and that none of us can go through our lives without exhibiting those behaviors publicly or privately.

I don't think that second statement I made is silly at all.....I think it's wonderful.

But then, we already know how I voted in this poll!

If god created everything it would have created the capacities for such evil you speak of. It clearly had to be an intentional creation because of it was unintended it means god is fallible and not omnipotent.

If you are going to retort with there cannot be good without evil and that is sound logic therefore god had to make evil, that, again, is bunk. If god is so omnipotent it could have created only good without evil AND it would seem perfectly logical to its creations.

You cannot on one hand claim an omnipotent benevolent god yet on the other describe a bumbling, meanspirited fool.

Quote:
I believe it more accurate to say that the opportunity for evil resides in every person and that individuals can become possessed with evilness, mean spirits and hardened hearts.

And if your god is omnipotent it clearly and intentionally created said opportunity.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #50 of 159
It's interesting how the demographics of the people who hang out here on AppleInsider are so skewed from the norm of the general population practically anywhere. At two thirds agnostic/atheist, one of the few places like that out there in the real world is the Czech Republic, which is exceptionally non-religious even by European standards.

I get the impression that the majority of AI-ers (or at least a plurality) are American, making these poll results more striking. In the US as a whole those who identify themselves as atheist or agnostic are in a distinct (but growing) minority. By one stat I read, only about 8 million Americans are atheist or agnostic. The current US population is around 290 million, although to be fair, the 8 million should probably be compared to the smaller adult population of the US, as I imagine the 8 million figure is limited to adults. No matter how you slice it, however, well under 10% atheist or agnostic.

I wonder what factors so skew the demographics here. Education? Affinity for technology? Higher male-to-female membership?

And while I'm asking, what is it that draws women in higher numbers to new-agey sorts of stuff? Astrology, tarot, crystals, channelers, séances, healing touch, etc., etc. -- it's sadly difficult to find sensible women.
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post #51 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
It's amazing that while there were so many lessons taught by Jesus about tolerance, that besides fundamentalist Muslims, the most intolerant of all are almost exclusively Fundie Christians.

I think you're getting ahead of yourself. Both the fundamentalest Muslims and fundamentalist Christians contribute to an extremely tiny minority of the overall practicing communities in each faith. I would say that, as far as it means to be an unsavory character, there are at least as many of them out there with no religious beliefs or affiliations at all.
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post #52 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I get the impression that the majority of AI-ers (or at least a plurality) are American, making these poll results more striking. In the US as a whole those who identify themselves as atheist or agnostic are in a distinct (but growing) minority. By one stat I read, only about 8 million Americans are atheist or agnostic. The current US population is around 290 million, although to be fair, the 8 million should probably be compared to the smaller adult population of the US, as I imagine the 8 million figure is limited to adults. No matter how you slice it, however, well under 10% atheist or agnostic.

I'd say the educational level in AI, due to several factors (Internet, computer enthusiasts) is to some degree proportional to the increase in freethinkers (atheist/agnostic).

Quote:
I wonder what factors so skew the demographics here. Education? Affinity for technology? Higher male-to-female membership?

Yeah, probably all of those.

Quote:
And while I'm asking, what is it that draws women in higher numbers to new-agey sorts of stuff? Astrology, tarot, crystals, channelers, séances, healing touch, etc., etc. -- it's sadly difficult to find sensible women.

Because women are generally irrational.

Flame on.
post #53 of 159
Man, this is the most evenly spread poll I think I've ever seen on this site. Exactly 1/3 in each category, with a decent number of total responses to boot.

I fall in the latter category, but was looking for the

"Believe in a higher power, but ascribe to virtually none of the simplistic notions of God [that people tend to believe]" option.
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post #54 of 159
I've always considered myself a somewhat conservative, non-denominational protestant christian. Which works out well...

1. Mainline - Conservative Christian Protestant (100%)
2. Orthodox Quaker (100%)
3. Seventh Day Adventist (97%)
4. Eastern Orthodox (88%)
5. Roman Catholic (88%)
6. Mainline - Liberal Christian Protestants (86%)
7. Liberal Quakers (57%)
8. Orthodox Judaism (56%)
9. Islam (55%)
10. Bahá'Ã* Faith (54%)
11. Unitarian Universalism (50%)
12. Hinduism (43%)
13. Sikhism (41%)
14. Reform Judaism (40%)
15. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (33%)
16. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (33%)
17. Jainism (32%)
18. Non-theist (26%)
19. Jehovah's Witness (25%)
20. Mahayana Buddhism (25%)
21. Theravada Buddhism (25%)
22. Neo-Pagan (23%)
23. New Age (21%)
24. Scientology (21%)
25. Taoism (21%)
26. Secular Humanism (19%)
27. New Thought (18%)
post #55 of 159
Is Christianity more rational than astrology?
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post #56 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
Is Christianity more rational than astrology?

None of the major religions are, in my estimation, other than Buddhism maybe, and even that has its fairy tale aspects.

They are not more rational, but definitely more influencial (with good results and horrific ones obviously). People don't start wars or hate-fests in the name of Astrology generally. Nor do they go out and build homeless shelters or soup kitchens in the name of Astrology.

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post #57 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Ganondorf
However, over time, I've decided that agnosticism is a completely inconsequential extension of atheism, with little rational basis. After all, would you bother to label yourself with regards to your belief in the invisible pink monkey-giraffe, if it was possible that both the invisible pink monkey-giraffe existed and did not exist? Of course not, it is ludicrous to give credence to the possibility of an invisible pink monkey-giraffe.

Quote:
Originally posted by Moogs
I fall in the latter category, but was looking for the

"Believe in a higher power, but ascribe to virtually none of the simplistic notions of God people ascribe to" option.

My response to what Ganondorf had to say above stems a bit from the kind of idea expressed by Moogs here.

I consider myself an agnostic, rather than an atheist, because the question of the existence of God is deeply entwined with the question of the meaning of God -- agnosticism is for me an acknowledgement of the sense of wonder and possibility that arises from the question within the question.

Consider the question "Does an invisible pink monkey-giraffe exist?". One might simply answer "no" immediately, on the basis that something cannot be both pink and invisible at the same time. If one is generous, one could allow that the hypothetical creature is sometimes visible, and at those times is pink. There's still a bit of vagueness is what exactly a "monkey-giraffe" might be, but compared to the variety of meanings ascribed to the notion of God, the general category of some invisible creature combining characteristics of monkeys and giraffes, pink in color when visible, is fairly specific. The domain of the proposition can be established narrowly, and its truth value, determined or not, can be limited to the scope of that narrow domain.

"Is there a God?", however -- that's a more interesting question. Is there a what? I take the question as meaning "Is there... if is even is the right word... something worthy of the grandeur, poetry, and scope associated with the many notions of God?".

The deities of human religions seem to me pallid concepts, limited answers to limited questions. To call God a Creator mires God in our sense of time because creation implies a flow of time where something comes into existence after a time when it did not exist. To call God Almighty saddles the notion of God with human concerns for dominion and power. To call God loving, just, vengeful, jealous, to think Him concerned with praise or lack thereof, projects too much fragile humanity on a notion that should be much larger and much stranger than that.

I call myself an agnostic as a way of acknowledging that the universe is almost certainly a grander, more mysterious, and less apparent thing than we know, and more so, than we might even be capable of suspecting. It seems to me that its worth remaining open to the possibility of something befitting the notion of God, in a way that the words "is" and exist are only hints towards a more proper, but less imaginable, verb outside of time.
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post #58 of 159
Greatest "stream of consciousness post" ever!

Seriously, I know of the feeling which Shetline speaks of. When I think of God and what that being might entail, and what it implies about our world or our place in that world, it's a rather nebulous concept to get your mind around.

What if God "is", but not in the same sense that I "is" (to borrow an urban phraseology)? I think one of the more troublesome things to ponder is the notion of God (or that higher power) having a consiousness analogous to the ones we have. Maybe the God that is really out there is aware of all things not like an overseer who looks down on the activities of unsuspecting creatures like ourselves, but as a sort of extension of our physical beings.

Maybe when I was a kid and chucked a dirt-clod at poor Chucky down the street, God didn't "see" me throw it, he felt the concussion of the dirt clod hitting poor Chuky's mellon. Maybe he also felt my anger when I discovered that Chucky left my baseball mit sitting out in the rain the night before, leaving me effectively "mitless" for that night's big game.

This is also fictitious of course (the reality is that I pushed Chucky into traffic after dropping line drive after line drive, hit at me -- the lead-gloved third baseman).



But you see my point. We tend to relate the notion of God far too much to our own reality and way of experiencing things, and that to me, seems almost ridiculous. Totally contradictory to what must be the case of a being that can create wondrous things like the Big Bang or Evolution or any number of other amazing items in our "visible" universe.
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post #59 of 159
I think it's a little short-sighted for some of you to say, "If God is omnipotent, then he had to make evil and he wouldn't do that so he doesn't exist." My argument is that if God exists (which I think God does), God can do whatever He darn well pleases to do.

If God wanted to make the universe in such a way that there are other things besides good (mainly evil) that could creep into the picture, then He would do that.

If God wanted to MAKE us choose Him or not be allowed to be with Him for the rest of eternity, then it's His prerogotive.

God is omnipotent. Most everyone who believes in God believes that. That means two things: One, that we will NEVER be able to understand the complexity of God; and two, that God can do whatever He wants -- including limiting HIMSELF if He so chooses.

Which gets me to my point: I believe that God set up the universe so that humans would keep Him company. On top of that, I believe that he wanted to make it interesting for Himself, and therefore set it up so that humans would not necessarily want to like Him or acknowledge him. Hence evil was *allowed* (not created) to infiltrate the universe.

So God gave us free will, and set up the universe so that these billions upon billions of people would all have a choice to either choose that which created them OR do their own thing -- including absolute rejection of God.

But remember, God is omnipotent and doesn't play fair sometimes. So initially, God set up rules: You have the choice to like me, but if you don't then you don't get to be with me. This didn't work. The rules didn't fly well with humanity. God realized this. So here come the floods to wipe out most everybody in existence.

God changed his tune and sent Jesus Christ along. God had never lived as a human, so He thought He'd give it a try. This time, the message was this: Evil has infiltrated existence. Evil sucks. God is good, and loves you very much. Why be evil when God is love. This worked a lot better, and eventually evolved into Christianity as it is today.

So the common denominator through all this is two-fold:[list=1][*]God is omnipotent and can do anything He wants. He thought it'd be interesting to make a humanity that must choose Him, but to cheat in the game, God set up some incentives -- love being the primary.[*]God, in His omnipotence, has the choice to limit His Godness to suit His desires. Those limitations can even go as far as to abolish Himself from doing something, i.e. giving us the free will to choose how we live our lives and what we choose as a deity, if any. Ever heard the question, "Can God build a rock so big that even He can't lift it?" Free will is it, folks.[/list=1]
Now honestly, does that sound uber-conservative right-wing, or does it sound fairly well thought-out and intellectual. I've got more if someone wants to hear it.

And in defense of Christians everywhere, we don't like to claim the Ultra-Conservatives as our own. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the like rub many of us the wrong way; and it's not fair to lump ALL Christians into a group with them.

That's like saying all women are high-maintenance, all Grateful Dead fans smoke pot, and all video games are violent. In each of these cases, it's the "bad seeds" that everyone hears about and then stereotypes are formed.
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post #60 of 159
No, it just sounds like someone rationalizing his irrational beliefs. If you have to come up with this big song and dance to believe in god, good for you.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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-Sagan
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post #61 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
Now honestly, does that sound uber-conservative right-wing, or does it sound fairly well thought-out and intellectual. I've got more if someone wants to hear it.

Echoing BR a bit, I'd say it sounds like a lot of intellectual effort spent seeking internal consistency among a set of unsupported premises. It's like cutting out your own set of puzzle pieces and showing how cleverly you can make them fit together, rather than figuring out how to put together pieces of an existing puzzle.
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post #62 of 159
So the intellectual and the spiritual are not allowed to associate? That's awfully close-minded, don't you think?

Of course, I don't even know why I try to explain anything to BR. I always forget that the universe revolves around his/her opinions and everyone else can take their opinions and f*ck off.

Oh, wait. That's being intolerant. Dang! I can't win with these people! When does my opinion change over to intolerance again? When it disagrees with YOUR opinion?
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post #63 of 159
My only problem with your overall theory CosmoNut, is that you are likening God to "just another human being, only with super powers".

Why do you presume God has an innate need for "company", for example? I've often thought of that myself in years gone by but when I put myself to task I can't really conceive of a logical reason why God would need "company", and at the same time, make the modality of company so tentative and indirect. Can I keep God company simply by wondering about him? The very notion of company implies a sort of physical (as in physics at least, no necessarily a body) presence I think.

If he really were of such nature that he could feel "lonely" (and solve the problem at the same time), why make himself (herself, itself, however you want to view that) so remote? Why not take a physical form of his own, or make some direct means of contact (even if it were in our sleep for instance)? Personally, I see too many inconsistencies with that line of thinking.

Secondly, why do you presume God's need for this elaborate "game"? Is he bored? Are you sure he has enough human qualities to even consider something like a game? Games are invented to be won or lost. Does God care about such things? Why would he? I imagine that if I created even one solar system (let alone an entire universe), I wouldn't be too concerned with the notion of "games".

In fact, I'm not sure what I *would* be concerned about, since everything that is -- apparently -- is something of my own design. UNLESS, I design it such that it takes on a momentum and energy of its own... and creates something that I had no prior vision of myself. Then watching that thing come into being would perhaps captivate a Godly mind in some way we cannot fathom. This sort of assumes that God has the power to make anything happen, but not necessarily to do more ethereal things like see into the future.

Your notion of self-determination / free-will as the "rock God made but can't lift" is very much analgous to what I was saying above. Creating something in such a way as to not be able to predict its outcome, and have that unpredictability be the very reason for its creation. Maybe we are not God's "company", but instead just a tiny little part of an immense tapestry that is weaving itself right before him (or within him or something)... maybe whether I had sex with my girlfriend before we got married, is no more or less an interest to him then two stars colliding and creating a color he himself has never experienced before.

As for evil and love and curiosity and all such intangible conceptss, I suppose those things could all be by-products of his "engine of creation" that was set into motion long ago. He didn't "place them in us" anymore than he "placed" heroine into the bloodstream of an unborn child (child of an addict). Those ideas have simply taken form over the eons of human development perhaps.

Here's a novel one: what if there is very definitely a God, who created all that we see around us and all that will ever be, but there is no heaven and no hell. Like everything else in the universe, we are simply another type of matter, collected and integrated in a particular fashion, that will one day collapse and return back to our pure state. Just like a star or a drop in the ocean or whatever. Sooner or later, every physical thing is returned to either pure energy or fundamental particles of matter. Maybe, we're just here for the ride.

Spooky to consider, huh?
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post #64 of 159
Roman Catholic But its all BS. I mean, I believe there is a "higher power" but to say that some old F**K that people call pope is closer or more important to "God" is ludacrist i mean WTF who made all these rules. I recently saw a comedian on comedy central say "well in all their stories there drinking alot of wine... don't you think that they(the writers of the bible) have had anything to drink?" i agree!

P.S. i almost got through a whole post without doing a "..." between sentences or thoughts haah
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post #65 of 159
CosmoNut:

Quote:
If God wanted to make the universe in such a way that there are other things besides good (mainly evil) that could creep into the picture, then He would do that.

There is no creeping involved. God is omnipotent and the creator, God made evil. Not just created a situation in which it might arise, God knew. God knows all.

Quote:
If God wanted to MAKE us choose Him or not be allowed to be with Him for the rest of eternity, then it's His prerogotive.

What choice does man have when he is 100% God's creation?
Every thought, feeling and action was created by God.

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God is omnipotent. Most everyone who believes in God believes that. That means two things: One, that we will NEVER be able to understand the complexity of God; and two, that God can do whatever He wants -- including limiting HIMSELF if He so chooses.

If God is limited then God is not omnipotent.

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Which gets me to my point: I believe that God set up the universe so that humans would keep Him company. On top of that, I believe that he wanted to make it interesting for Himself, and therefore set it up so that humans would not necessarily want to like Him or acknowledge him. Hence evil was *allowed* (not created) to infiltrate the universe.

Who/what/how created evil?
You fall apart here because it is completely illogical.

Also, how can God not know the results of the first plan (pre-flood)?
God made a mistake?
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post #66 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
It's interesting how the demographics of the people who hang out here on AppleInsider are so skewed from the norm of the general population practically anywhere. At two thirds agnostic/atheist, one of the few places like that out there in the real world is the Czech Republic, which is exceptionally non-religious even by European standards.

I get the impression that the majority of AI-ers (or at least a plurality) are American, making these poll results more striking. In the US as a whole those who identify themselves as atheist or agnostic are in a distinct (but growing) minority. By one stat I read, only about 8 million Americans are atheist or agnostic. The current US population is around 290 million, although to be fair, the 8 million should probably be compared to the smaller adult population of the US, as I imagine the 8 million figure is limited to adults. No matter how you slice it, however, well under 10% atheist or agnostic.

I wonder what factors so skew the demographics here. Education? Affinity for technology? Higher male-to-female membership?

You missed the timing of the poll. The poll was posted late at night, when most people were going to bed. After the first 50 or so responses, there were nearly three times as many atheists and agnostics as there were religious. Those responses would mostly have been from outside the US, so that shows that the American posters here are definitley more religious than the international ones.

And where the heck did you get that 8 million figure? It's completely bogus. I'm sure there are 8 million atheists/agnostics in Los Angeles alone.
post #67 of 159
And one last thing concerning the deeply religious; those who believe in predestination and God's will controlling all of us:

Absolution of Responsibility
post #68 of 159
I don't think that any of us are going to convince the others about our religious beliefs or lack of beliefs. I'd just like to tell people who've never read the Bible or the Torah to do so without the filter of someone else's interpretations.
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post #69 of 159
Has anyone pointed out that NOT HAVING a religion is also a religion?

That's what I love about shirt-sleeve agnostics and athiests -- they argue "no religion in schools" but can't accept the idea that they want religion taught as well. I think that the reasonable thing to do is to make sure that there isn't a bias toward one belief system or another, or that we're fair to all.

Especially to those Satan-worshippers who feel the need to have human sacrifice. Their views are important!
post #70 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by finagain
Has anyone pointed out that NOT HAVING a religion is also a religion?

That is incorrect.

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That's what I love about shirt-sleeve agnostics and athiests -- they argue "no religion in schools" but can't accept the idea that they want religion taught as well.

First of all, that is a generalization. You are confusing freethinking with institutional secularism. Not only are not all agnostics/atheists institutional secularists, but many religious people and Christians are institutional secularists. Secondly, not teaching religion in school is simply not teaching religion. You use ridiculous and utterly faulty logic. See previous.

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I think that the reasonable thing to do is to make sure that there isn't a bias toward one belief system or another, or that we're fair to all.

In my opinion, the reasonable thing to do is not fund education with tax money, what is known as the public education system. But that's a little off-topic.
post #71 of 159
finagain:

Quote:
Has anyone pointed out that NOT HAVING a religion is also a religion?

Hardcore atheism is like a religion. But not having a religion is not a religion. At all. There are no rules, no dogma and no hard-and-fast beliefs associated with not having a religion.

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That's what I love about shirt-sleeve agnostics and athiests -- they argue "no religion in schools" but can't accept the idea that they want religion taught as well.

I have no idea what this sentence means.

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I think that the reasonable thing to do is to make sure that there isn't a bias toward one belief system or another, or that we're fair to all.

An honest teaching of Christianity in public schools would cause Promise Keeper riots.
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post #72 of 159
As I said before, God is so large and omnipotent that He can do anything...including confuse us as to how He operates.

I don't have all the answers, and my little story was a very simplified version of how I think things work. I've actually thought about writing a book someday. Even if it's not published, those who follow after me might have an idea about how my mind worked.

Anyway, maybe saying that God set up the universe as a "game" is a wrong way of phrasing it. Maybe the "ultimate omnipotency challenge" is a better thing to call it. Yes, God knew what was going to happen, but that doesn't mean he set it up to go a certain way.

And regarding God being omnipotent so no matter what, he caused certain events to happen, ponder this: God doesn't control a lot of things after he sets them in motion, like the weather. Do you think God cares to make every thunderstorm that crops up? I don't think so.

Same thing with humanity. He started things off and let it go from there. He knew what would happen, but allowed us to make the choices for them to happen.

Again, this is all too complex to explain, and very honestly there's a lot of it that I haven't totally thought out yet. But that's the groundwork. If you disagree with it, fine. I'm just saying that in my faith/logic, that's what I've figured out and decided upon.
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post #73 of 159
CosmoNut:

Quote:
As I said before, God is so large and omnipotent that He can do anything...including confuse us as to how He operates.

True enough, but is there any basis for such a desire on God's part in any scripture? None that I can recall.

Quote:
And regarding God being omnipotent so no matter what, he caused certain events to happen, ponder this: God doesn't control a lot of things after he sets them in motion, like the weather. Do you think God cares to make every thunderstorm that crops up? I don't think so.

All things are in motion and will be until the end. God knew at the very instant of creation what would happen 700 trillion later. God knew about every single chemical and photosynthetic reaction that would go on inside the ivy plant that sits on top of the bookcase in my living room.

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Same thing with humanity. He started things off and let it go from there. He knew what would happen, but allowed us to make the choices for them to happen.

So God merely sees the end result of a plane of existence he chose not to know about (while remaining omnipotent)?
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post #74 of 159
I'm LDS (Mormon).

I've been thinking about the whole tolerance thing lately.

My belief is that homosexual activity weakens society, so I'm against it.

On the other hand, I have nothing wrong with other people supporting gay rights. I can see where they are coming from and their cause of tolerance and equality is noble. I mean to say that it is noble so long as they believe that it is beneficial to society.

However, even though I am against homosexuality, I know that homosexual activity isn't going to go away, so the question comes down to, what do you do about the problem (the problem is people are weakening society by participating in homosexual activities)?

My solution for the problem is to allow marriage/civil unions between any two adults and then encourage abstinence before marriage/civil union and fidelity after marriage/civil union. I think that would be beneficial to society and promote tolerance.

I think that Christian religions should teach tolerance, but they should also "proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

All Christian religions welcome people who sin. Many Christian religions have a standard by which members are to live, which is good. Christian religions should in no way accept or condone homosexual behavior any more than adultery, or covetness are accepted.

------

Well, I'm late for Family Home Evening, singles ward style, so catch you all later.

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post #75 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by drewprops
I think that it's wonderful that the secular community shares a fundamental conviction of tolerance and fairness, but they've been sold a load of cobblers in regard to Jesus' message. He wasn't here simply to tell people to be nice to each other...

Not that I think any particular interpretation of Christianity is all that appealing, but if you think the "faith, not deeds" version of Christianity is any more appealing or less likely to induce negative reactions, you've got another thought coming. At least I can appreciate the end results of a religion that teaches people to be kind to one another, even if the dogma that convinces them to be nice seems silly to me.

If the dogma is absurd, and being kind isn't even that important a part of the message, I wouldn't weep over such a message drifting into the realm of historical curiosity.
Quote:
...My friend said "I don't believe in a God who would send me to Hell" but he didn't say "I believe in a God who would let his only Son die to save me from going to Hell". The idea of a dark and angry God isn't wrong, but it's an unfair characterization.

What's unfair about it? The two ideas go hand in hand. I quite frankly have no appreciation for (the concept of) a God who lets some part of himself be killed to play out some weird non-sensical formula for salvation that He Himself devised, to somehow help us be saved from His own over-wrought wrath.
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We were once so close to heaven
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post #76 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by cooop
I agree with everything you just said Carol. Most (not all) of the church-going people that I've come across go for the wrong reasons (i.e. fear of a grim afterlife) instead of a firm desire to do right by others. In fact, most act completely different outside of church, and I find this extremely unacceptable. Even though I grew up in a Baptist/Methodist environment, I am decidedly agnostic, because I see no evidence supporting or rejecting a supreme creator; I do tend to lean towards the existence of a deity in that I cannot begin to explain the origin of the universe, but in no way do I believe in the Bible's view that God requires us to worship him in return for salvation (I'm more of a deist in this respect). Instead, I believe in doing right by your fellow man, regardless of whether or not a rewarding afterlife awaits.

Hi Cooop -

It's nice to find someone who agrees.

The most adamantly "religious" people I've ever known were almost all extremely judgmental and condemning of others.
This attitude is SO NOT what ANY religion should engender.

To me, if religion deals with anything, it should deal with LOVE. That a truly GOOD person would love other people for the potential goodness in them. He would NOT be judgmental, dismissive, condemning; but would see that each person is struggling in his own way to find happiness; that the struggle of some people is on a more elevated plane than the struggle of others, because of the capacity of their intellect and education.

I see "God" as an entity of pure love. I see reflections of this purity in the beauty and marvels of our planet and all its creatures.

The marvels of a spider spinning an intricate web; the amazing nest built by a small bird in one of my trees; the incredible physiology of our bodies; the interwovenness of all natural systems. The beauty of all this makes me feel there is an entity of love as the original Source.

I feel 'He' has a timeless omniscience, an awareness of all things that have happened, and that ever will happen. That in His "consciousness", all of the things that we see in the context of time, already 'ARE'. The past, the present, the future all exist in his consciousness simultaneously.

Some people believe we are determined. But I believe that we have what passes for 'free will'. Though, either way, it doesn't much matter. Giving whatever it is we have a 'name' will not change what it is, its nature.

The fact that people do evil things makes me believe we have free will, the ability to choose between one course of action and another.

People who do evil things might have been emotionally-damaged in their upbringing. They are morally deficient, and are lacking in the compassion that most of us have for our fellow creatures. Their character could also be the result of some genetic deficiency; or a brain chemical imbalance; or a defective or damaged part of the brain.

But I certainly don't believe in a devil or Satan. I think that is ridiculous. No offense to anyone who believes in such things. I'm just stating my opinion.
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Much have I seen and known...yet all experience is an arch, wherethrough gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades forever and forever when I move. - Tennyson
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post #77 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Ganondorf
Because women are generally irrational.

Religions are irrational.

I think men and women believe in roughly same % in any / all / whichever religion.
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post #78 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by tonton
Ahh... the old BS Catch 22 about speaking out against intolerance.

I concur, it truly is moronic (oxymoronic that is) to suggest that tolerance requires tolerating intolerance.

Reminds me of...

There are no absolutes (except, of course, this one).
God can do anything, except...
etc....

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"Evolution is not random. Mutation is random, but natural selection is entirely non-random. Evolution doesn't predict that all the complexity of life just came together randomly. "

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post #79 of 159
Quote:
Originally posted by Alexander the Great

My belief is that homosexual activity weakens society, so I'm against it.

I thought your post was thoughtful, but I find the relevance of society in your ethical evaluations interesting. I'm sure you'd agree that there are many things that will destabilize a society and throughout history these have been laudible goals despite their effects on society. I'm quite sure Mormonism could weaken the general religious solidarity of some middle eastern countries, but I don't think that is an argument against the right of people to practice it if they choose.

Personally, I believe ethics transcend societal concerns and I am only obliged to obey rules of society that are beneficial to me and mine. Of course, this usually leads theists to create strawmen representations of agnostics as being short-term selfish, sociopaths, but in reality a rational secularist can cite many reasons to obey laws an uphold society because it is in their long term interest.

--
"Evolution is not random. Mutation is random, but natural selection is entirely non-random. Evolution doesn't predict that all the complexity of life just came together randomly. "

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"Evolution is not random. Mutation is random, but natural selection is entirely non-random. Evolution doesn't predict that all the complexity of life just came together randomly. "

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post #80 of 159
Good post from a Mormon. Way to represent the LDS, brother!

CTR, baby.

I am not at all down with the idea that homosexuality weakens society, I think it makes no sense, but a very reasonable and thoughtful (read: not-Baptist) post.
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