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ReligiousOutsider

post #1 of 198
Thread Starter 
Since those spammer religious threads at least brought out some semi-useful discussion, why not continue it in general.

Is it laughable to even try to discuss religion semi-politely and semi-adult manner? Ok well, we'll try...hehe...

...

Someone in the spam threads said that scientists often also profess belief in a Creator or somesuch (as some kind of "aha!" or proof?), and I was about to reply with this when the threads were locked...

...

Since we've never had the luxury of raising humans without their having access to the myriad legacy religions to sully their views, we've yet to have scientists that can easily be free from their culture's religions and any influences they have on their thought processes.

Many have tried to be as rational as possible and many have comes as close as you can get.

Unfortunately each culture's dominant religion is ingrained in a person's mind (plus whatever similarly arbitrary religions they've learned about), so they can seldom shake the fairy tales and see reality (or try to).

So do some of the best and brightest pure scientists also reserve the right to believe in a "creator" or god? I'm sure many do, but it isn't based on anything measurable they've discovered, only nagging remnants of earlier indoctrination.

This "need" to have an intelligence behind creation is pathetic. Yes, I called it creation, but lower case "c".

It is such a stifling, suffocating, ultimately infantile and insipid desire for humans to need to have a human/animal/alien/living/whatever type entity "behind it all" for this universe just for it to be deemed valid and justified.

We can make life MORE meaningful by exploring reality as it is, all of us united in a quest to get through all the chaos, as a family, find and make order from it as we see fit.

But instead we bicker over countless trifling dogmatic differences and the rare free thinkers or scientists dodge the swords, nooses and bullets.

I don't like the term Atheist or Agnostic in the same sense that I don't like being called or having to call myself a "non-smoker".

Not believing in any particular god/gods/goddess/etc is a default, natural state of existence.
Not smoking is a default, natural state of existence.

You're a smoker or a worshipper, but I'm just me, a human being. I shouldn't need to label myself an Atheist just because I don't believe that any of the available options are useful, attractive or valid to me.

Plus, Atheist has too many negative connotations.

Sick that not belonging to a given belief system makes one evil, corrupt or somehow bad.
"The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics...
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post #2 of 198
Thread Starter 
Still, there might never have been a human day in which the concept of a god didn't exist, considering the incredible ferocity and cruelty of countless natural phenomena, and the hardness of conditions early humans had to endure.

The need to personify these terrible and occasionally beautiful natural phenomena is entirely understandable.

What is not understandable is why we still need to do it and let it rule our lives.

We've got this panoply of gods or philosophies yet they all freeze us in our developmental tracks as a human race, if not set us back centuries at a time.
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post #3 of 198
I know the thread was in the wrong place, and I know that it was started by a spammer, but I am disappointed it got deleted. Could it not have been moved? Or could the non-spam parts be copies to this thread?

I'm just grumpy because I was pleased with my post
post #4 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
But instead we bicker over countless trifling dogmatic differences and the rare free thinkers or scientists dodge the swords, nooses and bullets.

This needs to be set aside, as the irreligious have killed massive numbers of people, far more than 'anyone' else, in our more modern history.


Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
This "need" to have an intelligence behind creation is pathetic. Yes, I called it creation, but lower case "c".

It is such a stifling, suffocating, ultimately infantile and insipid desire for humans to need to have a human/animal/alien/living/whatever type entity "behind it all" for this universe just for it to be deemed valid and justified.

the true origins of the universe is not a question that science can answer, here is an interesting quote:
Quote:
.....Creationism does not at all rest "on the premise that the Bible is literally true." Creationism, as understood by Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, Judaism and more, rests solely on the revealed truth that God created the heavens and earth ex nihilo, out of nothing. Whether the Genesis account is figurative or literal in its details is another matter altogether.

Evolution, on the other hand, and especially as articulated and promoted by men like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, rests solely on the premise that matter and mathematical laws are all that exist.

The two positions are mutually exclusive. Nor can science prove one or the other because both positions demand metaphysical presuppositions. Whether we got where we are as a result of divine purpose or of meaningless chance is not a question science can hope to answer.

Creationism has no quarrel with science, but creationism is unalterably opposed to materialism in any disguise. Anyone advocating against teaching intelligent design alongside of evolution exhibits a closed mind.


Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
We can make life MORE meaningful by exploring reality as it is, all of us united in a quest to get through all the chaos, as a family, find and make order from it as we see fit.

Here is where you fail. I know it's fashonable to "just be" and "be nuetral" in personal beliefs, but you fail to understand that you have PRESUPPOSED that this it is true or even possible to be true -- you have even presupposed that your mind acurrately conveys to you the truth, or what is acually occuring around you and throughout the univers that you experience. "just being" might SOUND possible, but it really evaporates once you open you mouth, or vote, or leave the house and interact with others.

What is eluding you is that there are demands that society makes by it's existence, just as there are natural questions that arise to how knowledge is aquired, why we can know things, and what 'things' 'really' are. Academics in the last several hundred years, Locke, Hume Hagel, Kant, Smith and many, many, others realized, that "just being" didn't handle public policy issues, didn't write laws, and didn't satisfy the ethically curious.

Long ago, the greeks started to investigate the issues of 'being' and what it meant, and this has lead us all in very circuitous _path to the post-modernism that we see today: a system of "truth" that wars agianst the very concept of systems, I would imagine this is where you are coming from, unless you have adopted some form of primitivism or even some hedonistic worldview. Unfortunalty, postmodernism, like science's explantion of the true origin of all matter and being, is at a loss to explain the 'whys' of life in a consistent way -- it acutally makes a point of keeping us all in suspense of an outcome that can never 'truly' happen.

Speaking for myself, Christianity offers the only cohesive answer to the origins of the universe, morality, and very importantly WHY society can function in it's own best interests AND at the same time, the best interests of it's citizens. It offers an internally consistent system of truth that is denied to other worldviews and it anseers the question that has been asked, if only implicitly in our decsions, from the beginning of time.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #5 of 198
johnq - I agree with your second post more than your first. I think there is something innate about our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.
post #6 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
johnq - I agree with your second post more than your first. I think there is something innate about our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.

In the absence of knowledge and society, yes, that's true.
post #7 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
johnq - I agree with your second post more than your first. I think there is something innate about our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.

It must be innate, because there are plenty of otherwise obviously intelligent people around who believe in God.
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post #8 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
It must be innate, because there are plenty of otherwise obviously intelligent people around who believe in God.

As I remarked in another thread, Jung hypothesizes that the god-impulse (that is, the urge to look beyond ourselves for "something") is part f the collective unconscious.
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post #9 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
This needs to be set aside, as the irreligious have killed massive numbers of people, far more than 'anyone' else, in our more modern history.

Well, yes, humans have killed humans. But then, I don't make much distinction between a State and a Religion when they both behave the same as far as killing opponents. The regimes you speak of are just yet more pseudo-religions that make the People or the State the god. That's why this mishmash of religion and government is dangerous, anywhere.


Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
the true origins of the universe is not a question that science can answer, here is an interesting quote:

I have no interest in answers only questions and theories.



Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Here is where you fail. I know it's fashonable to "just be" and "be nuetral" in personal beliefs, but you fail to understand that you have PRESUPPOSED that this it is true or even possible to be true -- you have even presupposed that your mind acurrately conveys to you the truth, or what is acually occuring around you and throughout the univers that you experience. "just being" might SOUND possible, but it really evaporates once you open you mouth, or vote, or leave the house and interact with others.

I haven't presupposed anything.

I know full well that I'm surrounded my humans that are in a religious and political tinged haze to various degrees all the day. They can't separate it and so I have to wade through it. I deal with it.

Thankfully some people can take a step back and take a fresh look around.

Our senses are all delayed, and see a fraction of the overall available data. None of us sees or experiences actual reality, only a sketch of it based on our senses and ability to process everything we sense.

How could I possibly presuppose something when my core being knows everything is an arbitrary self-interpetation? I don't presuppose, I question and try to observe best I can.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
What is eluding you is that there are demands that society makes by it's existence, just as there are natural questions that arise to how knowledge is aquired, why we can know things, and what 'things' 'really' are. Academics in the last several hundred years, Locke, Hume Hagel, Kant, Smith and many, many, others realized, that "just being" didn't handle public policy issues, didn't write laws, and didn't satisfy the ethically curious.

I'm not saying be just a bump on a log, pondering one's navel.

Again, I say religions co-opted things like charity, love, helping, family, cooperation, etc etc but on top of it architecture, legal systems, science, math etc.etc. So too can political ideologies co-opt such things, but they are all essentially common human experience, no one should own them.

All those things you want to work will still work, and beyond.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Long ago, the greeks started to investigate the issues of 'being' and what it meant, and this has lead us all in very circuitous _path to the post-modernism that we see today: a system of "truth" that wars agianst the very concept of systems, I would imagine this is where you are coming from, unless you have adopted some form of primitivism or even some hedonistic worldview. Unfortunalty, postmodernism, like science's explantion of the true origin of all matter and being, is at a loss to explain the 'whys' of life in a consistent way -- it acutally makes a point of keeping us all in suspense of an outcome that can never 'truly' happen.

I know plenty about quantum physics, I don't need to have any nihilistic pessimism just because of quantum weirdness...

I just can't take this relentless unshakable blind belief that so many have of myriad religions.

My belief is is that we are blind

Indeed, we've made machines that can see/hear/sense past the limitation of what humans can perceive and even these machines are primitive and limited. Yet so many humans think what they see really is reality. Worse yet, religious leaders paint thickly over what little reality people can see, to spin yarns that keep the people in line and keep themselves in power.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Speaking for myself, Christianity offers the only cohesive answer to the origins of the universe, morality, and very importantly WHY society can function in it's own best interests AND at the same time, the best interests of it's citizens. It offers an internally consistent system of truth that is denied to other worldviews and it anseers the question that has been asked, if only implicitly in our decsions, from the beginning of time.

I don't know where to begin with that, so that's my cue to stop.
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post #10 of 198
Johnq do you think that those who believe in a form of a God believe in the Renaissance Christian model, an actual being?

People use the word "God" to describe different things. People look for a God as apparently it is within our very brain chemistry to look for a deity figure.
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post #11 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
johnq - I agree with your second post more than your first. I think there is something innate about our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.

One thing is that humans, er, us adults, tend to flatter ourselves a bit too much. So much of some of our core beliefs (really I mean delusions or misconceptions) and fears stem from early childhood. And I think that even at 37, although I am more dextrous and have more chatter in my head and can be self-sufficient, I think I'm only slightly different from a child. Same goes for the rest of you.

But some make their religion or government become their father/mother, but I don't mean to play Freud (since he's pretty wrong on a lot of things).

Lightning if it's just lightning as a raw experience with no explaination is scary, but if it's your god and the story says he's kindly and forgiving unless you do bad, then it's more comforting.

Humans need to "own" the natural phenomena, to help tame it or at least cope with it. Even if the god is a stern one, it still beats being in an uncaring universe of chaos and pure randomness.

If we can explain away a horrific natural catastrophe or phenomenon in terms of gods it's a structure that implies we know "why" and possibly when it might happen again and we can use it to manage societies.

That it's all so arbitrary (based on local phenomena and migration of people and victories in war etc.) really forbids me from ever believing in any one religion wholeheartedly again. (That doesn't mean, however, that the things that religions have traditionally co-opted are of no use!)

Comparative religion studies are great. I highly recommend good Christians/Muslims/Jews burn comparative religion textbooks, otherwise you're doomed (kidding)
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post #12 of 198
Since when did a religion based on 10,000 years of pillaging the stories told by the ancients based on the characters they attributed to by looking at the stars and inventing stories to guide their lives by, constitute an answer to why we are here and what purpose our lives have. Science ultimately knows little, and Christianity knows even less.

At least Science tries to find an answer to the Questions. Religion wraps itself up in bullshit and dogma and its devotees largely stick their heads up their ass and brainwash themselves in believing the best thing that suits their selfish need to feel a purpose and meaning.

Why would God reveal himself and the truth to western society? What society is more corrupt in greed , selfishness and deceit than we are? There are 5 billion people on this earth who live in poverty an near inexistance. If the meek inherit the earth, you can be sure that western society isn't going to inherit a speck of dust. God hates us, because we are full of shit and evil, and he sure sent the story of astrotheological Christianity to the Roman Catholics perverts and murderers to punish us for our gluttony and arrogance.

Anyone who tells you they know the truth is the biggest liar on the Earth.

Its so obvious the Bible is a bunch of lies and crap, that Gods punishment on us is to make us believe and deceive ourselves into believing that we have had the truth revealed to us.
post #13 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by mattyj
Johnq do you think that those who believe in a form of a God believe in the Renaissance Christian model, an actual being?

"those who believe in a form of a God" is such an unbelievably diverse and uncountable collection of humans. Which do you mean? Some do, many do not. Perhaps most do not.

Ganesh, a cow, Jesus...one is no more or less arbitrary to me. Some are more or less based on real historical events perhaps. As methods of maintaining and motivating ancient peoples, they have their uses. I see less and less reason to prefer one over the other however.

Quote:
Originally posted by mattyj
People use the word "God" to describe different things. People look for a God as apparently it is within our very brain chemistry to look for a deity figure.

This is a bit dishonest (not of you). It is within our very brain chemistry perhaps to look for God/s, scientific or philosophical "truths" or even perfection of an art or skill....not merely God. IMHO.
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post #14 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
[B]I haven't presupposed anything.

I know full well that I'm surrounded my humans that are in a religious and political tinged haze to various degrees all the day. They can't separate it and so I have to wade through it. I deal with it.

Thankfully some people can take a step back and take a fresh look around.

Our senses are all delayed, and see a fraction of the overall available data. None of us sees or experiences actual reality, only a sketch of it based on our senses and ability to process everything we sense.

How could I possibly presuppose something when my core being knows everything is an arbitrary self-interpetation? I don't presuppose, I question and try to observe best I can.

I'm not saying be just a bump on a log, pondering one's navel.

Again, I say religions co-opted things like charity, love, helping, family, cooperation, etc etc but on top of it architecture, legal systems, science, math etc.etc. So too can political ideologies co-opt such things, but they are all essentially common human experience, no one should own them.

All those things you want to work will still work, and beyond.

I just can't take this relentless unshakable blind belief that so many have of myriad religions.

There's quite a bit there, alot of which would flunk you out of any philosophy class. (Your 'fresh look' is just another presupposition.)

Your statement.....
Quote:
How could I possibly presuppose something when my core being knows everything is an arbitrary self-interpetation?

...is quite the metaphysical mouthful. On the one hand you presuppose that the "everything" applies to all, yet you dissallow the first part of your sentence with the last part that declares that all is flux.

In the end we are left to 'take your word' for these observations and still somehow apply them to our own expirience, but with no proof of their veracity, if in fact, such a thing exists.

I think if you wish to maintian your position, you should adopt some form of existentialism. What you are saying, even in the 'scientific' expressions of philosophy is not consistent. You are holding two ideas in tension, and one dissallows the other.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #15 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
Since when did a religion based on 10,000 years of pillaging the stories told by the ancients based on the characters they attributed to by looking at the stars and inventing stories to guide their lives by, constitute an answer to why we are here and what purpose our lives have. Science ultimately knows little, and Christianity knows even less.

At least Science tries to find an answer to the Questions. Religion wraps itself up in bullshit and dogma and its devotees largely stick their heads up their ass and brainwash themselves in believing the best thing that suits their selfish need to feel a purpose and meaning.

Why would God reveal himself and the truth to western society? What society is more corrupt in greed , selfishness and deceit than we are? There are 5 billion people on this earth who live in poverty an near inexistance. If the meek inherit the earth, you can be sure that western society isn't going to inherit a speck of dust. God hates us, because we are full of shit and evil, and he sure sent the story of astrotheological Christianity to the Roman Catholics perverts and murderers to punish us for our gluttony and arrogance.

Anyone who tells you they know the truth is the biggest liar on the Earth.

Its so obvious the Bible is a bunch of lies and crap, that Gods punishment on us is to make us believe and deceive ourselves into believing that we have had the truth revealed to us.

I think this goes back to another discussion. Only once you assume to be on a par with God, whatever he/she/it may be, can you begin the process of vetting his purposes and intentions.

As to you quesiton of poverty and injustice, if the Richard Bransons and Bill Gates of the world wanted, they could end world poverty tommorrow -- and injustice rests in man's will.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #16 of 198
I am very glad to be able to have a discussion on this topic without it becoming a flame war.

DMZ that is very true, the church made God (in the Christian faith I'm referring to) into its own image, the Bible has been vetted, gospels were left out, bits were put in, it was social control.

However when religion is rejected, I feel sad as it promotes values which are still of value today, which Johnq(?) put into a nice list but that got deleted. I see religion as a necessary step in the development of the human race, the nature of it and its abuse has led us to question ourselves and others. I guess in some way at least we have one thing to thank religion for.

The way I see it: someone believes in some form of God if they believe that the existence of the universe did not happen by a chance of *highly* statistically improbable occurrence of events that led to what we are today. IF you know what I mean.
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post #17 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by mattyj

However when religion is rejected, I feel sad as it promotes values which are still of value today, which Johnq(?) put into a nice list but that got deleted. I see religion as a necessary step in the development of the human race, the nature of it and its abuse has led us to question ourselves and others. I guess in some way at least we have one thing to thank religion for.

I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. I want orderly structured societies, with individuals and groups working and caring for each other and the greater whole. I want kindness at individual and national level.

Love, cooperation, forgiveness, charity, caring for elders and young, kindness, spirituality (energy), community, work ethic, peace, moderation, etc...all have variously been co-opted by various religions/philosophies/ideologies, but they are all parts of the human condition we all share, no one group can or should "own" them. yet each one has connotations we carry around in our heads, be it "hippie, communist, Christian, Buddhist, etc..." yet none of those own those ideals exclusively, although some of their sales pitches would have you believe otherwise.

Of the myriad good things we associate with religion, we can have them all and still not need any particular god-thing in order for it to all work. I'd like to think that as we get a handle on natural phenomena, we can be less fearful and gullible (although no less impressed and awed), see things for what they are as far as the state of the art of our tools and theories will allow.
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post #18 of 198
Religon is neither here nor there for me. It's not about spirituality...it's about institutionalising a way of life that I don't have much time for.

I wear my atheist badge with pride ;D
post #19 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
There's quite a bit there, alot of which would flunk you out of any philosophy class. (Your 'fresh look' is just another presupposition.)

Pay for me to go to college or else deal with it.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Your statement.....

"How could I possibly presuppose something when my core being knows everything is an arbitrary self-interpetation"

...is quite the metaphysical mouthful. On the one hand you presuppose that the "everything" applies to all, yet you dissallow the first part of your sentence with the last part that declares that all is flux.

You presuppose what I presuppose.

There is true reality, which none of us can ever see in it's entirety due to scale/time and sensory range (everything from quanta to galaxies etc), ongoing outside of our brains/bodies (but including our bodies and brains of course, although trivially). Then there is our perceived reality, that which our senses can take in and out brains can store and manage and our minds can toy with and interpret. What our conscious self presumes/guesses the world to be, which is in flux as we (hopefully) learn about our world and universe.

The outside is essentially NOT in flux (not in the way you meant), our interpretations can be though, since our sense provide mere slivers of reality.

You can live in a cave a mile underground, never see daylight your whole life, but guess what, there are still birds, a sun, Jupiter and popsicles, whether you ever see them or not. Let's not take cute philosophical riddles like "if a tree falls in the forest etc" and model our reality after them. I've not been to India but I presume India exists. Those games only go so far. Yes, all we can truly know is what we've experienced or imagined but faith is not owned by Christianity. We need faith every second. Faith that the chair is still behind us when we sit down. Faith that the handrail is where it was the last time when we slip. Faith that a cup of coffee might be scalding hot, so we should move away from the spill.

Reality might indeed be in flux at quantum scales but at human scale it's pretty reliable. Your perception of "red' or "square" or "fast" might be different than mine, but it's pretty close, enough for us to all manage to interact.

I don't play silly games like maybe you see a cow when I see a car.

And I don't like solipsism, which is silly to me. Another game.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
In the end we are left to 'take your word' for these observations and still somehow apply them to our own expirience, but with no proof of their veracity, if in fact, such a thing exists.

We all see though our own individual filters. Where did I say my perception was the perception we all must go by? None is the 'right" interpretation.

Now, most religions/philosophies are not merely an interpretation of reality. (Those that are get more respect from me). Instead they warp reality to fit a particular storyline or agenda. Criticizing them is not the same as criticizing some individual's interpretation of their perceived reality.

A blind person who gains sight is often surprised by perspective. To them, things shouldn't "get smaller" the further away they are, because they know/assumed that a bottle that fits in your hand is the same size whether it's at arms reach or in the next room. The bottle never changes size.

But a religion that cannot allow the Earth to be round or for the Earth to be more than a few thousand years old regardless of new information, I can criticize. One is a belief from a simple lack of sensory data, another is a thorn in the side of dogma and hierarchy of power that is threatened by implications of the new discoveries.

Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I think if you wish to maintian your position, you should adopt some form of existentialism. What you are saying, even in the 'scientific' expressions of philosophy is not consistent. You are holding two ideas in tension, and one dissallows the other.

Let me know which college you are signing me up for.
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post #20 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
johnq - I agree with your second post more than your first. I think there is something innate about our tendency to believe in God and the supernatural.

And you sir get a cookie for being well read on the latest findings...
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post #21 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq

But a religion that cannot allow the Earth to be round or for the Earth to be more than a few thousand years old regardless of new information, I can criticise. One is a belief from a simple lack of sensory data, another is a thorn in the side of dogma and hierarchy of power that is threatened by implications of the new discoveries.

This is very true, but the biggest reason why Christianity can be criticised in this way is due to its followers suddenly getting this silly idea of taking the Bible literally. The Bible is supposed to be interpreted. One example, no sex before marriage does not mean, "No sex before marriage". Instead it means no promiscuous sex, i.e. one night stands. The Bible has been manipulated into something which it is not. Now when the Bible is accurately translated from Hebrew (the language it was in before Latin etc.) and interpreted it means a whole lot of different things.

However I do not presume the Bible to be accurate. What I support is a reinterpretation of the Bible, religion has to be questioned which it is not by those who follow the faith themselves, only by outsiders.
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post #22 of 198
Actually I don't think there are any questions as to the physical dimensions of things, or the nature of physical reality. Maybe some questions to the extent of how paranormal activity effects us, near death experiences, etc.

anyway....

Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
Pay for me to go to college or else deal with it.

actually, I haven't taken any philosophy courses either, they'd probably not even bother flunking me and just throw me out.

Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
We all see though our own individual filters. Where did I say my perception was the perception we all must go by? None is the 'right" interpretation.

yes but even that separates you from other people fundamentally, while at the same time presupposing a fixed order that we all approch but never reach --- this is, I think, the principle of the "chain of being" --- that we all participate in 'being' or in 'the act of existing', but to different degrees. God would be just really, really, good at it. Even that prespective is very comprehensive. If you're willing to be consistent, it shakes out in how soceity functions.

Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
But a religion that cannot allow the Earth to be round or for the Earth to be more than a few thousand years old regardless of new information, I can criticize. One is a belief from a simple lack of sensory data, another is a thorn in the side of dogma and hierarchy of power that is threatened by implications of the new discoveries.


The Bible thing has two parts: First, the Bible has been twisted to fit various 'scientific' views, but in the end it is somewhat vauge and probably intentionally so: Joshua told the sun to "stand still" -- and it did stay 'still' -- he did not say to the sun "stop orbiting around the Earth". Forcing things that the Bible does not say, is grounds for being critical of the those doing the twisting, not the book itself.

As to the age of the Earth, you may have a legitimate gripe if the Genesis account is literal, although the Bible is rather vauge: it starts with the Earth already in existence, "formless and void" I think it's intentionally vauge, Starlight & KAr dating are both problems ONLY if you: a. force certain hows and whys on the creation account -- and b. look at things from a materialist/uniformatarian prespective. The sensory data is not very good at telling you much more than what you have pressuposed it to be, since you have already factored in these two presuppositions before you even consider the data.

Finally, I think you can and should be ciritical, but that puts you in a position of having to have both a metaphysical floor under your feet and a material framework in place to statisfy what the Christian metaphysic and creation account, in your view, do not.

From the metaphysic side I just don't see where you escape reducing preception and reality to a man made of water in an infinite ocean of water, trying to build a ladder of water in order to climb out of the water. I don't acutally think that pfflam and other postmodern guys would essentially deny that --- it has just been accepted as a condition of exsitenze. From my presepective you don't have a framework in place to make any "definitve" statements.

On the material side, I think you can critise the creation account, but what you have in hand to stand on is an extension of your metaphysical prespective --- with the final conclusion still being the same when you consider the universe as an enitity. The premise that matter and mathematical laws are all that exist IS a metaphysical statement, once you start operating from that prespective, your are operating on faith with even less answers than the creation account gives, but still seem to be satisfied by that uncertanty. You have no way of telling if we have souls, or explaining morality, origins of all things, and so on, and on, and on., --- there is kind of a 'deciding not to dicide' thing going on there.

There is a big tendency in American culture, to put 'religion' in a special area, but to ingore the very real metaphysical claims the materialistic modern science makes. I don't cringe so much at this territorial behavior -- this is common to the human experience --- but I do fault people for trying to take what amounts to a loose collection of contradictory ideas and feelings and holding them against a rigorous, internally consistent framework. In C.S. Lewis' book The Great Divorce there is an afterlife paradigm described as a city where ALL people go after death, but those who are not comfortable with the proximity of God and his governance move (physically) away from Him and that locale. Hell ends up as basically the act of moving further and further away.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #23 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I think this goes back to another discussion. Only once you assume to be on a par with God, whatever he/she/it may be, can you begin the process of vetting his purposes and intentions.

As to you quesiton of poverty and injustice, if the Richard Bransons and Bill Gates of the world wanted, they could end world poverty tommorrow -- and injustice rests in man's will.

I am on par with the God as described by the bible, because this God was created by humans to provide an answer to questions that their knowledge couldn't explain. Most people think Im human too.

And the question of poverty and injustice has no more to do with Gates, Branson or you and I. We are all a Gates compared to families living on a dollar a week.
post #24 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I think this goes back to another discussion. Only once you assume to be on a par with God, whatever he/she/it may be, can you begin the process of vetting his purposes and intentions.

As to you quesiton of poverty and injustice, if the Richard Bransons and Bill Gates of the world wanted, they could end world poverty tommorrow -- and injustice rests in man's will.

The worlds top 100 richest people, including Gates and Branson, have a total net worth of maybe $200 billion.

Tell me again how they could end poverty tomorrow (by giving each poor person $50? woo-hoo!)
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post #25 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
I am on par with the God as described by the bible, because this God was created by humans to provide an answer to questions that their knowledge couldn't explain. Most people think Im human too.

And the question of poverty and injustice has no more to do with Gates, Branson or you and I. We are all a Gates compared to families living on a dollar a week.

I don't think that first statement makes ANY sense.

On the question of wealth, yes, yes, and yes it is the will of man that causes poverty, and war. I would submit that if all the manhours that have been put into make war and weapons of war, had been instead put into searching for cures for disease, and eliminating poverty, we would have done so by now.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #26 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
The worlds top 100 richest people, including Gates and Branson, have a total net worth of maybe $200 billion.

Tell me again how they could end poverty tomorrow (by giving each poor person $50? woo-hoo!)

Actually the top 10 wealthiest have rougly $235 billion. The top 100 come in at roughly $1 trillion dollars, that nearly enough give the 1.2 billion people living on a dollar a day or less a little less than a $1,000.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #27 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
I don't think that first statement makes ANY sense.

I think you're being willfully ignorant.
post #28 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Actually the top 10 wealthiest have rougly $235 billion. The top 100 come in at roughly $1 trillion dollars, that nearly enough give the 1.2 billion people living on a dollar a day or less a little less than a $1,000.

You appear to think that elimination of poverty is the responsibility of people only with billions of spare dollars at theit disposal. What if every person in the western world gave $1000 to the third world.

I'd guess that there are 1 billion people on this planet that could easily give $1000 to the development of the third world.

I reckon that if we were not all obsessed with greed and selfishness we could raise several trillion dollars every year and sort the world out in 20 years.
post #29 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Actually the top 10 wealthiest have rougly $235 billion. The top 100 come in at roughly $1 trillion dollars, that nearly enough give the 1.2 billion people living on a dollar a day or less a little less than a $1,000.

I looked it up, you are right. except that they would have to pay capital gains tax, and their company stock would tank if they tried to sell it all at once.

And if they gave the money to the poor, rampant inflation would make the money worthless in no time.

I still don't think that the top 100 richest people have the ability to solve poverty on the drop of a hat - just giving people money is not the solution. You have to open factories and create jobs, and that is already happening.

The problem is that the Liberals cry when you give 3rd world people jobs - "buy american", "globalization is bad", "you are paying them non-union wages" etc.
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post #30 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
You appear to think that elimination of poverty is the responsibility of people only with billions of spare dollars at theit disposal. What if every person in the western world gave $1000 to the third world.

I'd guess that there are 1 billion people on this planet that could easily give $1000 to the development of the third world.

I reckon that if we were not all obsessed with greed and selfishness we could raise several trillion dollars every year and sort the world out in 20 years.

We already do that, via Federal taxes and foreign aid. Its our "buy a dictator a Mercedes" program.
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post #31 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by MarcUK
I think you're being willfully ignorant.

been there, done that

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #32 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
I looked it up, you are right. except that they would have to pay capital gains tax, and their company stock would tank if they tried to sell it all at once.

And if they gave the money to the poor, rampant inflation would make the money worthless in no time.

I still don't think that the top 100 richest people have the ability to solve poverty on the drop of a hat - just giving people money is not the solution. You have to open factories and create jobs, and that is already happening.

The problem is that the Liberals cry when you give 3rd world people jobs - "buy american", "globalization is bad", "you are paying them non-union wages" etc.

I hear you --- the logistics are near impossible --- it was more of a general statement than anything else.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #33 of 198
I know this continues to be a tad off topic, but...on the subject of "wealth"...it is not a "zero-sum" game meaning that it is incorrect to assume that because some are "wealthy" others must be "poor".

Two factors must be considered regarding "wealth" and "poverty"...these are contextual circumstances and differing subjective valuations.

Regarding contextual circumstances...let's say that the average person in Kenya makes $1/day (<$400/year). Well, we could improve that by an order of magnitude and that person would be "wealthly" (extremely so, in fact) by Kenyan standards and in the context of that environment. But a person living (just about) anywhere in the United States would be considered in extreme poverty at the $4000/year. We need to remember this when we decry the $1/day wages we pay the poor souls in China or wherever. In fact that $1/day might be a significant improvement from the $1/week (or nothing) they were getting previously.

Second, the issue of differing subjective valuations is also important. This is vital because in economic exchanges I am almost always trying to exchange something I value less for something I value more. This is usually highly subjective. In fact the ideal economic exchange would involve the following:

Person A has item X which s/he values less than item Y (which s/he doesn't have).

Person B has item Y which s/he values less than item X (which s/he doesn't have).

These two get together and exchange X for Y. Both consider themselves to be better off ("wealthier") for no other reason than each has now obtained something they value more (subjectively) and given up something they value less (subjectively). In this example "wealth" has actually grown (in a subjective sense). Obviously the idea of "contentment" factors strongly into this equation.

The key point is that a) wealth is not a zero-sum game in which if one person wins one (or more) must lose, and b) objective, discrete definitions of "wealth" are difficult to create.

The point of all this is that our (western, developed world, subjective) perceptions of "wealth" tend to distort our views of other people's situations. In Kenya, for example, a person obtaining a bicycle (a mere $50-$100 commodity) will have significantly improved their lot in life. Many of us in the world we live in wouldn't even begin to consider a bicycle (unless it was a $3000 custom-fitted...blah blah blah bicycle that we use 4 times a year) to be an advancement of our wealth.

We should not assume that these are bad disparities. They are simply reality.

What this means is that our approach to "wealth" creation in undeveloped areas should focus less on taking money from the "wealthy" and giving it to the "poor" (Robin Hood-ism) and more on establishing the conditions for wealth growth in those areas. These including things like minimal physical and mental health, well-being and ability, property/ownership rights, open and honest economic exchanges (fraud and deception are significant inhibitors to wealth creation) and freedom to engage in economic exchanges.

These things are the soil, seeds, water, sunshine and fertilizer of wealth creation/growth.
post #34 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
but I do fault people for trying to take what amounts to a loose collection of contradictory ideas and feelings and holding them against a rigorous, internally consistent framework.

Rigorous, internally consistent framework, meaning what, Christianity?

Marvel, DC and Archie are all rigorous, internally consistent frameworks too.

You seem to need there to be a Christianity, otherwise the universe seems silly and full of contradictions?

I never like to get mired in the rhetorical/allegorical/narrative details of Christianity or any religion. We might as well ask "what if Galactus eats a black hole instead of a star" or "is Anubis really present at all embalmings" or "how does Santa deliver all the presents so quickly?"

All the utterly trivial (although historically/culturally vital and interesting) details and stories might indeed touch upon perspectives and insights we can all share and use but the details are utterly unimportant (indeed entirely distracting) and the religion itself should not have a kind of exclusive patent on such ideas or findings.

All religions and philosophies are intriguing and worthy of study, but the goal isn't to find the one that feels just right, like Goldilocks testing bowls of porridge and beds...this shopping around for the right one really cheapens the whole thing. What we can glean from them all are the things most common among them all.

I trust a religion/philosophy/cult less and less the more detailed and specific and rigid their stories are.

David Icke is a hilarious example. To me he is no more or less insane than almost any other true believer of a religion. Note how "specific" he gets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke

Quote:
Icke returned to the limelight in the late 1990s with a book, The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World. In it he claimed to have discovered that the world was being run by a New World Order, controlled by a race of reptilian humanoids or reptiloid aliens (he does not state what exactly they are, only giving possible explanations

"My own resaerch [sic] suggests that it is from another dimension, the lower fourth dimension, that the reptilian control and manipulation is primarily orchestrated. ...

Other people know this as the lower astral dimension, the legendary home of demons and malevolent antities [sic] in their black magic rituals.... "

Cults, religions...conspiracy theorists...all dangerously taking bits of reality/facts/truths and weaving compelling tales to try to attract followers.

Why believe one over the other?

"For I delivered unto you, first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scripture" is no more real or believable to me than the equally and clearly absurd "My own research suggests that it is from another dimension, the lower fourth dimension, that the reptilian control and manipulation is primarily orchestrated."

Again, I don't need to "pick on" Christianity, pick any other religion if you want.

It's not that "Religion/philosophy X is wrong or bad" it's that "No Religion/philosophy is so right that it can co-opt those common elements of human experience we all share and call it their own".
"The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics...
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post #35 of 198
Thread Starter 
Welcome Atomic angel,

Good post, certainly not off-topic in the scheme of things. Economy is crucial.

I saw a great piece on a company that makes some kind of easy to make/repair and use foot pump for irrigating tiny backyard farms in third-world countries. It's a super cheap product that improves the lives of the people that get them in tangible ways, they can eat better and they can have a bit of food left over from their little harvests to actually sell at local markets, which helps them buy things they've been doing without. Sure, some "squander" it on TVs or such (from our perspective perhaps medicine would be better way to spend it but who are we to judge? )

Anyone know that pump I am referring to? Perhaps it was on CNN or some such.
"The Roots of Violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics...
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post #36 of 198
Thread Starter 
"For I delivered unto you, first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scripture"

Could have easily been:

"For we delivered unto you, first of all that which we also received, how that Yar'llthk killed for your sins according to the Star Prophecies; And that She was ripped asunder, and that She was self-assembled again the third year according to the Star Prophecies"

I mean, why not?

Why would any old "rigorous internally consistent framework" necessarily be trustable? I'd rather assume that much is not known yet, so keep looking and pondering. Frameworks seem to only ever get blown apart or at least marginalized given enough time, research, experience and thought.
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post #37 of 198
....
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- "Senator, you are a politician, first tell us a lie!"
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Bill Bradley to comedian Bill Cosby: "Bill, you are a comic, tell us a joke!"
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post #38 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
"For I delivered unto you, first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scripture"

Could have easily been:

"For we delivered unto you, first of all that which we also received, how that Yar'llthk killed for your sins according to the Star Prophecies; And that She was ripped asunder, and that She was self-assembled again the third year according to the Star Prophecies"

I mean, why not?


Very Funny

But without strict trinitarian doctrine with the person of Christ as intermingled god/man, you are left to make up what ever you want in the realm of the 'wholly other' -- The Flash and Shazam as homosexual godmates etc., etc. There is a complete disconnect to the realm of the infinite. No other religion solves this problem.

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply

In our desire to impose form on the world we have lost the capacity to see the form that is there;
and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

Reply
post #39 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
There is a complete disconnect to the realm of the infinite. No other religion solves this problem.

Edited because I woke up like the proverbial bear.

Read the Mahabharata or the Rg Veda. Go and buy a collection of haikus, even, and read the notes at the back. Look up 'avatar' on the internet. Read about Khrishna, Siva and Visnu. Go to Amazaon and order Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha' if you want something like a novel.
post #40 of 198
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
Uh oh. This calls for capital letters.

YOU CLEARLY DON'T KNOW A DAMN THING ABOUT ANY RELIGION OTHER THAN CHRISTIANITY.

Just read the Mahabharata or the Rg Veda, for goodness sake. Go and buy a collection of haikus, even, and read the notes at the back. Look up 'avatar' on the internet. Read about Khrishna, Siva and Visnu. Go to Amazaon and order Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha' if you want something like a novel.

Oh, how I loved Siddhartha as a teen...
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